Why am I here? It feels very different to anything I have ever experienced before with a warm, friendly overtone. What is striking me the most is the people. The seemingly flat affect of most people we pass by and the slow pace of their walk makes me assume that the are sad but after a good 5 seconds of eye contact and a wave of my hand out the bus window the magnificent glow of their beaming white smiles radiates the warmth that lies within their hearts. I was pleasantly surprised today by a small boy who gave me a High 5 as he walked past the bus and it was soon followed by many more children doing the same! In these moments of connection with perfect strangers I am reminded of one of my natural gifts of communication with people. I have always had this knack for drawing out smiles and a desire to make people feel loved. Unfortunately, I took this knack one or two steps to far and seemed to always put the needs of others before mine which lead me to a great deal of pain, (emotional, mental, physical and spiritual). I realized in the last few years just how important it is to put myself first always (doing so with alot of awareness so as not let it go to a place of selfishness) but keeping the needs of others in mind as well.
Yoga taught me how to do this and it has taken a lot of practice to find the balance, which I am always working on. If I am not well, I cannot give to others in a whole hearted way and who can we ever really count on to care for us besides ourselves. It is up to us to take care of ourselves so we can care for others. That is what I love about World Dance for Humanity, it is all about helping the people help themselves and yes, we give them support but it is all up to them to do the work. This is empowering and this leads to self-love which in my experience is the root a lot of problems in the world. It helped me to see that I needed to do more healing before I could be part of this journey and there was no better motivation than these two groups of people in my life: World Dance and Rwanda.
A visit to the Genocide memorial today with the group was almost unbelievable at times. The amount of rage that lies behind these acts is unfathomable and yet I can understand it in a way, again through the use of Yoga. How do we get to a place in our minds where we can treat each other in such an inhumane way? I do believe that we are all capable of the both evil and good but at what point does the humanity leave our minds and does it ever leave our hearts?
I am in no way comparing myself to the genocide but my own personal experience with Anger and Rage stems to a root in FEAR! I remember the night I had my nervous breakdown and how out of control I was. It was 15 years in the making so there was a lot of unexpressed emotions that needed to be released. What I do remember though was that I thought I might be able to actually kill someone in that moment. I was so consumed with the swirl of raw emotion that I was completely out of touch with my heart. Thankfully that was not in my fate but I am very aware that even someone like myself is capable of extreme violence and if that is true then it is true to everyone else if put in the right circumstances. This helps me feel empathy for even those that did the killings here in Rwanda and brings me back to a place where I can see everyone as a human being who is deserving of love.
As a way to help move all the emotion that was stirred up after walking though the memorial I did a practice of the Divine Light Invocation which I learned during my stay at Yasodhara Ashram (yasodhara.org). I guided the entire group through the meditation as an offering to them and also the people of Rwanda. I found it to be very healing for my journey and hope to share my learning with any one or place that needs healing. Don’t we all need healing at one time or another in our lives? It takes courage to admit that we need help but it is so much more painful to pretend that we are fine.
I am gathering the signs throughout my time here, watching for things that make sense to only me and tell only me where I am needed. So far the theme of sexual abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are coming up strongly for me and it is obvious that there is a lot of work to be done in that area for the people of Rwanda as well. Patience and staying present with the moment are all I can really do to stay on my path. It will be revealed to me when the time is right and when I see it clearly with the help of my own bright inner light!