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!

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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!

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(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.

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(My “Self Portrait” in progress)

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(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.

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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: http://www.inemaartcenter.com 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.”

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(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.)

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(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.

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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.

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