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!