From Rainer Maria Rilke, there is a story which takes place during his first stay in Paris. Together with a young Frenchwoman he passed a square at lunch time, where a woman sat begging for money.
Without looking up to any giver, without expressing any other sign of need or thankfulness beside her constantly outstretched hand, the woman always sat in the same place. Rilke never gave anything, his companion frequently gave a coin. One day the Frenchwoman, surprised, asked for the reason why he never gave anything, and Rilke answered her: "we should give to her heart, not to her hand."
A few days later, Rilke brought a white rose with him that was just beginning to bloom. He laid it on the open, emaciated hand of the beggar woman and wanted to continue on. Then the unexpected
happened: the beggar woman looked up, saw the giver, struggled to her feet, groped for the hand of the stranger, kissed it and left with the rose.
For a week the old woman disappeared; the place, where she had previously begged remained empty. In vain, Rilke's companion searched for an answer, who would give the old woman alms now.
After eight days, the beggar woman suddenly sat again as in the past at her usual place. She was silent as then, again showing her neediness only by her outstretched hand. "But what did she live on all those days when she received nothing?", asked the Frenchwoman. Rilke answered: "the rose"....
The Arts Village and the Rotorua Energy Trust provided the physical necessities:
a space, electricity, administrative assistance, advertising.
They gave to my hand.
But it was the people who gave to my heart.
The laughter and tears.
The hugs and handshakes.
The stories and the questions.
The discussions and the collaborations.
It was these human interactions that
enabled and empowered me;
reinforced my belief that dolls and dollmaking can be transformative and healing;
a springboard for discussion;
a vehicle for revelation.
These interactions reminded me over and over
of the inherent dignity of each human being we encounter.
I am grateful.