I have had a very emotional week ranging from extreme happiness to walking down the street in tears. It is all great when I look back over the week I can see how it all makes sense but it is exhausting at the same time. I have been riding this new wave of living my life with passion and I got excited, so I dove head first into it all. Now I have this pool of ideas and projects swimming around in my mind, which makes me feel overwhelmed and anxious because I want it all to be here already and/or be done. I also feel like I can’t possibly do it all, which I can’t, at least not all at once. This new found energy is very, very powerful.
After talking with my best friend Carrie, she helped me see the other ways that are mentally exhausting just by living in an different culture, like having to bargain for a price to get ANYWHERE I want to go on a Moto and having to decide wether or not I am willing to be ripped off or standing my ground and demand a fair price, which can mean I walk a for blocks and barder with up to 10 different drivers which usually makes me late for my next stop, this is the same with buying food. Actually, and I am not sure if it is just because I am tired right now and probably hormonal but I am actually starting to hear myself use the word racism a lot in my mind, in terms of me being treated unfairly and that weighs heavy on me as well. Is it still racism if people idolize you and think you are rich just because you are white? Maybe its not the right word but it feels like it is right now.
When I first came it was kind of fun hearing “Muzungu” everywhere I went but now I hear it and I am more aware of the expectations that come with that label. I am no stranger to racism having grown up in a town that was full of it and I myself have been called a Racist many times and I have also experienced small examples of being a minority from living in this Northern community in Canada as well but this feels different and more extreme in the sense that I am obviously more of a minority here. This takes energy because it make me feel angry, frustrated and then my body gets tense and I act out of this place instead of from my heart. It also takes energy to let it go! I am constantly meeting new people, speaking a new language, and have a lot of new things on my plate so of course I am tired- how did I not see all these things as major factors in me needing to take a break once and a while.
(There is no Quick Cycle on this washing machine and the sunshine is the dryer always, not just for the fresh scent of summer!
(Life here is just way more difficult but hey at least I don’t have to carry large jugs of water every day from the creek below like the neighborhood kids do. They stop and take a break in front of the Ivuka entrance.)
So last week I took Monday OFF, completely turned my mind off from anything but enjoying the beautiful space I had created in my life. I gave myself the gift of a membership at the 5 star Serena Hotel and it has been such a wonderful addition to my day. I had given up my morning routine of Yoga, chanting and dance once I realized that I really just wanted to start writing as soon as I woke up and I was doing the other things instead because I was creating a routine/structure but when a routine stops me from doing what I am drawn to or passionate about it no longer serves its purpose and needs to be changed. Now I have another new routine of getting up early and going to the Serena Spa and gym all morning and then eating at the beautiful salad bar which offers me exactly what I want to eat and I feel great for the rest of the day. All of these things cost way too much money but I am not here to eat cheap or even to try new things, I have done plenty of that since I arrived and I know what I need to feel good so I am giving that to myself at any cost. Having this beautiful space to come to everyday with crystal clear water, a hot tub, sauna, essential oils, lush green plants and fresh squeezed juice is like a miracle but it was here for me from the start and it took me over 2 months to give it to myself.
Being in a country where it is really challenging to get what you need, never mind the things you want, or at least it is right now as I learn more about how it all works, is a gift to me because it has really helped me see how I hold myself back and do not do what I want. I am actually seeing that I am quite mean to myself and I have been told, and am aware of the fact that I am very hard on myself. How did I get like this? How did I loose my ability to act on what I want? Doesn’t matter, what does matter is that I am taking stalk of all these things when they arise and when I am in a place where I can go buy underwear when I need it, at a set price, I will feel like I am in heaven! Oh yeah, my paint came in from Uganda but it was all the same color and missing one container – energy sucker if I let it be!!
I think about my life prior to the Ashram and anyone you asked would probably tell you I had everything I wanted and more, in many ways I did but there was so much tightness around it all in my mind and so many layers to why I wanted what I wanted that it was not really authentically what I wanted and so I wanted more..if that makes sense! My time at the Ashram really flipped all of this on its head and as with many other things in my life I went to extremes, like selling all my belongings even giving away anything of sentimental value, that is a classic Scorpio behavior that I am coming to embrace as part of who I am. I learned so much about how I had caused my own misery and that desires were at the root of it so I nearly turned off my desires completely, which included sex, food, clothing, anything material became the enemy, even having other people in my life. I believe that anything, no matter how good the intentions can have a negative impact on me because of these natural tendencies, so even Yoga itself is something that I practice awareness with, everything really is Yoga, even Yoga! Interesting being in a place discovering that I actually do want material things again in my life but then can’t have them….
As I learn to accept the extreme that I have gone to in my choices during this journey of healing, I feel like I am getting to see just how deep the patterns run and how far I am wiling to go to learn these lessons. I do not like living here in many ways and yet it is what I need to go deeper into learning how to love myself and give myself the life I want. I know that pain is a great teacher but how much am I willing to create in order to learn this time? Life is not meant to be an easy ride but I just keep on pushing myself into places that make me uncomfortable so that I can learn more about myself and make changes that will allow me to live a life that I am meant to. But when does that life start and when does the healing journey end? Does it or are they continuously intertwined? I don’t feel like it does ever end, at least I hope not – that sounds boring! But I will be very glad when I can be back in familiar surrounds with people who really know me – not that there are many of those people left out there after the changes I’ve made – probably only you Carrie!
It will also be much easier to do things I am drawn to doing in a familiar setting. I feel like life will be so much easier now that I know more about how much it really hurts me when I actually can’t get what I need and when I just don’t give myself what I need or want. What if I had gotten a membership at the gym right away, just like I spoke about when I first visited the place in June and what did I miss out on by not listening at the time? I will never know but these are the things I strive to avoid by loving and trusting myself more and more so I act more in the moment than 3 months down the road.
(Pool at Serena Hotel Kigali)
I was swimming in the pool today and it became clear to me on an even deeper level how I NEED to be in water, near water and working with water. It feeds my soul. It is who I am (Diane will be happy to read this!) and the work with Water Release Therapy (www.waterreleasetherapy.com) is a very real way for me to do that. It is possible to be nourished by the work I do and to receive as much as I give. When I stopped lifeguarding after 10 years and became a Nurse working in the hospital setting under florescent lights, in an artificial space with ill people for 12 +hours at a time I didn’t realize what a shift it was from my usual work space that had a natural element to it everyday and now I see that the water is and has always been there for me as a way to support me.
(Water Release Therapy training in Santa Barbara, CA at Healing Waters Spa which was also my backyard!)
I realized that I have a tendency to want to help people that are in really devastating situations for example: the Abortion Clinic, Fertility, Teenage Pregnancy, homeless people and now Africa, which is the most extreme case for me, but what I heard today while I was hanging out underwater (my favorite place to be) was ….”What about people like you were when you were sick? You needed help too.”
(She looks pretty normal right? She is a Nurse, lives in a nice house and drives a great car but she is just weeks away from a nervous breakdown, cries for hours at a time, can barely get out of bed, thinks about killing herself everyday, can barely keep food down, is way below normal body weight, is riddled with pain and soon after this photo she began losing consciousness on her way home from work in a taxi and spent the day unable to walk or move from her couch, alone and scared……..Is she as worthy of help as much as the people here in Rwanda – I think so!)
What about the people who live in beautiful places, have great paying jobs, loving families, a beautiful home and lots of money, the ones who try so hard to appear together- they need help too! Because I have lived in that world as well I feel like I can offer help in this type of situation, the place where people don’t often admit that there is anything wrong but who are we kidding we are human and therefore imperfectly perfect. I know that there is potential for healing everywhere, we are all in need of support in our lives. I was beginning to see on a new level that I can live in a beautiful environment and still really help people, it doesn’t always have to be so extreme like in the present situation I am in. The more I learn to accept beautiful, nice, good things into my life the more I allow my own potential to grow and reveal itself to me. I can do work in both areas, literally living between the two extremes, which may make my Scorpio nature very happy!
So I will continue to go the beautiful space at Serena Hotel and live a life of luxury while I am here in Rwanda and remind myself that this IS my life. It’s not what my life can be or could be, it IS what my life actually is in this moment and it is what can continue into the future if I allow it. Do what I need in order to allow myself to give my skills back, allow myself to shine and this will help others. So I live in paradise while the people I help live on the streets – ok, well it is what keeps me balanced, healthy, happy and able to help them. If I continue to live in a mind space that I am not worthy of the good things that are awaiting me I cannot be an example to anyone of living their full potential. I often “talk the talk” for a long time in preparation for “walking the walk” but it is always as a way of preparation for truly believing and embodying my intention, to reinforce the potential, the ideals and the passion that I want to uphold for myself.
Learning to live in my potential is my Karma and is not for me to Judge, just as the people here in Rwanda are living out their Karma. It is not my duty to feel sorry for people or to try to make their lives as “good” as mine and certainly not my responsibility to hold myself back in effort to make them feel better. What good does that do? How does that help? What it created in my life was a lot of pain, pain that was not mine and really almost killed me. I cannot take on other people’s problems as my own, I work with mine and the consequences of that will have an impact on the rest of the world because we are all connected.
The healing that I do in my own life helps me to be more aware of the kind of help that I can give to those in need. In the past, I actually thought it was my job to help people and I often took on their pain and their problems as a way to do so but now, as I peel away the layers that reveal why I felt that way, which really were self serving, I see how selfish I was being. I am responsible to myself and for my life only. I know that the only way people can truly change is if they do it themselves, all I can do is offer myself in the most authentic way possible, offering my skills to support them so they can help themselves. It is not up to me help or save anyone but if I listen to what I am called to do I will inadvertently offer something to someone who is ready to make the change they need in their life, just by being myself.