You Are Not Alone

I am love in action means that I am acting on the things in my life that my heart is guiding me towards and it is a journey of finding and truly embodying self-love as a way to make my life better. The Journey started as a way to make only my life better because I was near death and I needed to focus on only myself, or so I thought at the time. Now I know that everything is connected and everything seeks balance and harmony so it never really could have just included me. There were always other people involved in my journey. People who helped get me to that point of  insanity and those who helped me come back from the edge of it. The two never being separate, both played out simultaneously in life and are not independent from one another. If I never knew hardship, how would I know thriving?

I never imagined that when this conscious healing journey began it would have an impact or anything in common with a group of poor children in Rwanda, that was the furthest thing from my mind. What I did know, somewhere deep, deep down inside was that I had more to offer the world than just being a Nurse 12 shifts a month, a fiance, a homeowner or a good neighbor. There has always been this feeling in my chest that comes when I am doing things that feel really genuinely like myself. Its hard to describe but if I could express it it would probably sound like the string section of an orchestra holding a soothing note in beautiful harmony with each other. If literally feels like someone is playing my heart strings.

Now that I have come out of the phase of healing that required me to give 99% of my energy to myself, I am able to see why it was so important and how even then, in a very self absorbed state I was actually helping others. The other part of the title of this blog says that healing ourselves, heals the world and of course when I wrote this I had already had experiences which made this statement real and valid for myself. It can, at times, feel airy, flakey or ungrounded to talk about how I feel or how I see the world ideally but I know how I feel when I say these words and I know how I feel when I experience a moment where what is true for me begins to play out clearly before my eyes.

It took a while for me to see how I had created my own life and the pain that I was experiencing but once I did I was able to then take charge of changing it. If I fully believe that I create my world then I will act in a way that will reflect that. At first I was scared of everything and anything that I had done in the past. I didn’t want to speak the same words, walk the same way, dress the same way or even eat the same way because I was afraid it would all cause me pain again. It has taken me quite a while to slowly reintegrate the things that I had previously in my life and just this week I began to add a few more things to see how it feels to let more out. The more I let out, the more I have to work with and the more I have to work with the more healing will take place. As I learn to let go of the fear of making mistakes, I build more confidence and trust in my awareness and ability to make good choices for myself and I literally feel the transformation happening from the inside out. It is through action that I allow the strength and transformation to be revealed, even to myself.

I have done so much work on myself and at times it feels like I keep it all inside of me, still afraid to show it to even myself. Being in Rwanda offers me ample opportunity to step out and act authentically which to me is new, new meaning I have never met some of these authentic actions before. They are brand new to me and it is only through pushing myself to be out in the world more that I get to see my prenst self more clearly.

A comment from a Ugandan man name Alex that I have spent a few nights dancing with at a local club called “Alpha Palace” really helped me update myself. He said he was very impressed by the way that I respected myself and inspired by the way I present myself to people. It was confirmation that the inner strength I now feel is just who I am. I am presenting myself to the world as a reflection of what I feel and know on the inside wether I am aware of it or not. I, for some reason, could understand that I was presenting my inner truth in regards to the pain in my life through the way I spoke, walked, acted, etc. but it is a new thing for me to embrace the positive and to trust that the positive is just as powerful, if not more, than the negative. I know that this comes from previously living in a head space that focused heavily on the negative and I know that it too takes practice to truly think, feel, and act authentically from a positive space.

My own journey somehow lead me here. It lead me to World Dance, Rwanda, Justin, Gilbert, Le Sanitas, Inema Art Center, Ivuka Arts, my current roommates, the moto drivers that pick me up and take me to Meze Fraiche, everything is connected and part of the healing.

I sat with Gilbert and talked for a few hours yesterday to gather info for my blog and for the article I am writing about the Thriller event for “Living In Kigali”, a web page for expats. As we talked about his life, my life, the kids, dancing, potential and our ideals it became very clear why we have been connected. We kept on saying the same things. We have the same understanding of how we see real change being made and our part in it. Repeatedly we would say “help them help themselves” in regards to the purpose of the support we want to offer. I have learned to help myself and have come a long way from allowing myself to be kept dependent on others but it took a lot of work and is still a work in progress. I want to offer ways to build confidence, trust, self-love and acceptance with an understanding that by supporting others we are also supporting ourselves. To lift others up and help others live their full potential I must first live in that space as well or at least be consciously working towards living in that space, which I feel I am right now. This way I have  personal experience with what I am teaching others, otherwise I would just be regurgitating something I didn’t really know. When I have met people like this in my life, the energy around them has felt uncomfortable, uneasy and awkward. I can tell when someone is not speaking their truth because I can feel it. I feel that they do not know what they are saying to be true, they do not embody it and so how can they teach me.

With Gilbert, it was clear we are both capable of speaking our truths and have a common goal. We believe in the same potential for people and although our lives have been very different up to this point, we both have learned very similar lessons which brought us to this moment to work together. The kids in his dance group cannot fully understand the magnitude of what he is offering them in terms of their futures and that is ok. To grow up unknowingly having one less battle to fight is a gift like no other. Both Gilbert and I see how our lives have taught us lessons that we can now simply embody and others will simply witness and if that intrigues them to learn more then it is up to them to do the work to become the person they want to be. Self-reliance does not only mean taking responsibility for ourselves but it also includes understanding that we are not in this alone. To fully reach our potential we need others, we need community, we need support.

The kids need Gilbert. Gilbert needs the kids. I need Gilbert and the kids. The kids need me. The kids need my connections to people who can help them but in order for them to get help they need to do the work. I worked hard to change and heal myself so I can be here right now. Gilbert worked hard to change and heal so he can be here now. We were both supported by others to get where we are. Now we offer the opportunity for the kids to work for change for themselves. I am offering the opportunity for support to Gilbert and the kids. The kids offer myself and Gilbert a way of living our lives fully. So self-reliance to me means working hard in community to support each other in living a life of full potential. There is no longer a goal to be totally independent from everyone else. Human beings need one another and by helping others we help ourselves to be better, better than we ever thought we could be. Even if the people we are helping are half away around the world.

When I handed Gilbert the first 1000 RWF ($1.20 US) that was raised during a practice session this week, the reality of this situation became more clear. We all have potential and by acting on that potential we help ourselves and others to thrive. An ideal world for me is one in which we are all equally thriving. I have faith and trust that I will continue to be supported on this journey by doing whatever I need to do to make it possible but also believing heavily in the ideal  that others see what I am doing as something worthy of support. There are opportunities around us everyday to make our lives more fulfilling  and when we really believe that giving is receiving, we will have overcome one of the biggest obstacles to self-love. This is what Rwanda has taught me. I feel more fulfilled, more rich and more alive than ever before and what I receive in return for what I give here is worth more to me than any job, dollar or object could EVER give me. Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude!

Morphing Into Myself

In order to make changes in life we need to first be able to acknowledge and accept the things that we want to change. Digging deep into why we are the way we are in the present moment will bring up many uncomfortable things from the past, but the rewards for the future are priceless. This week I felt an emerging of a part of me that has always been there, I know her well, but she was buried beneath all the protective layers that kept her safe from harm. Now as she emerges I feel an awakening happening that is like nothing else. I am truly being myself and it feels like life now makes so much sense.

I understand even more why I was in so much pain by simply not living my life authentically. The way I feel right now about who I am in this world would not only be a shame to not let shine but it would be very crushing to know this potential is here and not use it. Did I feel this way as I child? I am getting glimpses of that glowing, bright spirit that we all are when we are small and don’t have the emotional scars that can lead to us dimming our own light so we feel safe from more harm. I feel a confidence that is unshakable and there is a truth to my actions, words and intentions. I have the inner strength of a rock and my emotions flow through me like water, I feel this now and I know from personal experience that it is true. No one can take this away from me and that is the most powerful feeling I have ever had. It allows all the words that have been spoken to me to keep me down to finally go out the other ear. They have remained stuck in my heart for years and now I feel as though they have been let go of and replaced by my own thoughts, the voices of my new family and friends who fill me with light and love. All of the inspiring people that I am drawing into my life replace the “You can’t!” with “You are!”

I believe in myself in a way I may have only felt as a very small child. I believe I am an artist, a dancer, a leader, a writer, a poet, a thinker, a spiritual being, a creative spirit, a beautiful person and I feel the love that I am being demonstrated to those who encounter me on this journey. Being in Rwanda has opened me up to my own inner truth in a way I hadn’t even imagined could exist but now that I feel it it seems so obvious that this is what life is meant to feel like.

The last two posts were really big steps for me and it is since then that I have really felt the letting go happen. I have been keeping those events secret and locked inside me for over 20 years, imagine what that does to a person’s body, soul and mind. There are other things that now can be released because I removed some of the biggest obstacles to them feeling safe to go. Swami Radha said that when we do the work on the big issues the smaller ones can sometimes seem less important and fall away. That is what I feel I have stepped into now. There is more to uncover with big issues and as I go deeper into them I trust that more of myself will be revealed and by that time I will have so much confidence that nothing will be able to move me from this place of knowing I am living my life, my way.

I took a step further into my confidence and had my hair put into “rasta twists” yesterday with blue, white and blonde hair extensions. This was a 7 hour process from start to finish and is something I have done before.


When I was 25, I had cut off nearly 2 feet of hair, which I had been growing out for 3 years in preparation for the event, to donate to “Locks of Love”. I had raised $1200 to contribute to the donation as well which was also a way to push myself into doing the actual act of cutting. I was very attached to my hair. When I did do it I quickly realized I was not ready and it was a very challenging time for me in terms of self-esteem issues. I felt a total loss of identity and was convinced I was to masculine to have short hair. So I let it grow and when it was long enough I went to Ebony and Ivory Salon in Edmonton and had a weave put in which also took 8 hours and cost $300. I walked home nervously with my new head of hair which felt like a giant ball of tightly wound plastic on my head. It took a few hours of crying and freaking out for me to decide but I eventually started cutting it all out. I didn’t let anyone see me, not even my boyfriend at the time. I felt like such a loser, so phoney and so ugly but really I just lacked the confidence to own this new look of mine because it was actually pretty awesome!



So as I sat in the tiny metal shack with other Africa woman being a part of a rich cultural experience I was pleasantly surprised to see that this time all I heard in my mind was “This IS who I am!”  I am a woman who has blue hair extensions. I am a woman who likes to fully embrace other cultures and is not afraid to try new things. I kept on hearing myself say, “Yes! This is what I want!” I made it happen for myself in the way I wanted it and it is an outward expression of who I am on the inside. It also gave me a very female experience of bonding with other woman.



We sat there in this small space together for hours, talking, touching, and making each other feel beautiful. I have not have or allowed many experiences like this in my life and today I saw how powerful they really are. We are woman, we are here to support each other and build each other up, make each other feel beautiful, wonderful and special. Learning to allow this into my life started to emerge when I had my nervous breakdown and began to rely on my best friend who at that time was not really that close in my life. It has been through this process of me letting go and letting good things in that we have become extremely close and she was the first person I thought of when I walked home with my new look. I heard her saying “You look amazing, I am so proud of you!” and sure enough that was pretty much exactly what she said. She has lifted me to new levels of confidence and repeatedly told me all the good things about myself that she loves. It is because of her positive influence that her voice is beginning to replace the voices of those who told me I am anything other than AWESOME! I love you Care Bear, Thank you so much for being you and for being in my life through thick and thin.


As I prepare to move into my new home, which turns out to be an art Studio called “Ivuka Arts” which is in right behind “Inema Art Centre”, I realize that everything is guiding me towards fully embracing myself as an artist. I had found a fancy, schmancy place to rent that was a beautiful space and I wanted to be there but when I called back and it was taken it was a sign that something else was coming to me. Then I received a very vague email from someone saying they had a room and after a few questions I realized it was the art center that I had initially been thinking of when I though about doing art work here in Rwanda. Turns out that I will be in Emmanuel’s room, he is the founder of Inema Art Center where Thrill The World will be held and I felt a familiar feeling of knowing him when we first met which inspired me to do the first two paintings there at his studio. Oh the connections! Sometimes this game of life feels so easy, and so obvious and other times like a dark room, full of mud.




Tonight as I opened the door at the home I currently live in to the woman who is moving into my room, she looked at me and said “I know you, Jambo Beach!” It was a girl that I had danced with briefly the night my camera was stolen in Gahini, which is 2 hours from here. Then she said “wait there’s more, the DJ from Jambo is here too!” and then a man came down the stairs and said “Oh yeah, lost camera…” Too funny! I had also run into another one the girls from that night at a concert called “Kigali Up!” last month. I was dancing alone and a woman came up to me and said “I know you.  Jambo beach, right? I knew I knew you from the way you dance!” Both of these moments boosted me in ways that I can’t put into words. To be recognized by my dancing style is a strong message for me, especially in a foreign country and with so many amazing dancers here. To be recognized even when I now have long, blue hair tells me that people actually do see me. They see me when I am plainly dressed, when my hair is not how I want it to look and Im least expecting people to notice me. It just made me realize further that I have a bright spirit that people remember and it has nothing to do with my outward appearance, this is a huge gift to finally be embodying this knowledge. Now I can bring back the outward expressions in  a way that are not a desperate attempt to be seen for who I really am. I know who I am and that is all that matters.

What I learned was that I know what I want – ie: I wanted a nice room with a jaccuzzi jub and private balcony, and I know I can give those things to myself but when they are not available or are taken away from me I also know that what I need is being offered to me in a new way. What I need right now is to step deeper into my healing journey of self expression through art work. I have an idea for a project to help me continue to heal my heart. Living at an Art Center in Rwanda surrounded by art, artists, and creative energy doing an art project that I inspired, I created, I manifested is exactly what I need to do to FULLY embrace myself as an Artist. No one can tell me that this is not real and that this not what I am mean to be doing right now.


Life is so full and rich in this moment yet I know there is soooooo much more to come. Is my vessel clear enough to allow in more light? Another reason to continue to process and let go of old baggage is to make room for the new, bright and brilliant things that are just waiting for me to have the space.

What’s next: New clothes – finally!

Physical Downloading

As I process, express, move through and heal from all of the trapped emotional pain that has resided within this body for many years it makes sense to me that I would have physical reactions. I learned a lot about the connection between my mind and body while studying Yoga at Yasodhara Ashram for nearly two years and that was actually the theme of my 30 book reports that accompanied the trainings that I took while living there. So last night when I was met with powerful stomach cramps and diarrhea that continued into today I reflected and was able to easily make the connection between what I have been writing about and processing about for the last week or so and my symptoms. This is a common releasing mechanism of my body but because I am in Africa and there is always concern about contaminated water and food I had to assess it a little differently then when I live in a place where I am tuned into my body 24/7 with very limited distractions.

As a child I remember being constipated and it became something that was normal for me in my life, especially my early 20’s. When I was in Nursing school, we were learning about healthy bowel patterns and I realized that I didn’t fit into any of the healthy categories, not even close. I had no idea that is was not normal or healthy to have a bowel movement once every 3 or 4 days, sometimes even up to a week+. So when I did have one it was often very painful and I learned to fear the act itself, which only compounded the issue.

At 25, I began seeing a Naturalpathic Physician in Edmonton, AB. It was with her that I began to see the need to really work on this issue because  helped me see the body is a new way. It became a goal of mine to have a bowel movement everyday and it took months, actually even years for  that to happen. It wasn’t until I went on stress leave the first time that I was able to make that a priority. The difference it made in my life was HUGE and I was very very proud of myself for accomplishing this. Being constantly constipated not only held toxins in my body that had an effect on me but it is also incredibly uncomfortable, which makes me really irritable, easily angered and unhappy. I went on a trip to Ireland with a boyfriend once and didn’t poop for nearly 10 days. We have a running joke about the castle that I finally did go at, so if you are ever at Bunratty Castle you can think of me as you use the loo! But seriously, this had a huge impact on my personality, my choices, my freedom, my openness, and many other parts of my life. I know it sounds strange to talk about feces in a symbolic way but everything to me means something and is a symbol of something that helps guide me. So to know that I had been holding in all that waste material for all those years makes perfect sense to why I felt so “crappy” most of the time. I needed to let go in many ways in my life and my bowels were telling me that loud and clear.

To me my bowels represent letting go, my ability to digest matters, my emotional core, releasing the past and processing life. I can see how tightly I held onto certain things like concepts, ideas, material possessions, people and so it makes perfect sense that if I was not able to deal with things in my life and felt out of control, I would find something that I could control. So I would literally hold myself back from allowing my body to do what it was naturally meant to do. My body shows me many ways in which I do this, like my jaw clenching and fists tight as I stood in front of the blank canvas the other day at the art studio. I see how the emotions really want to come out, they want to be released because that is what our bodies are for and when I don’t just let them out my body responds. I believe that my body is a spiritual tool designed, kind of like a tuning fork, to pick up vibrations from the Divine, God, Cosmic Energy, Mother Earth – whatever you want to call it, and that energy is then meant to travel through us in order to be expressed. I don’t believe that any emotion, feeling or vibration is good or bad, I believe it is all neutral and it is our minds that then create the labels which ultimately prevent us from being in tune with our spiritual nature.

So when we are in a situation that evokes an emotional response (which really is everything, every event, every day) and we don’t express it the energy has no where to go so it finds a space and settles in until you are ready to release it. I believe that this build up emotional residue connected directly to emotions and events that we do not want acknowledge, which inevitably leads to pain, disease, cancer, accidents, etc. anything to draw our attention to that area, the event, the emotion in order to get that energy free. Energy is not ours to keep and yet we store it up, just like fat in our bodies because we don’t see the cosmic instrument for the Divine that we really are. I feel this comes from a disconnect to the spiritual element of life and the overuse of our rational minds that is praised so highly in society today. This is why going to a place like Yasodhara Ashram where things run on an irrational (feminine) level and in balance with the rational (male) level. One is not superior to the other, they need to work together in balance and harmony. So for me as a Nurse, which is a very rational job, and someone with two older brothers who grew up in very male dominate household coming to the Ashram felt unfamiliar, frustrating, disorganized, even kaotic at times, and yet so familiar. It was the beginning of letting go of the concept I had been implanted with that life has only one way to be lived. It challenged everything I held onto for a sense of security and safety and it is the reason I was able to begin to unwrap the tightly wound ideas that kept me living in pain and fear.

I see the pain that I have had and do have in my body as a message, like a conversation between me and my Higher Self.  My knees hurting are one of the most common pains I am experiencing this year, kind of like there is no cartilage in the joint and it feels as if I am 90 years old at times, but there is nothing wrong with my knees. The cartilage is fine. What I learned about myself is that this pain is a signal to deal with something and if I look at my body symbolically as well I can begin to understand the language and help my body speak to me. So I write to my knees in my journal, asking them questions, giving them my attention and energy to which they are happy to reply. I have had many a dialogue with my body parts and the insights that come from this Yogic Practice have lead to amazing healing. To me this is why, especially with Fibromyalgia, a person can have all kinds of symptoms that cannot be medically explained and yet they are very real. But if one person has unresolved Father issues trapped in their knees and another has the death of a boyfriend trapped in theirs – how can we test for this? We can’t. This is why it is up to each one of us to learn to listen to our bodies and to be an open vessel for energy (ie: emotions) to simply travel through us. We are not designed to hold or contain them. They are not ours, they do not belong to us, they are not specific to us, and they are not meant to be identified with. I believe emotions are tools for evolution and consciousness. They are simply energy that takes on a certain feeling in our body, a feeling that we have created with our minds. So we can then change what we feel and how we respond to the feelings we do have.

So now, when I feel pain in my knees I don’t say “Oh poor me, why do my god dam knees hurt again? Why do I have to feel like a 90 year old when I am only 20? Why is this happening to me? Why am I such a loser? Why can’t I just be healthy? Why why why… hoo hoo.” What I say is “oh, my knees are telling me something and I am going to take the time to listen, hear and understand what I need to work on next in order to heal.  I can guarantee you that this process has worked for me many many times and I am walking, breathing, smiling, living in Africa, dancing, happy and healthy because of the fact that I do these kind of practices. They are what helped me heal myself.

The Body and Mind are two separate things which each have a unique purpose, yet they need each other to exist. You cannot have a body that works without a mind and a mind needs a body to live in. So learning to change my mind, or the way I thought about my mind in relation to itself as well as to my body has been the key to me unlocking the hidden messages that my body has been trying to tell me all my life. It made everything make perfect sense and this is when the real healing began. We are not taught to respect our bodies as the temples that they are. They are the space in which our spirit or soul resides. It is our only true spiritual home. Once I learned to see myself as a spiritual being, it changed my life completely. This occurred through the teachings of Swami Radha, which are incredibly powerful yet simple and if you are really ready to make changes in your life then Yasodhara Yoga is the answer but be for warned it is not for the weak! For someone to tell you that you have the power to heal yourself within you may go against everything that we have been taught about healthcare but I feel like a walking example of that fact. I believed it and this was one of the biggest gifts I was given, belief that I am a powerful being who does not need to look outside of herself to find the answers in my life. My story is enough proof for me to firmly believe in this and this is a big factor in why I cannot return to the Nursing Profession as it is currently as it just does not line up with what I fundamentally believe to be true about the human body.

*Disclaimer: This does not mean that medications, treatments and even death are not part of your cosmic plan, it simply suggests that we are capable of more than we are given credit for as human beings in the current medical system.

As I watch my body go through a purging of emotional baggage it feels unpleasant in some ways but I know through life experience what happens once this has cleared and it makes any kind of pain, barrier or resistance almost welcome in my life because it is like someone handing me a key to a door that leads to Bliss. Every wave, every purge, every pain, every tear leads me closer to my truth and to living life fully as a human being is meant to. To have let go of the idea that pain equals bad or negative changed my life but with that statement also comes the idea that joy is not equal to good or positive. Practicing non-attachment or non-identification with things other than my Soul has allowed me to see both the positive and negative aspects of my pain and my joy, which allowed me to detach from the self pity I was wallowing in that had created my life and my illness up to that point. It changed my desire for Happiness as the ultimate goal in life. Now I can simply feel an emotion, express it and know or believe that it is just energy that needs to pass through me. When I learn to do it fully and completely not attached to it being something or meaning something then life suddenly becomes less dramatic and easier, and the possibility to live in a state of pain free bliss becomes a reality.

So I continue every day to practice being aware, to feel, to process and to release because to me this is what being a human is for. I will not fill my life with ideas, concepts, and dramas that seek to distract me from my true purpose. I will not keep myself busy so I don’t have to actually cope with my emotions. I will not create more obstacles with which to further prevent myself from processing and releasing the trapped emotions that are very painful to carry with me. I am doing EVERYTHING I can to heal because I believe life is for living. Life is a gift and it is all the work that I need to do and my spiritual bank account is overflowing because of it!

“Take a look at yourself and make that Change.” Man in the Mirror, Michael Jackson.

Sowing The Seeds of Love

In the last few days I have had some of the most powerful moments of my entire life while teaching the choreography to the young people that I am working with here in Rwanda. The other day it was with Gilbert’s group of students, today it was a local boys orphanage that I found through a connection I made while at the Sauna and before that the large group that joined me at Inema Art Centre.


Gilbert’s group of students are so sweet and so willing to work hard. I can see that because a lot of them do not go to school they really have almost nothing in their lives that provides some kind of momentum or chance to do or be a part of something. All of the boys were new to me this day  ( until Mohammed showed up later on) and yet they were there with the Thriller dance sheets in hand ready to learn and be a part of this event that I am hosting for them. They just handed themselves over to what I am doing and are thrilled (pun intended!) to be here, learning and practicing. I don’t think they really fully understand what they are a part of just yet but it will become more evident as we move through this adventure together.


It became more clear to me what I am doing when they started to ask me questions after practice and it was revealed that I could possibly find help for them to go to school and that the money we raise from the dance event is for them.  One boy in particular really made it hit home the potential that lies within what I am doing and also the potential for real pain. The look on his face as he spoke about wanting to go to school, he is wanting it so badly and it is something that I just totally took for granted in my life. Here he is this beautiful, strong, gentle, sweet young man full of potential and he just has no choice to fulfill it. I realized that I could help make a connection for him that could change his life forever by using my natural ability as a connector of people. I also felt a wave of the magnitude of what I was stirring up within his heart. His face was so full of hope and I felt myself flinch at the idea that I had planted that seed and it is my responsibility to now be very clear about what I feel capable of doing. I never promise that anything will happen but I do promise to do what I can to help.

It is time for me to step up and step out once again to a new place within myself that is VERY capable of making this happen. I watched as my mind said “Its only $105, just put it on your Visa, but then where does it stop. There were 2 Orphans and 3 children who were not in school dancing with me that day alone. I see hundred of kids here and adults who need help. It is not my job to help them in all ways, all the time. I feel my biggest gift is to be here, dancing, and putting energy into finding others to help me help them to help themselves. I can’t do it all, no one can, it takes a Village and I am but one member of that Village.  That is what the proceeds from this event are for.  Maybe this is what the new seed that I have planted of me starting my own NGO is going to fuel. There is so much potential here for so many people all over the world the be a part of something I have created in the name of healing myself and it is further proof to me that we are all connected.


Watching them dance the first part of the choreography while I video taped it for them nearly brought me to tears. They were working so hard and did so well. Watching a seed that I have planted come to life was really moving. It was a new experience for me and once again  it was Michael Jackson who brought me to this moment. Some of it was knowing that the kids were literally dancing for themselves, and also a new element of my life coming into fruition, which is dance and art being something that I actually DO! It is what i am doing here and that really became clear. I am living life the way I want, no more doing things for the money or the “should’s”,  here I am actually doing what I am meant to do and doing it for nothing in return (financially). Sometimes when I am actually in things it takes a while for the reality of the situation to hit me, this was one of those moments.


Today at the L’enfants Presbeterian de Jeune Orphanage in Kicukiro I was welcomed openly and with amazing energy to dance with and teach the young boys and men who live here. I met a young man from Japan named Ryo at Le Sanitas about a month or so ago and asked him if he would be interested in learning to dance to Thriller – his face lit up and of course he said yes! He then told me he was here volunteering for 2 years at an orphanage and the kids would love it too. It took a while but it worked out for me to come today and be with them. I am not sure if they can attend the event as it takes place at 11pm this year but I have committed to coming once a week to dance with them and teach them the choreography as well. We may even set up a separate event there for them if they really can’t attend but want to participate.


(Ryo and I walking back from the Orphanage)

The way their eyes opened wide and their smiles got huge  as we shared our dance moves with each other was such an amazing gift to be a part of. Man can these kids dance! As I looked at these beautiful faces the reality that they have no parents hit me as well and is something else that most of us take for granted. I realized again, how much of an impact it was having just being there with them giving them my time, energy, attention, my spirit and a few hugs. One little man would give me the biggest, hardest High 5’s every time we finished a section of the dance – it was great! I can see how much this day brightened there lives as well as mine. My commitment to my own healing is why I am here doing this, it is proof that when we heal ourselves we heal others. What I am witnessing in myself is a strengthening of my voice, which to me symbolizes my ever increasing confidence by stepping into this role as a dance teacher – a dream of mine in action. It is a powerful feeling to have my dreams come to reality. Thriller feels like a launching pad into my creative endevors coming to life. Yay!


There was one boy in each of these two groups that was so keen and eager to learn that they did not want it to stop. “Sista, continue….I want to learn!” It is these bright souls that may possibly be really changed forever by having this event in their lives. Maybe they will teach it and host it in the future and maybe it will be something that they believe they can do and make happen. Who knows but I want to at least offer the opportunity where so much potential lies. Thank you Michael for your music, commitment to your passions and for inspiring this journey, this event and this healing. I felt an intense sadness today about his death as I watched the video for “Man in the Mirror” (my theme song) and then had a realization that he is not dead at all, his spirit lives on in all that he created in his lifetime and that I am here keeping that spirit alive by planting more seeds for others to do the same! He will never die. What a great feeling. I felt even more connected to him and it is an honor to continue to keep his message of Love alive. As the impersonator in LA said to me a few days before I arrived here, “The World NEEDS Michael!  I need Michael. The kids here need Michael. People need Michael. (Janet you understand this one as much as I do!)

Michael Jackson dancing with the living dead.
Michael Jackson dancing with the living dead. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)











Last Thursday I arrived at Inema Art Center for the first dance practice and  had 20+ kids and adults learning with me within a few minuets. When I arrived I realized I had an expectation that Emmanuel would get the kids together for me or something, but right away I knew that was not happening and I needed to somehow get the kids, who speak mostly Kinyarwanda, to understand why I was there and what it was for. I made the one connection I needed with a young girl sitting on a ledge and soon I had at least 12 kids. One young man in particular, Christian,  was really into it. He was looked like MJ with his “Fraiche” sunglasses on and had great dance moves to match! It was his sister I had spoken to and he had come to watch her today with his friend who was soon to be my DJ!


(Christian and his sister)


(Me and my new DJ!)


(Having fun – they thought this was HILARIOUS! So do I!)

Soon I had them understanding what a zombie was and we began the first step which is called “Zombie March!” Within a few minuets more kids and their dance teacher had shown up and joined in either watching or dancing. People always gather to watch from afar (Balconies, roads, gateways, windows) and with each of these three groups there were at least 10 people watching curiously and are always welcomed to join in. There was one keen spirit in this group as well who, as soon as we were finished, would turn to me and say “Again!” These kids learned the whole first section and most of the middle in about 35 mins and when I say “learned” I mean they could really dance it, it was very impressive.



The momentum for this event and for my life is picking up so much speed that I literally cannot sleep at night because I am oozing with creativity and passion for what is unfolding. I have had glimpses of this energy in my life but never at this pace and this consistency. I knew that Thriller was going to open things up but I could never have imagined what has become possible in my mind because of this commitment. I love that I am here, doing this and just owing who I am and standing up for what I feel I am meant to do. My life makes more sense everyday! I changed my mind and it changed my life!

Next step: Figure out how to start bringing in some money for this event!

Pleasure Principle

Today I spontaneously dyed my hair back to my natural color while at Umubano Hotel. I was there to meet with the manager of the gym to see about teaching Yoga. I want to teach but all the momentum that had begun to sprout has totally died off, which tells me that it is not meant to happen right now. Truthfully, what I want is to go to the gym and be in a space that inspires me to stay fit. So why don’t I just go to the gym? Well, for some reason I have a hard time giving myself the things I truly want. Like my hair for example, the reason I dyed it was because I want to get braid extensions while I am in Africa as it is something I really like and think are beautiful. What I did though was create a barrier to me actually getting them by wanting to have platinum blonde braids with colors like pink, purple and blue highlights and being really rigid about it. Yeah Hello – you’re in Africa, everyone here has black hair! I spent a whole day running all around the city from tiny little places to big markets searching for this elusive hair that I had to have. Today it hit me that I need to decide what it is I want and what I am willing to do to make it happen. I WANT BRAIDS, so I decided in that moment to make a small adjustment that would make that possible, dying my hair a more natural color so I can find hair to match and now I am one step closer to my desire being manifest. This is so applicable to many things that I desire in life. If I get too stuck or too focused on something being exactly one way then it can actually prevent anything from happening at all.


(Downtown Kigali)



(Beauty supplies and Suits!)



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(The “Mall”, mostly nearly empty or full of random boxes of things!)



(Beautiful Sophie who tried very hard to find me pink hair! She was oozing personality and style!)

I want to be more expressive externally and since I arrived I have watched myself create barriers to that by making things more complicated than they really are. I watch as I make things so extravagant that I get lost in it, eventually feeling like I can’t do it at all. An example would be having clothes made. I love Fashion, always have and I am very creative with my style. I had a dream of being a fashion designer for years (actually I feel that coming back into my life as a possibility again) so when I walked into the shop where you can have anything made, any style, any way, shape or form I was in heaven, for a moment and then I felt the pressure to make something so fabulous and so unique, and then “Patricia Perfection” showed up and almost stopped me in my tracks. I feel like I have so much creative energy lying dormant or repressed within that the moment that it has a chance to reveal itself it all explodes out at once and I feel overwhelmed. In that case “Olivia Overwhelm” would appear and again nearly stop me from moving forward.

So just like the hair, I need to ask myself what it is that I want. I want some new clothes that feel like an outward expression of how I feel on the inside in this moment. This is a very important step for me in terms of self- esteem, self-expression and creativity. It is also a representation of honoring what I feel I need or want. What steps am I willing to take to make that happen? Design one simple dress to start and see where it takes me, open the creativity up a little more gently but with a knowing and trust that it will be expressed. Maybe I don’t trust that there will be another opportunity for the creativity so it all tries to burst out at once. Kind of like when you say you are going on a diet tomorrow so you eat a ton of junk food the night before! I need to build trust within myself that I am listening and I am going to continue to honor that energy that has been waiting patiently there for me my whole life. If it knows that it will be expressed on a regular basis then maybe it will hold back a bit and not get me so flustered that I shut it down anyway. To me this feels like I am taking something very pleasurable in my life and making it a painful thing.

I feel like I have felt a lot of pain in my life and have not really allowed myself to feel, truly feel, pleasure. One thing that comes to mind right away is SEX! Sex is creative energy, it creates all Life. It is designed to be a pleasurable thing so that humans want to do it and thus humans continue to exist on this earth. It has to be powerfully pleasurable enough to make sure that we do it otherwise we cease to exist. So why then has sex always been more painful than pleasurable in my life? I feel it comes from all of this fear we have around it that is taught to us by our society, the grown ups in our lives as children (ie: teachers, parents, etc), the misrepresentation of it in the media and the impact that these external factors have on our daily lives. When I think about sex and how I was educated about it in my life, one example comes to mind and that is of my mother sitting at the kitchen table and angrily saying, while looking away from me, “She’s waiting until she’s married!!!” and the conversation was over. That doesn’t exactly fill me with a warm, tingly, pleasurable sensation. What it did was tell me that sex is bad, wrong, angry, and that I was doing something wrong because I was feeling sexual feelings and thinking sexual thoughts, therefore I was bad for growing up and ultimately for being Human.

Another example comes to mind and that is of my father pulling up in the high school parking lot in his work truck, which was equipt with red and blue flasher lights, a metal guard rail across the back and a shotgun in the front seat. He was wearing his uniform and he asked me to get in the truck so he could talk to me. He then said “You’re mom thinks you might be pregnant.” Now, I get it….Sex is a difficult thing to talk about especially if you yourself are not comfortable with it but we can do a lot of damage by putting our unresolved shit onto other people, especially our children. I feel, and I know I am not a parent but… that being a parent is a JOB that you sign up for when you decide to have kids. Its not so you have someone to love you when you get older or to make your life complete – it’s an uncomfortable, messy, unpredictable, rollercoaster ride of a Job. That means you have to put your own stuff to the side, work through it, or at least be willing to talk about it so as to not make it your child’s issue as well. My thought is that if you are going to ask your daughter if she’s pregnant your might have already missed a few steps along the way to ensuring that was not going to happen.

So once my Father said this to me I became enraged, jumped out of the truck and into the car I had driven to school and speed away as fast as I could. I skipped the rest of school and spent the day feeling horribly ashamed and incredibly angry. I decided not to go home that day but my Father found me at a local corner store and because I refused to go home with him, drug me out of the building by the neck and arm and put me into the truck. I tried to jump out at every stop sign, so he just stopped slowing down at them. When we reached the turn to our home and he had to slow to turn in, I opened the door and ran away. I just kept running. My brother came driving around and found me walking on the back roads, by this point I had calmed at least enough to get into the truck and talk with him. This is one of the times when my brother was very supportive. I talked and he listened but what he didn’t know was that I was lying the whole time.

What?? I know what you must be thinking, why would I lie? Well I had been lying about sex to myself since it became a reality in my life. The way in which it became a reality in my life was partly why. At age 9, a foster girl who lived with my parent’s friends, molested me at her house during a sleep over and of course what we did was to be a secret. Around the same age I turned on the TV and pressed play on the VCR to come face to face with Pornography. I remember also doing some inappropriate things at this age with boys at school, like writing one boy a love note that told him he was the “sexiest man” I had ever seen. I was also spying on my brothers in the shower and telling the girls at school about there penis’. Now as an adult, this tells me that something was going on.  I do remember begin talked to about it by my parents, but more like reprimanded than trying to understand why.

Then as I grew older and began having boyfriends, which was really not that much later, I encountered one that would have an enormous impact on my life. He would give me attention one week and then totally ignore me the next. Send me love notes and then date my old best friend. I became an emotional mess. I would wake up with stomach cramps. I would have diarrhea and sit on the toilet crying. I was just so confused and I totally gave up my power. I wanted his attention so badly, I almost craved his negative attention, which was what I mostly received from my brothers at home and their friends, it felt like the only way I knew love from men. So after a year or so of this on and off dating, I began dating the new boy in town.

It was during this relationship that at age 15 I became sexually active. It built gradually from harmless kissing to oral sex to intercourse. I am not saying that I wasn’t an active participant in all of it but what I see clearly now is that at that point I would have done anything to get the love that I felt I needed from someone else to fill the void in my heart . So on the night that we actually had intercourse for the first time, it wasn’t like I hadn’t been experimenting with him for weeks prior about how it all worked or that we had “sort of done it” a few times before, I was not ready. We had never actually talked about it and yet we were doing it and without protection. It  just started happening like I had no say in it and then I literally couldn’t say “No”. Like many first sexual experiences for young teenaged girls it just sort of happens and in our minds and with our bodies we are saying “NO” but our self-esteem has been robbed of us to the point where we lose our voice as well as our ability to know or speak up for what we really want. This is a very common way for young girls to lose their virginity. I feel that we are doing our young woman of today a huge disservice by not talking openly and honestly about sex, our bodies, our thoughts and feelings.

Because I was so ashamed of the fact that I even felt sexual feelings, let alone was acting on them, I could not talk to my parents or teachers. I had no mentor or person I trusted to  confide in. I felt totally alone, lost and confused. I contemplated suicide MANY times at this point in my life and spent hours sobbing on the bathroom floor. I began to hurt myself physically as a way of releasing anger and also on some level to get attention because I knew I needed help but could not ask for it.  I felt so incredibly guilty. I became very angry and began to give up on life. My marks in school went from honor student to nearly failing and even failing. I gave up on swimming competitively and I spent all of my time with my boyfriend. He at least knew the truth so there was comfort in that, but he did not know the pain I was feeling. Our relationship became physically violent at times and often verbally abusive. I felt completely trapped within my own life so I lied about it.

Prior to this relationship I was quite adamant about waiting until I was married to have sex, this was back in the time when I didn’t realize I had a choice about marriage as well. I wrote in my diary to God and promised that I would wait. I would NEVER have told anyone in my family that I was writing to God either as it was something that created a lot of tension in our home. Needless to say, I have had very few pleasurable sexual experiences and created many more painful events in my life to help push me to the edge of my sanity. I don’t actually know if I could honestly say I have had one sexual encounter that didn’t involve some feeling of guilt or shame, most times I feel like my parents are sitting on my shoulder telling me I am bad person while I am engaged in the act. Now this is clearly my issue to resolve and that is why I am doing the work to understand it and let it go. I am not perfect, I am human and I know that my parents did their best, just like all parents do BUT that doesn’t mean that there weren’t mistakes made and in order to heal from them we need to first admit to them and accept them, and then open it up for healing. I am creating my own healing by being honest about my life and if I do ever have children I will continue to be open and honest about my life for them. To me this is the greatest gift I could give them.

I lied to protect myself. I lied to save my parents the hurt. I lied to uphold my “good little girl” image. I lied to not have to face my own truth. This is a dangerous place to live in and it eventually lead me to a place where I didn’t even realize I was lying anymore. I threaten my boyfriend so he would not tell anyone. No one knew until we broke up and even then I still denied it. My best friend had no idea. So to be confronted with my truth in such a way as I was that day with my father, scared the shit out of me. A piece of  my tightly woven web of lies was about to be cut and to me it meant death. I panicked. I was in shock, fight or flight and would have done anything to not have my parents find out the truth because in my mind it would mean I had let them down, betrayed them, and that they would no longer love me and at that time I would have rather died than let them down.

The theme of being named “Worthy of Love” (Amanda) plays out so deeply throughout my life and I see how my life really is about finding out for myself that I am worthy of love because again no one can tell us or teach us to love ourselves, we must do the work on our own to truly know it and live it. So I am grateful for all that happened once again because it all brought me right here, right now and hopefully someone will gain something from reading my story and take one step towards living their life more honestly. This time in my life had a major impact on who I became over the next 15 years and I created a lot of pain for myself and others. It is because I spent so much time lying about who I am that I now find it incredibly healing to speak my truth and to do so without limitation. Speech is a powerful gift and it is a vehicle for my own healing.

As I look at why I have difficulty experiencing and giving myself pleasure in life there are many things that come to mind on top of this subject but today felt like the day to really lay the big one out there. Expressing my truth is one part of the process and creating new responses is another. When I feel myself resisting giving myself the things that bring me pleasure I have the opportunity to make a change. Today as I toured the most beautiful room for rent I have seen, maybe ever, I heard myself say “oh, but you don’t need this…” and to that I say “So what…maybe I want it!” I don’t have to live in poverty to help people, I can accept good things that I am capable of allowing into my life and I can give myself anything that I need in order to continue doing the work I am doing and right now that may mean a room with a tub, a balcony and wait for it….a beday (sp?). It means getting a membership to the gym, braiding my hair and getting a dress made. All very simple things but they are all steps towards learning to express love for myself by giving myself the things in life that I find pleasurable and allow me to thrive. If I thrive others will benefit as I will have more to give because I feel well cared for in my own life by my own Self. Hari Om

Another Part of Me

There is a side to me that has never really been revealed, even to myself and as I feel her begin to emerge I feel the strength that comes along with acknowledging all the different aspects that lie within me. It feels like an egg shell cracking and I am on the inside witnessing the tiny spec of light that is being let in by the breaking of this hard outer coating. It is a shell that I have used as protection, security, self-preservation and as a boundary between myself and others. I have always had trouble being myself fully out of fear of rejection or love being taken away and some experiences in my life made that fear a reality and so the shell got thicker. So to now be witnessing my own birthing of a new aspect is amazing because it means that I have done enough work to feel safe to emerge from a place of hiding.  It may look familiar to some people right now, even I have seen glimpses of the things that seem to represent this aspect but what is different and what no one sees or feels but me is the inner dialogue, the beliefs, the words I tell myself in my mind and the true confidence that I am beginning to feel. Many people would tell me that they saw me as free-spirited, creative, outgoing and someone who did what they wanted in life but that was from the outside. On the inside I was constantly telling myself I was a bad person, I was fat, ugly, stupid, lazy, no good, not worthy and not capable to doing what I really wanted. Even with these words and thoughts  going through my mind, beating myself up, I managed to let parts of myself shine. I don’t believe that my spirit can ever be crushed completely and I am proving to myself everyday just how strong my spirit is, it is why I am still alive today.

I know that brothers are supposed to pick on their little sisters and I know it is a normal part of growing up, kids can be mean, myself included but now as an adult looking back on the way I was treated and seeing the impact it had on my entire life, I get really sad and angry. To have the nickname “ugly” from your loved ones is not appropriate even as a joke because the mind does not differentiate between real and not real, a joke or not a joke. To be called fat or told that you look pregnant in that sweater that you thought you looked pretty great in, is really painful and does have in impact on self-esteem. When you run over to someone you love and say “Its my Birthday!”,  only to be met by him throwing a nickel on the ground and saying “Oh yeah” as he walks away with his friends, this is not just emotionally damaging but spirit breaking. To be walking home in the freezing cold and see my brother drive by in a vehicle and give me the finger feels heartless and told me that I am worthless. To ask for a ride home only to be dragged from the truck by your brothers friends so they can get in and have my loved one stand and laugh is also demeaning. Obviously, I can go on and on and I won’t but the point is these are the things that happened on a regular basis, the name calling, the ridicule, the belittling and more that had an impact on me at a very deep level. What can look like child’s play can still be very damaging, wether it is your brother or a stranger, actually I feel like it may be more damaging when it is a loved one because it really rocks the sense of family and security within.

One time my sister in law said to me “I don’t know how you have any self-confidence at all…” in reference to the way my brother treated me, to which I smiled and said “I guess I just know he’s kidding and it makes me more tough knowing that if some else says something mean to me I can handle it.” This of course was not true. That was all I knew, it was my normal to be treated that way and when I look back now at her saying that to me it makes me very sad that this pattern of behavior went to such an extreme. In saying this, there was of course a sense of protection and love at times with my brothers but for me there was no balance at all and the negative much out weighed the positive. It is very difficult for me now as an adult to let these things go, especially when they are not given any validity. Many a therapist would and have disagreed with the idea that these things can just resolve themselves.

So how does this relate to now…..As I stood in front of a blank canvas the other day at Inema Art Center preparing to paint, I felt energy sitting on my chest like an elephant. I noticed my fists were clenched and my jaw tight – What was this? Fear, but why? Isn’t this what I want to do? Isn’t this who I am? Why am I so fucking scared? I am so sick of begin trapped by this fear and it is at times enough to make me scream. The good thing is that I am here standing in front of the canvas facing it, walking into it and not running away. The thing is though, it is not really fear because I don’t believe we are designed to fear ourselves, it is all the times I have been laughed at, joked about, belittled, told I couldn’t do something and ridiculed for doing something that was truly an expression of myself that then evoked a feeling of fear and created a pattern in my mind that told me not to express who I was because it was connected with rejection.



(This painting is called: Breaking Through 41. It is a representation of my Nervous Breakdown that happened in 2010.)

At first I tried to express my new self through making dramatic changes physically, like shaving my head, which was a very necessary step in creating real changes but now I feel that my life is becoming a representation of the new found courage to be myself. I am freeing myself from the limitations that I created in my mind as a way to keep me safe and feeling secure by doing the work to figure out why I felt unsafe and insecure and then letting it go. The gift of this work is the freedom within myself and only I can give this to me. I do it because I love myself and I know that I can create a better life, no one else can do that for me. If we don’t believe in ourselves, I mean really believe way down deep inside that we are capable of doing whatever we want in life  than there is nothing that anyone can do or give us to make it happen. We are responsible for our own lives. The trick for me was not only learning to believe this fact but also realizing that it was a pointless struggle trying to get others to see that they are not responsible for my life. It is my life, my choices, my mistakes, my desires, my likes and dislikes and they are not meant to match up with what others feel are right for me. That is why we each have our own life, our own mind, our own set of beliefs and desires and I believe we each have our own Karma to work out in this lifetime.

In saying that, everything that makes up my life is then perfect as it all provides the tools needed to do the work I am meant to do in this life. I chose my parents, my brothers, my extended family, and anyone who came into my life was there for a reason – to teach me something. After years of not being aware of this or unconsciously living, it finally made sense when I began to study Yoga. If I see everything as a tool, a sign and a potential for learning it changes my outlook completely. It takes away the self-pity and replaces it with momentum for learning and growth. I no longer felt helpless in my life and instead realized I was, in some ways, the master of my own ship. I am the Captain and I had created everything that caused me pain as well as Joy and so there was no one to blame.



(This was my second painting and it is called: Cosmic Power! It is a representation of where I am right now in my life.)

Here I am living my life in Rwanda with a knowing that I was directed here and because I have chosen to listen for and to the signs that guide me, I feel calm and centered even in the midst of unsteadiness. The healing that is taking place is at a slow and constant pace, which makes it easier to manage and digest. I have this image of what is possible with my life in my mind and I know that things don’t always turn out as we imagine them but it is more about how it feels when I imagine this life and how I am in it. I am powerful, I am strong and I am confident inside, I do and say what I want to do. I have a voice and I express myself truthfully, creatively and unabashedly. This is the part of me that I have kept hidden out of fear of growing up and letting my parents down for not being their “little girl” anymore, which is a big factor in a lot of my repressed emotions, feelings, talents and desires as well as just me growing up healthy and well adjusted. I am not a little girl, that is obvious but I have always had an intense desire to make others happy, even before myself, so when I pick up on something like sadness, pain or anger I want to try to fix it, even if it meant holding myself back. What I didn’t realize was that it is not my job to provide emotional maturity for people and I cannot do it for them. I can only do it for myself.

Maturity is something that I am just now beginning to feel authentically in my life. By living my life as a “little girl” to please others I kept myself in a very immature state in all aspects of my life. It kept me dependent on people for financial support as well as emotional. I never really believed in my mind I was capable of being independent but man did my spirit struggle to show every one that I was! Now here I am living alone in Rwanda, making a life that includes dance, art, helping others, independence, community and so much more. I am learning to believe, on a cellular level, that I can do what ever I want in my life and the only person or thing that can really stop me is ME! I choose to move forward, further into this wonderful space I am creating within myself and am happy to share it with the world!

Thrilling Connections

Saturday at 5 pm was the first” Thrill the World” practice at Le Sanitas and it was a big success in many ways! As it neared 5 o’clock I realized I needed to turn on my personality aspect that can work a crowd and create a stir in order to get people into the dance space. I took my poster off the wall and walked around the pool and restaurant area talking to people and spreading the word that this awesome event was happening and that they could be a part of it. When they replied “When?” I was able to say “Right now, in that room right there!”  I watched my mind try to back out, telling myself that no one had shown up and that I should just leave and go home. This is a familiar feeling to me in the sense that I often have a hard time allowing myself to enjoy the things I really love. It feels like a way of punishing myself for even wanting to do this things I love. As soon as I felt this I knew I needed to change something. I began to dance shyly by myself and then I made the choice to be who I really am and I let myself go – finally!


I soon realized I needed to attract more attention so I rose to the occasion and decided to put to put a little performance which included “Beat It” and “Thriller”. This got at least 10-12 people interested and by the end I had 2 serious dancers who wanted to be a part of it and help me spread the word. There were people peaking through the windows 9 feet above the ground, sneaking peaks through the open door and coming in to sit and watch. This is how is happens, I create a buzz and people come to see what is happening – that’s when I get them with my “magnetic personality”, which I can turn on when needed and it works!


(Three sisters, 2 of which joined me and are spreading the word about “Thrill the World” as you read this!)

The resistance, and one of the biggest fears that I work with now in my life is that I have not practiced my new boundaries enough and I will fall back into old patterns that were really painful for me in the past. The only way to really practice the boundaries is to put myself in situations where I need to use them so here it was, the opportunity I needed to learn from. I also know it is judgement that I feel will be directed towards me, which is really my own judgement of myself, that holds me back. I love to dance and I am a talented dancer – this not EGO, this is a fact and there is nothing shameful about being good at something. This ties into the last post about my own potential and not fearing my capabilities in this life. I want to honor my gifts and use them so I need to put myself into situations that call for my skills to get over this fear of being seen as a “show off”. I have a talent and I am going to use it for good in this world. People often directed a lot of anger, jealousy and negative energy towards me when I danced, especially woman. I have been pushed, kicked, punched and threatened to be beaten up for the way I was dancing or for what I was wearing. This obviously had an impact on me but now I know those actions came from their own insecurities, of which I did not seem to have any, especially on the dance floor! I left this practice feeling energized, alive and creative juice pulsing through me. I can feel myself literally emerging from my cocoon.

Yoga has taught me that I am not my personality aspects, they do not define who I am, which is very different than how I used to see myself. I thought I was and had to always be certain personalities at certain times, for certain people and this was not only exhausting but impossible to keep up, hence the shutting down of my physical body with Fibromyalgia, my mind with depression and my spirit through not enjoying pleasures in life. Now that I identify with my Highest Self or my Soul, I know that I can pick and choose which personalities I want to keep, use and which ones to eradicate. The personality aspect in me that loves to entertain, be on stage, dress up, create things, perform and draw attention to itself is a very valuable one and is one that I really enjoy. I needed to learn how to see her as a positive and not blame her for the pain that came when she was misused. Now I am able to practice bringing her out when she is needed and then turning her off when she is not, always coming back to my center and being ok with all parts of myself.

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There was always shame in not being this person for everyone around me and I thought that no one wanted to know the quite, soft, gentle, introspective part of me so I kept it totally hidden. Now I live mostly in this quiet place and go in and out of it as needed, which allows me the chance to practice controlling the parts of me that can easily get out of control. I used to be called “Bi-polar II” because of this inability to control my personalities or emotions, until I learned that all of me is good and I can control my mind, it does not control me. I used to put alot of pressure on myself to be “On” for everyone and very much was asked to play the role of making people happy, which was often painful for me, especially if it was during a time when I was feeling low or sad. For example: At the funeral of a family member being told I needed to be there because I make people happy. Well what if I am not happy? There never seemed to be any concern about how I was actually feeling and I didn’t have the courage to just be my true self – until now! I feel this is why it is so surprising to those close to me to see this quite side that prefers to not talk, not be loud or draw attention and I can understand how it would seem to come out of nowhere but for me it is not new at all.

I found this with Nursing as well, you are expected to come to work to make people feel better and there is no room for you to be upset, sad or hurt. So to go into incredibly stressful work environments like the Abortion Clinic when I felt like killing myself and be the support for the patients was painful to say the least. I felt numb at times and began taking Ativan and smoking lots of marijuana to just escape life when I got home. It was during my work at this clinic that I went unconscious during a staff meeting and was taken to the ER by my co-workers. This was the first time my body had shut down on me and yet left my mind fully aware and intact, a very strange experience. It was remenicent of the time I had a reaction to an anesthetic during my wisdom teeth extraction at age 19. I am missing the enzyme to break down a certain chemical and so what happens is I am paralyzed physically but fully awake mentally. I can’t help but feel this is in some way connected to my experiences with Fibromyalgia, at least in a Karmic sense anyway because the experiences are so similar.

I had recently broken up with my boyfriend of 5 years and was under a lot of emotional stress as well as the demands of working 4-5 days a week 10+ hours doing Abortions plus evening shifts on the medicine floor on most of other days. I had to work to pay my bills, student loans, etc. and was focused on money so much that I lost sight of taking care of myself. I put everything else first and me last, so my body said “NO MORE!” This event did eventually lead to change as I entered one of the best years of my life, age 27, which included finding the courage to begin taking Bellydance classes, Yoga, painting, writing and Hoola Hooping. I also began dancing to live music EVERYDAY for at least 6 months  by myself at the bar, which was a challenge physically and mentally but it was very helpful to my healing. Self expression and giving myself something fun to do turned out to vital to me being heathy and happy and it is no different today.


(My “Self Portrait” in progress)


(Yup, a naked photo! This is who I am and I am not hiding it anymore! I refused to be anything other than myself. We are all human. We all have a body and there is so much freedom in accepting ourselves fully. To me this is beautiful and symbolizes ultimate freedom!)

Unfortunately, it didn’t last long, as I confused my glimpse of Self-Love with Being “In Love” with someone and decided to not to follow the path that was unfolding in front of me so clearly. I am grateful for this time in my life as it pushed me to my limit and lead me to where I am right now. I have no doubt that I was feeling Love during that time but now I know that feeling Love is not dependent on another person. I can feel and create Love in my life, for myself and in a way that is right for me without veering from my path, my path is one of Love.


Today I followed a lead on a place to stay with a girl I met on the “Living in Kigali” web page when I first came to Kigali and when I arrived at the place I knew right away it was not the right fit for me. As I walked away I decided to go into the Art centre that is located right next door and then it was revealed why I was guided there as I was about to find a diamond in the rough! I walked down the walkway covered in great art pieces, full of color and giant sculptures to find a bright, open, breezy building FULL of awesome art and people.

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Inema (in-AIM-ah) in Kinyarwanda means a blessing, a gift, a talent; to cultivate, to give, to receive.

Check out: to see all the great stuff happening here!

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A beautiful Rwandan man came and welcomed me to the space and introduced himself and the others. His name was Emmanuel and his brother was named Innocent, they created this beautiful space called “Inema arts centre.”


(Emmanuel (purple) and Gilbert’s friend – can’t remember his name I distracted by the fact that he knew Gilbert and that some of the same kids were here dancing as well as with Gilbert.)


(This group of men live in the art center and are professional artists, Innocent is in the grey shirt in the back. The energy around these men was very familiar and instead of being intimidated I felt comforted!)

I felt myself bubbling with nervousness, excitement and joy as Emmanuel gave me a tour. The more I learned the more I was amazed, impressed and inspired. I heard that Yoga was taught in the space and when I inquired he told me that a woman name Alex taught here. She happens to be the woman I am in contact with already about teaching Hatha – a connection! They also offer traditional dance classes for kids which turns out is taught by a friend of Gilbert’s – connection #2. It suddenly dawned on me that this was the place to get Thriller happening and when I explained what I was doing it seemed to plan and organize itself within moments. Now I have a place to do the event, I have a group of kids to teach on Thursday’s at 4 and a date for a performance for their Halloween Party, which may actually fall on the date of the event. If this is the case we would have a DJ, Meze Fraiche Catering and a large group of people attending! Emmanuel was very positive, supportive person and I can tell he makes things happen.


As I enter what feels like a creative vortex I feel an incredible need for self-expression and when I met Emmanuel I knew I had met an important person for my journey. I told him I have this strong desire to throw paint and he responded back with “you have lots of energy then!” He is right, I am bubbling with energy and it needs to come out. I am having trouble sleeping because I am overflowing with passion for creating. This is a wonderful feeling and again another practice of balance.

Emmanuel reminded me instantly of a boyfriend I had when I was 18, Jon,  who was and still is an artist – connection #3. When I looked into his eyes I saw the same type of gentle, creative, soul with a deep knowing of himself. Emmanuel and his brother created the entire center from selling and doing art and support local craftwoman and children in artistic expression. This place was like a great big ball of amazing! The energy , the conversation, the confidence in these men was incredible and that is what I need to surround myself with, so I commit to show up and be an active participant. This feels huge!

I immediately had  an image of me wearing my favorite paint covered overalls, my hair in braids, black boots and passionately creating something from my heart. It is funny that I was reminded of Jon at this moment because when I look back at that time in my life I see how much potential there was there for me to do exactly what I am about to do. It feels like time has been rewound for me and I get a second chance at the life I was meant to have. I cannot put into words what this feels like right now but I can say that I am not going to let this opportunity pass me by this time around. Creating my life, my way, by mySelf through the practice of Self love and following the signs that are here to guide me. Once again I commit to listening and following through because I love myself and understand the importance of living life in the way it was intended for me.

Ijoro rwiza! (Good Night!)

The saying “A picture says a thousand words” feels very appropriate for this post. My journey to Cyangugu Province with Justin was to deliver mattresses to the Twa cooperative: “Abakundana”. During the group visit with World Dance for Humanity it was promised that every member would have a mattress and this moment was that promise being fulfilled. They needed 45 mattress to make it a reality and so World Dancers went back to Santa Barbara, CA and danced it into being! The money was raised and this is the moment when the goods were delivered. It was an honor for me to be there to witness the impact that World Dance for Humanity is having on the people of Rwanda first hand. I remember seeing photos of a similar event when I first became a member but at that time I never imagined I would be here in person to help make it happen – wow, what an amazing gift! Justin was up very early organizing the purchase and getting a truck for delivery, which was a 1 1/2 hour drive from where we were staying.


When we arrived we were greeted by coop leaders and members. Justin met with cooperative leader Benjamin, the man whom I had seen earlier at the Funeral and was delighted to see me again, as I was to see him. It was so interesting to be meeting these people again after the World Dancer visit and my intention behind being with Justin is to be a representative of the support they receive from World Dance and Goats for Life. It is an absolute honor to be able to do so! To see familiar faces welcoming me back with recognition in their eyes is really a powerful feeling, especially being in such a remote part of the country as well as knowing that these people had not seen white people before the visit from World Dance (according to Justin). Now, I am here as a real presence in their lives and that feels indescribable.


Justin gave a speech to the members as they waited patiently for the arrival of the mattresses. It is clear the group has much respect for Justin and that he has much love for them.

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As soon as they heard the truck pull up there were smiles, then some loud noises, people began jumping up from their seats with arms held high and that’s when the dancing and singing began. They made their way outside and the celebration continued until it was time to receive their gift.

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There were plenty of hugs for Justin and myself! Justin was clapping and dancing with them as I captured the moment on video. One of my favorite “Justin Moments” was when he ran, clapping and smiling over to where the mattresses were going to be distributed with a line of people following closely behind doing the same. Justin has such a beautiful, care-free energy and he runs in a way that reminds me of a small child, his head tilts slightly back as he effortlessly bounces along his way – very sweet to see. His laugh is more like a high pitched squeal or giggle, which is also a delight!


The mattresses were unloaded and piled into three big piles. These two woman asked me to take their photo in front of them and were so excited to see themselves on my camera afterwards. It’s funny to have them ask for a photo and then stand there with no expression on their faces, but that is what happens here often unless you specifically say “Seka”, which means Smile! Trust me, these two woman were very happy!

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Then they were each given their  mattress and had a photo taken by Justin. Now every household has one mattress. That means that within the household the family members decided who sleeps on the mattress. These photos are then presented to the Government officials as proof of the cooperative goals being met. The leaders were very happy also as this shows they are doing their job well and serving the community members.

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They each carried their new mattress away with a big smile!


Justin had them all line up in a big long line, standing proudly with their gifts!

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As we were wrapping up the photo shoot and some mattresses were laid on the ground the children began to push and shove each other onto the pile and then naturally they began to jump on them!  Lots of laughter accompanied this event! Both of our camera’s were running out of battery by this time and so we have no shot of the actual jumping but you can use your imagination with the photo’s below to recreate the scene.  They all look pretty calm in these photos but that was not the case only a few minutes later!



Then the adults followed suit!

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As soon as I saw this, I knew I needed to get in on it – so I did! They loved it!


After that everyone wanted me to come and have their photo with me on their bed! The laughter and excitement spread amongst the crowd!

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It was time for us to go as we had a 8 hour drive ahead of us and as it turned out, once again, many people to pick up and drive with back to Kigali! As we drove away there was a long line of people walking away with colorful mattresses balanced on their heads, children and people waving and chasing after the truck.

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Many people began walking home on the red dirt roads with Joy filled hearts about the wonderful sleep they would have tonight. During the distribution, one of the leaders came to me and made a joke that there were about to be a lot more babies in the coop and that now people will be late for work in the morning because they will sound asleep in their beds! It made me realize even more what I take for granted in my life and how this seemingly simple thing (a bed) that is a given to most of us has not even been a possibility in these people’s lives until now. As you can see, some of them are quite elderly so it will be a big change for them I am sure. Such a simple yet life changing gift. Proof that even the small things can make a huge difference.


Every piece of the puzzle made this all possible but I would like to thank Justin for his heart and dedication to the work he does. He is an inspiration to everyone he meets and he is helping make real change in the world. He is truly a gift in himself!  I love you Justin.


Poverty of the mind


Here it is….my new (although temporary) home, which comes complete with a puppy and a dog to keep us safe and give us love! This morning I woke up to a feeling of knowing that I was moving on and it felt so right. I did my morning practices, which now have become routine and my body is feeling great, my mind a little busy, especially these last few days but that is what the practices are for! I thought I was leaving at 11am and when I received a text from Justin saying he would come and get me at 3pm I suddenly felt stuck. I realized that it was up to me to step up and STOP relying on others so much. I am perfectly capable of getting a cab and taking myself and my things to the new place. Getting a cab here means walking down the road and looking for one that randomly drives by or is  parked in an open lot some where waiting, as far as I know you cannot just call a cab, seeing as there seems to be a lack of phone books as well since everyone has cell phones!

I found my self a cab within 10 mins and was soon on my way. When I arrived I felt immediately at ease and a huge sense of this being the right place washed over me and then I lay on the bed…and knew I was home!  A Soft, fluffy mattress and pillow were not at all what I was expecting as since I arrived pillows have consisted of small chunks of foam stuffed into a pillow case or a hard piece of foam squished into a pillow case that is way to small to accommodate it, making it extra firm. So as the word heaven came into my mind and my body began to feel the wave of Bliss that it had just discovered, I also noted a hint of guilt.

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This guilt came from knowing the situation that I had just left and that is was the reality that Justin and his family had no way out of, but I did. The room I am renting costs $14 a day with a monthly rate of $280, which is really affordable, even in my world. The part of me that felt the guilt is the part that doesn’t think I am worthy or deserving of the good things that I am capable of bringing into my life. I feel guilt about the privileged life I have had and am moving towards having even more of. I have been exploring the opposite side of this spectrum for about 3 years now, which began with selling my belongings and I mean actually selling or giving away 95% of all that I own or have ever owned, which at one point was enough to furnish a 4 bedroom home. I did so intentionally because I needed first hand, personal experience with having next to nothing. This was such a necessary step for me to take as it allowed me to actually feel Gratitude for the things I do have and to now be seeing how having certain things in life can enhance and make my life more fulfilling, if those things are brought in with intention and purpose – not to fill a void. I used to acquire things as a way to make me feel happy, to give my something to do, to give my life purpose. I was a collector of anything old, odd, kooky or wierd. I frequented flee markets, antique shops and sale bins searching for VERY specific things to complete the look I was going for or just looking to buy something to add to the collection. Nothing could just be simple, it all had to say something about who I was. I was very attached to all of it and in a lot of ways it controlled me.

To know that I am capable of making $80,000+ a year as a Nurse and to choose not to is often not understood but it is a very important part of the process. I am learning about how I view money, how it controls me and my actions, how it creates tension and fear in my body and how I had not learned how to respect it for what it really is – ENERGY! That’s all it is, an exchange of energy. I go to work and put out energy in one form to receive energy back in another form, the form that then allows me to acquire things in the material world. Somethings are necessary and some are for pleasure, some just pays the bills so I can survive. The goal in life for me is to do work that fulfills me and meet my needs, more than just financially. My work as a Nurse did not give me back an equal amount of energy as I gave to it and it left me feeling completely drained because I didn’t have balance. I was focused on paying my enormous student loans, paying a mortgage for an outrageously overpriced home and anything extra was wasted away on things I thought would make me happier – all of which are choices that I made in my life of which I have no regrets because of where I am now.

Money is man made, made up, it could actually and has actually not existed and yet it can run our entire life, if we let it and I have! The Earth is here to support us in all ways, it was created for this purpose. It gives us all that we need, it is humans that create these material things that we now feel we need in order to survive. I trust that if I continue to live my life staying true to my heart I will be supported and, Yes, that does included me having jobs that pay money but it will be in a completely new way. It will be from me giving of myself to the world in a way that is true, balanced and an expression of who I am. The intention will be not about the money but the good that comes from it. Seeing money as a way to enhance my life, help others and create a fulfilling experience of the world.



(Living in this much beauty on a daily basis not only cleansed my mind and body, it also rejuvenated my Soul!)

I had a job as an assistant cook in a tree planting camp a year ago and the experience was one of the highlights of my life. I loved living in a tent in the Mountains, being soaked by the rains almost everyday. I loved being outdoors more than I was in. I loved the community of people that this type of work attracted. The way they viewed money was very different from how I had experienced it in my life and they helped me see a new way of being in the world. Working very hard for a few months allowed these brave souls to then live life however they chose for the rest of the year. Some went to school, some to Mexico, some just hung out in their cabins, some were artists or sports enthusiasts, whatever it was it was right for them and they had created a world in which they had a choice. I realized I had a choice, a could live in a completely new way and so I am! The money I made allowed me to follow my heart to California to train in Water Release Therapy, it allowed me to live there for 5 months and this is how I found “Thrill The World” and  met World Dance which was my ticket to where I am now – Rwanda. We never know what life has in store until we open our minds and hearts to new ways of living. Life doesn’t cost a thing but not living can cost us our life.



(When I walked into the cook trailer where I would be working, there he was – MJ, waiting for me! A big sign that I was in the right place and doing the right thing. My life since this time has given me even more faith in following my heart and having MJ as my guide has taken me on many amazing adventures!)

Once again, Justin is a shining example to me of how to work from this heartfelt place. He does what his heart tells him is the right thing to do regardless of whether or not there will be enough money because it is what he feels he is here on this earth to do. I am having glimpses of what my future can look like with my new perspective on money and work, the funny thing is that money doesn’t even come into play. Its not about that at all anymore. As I feel the momentum building around the Thriller event it is clear to me that I am doing something from my heart and no one can tell me that  it is not work. Using my people and communication skills to spread the word, setting up and teaching practice sessions and creating excitement about this event takes time and energy, especially in a new city, new country and doing it on my own. This energy will not be returned to me in a financial way but yet I feel completely energized. If I were still that person who was attached to money as a necessary outcome for my time then this wouldn’t be happening right now in my life. I am now able to do the work my heart wants me to do and it feels like nothing I have ever experienced before as I feel completely fulfilled because what I get back is a knowing that I am spreading a message of love, passion, giving and Joy! There is SO much energy and excitement for it within my body. I am completely engaged in this work and the potential for more comes almost daily as I build confidence in myself and what I can offer.



(Justin and Alice came over to make sure I was OK in my new place. Justin said “I would not sleep tonight if I did not see where you were and how you were doing.”)

Life is for living, not for making money. I am here to work for my soul’s higher purpose and I have never felt more sure that I am on the right track. I know I say that often but everyday it becomes more and more clear. So, no more guilt about my own capabilities. I have made a commitment to myself to step into and own the unique skills that I was given and that is what I am doing. I guess I just though it would be more complicated – turns out life can be abundant and simple at the same time. I see more clearly why I didn’t feel like I was living in poverty with Justin’s family. They have very little possessions but they live a rich and full life because of how they view money, work, family and life itself. They are richer than a lot of people I know who have lots of money in the bank. To me this is what being wealthy looks like and if someday I receive money in return for living from my heart, which I will, then I will accept it and appreciate it for what it can add to my already fulfilled life.



(Alice and Justin radiate Loving Kindness and Joy!)



Seriously Out There

Just as I suspected, I found a wonderful place to live until I find myself a more permanent home with 12 hours of making it an intention . I found myself feeling guilty about leaving and was hesitant to tell Alice and Chantelle (Justin’s wife and sister) that I had found a place – this was totally not something that was a genuine feeling of the present moment. I felt like it came from a place of keeping myself small, meaning that growing up as the “baby” in the family I often felt guilty for growing up. So this feeling was one of shame around not needing or wanting the protection and support of the family. I did tell them I had found a place and was met with almost no reaction which initially made me wonder if they had understood my English! I told Justin and he had a few questions, but overall all he asked was “How does it feel?” I told him it felt really good and that it is time for me to go. I will be leaving tomorrow morning.

I am reminded of a few months ago when I left my friend Eileen’s home in Nelson, BC, it was time for me to leave and I was acting on that feeling. I went to the Ashram as a place to regroup and see what would reveal itself to me as  a next step. At that point in the journey, I had just enough money to get myself to Rwanda and nothing more. When I arrived I immediately felt at home. I wanted to stay until my departure in June but that turned out to be my fear disguised as a secure feeling from being back at my spiritual home where there was love, support and amazing energy. It turned out to be one of the most stressful times I have had at the Ashram yet! I felt like I was, in some ways, using them as a safety net. I even spoke to my Mentor about projecting onto the Ashram a parental role, a way for me to feel protected and safe when really this community could spit me out at any moment, which just about happened this time! There is nothing certain about what goes on in this community other than expect the unexpected and grow from it!

Most of my time spent at the Ashram prior to this moment had been for free (financially), with the exception of paying for the courses I took and the alloted time allowed for extension post course. This time I was told I had to pay. This created all kinds of emotional reactions and responses, which I had the opportunity to explore during my stay. I was able to sit back and watch what happened in my mind and body because of these reactions. For example, I tried to leave instantly and go stay with one of my friends who had offered a place on the east shore and did so several times. I went back and forth between what I was feeling and what I needed. I had to trust that I needed to be there because of the way I felt inside in that moment. So I honored that feeling and reflected on it enough to then see it was the fear I spoke of earlier. It took me 2 1/2 weeks and $580 to figure out I needed to trust what I knew was right and leave.

Once I decided to let go of the attachment to going to Rwanda I was able to see more clearly what  I needed in the present moment, which was to take care of myself and step into the fear. So I left and went to stay at the White House Hostel in Nelson while I looked for my next place to live. I was presented with the opportunity to leave the next morning with two male Swami’s who were going into town. What a great way to transition into a next step, literally being taken their by my spiritual teachers and the fact that they were men was  very symbolic for me at the time!

Again, more money going out and more trust that if I was meant to go to Rwanda it would all work out. After two days of searching for a place I had a response and went to meet a man who had a room for rent. I was met by a happy, familiar, soothing  voice that said “Amanda?” as I opened the door and it was instantly as if we had known each other for years. We talked for 2 hours about the Ashram, Swami Radha, spiritual living and life in general. I went back to the hostel to “sleep on it” and I woke up with “YES!” in my mind. I was even more surprised to find that he had sent an email offering me the room for free. It was clearly a sign. After living in many homes and many ways I have learned what makes me feel balanced and so I offered him money anyway as a symbolic gesture of taking care of myself but also wanted to honor what his heart was telling him as well, we came to an agreement and the deal was done. I moved in the next day to a wonderful home and family that held and supported me in exactly the ways I needed and in ways I didn’t know I needed. It was during this time that I found the courage to file sexual assault charges from 7 years earlier. I had very intentionally put myself in a living situation with a man to help me grow and it turned out to be much bigger than I expected. The healing that took place from my time with my new (old) friend Aaron was  exactly what I needed to heal before coming to Rwanda.

So what is it that I will find with this next step…..I do not know. What I do know is that I am consciously dealing with confidence to step out into teaching Yoga, dance and really embracing my gifts. After one comment I received today on a forum in response to my ad about offering my skills and visiting a web site for a place to teach, I found myself shaken and momentarily feeling anxious and “not good” enough. I allowed this to happen only until I noticed it and then let it go. I am on a journey and I am making amazing leaps. I want to use the comments and people that make me feel inferior as motivation to keep going and to learn from. So I breath, I review what I know to be true for myself and I come back to my center. This fear is not mine, it feels like another layer that has been put on me and I am ready to shed.

At the new place last night, I met one of the young women that lives there and her family, who were visiting from France. It was her birthday, she will be 21 this weekend and she is living in Rwanda by herself – sounds pretty brave. Her mother looked at the woman I was touring the house with and said “If anything happens, you’ll take care of her right? She’s only young.” I looked at Alex (21) and she rolled her eyes, her shoulders slumped, she sank down in her chair and I knew in that moment exactly how she felt. I know this scene well as these things have been said to me my whole life, both verbally and non-verbally. People telling me I could not do things on my own, which always made me feel incredibly angry and frustrated. I acted from this place of anger and it led to me making spiteful choices instead of heartfelt ones.  I was constantly trying to prove I was responsible (ie: Lifeguard, Nursing), capable and wanting to be taken seriously by those around me. Now I know it is my responsibility to navigate my own emotions and not let them make my decisions for me.

When I got sick I handed my responsibilities over to my parents  because I needed help in order to heal, which I am incredibly grateful to them for, but it is difficult to come out from underneath of as it seems they see me as more weak and incapable than ever before. What I know is that I am stronger because of being able to admit I was ill,  being vulnerable and asking for help. I know the work I have done and how strong I am and always have been. It is still and always has been about me finding the inner confidence and taking MYSELF seriously, not about proving anything to anyone else. This is one of my biggest barriers to success. I feel that I am taking steps towards actually taking myself seriously by doing whatever I have to in order to stay where I know I need to be and putting myself in situations that make me feel that “you are not good enough” feeling. When I hear that Mantra begin to sound in my mind I can acknowledge it, talk to it, listen to it and understand it because somehow it served me in the past. The goal being to move it out of my mind by replacing it with the updated version of who I am now, which is “I am good enough!”

Next step: Move into new place and keep looking for a permanent place. Build my confidence by putting my strengths to the test and giving myself what I need to move in the seriously awesome potential that lies within! Om Siva (Destroyer of Obstacles!)