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Written by: Jennifer Kumar, LMSW, Cultural Adjustment Coach/Mentor
Friday, August 17, 2007

Sometimes it is easier to credit others for their creative zeal, without realizing our own capacity for the same.  From my point of view, creative zeal is an intense devotion to complete a task, even in the face of adversity.  It is completing a task in a way most others would never think of, or avoid if given the chance because of risk.  Those with this creative zeal certainly face obstacles, but either welcome the obstacle and overcome it, or almost succumb to the obstacle but others who believe in them help them to overcome the obstacle.  It is this devotion and intention that is collected over a period of time that, in the Hindu tradition, can be called Sankalpa.


Last November, I wanted to go for a massage but I wanted to try something different.  I decided to try Shiatsu.  After some research, I found a female shiatsu practitioner, Paula Shank, LMT.  All I knew about Shiatsu at the time was that it originated in Japan and it was a type of pressure point massage based on the acupressure points and meridians.  After experiencing the massage, I asked Paula about her experience learning Shiatsu.


She told me an interesting story. She actually studied Shiatsu in Japan.  She was the only American in her class and no one spoke English!  I was astonished.  I asked her how she could understand if it was all in Japanese.  She said since Shiatsu is body work, she learned by observing mostly, and also she did end up learning a few words that got her through each day. 


I commended her for her dedication through the face of obstacles.  I thought and said I did not know if I could ever do anything like that!


Again, some months later, after remembering this story, I realized I was forgetting that I have also experienced similar situations.  I did live in Chennai, India for two years.  I lived on and off with families that did not know English, and I did not know Tamil.  I learned how to communicate through real life example.


Currently, I am preparing for a Thiruvathirakali dance for an Indian (Kerala) festival called Onam.  Most of the talking done by others in the class is in Malayalam.  The similiarity between this and Paula’s story is that I am also absorbing Malayalam as she learned Japanese, through matching words with people’s actions. 


Like how Paula intended to learn and earn a degree in Shiatsu from the school in Japan, is similar to how I intended to earn a degree in Social Work from Madras Christian College, and how I currently intend to learn a classical Indian dance.  It is creating a vision, over time, of what I want as an end product and not allowing obstacles to deter me that I define as my creative zeal or Sankalpa.




Thiruvathirakali – You Tube


About Paula (near bottom of page)


Sankalpa and Power of Intention

Copyright ©2007 Jennifer Jayanthi Kumar


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