Lately I’m thinking about my students a lot, and the connections they make (when I say “my students” I’m referring to all who have studied with me; I’m not laying claim; they could be other teacher’s students as well). About ten days ago one of my students arrived for class with a bleeding seagull who had been hit by the car in front of her on her way in. The seagull’s wing was mostly torn from its body. We triaged with gauze and hospital tape and then my husband and student drove the gull to the wildlife care center. The gull did not survive, I’m sorry, but the caring of my student is not diminished by the outcome. Then 3 days ago a student of mine messaged me from Paris, where they were taking an injured baby pigeon to a veterinary hospital that has a wildlife care center; and two days ago a student of mine in Montana sent me a video of her husband giving water to an injured lady hawk before taking it to a wildlife care center there. The birds seem to be seeking Naga Center community for help this month so if you are a student of mine, be aware of those around you with feathers.
There is a connection in this. A connection of coincidence, a connection of compassion, a connection of beings who step up and take action to help another being.
I set about many years ago to teach Thai healing arts workshops. I didn’t think about how this would affect people much beyond that they would learn Thai massage and Thai herb lore. I hoped they would love it. I hoped they would help people with it. I hoped they would have thriving careers. I didn’t know they would form the connections they have formed.
Students who met in classes at The Naga Center have married and had children. Others have formed dear strong friendships. Many of my students have gone into business with one another; more than one of these businesses happening in states entirely different from where the students lived when they came and studied with me. Many have traveled to the other side of the world together.
Some of the connections that started at The Naga Center have taken on lives of their own to a degree such that some now involved don’t know that this is where it started. In the first few classes I ever taught, back in 2005 when I taught out of the basement of Common Ground Wellness Center, I said multiple times “I’d like to see people form a community Thai massage clinic that is low cost, with therapists working the way they do in Thailand, side by side, no walls”. One of my students ran with this and started Path With Heart, a group of Thai massage therapists who meet once or twice a month to create a sliding scale community Thai massage clinic, working side by side, like in Thailand, with no walls. There are people who do bodywork at Path with Heart now who I have never even met, for it is a creature that long ago grew its own wings.
I love to hear about the connections. To find out that two people whom I had forgotten were in the same class, are now helping each other to sort through life challenges. Or how they are teaching each other. I love to watch the web of Facebook connections, seeing a student in London commenting on a post made by a student in Texas, or watching as people promote one another's massage practices in loving support. I love that I could tell my student in Montana with the crow about my student in Paris with the pigeon and she knows who they are, can picture them with a little pigeon in a box; these two students, one rugged and shiny with mountain country light, the other glittery and metropolitan; both healers.
Keep sharing your connections with me please. And carry a towel; they are the best tools for picking up injured birds.
* Addendum: The day after writing this I realized there is another bird connection that I forgot to include because I was so focused on thinking about my student community that I forgot about my own house. I was recently asked if I would take care of a little parakeet who had been in a situation where he just sat in a little cage all day long, all by himself. I loathe the idea of birds living in cages, but I took him home with me to live in my office where I could keep him company while I work (my office also has a steady flow of family activity, so he gets lots of attention). I don't like the idea of any critter being the only one of its kind, especially a flock animal like a parakeet; so, not wanting to contribute to the breeding of birds in cages, I started looking for another rescue parakeet. Three days ago (about same time the hawk was being rescued in Montana), we adopted Smidgeon from the Humane Society. He is singing his little heart out as I type this. I hope that Smidgeon and Pippin will be great friends.
UPDATE: Smidgeon and Pippin are great friends! Pippen was a sad little bird who just sat in once spot and never sang. Then came Smidgeon, who is a happy little fellow who plays and sings and has been teaching Pippin how to do the same. Pippin adores Smidgeon and likes to feed him. They are adorable together.