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India ~ The Dark Mother

What I See in her Face

Look into this woman's eyes, what do you see? I had asked her if I could take her photo and I didn't ask her to smile. What she communicated to me was far more important than capturing a nice smile. Her expression tells me of her life, her experience and what it is to stand here, hand on hip - dignified, perhaps a little pissed off at me for even being there, I don't know. But what I do know is what she touched in me was profound, and I wanted to sit with her, I wanted her to tell me all about her life experience and what it is to be a woman here in this place.

She touched humility in me as I was reminded of my privilege and the choices available to me that she will never know.

I see a wisdom and resilience in her eyes, I see a sadness and a fury, I see depth and intelligence. I want to thank her for her transparency, I want to learn from this one, not with words but with her eyes, her movement, facial expressions, her interactions, rhythm and pace as she goes about her day, tends to her family, completes daily tasks like washing, cleaning, cooking, self care and rest. Just like me - but different. I am struck by the resilience in the people I see here, a resilience that I cannot claim, at least not yet.

She reflects to me the dark mother, reminds me of the other side of life. India has been referred to as the dark Mother, because she touches, prods, and grates away at all the false structures, the flimsy barriers and and strategies that attempt to separate out the darkness of our lived experience. The dark mother reminds me of the broken, messy, smelly, decomposing, dying cycles of life, reflected everywhere, in the waning moon, the rotten piece of fruit, and the dark night sky. In me. Here, I cannot escape myself, and India, well she is brutal, like the Hindu goddess Kali, she is destruction itself, clearing out all that is false, reminding me of my humanity and teaching me about wholeness.

This is what I see in her face.

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