A Story of How Joy and Play Can Ripple Across the Ocean

By Haley Burns, Kikori's Chief Beautifier


At 22, I was living the ultimate life of a free young girl with no worries, no cares, and no traumatic events from the past to color my present. Each day I would go out to the beach and run amok with friends and surf and sing and dance and watch the sunset in my temporary home in Costa Rica. My housemate, Samantha loved my free and adventurous spirit.


I came home after a long delicious day of surfing at the beach with friends and was debriefing with Samantha when she said to me, "I wish my daughter could be as free as you. I hope one day she will be." My housemate's daughter, living across the ocean in Berlin wasn't eating. Iman, a 22 year old Syrian girl had the trauma of witnessing countless murders and destruction caused by Isis for the majority of her childhood. She had recently escaped Isis and Syria when she met Samantha, my roommate who adopted her at 46. I felt guilt. Why have I been put in this life to get to live this way while someone else has lived a lifetime of terror, for no reason other than being born in the wrong place at the wrong time?


Samantha had been barely eating either, out of stress and concern for her daughters decreasing mental health and not being close by to support her. If her daughter wasn't eating and playing, then she couldn't either. Samantha was also a Yogi, having dedicated her life to her yoga practice and I was beginning my Yogic journey starting my yoga teacher training program when I met Samantha in Costa Rica.


In Yoga, there is an underlying belief that influences the entire practice that we are all one, that we all come from the same overarching body of energy and are all just extensions of that energy like branches of a tree. We are all within every single part of the universe, and every single part of the universe is within us. I am you and you are me.


"In the oneness of you, you are one with everything. Therefore, you always know it. It is only in the duality of time and space that you forget your oneness."

-Yogi Bhajan, 1976


One day at lunch, Samantha showed me a picture she sent to her daughter of our food. "She likes when I show her I'm eating. She worries about me too", she said. A lightbulb went off in my mind. "Samantha, do you think maybe she'll start eating when you start eating more too? If you want her to eat and play, I think you need to lead by example". So Samantha began to eat and play too. And when things in Berlin got more difficult, instead of Samantha joining Iman's despair, she began to be silly and playful with Iman which caught on contagiously. Iman began to be silly and play too.


I realized that if we are lucky to live the life we wish upon others, instead of feeling guilty we can use our energy to support others. Because in the core of it all, they are us and we are them. To live in the fullest way is not selfish or naive, it is an act of service to the ones we hope to inspire. This is one of the reasons I love working with Kikori, the activities that are shared on our platform can help spread connection, joy and play, changing countless lives and inspiring a new generation of children to live their life to the fullest.


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