After choosing to say yes to leaving Ivuka and honor what I want, I was able to look at the situation with new eyes. I chose it for a reason, I knew it had a crappy bathroom, small kitchen, new puppy and kitty and that the floors were unfinished when I said yes to staying here. These are just excuses anyway or reasons my mind makes up to try to take me down the road to unhappiness. I have been able to shift my perspective and I realized I was not giving it a fair chance because I was stuck in this space of finding all the things that were making me uncomfortable instead of looking for the light. What are the positives? Creative space, creative people, cute and fuzzy critters to cuddle with, inspiring stories of people living their passion against the odds, friendly housemates, and so much more!
(This young man was painting his shoes blue just for the fun of it when I walked out!! Awesome!)
Yesterday I stepped outside while the artists were painting to be in the energy of the creating Art and something happened – I felt that I had been hiding from the inspiration that was the reason I came here. Every morning while I sleep there are artists right outside my window living the life that I aspire to. So I sat and watched, I talked and looked at what was happening. Like every other idea or seed that is planted it needs water before it can begin to grow. I am here in the seed, my investment in the space is the water and the next step is to act. There are of course obstacles to things like paint supplies and canvas but nothing so big that it needs to put me in a stand still. Practicing patience is something I have become very skilled at but Africa and this new found energy for creating my own life provide me with quite a challenge. It has taken me until yesterday to get paint ordered, all the way from Uganda, and now there is no canvas to be found in the city so again I wait while my passion for painting sits, swirling in my gut. My project includes poetry as well so I have started by letting some of the poetic juices flow but the images that need to come out of me flash in my minds eyes repeatedly throughout the day and sometimes I have the feeling like I have forgotten something all day but it is just the unexpressed visions in my mind calling my attention.
Last I spoke with my housemate Emil about my project, we showed each other our paintings and talked about goals which really helped me to see that this gift is right here waiting for me to act on it. We high 5’d as we decided to get this project started and make it happen. I want to learn everything about the process so I can work independently. There is a lot of quiet time and space in the night for me to work and that feels like a huge gift, so I will take it while I can. I am now only here for another 10 days, and will soon be back in the Remera house that offers me so much in terms of personal space and comfort. I feel that the relationship between Ivuka and myself will blossom even more once I am in a place that allows me to feel comfortable and from there I can expend more energy into the creative process and less into “How am I going to shower today?”
Last wednesday I attended my first Modern dance class in Rwanda and as I suspected it was amazing! It is another gift that I have been eagerly preparing myself for as I know I am meant to dance this way but have not had the emotional maturity to fully embrace it until now. I loved it, I love the instructor and I love the fact that it is here for me in Rwanda – not a coincidence at all! After class the instructor, Sarah, and I went out for some delicious Indian food and shared our stories with each other. She has been a dancer all her life and in many ways lives a life that I dreamt of. Being around her as an actual representation of the fact that my dreams are other people’s realities makes it more real for me that I can live my dreams, she offered me so much in just one class and one meal. Thank you Sarah. I am planning to have private lessons from her in addition to one class a week at the Studio. Suddenly my time here feels vast and endless, will I really return in November? How can I stay ? I feel my mind expanding with possibilities.
The classes are at City Arts Kigali, where I also teach Yoga and Thriller and it is run by another young woman from the US who brought her gifts to Rwanda and started “Ballet Rwanda”. I see how important it is to share our gifts where ever we go as it offers so much to the community. Last night I offered my first Yasodhara Yoga class to a class of one person! It was great to be back in that role and learn about where I am at as a teacher and where I want to go. What I saw was a confidence that never leaves me, I am rooted in something much greater than myself. It comes from my connection to the teachings, the Ashram community and to my own healing through Yoga. I love that I have the opportunity to push myself creatively and professionally while I am here and it offers a glimpse at what is possible in my own life when I put energy and effort into my passions. Being in Rwanda for me is not only about embracing African culture, especially here in Rwanda seeing as there is so much outside influence on the culture, I am also learning about my personal culture. I am learning what I how I can offer myself when I return and what I can offer from afar, after all it was coming here that gave me the confidence to ask to have a column in a newspaper in Canada. My very first edition of “Diary Of A Spirited Yogini” will be published in the Opasquiac Times in The Pas, MB, Canada on September 11, 2013 and this is a huge step forward for me personally, professionally, and creatively!
As I sit here in a cafe called “Shokola Lite”, where I have come for the last week to have breakfast and lunch I am grateful for the ones who came before to share what they are passionate about. This is another way that I have been able to be grateful for my time at Ivuka as it allowed me to make the choice to find a place that offers the kinds of things I need to Thrive and then give them to myself. So I come here for smoothies and a salad bar everyday because I can and it is what I want and what I need to feel good physically. Instead of complaining about the small kitchen and the type of food I want not being available I can redirect the energy into more important things by just making it simple – eat out! I have a lot on my plate and am really busy between all of the projects I have on the go and it is really unrealistic to think that I can do all of the things I want, all by myself plus adjust to living and caring for myself in a new country. Like Justin said to me when I moved to Remera, please come for dinner, lunch whatever you need – you don’t need to do it all alone. He was right and yet I also see how I can choose then to do what is right for me and I am willing to invest in giving myself the kinds of things I need to feel healthy and well. I have found a place that offers me fresh, raw vegetables and smoothies, I have found two sushi restaurants and a mexican restaurant – what more do I need?
I also finally found some gym clothes at a store called Mr. Price, which is actually very expensive but I am now ready to take the next step and get a gym membership for myself. Every step I take seems to take much longer than it would in America but there is something in the process of being patient that allows me to see and feel whether something I want is really what I need and is worth the wait. Justin always says “We are in Africa, be patient!” Its true, everything just flows here in a way that can be frustrating but helps me to practice being who I want to be. The more engaged in my own life and the projects I become, the more I feel old patterns of pushing, rushing, go-go-go and a kind of manic feeling that helps me to see how easily I can loose control of my energy. I see how it wasn’t Nursing or anything else I tried to blame for my out of control ways, it was me! I feel like this is what I have to learn to do in the midst of creative energetic burst (control or direct the energy) and being surrounded by the grounded, soothing energy of Africa is a blessing. Even in terms of my art project I feel the old familiar feeling of wanting it to be done – that is not the point of art and I know it, so I sit with the feeling and allow myself to feel it, see it, look at it and then set it aside and tell it “thank you but I don’t need you anymore” or use I can channel it as a tool for creativity. When I notice it pop up during my day I bring myself back to the present moment and am able to enjoy the journey. Every step I take I learn something, I heal something and thus impact what the project will be in the end. Letting go of expectations is the work. Life is the project. The journey is the Art.