Life in Bloom

Here I am about one week later feeling totally in the groove. Life has started to take shape for me in Kigali and I am ready to ride the wave. I have made my first poster for Thrill The World practices and will begin teaching next week – where? Where else…..the pool that I have been frequenting since I arrived! They are very happy to have me help not only with teaching swimming lessons but also to use to gym space ( a cement room with a ping pong table and some weird work out equipment that looks old and expensive in its day) for the bargain of 1000RFW, which is about $1.50 an hour and if no one show I don’t pay. I have it posted on the popular web page here called Living in Kigali and am feeling the momentum already.

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(Dancing with World Dance Santa Barbara in Los Olivos, CA (5 mins from Neverland Ranch!  October 28th, 2012. World Dance raised over $11,000 for their charity that year with this event! Proof that amazing things happen through dance!)

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(Me and Janet, the woman who started World Dance Santa Barbara and unknowingly created something that would allow me to follow my heart to Rwanda! Thank you Janet, I love you!)

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(Le Sanitas front entrance, where my first Thriller practice will take place next weekend and where I hang out and be myself while life unfolds all around me!)

I was in the Sauna the other day, just sitting in the dark, hot space when I voice in the dark says ” I see you here often. Are you doing Yoga?” It was a local man named Chris who turned out to be very interested in learning more about Yoga and offered to connect me with a place where locals go to workout. He was very curious and while we talked he had many questions to which I gave the common Ashram response of asking a question like “What do you feel/think?”. I remember initially when being presented with this kind of response to a direct question I felt frustrated and unheard but I soon figured out that it was the teachers way of getting me to think, feel and choose what was right for me. This is the place from which I learned to understand that my body really knows what I needed to be healthy. He responded well to it and soon was sitting cross legged with his hands resting gently on his knees, eyes closed and breathing in the fresh Eucalyptus leave steam. It was in this moment that I again realized how important it is for me to teach what I have learned and that Yoga is one of the reasons I am here. I have made connections with 3 others places for teaching Yoga and have a good feeling about teaching as it really helps bring me back to a place of offering that helps me connect to it in my own life even more. It is a gift and an honor to be a teacher of the unique teachings of Yasodhara Ashram and I am also honored to now be able to share them on the other side of the world!

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(My first workshop: 10 days of Yoga. This group, this workshop, this place all helped me to save my life and I never went back to life as I knew it. Gratitude overflows from my heart for this experience. In case it’s hard to tell, that is me in the light purple dress with long curly hair!)

I began my daily routine this week which includes some form of Yoga (Dream Yoga, Mantra and Chanting, Divine Light Invocations, Breathing, or Hatha), any form I feel and for any amount of time that feels right for me in that moment. If there is one thing I know about myself it’s that I like structure but when things are too structured I tend to not want to do it, so I gave myself lots of flexibility within the structure. It was like I was given the sweetest treat the first morning that I got myself motivated to chant mantra and I was brought back to that place within myself that I long to be. One of those moments when I feel: “why do I not give myself this gift every day?” It like a refresh button was clicked and I was immediately back in the groove. I felt lighter and more alive than I have since arriving and since  then I have seen a total 360 turn around in my mood, attitude and ability to see the positive. When I make choices for myself that come from a place of listening to what my body, mind and heart need to be happy and healthy I feel so much better. I am acting from a place of higher consciousness and I can feel the effects all day long.

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(Me as Summer Kitchen Manager in Yasodhara Ashram in the summer of 2011! Yes, that is MJ on my shirt and if you look closely he has a silence badge over his mouth! A very challenging practice but it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it!)

In keeping goal of writing a book and  the very likely idea of me returning to Canada in November, I also made a connection with a newspaper in my home town of The Pas, MB, Canada and will be starting to write my own column while I am here in Kigali very soon!  I grew up in a small town in a remote, Northern area of Manitoba and was often very frustrated that it had not much to offer me in terms of the things I was interested in doing in my life. I now see how much I have to offer to the people of this community and how my life experiences and learning can be shared and given back in many different ways and places, even places I thought I would never consider returning to. But, there is healing there for me as well and it feels very right, especially since my best friend (or Be-Fri, as I like to call her!) lives there now and I want nothing more than to create a life that has her in it on a daily basis! Life is full of opportunities and for me it is about finding the courage to reach out and make them happen – that is what Rwanda is doing for me, showing me my own power and strength to do the things I want with my life. One step at a time!

“Julia Child wasn’t always “Julia Child”!   Quote from the movie:  Julie and Julia, with one of my favorite female actors Meryl Streep!

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(Carrie (my Be-Fri since grade 8) and I during my visit to The Pas, August 2012. I hadn’t been there in nearly 10 years but she got me there and was I pleasantly surprised! I felt so much love and support that I stayed for a month! Thank you Carrie for all the love and support you give to me, you are beautiful inside and out. I love you!)

So here I am now with a date for teaching Thriller, a plan for teaching Yoga, a personal traditional dance and language teacher, a way to give back to the country I am honored to be in, a column in a newpaper and my life went from feeling empty and confused to directed and moving forward so quickly that I need date book to organize it all! Now is the challenge of finding the balance within it all. It is all a wonderful learning game and I know there will be mistakes along the way but I am so happy to be here in this moment feeling the wave of bliss that has washed over my life this week!

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