What does it truly mean to be human? It is the one thing that we ALL have in common. It is the thing that connects us to each other but it is also the thing that keeps us apart. Every human being has a body and mind all its own, one that is shaped, formed, molded and trained by those around us and the environment in which we live starting even before birth. The layers of events, experiences, thoughts, actions and truths all being held within each and everyone of us which creates the uniqueness that I feel begins to make us feel separate from one another. It is true that no one else can experience things the way that we do for ourselves and no matter how much we try to explain, demonstrate, or express our truths there is no way for anyone else to truly see life the exact same way that we do. So as we grow and evolve into the beings that our environment helps to create how can we do so without pulling further and further away from our oneness with each other.
For me, it began with what felt like an earthquake coming from within the sac of skin that held me together as a human being. I felt as though I would explode, like there was nothing keeping me together on the inside. I felt so alone yet I had a family, a fiance, friends, a career, hobbies, a home, two cars, lots of things and a cat – how come I felt so alone? What I didn’t feel I had was a purpose. I didn’t feel like I was being honest to anyone, ever, not even myself. I was always searching for that thing that would make me be successful, make me happy, make me fit into this world that everyone around me appeared to be living in with a smile on their face. But what I always felt was that those smiles were masks hiding the truth. I would often feel it in my body when someone would hug me or talk to me, I could actually feel incongruence and that was very confusing. Was everyone around me lying too? If they were, did they know it? Why? I am not saying that there aren’t times when we are genuinely happy, I am simply saying that as a society it doesn’t appear to be acceptable to be honest about how we actually feel in every moment. Our common courtesies of “Hi, how are you?” really mean nothing if we don’t actually want to hear the how someone is doing. It is not possible to be happy all the time, smiling all the time, kind all the time and yet we try to do it. We expect others to do it.
When someone is depressed we become uncomfortable and do not know what to say, we pretend it’s not happening. The person who is depressed feels even more isolated and alone because its not “normal” to be depressed, when actually it is a completely normal part of the cycle to be depressed. Everything must come down – emotional gravity, if you will. Pretending that we do not feel depressed is what pushes us into severe states of depression and the lack of societal acknowledgement that these times of darkness are needed in order to deal with the huge amount of stimulation and emotional events that occur in every moment of the day only makes us feel even more wrong for being human. I had so many deep, dark, what felt like endless cycles of depression and I tried everything. I tried counseling, drugs, therapy, doctors, natural paths, massages, shopping, boyfriends, work, food (eating too much, not eating at all), and I tried denial. But what finally worked was – acceptance.
Acceptance of being human, of my own truth. Acceptance of my own inner voice that had been trying to guide me for years. I accepted that I didn’t believe what everyone around me was telling me to be the ultimate truth. I began to trust that small voice and really listen to her. This is the voice that guides me everyday, in every moment I listen for her and wait patiently for her to let me know if I am doing what is true for me. I accept that my mind is only one small part of being human and that I can control it. I can change it. I can even use it as a tool to help me live a more fulfilling life. I learned this skill through my study of Yoga and it is not any easy skill to acquire and takes daily practice but it is the very tool that has allowed me to embrace the beauty of my own being. It has allowed me to find, witness, trust and know that part of being human is acknowledging that I also have a spirit, a soul. By acknowledging my own divinity I can not doubt that all humans share this in common and so I am able to see the world through the eyes of the soul. This has changed everything for me.
I no longer identify myself as just a human body, or just a human mind. I am no longer held captive by my thoughts, they do not consume me. I can control them. If you would have said this to me when I was in one of my dark places I would have come up with all kinds of reasons why that would not work for me or how no one understood what I was going through, no one could help me. This would have been my truth in that moment because the thought or the idea that I had a soul was not part of my reality. Once I realized that there was something greater, bigger in life than just being a human, caught up in the daily drama’s, I began to see that my life had purpose simply because I existed. Existing was purpose in itself.
So as I am here in Rwanda listening to and following my inner guide (Om Krishna Guru), I trust that feeling depressed is part of the journey. My subtle expectations coming to light as I feel once again the pressure to do something HUGE, something magical, something that I can hold up as an accomplishment and be recognized for especially by those who feel I am wasting my time. It is in the darkness that I have time to listen and allow the truth to be revealed. I keep on doing the work to remove the masks and see the truth through self reflection, journalling and remembering to breath. Yesterday, I helped a woman who has been job less for 1 1/2 years make a contact in Quebec, Canada for a possible nursing job. Afterwards I was invited by her and her husband to come meet his family and spent the night being welcomed into a strangers home with open arms. I now have a connection to another local family and he knows an orphanage that has babies near by and will take me there when I am ready. I spoke to the local swim instructor about volunteering my skills to help teach lessons to the adults and children as well as teaching Aqua-Fit in the local pool. All of this happening because I accept my limitations, love them, work with them and trust that all things happen for a reason. Even something as simple as making connections with people at the sauna helps me see how allowing myself to be human really is love in action. I am here to be healed by the pure and simple humanity that exists so raw and naturally in the culture of Rwanda. They in turn will reap the benefits of that healing as I learn to further embrace my purpose by giving myself back to them as a gift of gratitude. We are one in the spirit of Humanity! Om Om