Lighten Up

I have moved back into the house in Remera and feel soooooooooooooooo much better. I had no idea the amount of stress that living at Ivuka was putting on me. No matter what I did to make it more manageable, like getting a membership to Serena Hotel Gym and spending nearly everyday, all day there, it does not make up for having a place to call home that allows me to relax, be comfortable, have my few possessions neatly put away and surrounded by energy that feeds me vs robs me. It was not just the bathroom at Ivuka, I was using that as a focus for myself, as an outlet for my unsettled energy so I could feel more safe and secure, it was everything. All I can say is that I have learned my lesson. I will give myself the things I need because I got to see how much energy was being expended on stress and how much it took away from what I really am here to do as soon as I moved back to Remera.


(Making friends at Serena because I was lonely and there so often! I never wanted to be at Ivuka)

In less that 24 hours after moving in I had written 2 articles for my column in the Opasquia Times, nearly finished my on-line fundraising campaign, made a video with the kids for the fundraiser, got groceries, bought a gift for Alice and Justin, washed my clothes, and I watched a movie and read my book while lying in bed with a sore throat. Never did I feel like I was pushing myself, I just did what I have been stressing about for weeks and it was simple. I can clearly see the relationship between my environment and my ability to be me, be happy, be productive, be successful, and to create.


Ivuka will now be the place I go to do  my art project, which I was only able to start on one of the 16 pieces I have planned to do before I go. I felt like I had no energy or time for it because I was swirling in my mind, which made me feel so busy but it was just the swirling. Now I see copius amounts of time in which I can visit friends, have some fun, do my work, create art, enjoy my journey all that much more! I really feel like I can settle into this home and I am finally able to say that I live somewhere and I do not have to leave. It has been 3 months of unsettled moving and shifting here in Rwanda and I am so glad to be able to stay put for the next 2 months.


Before leaving Ivuka I knew I needed to talk to Charles about the money that I had paid to be there, it didn’t feel right that I paid for a place that did not meet basic needs. I was told from the moment I moved in, repeatedly that the bathroom was going to be fixed “on Monday”, which it obviously never was. I felt the familiar feeling of anxiety about speaking my truth to which I simple noticed it and then channeled it into courage. I stated the facts. I did not receive what I paid for and I deserved money back. I aimed high and ask for  1/2  and was given 1/4 , he wasn’t going to give me more than that but it was the principle not the amount. I needed to stand up for myself and I did – success!

Being more settled helped me come to more clarity about my time here and what I want to do with it. I have to be realistic about money, since it is all borrowed and yet I am here and open to being here fully and completely. My roommates went this weekend up to the Northern part of the country to do a Gorrilla trek, which until now I told myself I was not interested doing but once I felt more settled in my home it became clear that  – of course I want to do it. It is an amazing experience and well worth the money. I recently watch “Gorrilla’s in the Mist” and was very inspired by Diane Fosse’s story, I related to it in many ways.

The mountain gorilla is Rwanda's leading touri...
The mountain gorilla is Rwanda’s leading tourist attraction (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I felt like I understood her, especially her struggle against sexism and fighting to be taken seriously. It was interesting to watch her struggle with issues familiar to myself and be in the same setting – Rwanda/Congo. I often identify with people who have gone against the grain, especially woman and am inspired by them to keep going on my own journey.

The energy that went into stress, the extra money on food and being out of the house all day, it all adds up. Plus being out all day means I am “on” all day with no real place to just go and be alone or be quite, even at the Serena I had made friends and so was met with conversations there are well. The was also stress that was very subtle  yet deep and kept me from doing what I wanted to do as I felt very tired all day. I was not able to blog as much as I wanted and I had many great experiences that I would have loved to share in the moment but that was not possible as I felt way too busy to sit down and write about it all. It does take a lot of energy and dedication to keep this blog going, for example this post has taken me 8 hours, nearly straight through to do because of slow internet connections. slow computer, power outages, etc.  But it is important to me  as a creative outlet and I want to do it more.  Now I feel like I will have the energy and the space both physically and mentally to do so.

My time at Ivuka was rich with learning, meeting new people and life lessons. I am grateful for it all but am really glad to be done that part of the journey! I plan to give myself time to settle in a enjoy being in my home.  I will be lounging around the house in my PJ’s, drinking tea, and spending time with my beautiful roommates on the deck with a beautiful view, one of whom likes to bake so we have fresh cookies on the counter today!! Ahhhhh! Seriously, the little things that make me so happy these days….I feel like I am back at the Ashram and we just got told we are having dinner on the beach! Happy Happy Joy Joy!

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