Dr. Raby in Thailandbiking in China

“Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own home. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.” —Mother Teresa


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As a working mother, I’ve always made it a priority to afford my children an education through travel. My desire is that they see the world through a different lens. In doing so, I hope they grow even more empathetic and sympathetic to the plights of others, and that they grasp the meaning of serving to create a community of open hearts and conscious minds.

 

Fifteen years ago, my husband and I traveled to Bali, Indonesia and were so moved by the spirit and essence of the Island....prayerful, respectful, spiritual, conscientious, serving people. We promised one another that we would bring our children back to share in the ancient riches of this part of the world. Our opportunity opened up to venture to Southeast Asia when our daughter, Raquel, chose to volunteer abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand at an elephant conservation sanctuary.


We all met in Bangkok, Thailand following Raquel’s service in the countryside of Thailand. We toured Bangkok, Thailand; Bali, Indonesia; Shanghai and Beijing, China. Our experiences were plentiful, enlightening, and impactful, and I want to share a few of the most profound, thought-provoking experiences….

 

In Bangkok, we rode a tail boat through the canals and bikes through a shantytown. Each tour opened up a world unknown to most Westerners: poverty so profound, but people still happy and grateful.

 

In Beijing, we took a rickshaw through a notorious, old impoverished neighborhood called Hutong. We were also welcomed into a Hutong family’s home for tea. They were bursting with such pride, showing us their simple home, (very proud of their small air conditioner), bringing out certificates as Tui Na massage therapist and Emperor’s chef. Both of our hosts were happy, healthy, and proud to serve.


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In Bali, we had a multitude of wondrous experiences, but the most profound were immersing our bodies in holy waters in an ancient healing temple in the high mountainous jungle. Then, we traveled to a Shaman’s healing space to walk a labyrinth to rid ourselves of past, present, and possible future negativity. We individually sat with the Shaman to clear our energy chakras and were sent to pray and meditate. We ended this day by working with an Ayurvedic apothecary for three hours to make our own body, face, hair oils, as well as a traditional jamu cleansing juice from local healing roots, herbs, spices, fruits, flowers, and oils.

 

The neighborhoods we visited in each country often backed up to gorgeous temples full of gold—the dichotomy between rich and poor clearly apparent. Our experiences stirred up different conversations than if we had spent our days in museums or doing typical sightseeing, and I couldn’t wait to open up the conversation with my children at the dinner table each evening. I inquired about what they experienced and what they thought they could do in their life to narrow the gaps in that dichotomy, whether it be with regard to economic/social injustice, environmental consciousness, or political insensitivities.


There’s so much for all of us to do to care for each other on many different levels. Instead of feeling guilty, I hoped that we would come back and honor all that we have: a safe place to go home to, clean water to drink and shower. We work hard for what we have and try to live consciously in this world. I didn’t want my children to feel ashamed in any way. Instead, I hope they internalized the ways of life we saw, and that they will let that perspective guide them through their own life...with open hearts and conscious minds!


—Theri Griego Raby, MD, ABHM

 

Dr. Raby in Bali
"Inspire me with love for my art and for thy creatures. In the sufferer let me see only the human being."
- Moses Maimonides, The Physician's Oath