I had purple sparkly shoes on that caught her eye at the age of 11 and that was what sparked out friendship, a friendship that has now lasted nearly 23 years! This girl, an unlikely match to those who do not really know us, has been there for me while I ride the waves of my healing journey. She has been my witness to change and with all the ups and downs, the dark and light, she been right there with me. Not always on the same wave or even in the same body of water but she is there regardless to wether or not she agrees with what I am doing. She is why I am here in The Pas, MB, a very unlikely place to return to (or at least I thought!)
I haven’t written much about my time here yet and part of that is due to the emotion that I am processing around leaving behind my time in Rwanda. This transition is the most painful one yet and it has thrown me in ways I was not anticipating. I had no idea what would happen when I came back to Canada but I never imagined that one experience could have such an impact on my life, and this is post Ashram, which in many ways changed everything about my life. Rwanda still managed to do what I thought was impossible and change me at an even deeper level.
(Mohammed is the one of many children the Thrill The World event empowered to make change in their lives.)
I see how all things happen when they are meant to and when we are ready for them. There was no way I could have experienced Rwanda the way I did had I not experienced the Ashram prior. I believe that I am on the right path and that one things leads to the next. The pieces of the puzzle to my life do not mystify me any longer as I practice patience and know that everything is happening for a reason. I can see how things will fit together even before they happen and when there is a shift to something knew, I see how that fits perfectly as well. I do this through self-reflection and practicing non-attachment. Although, I am also humbly aware that I really can’t know anything about my future!
(Myself and Swami Saradananda in the temple at the end of the 10 days of Yoga workshop, July 2010. He was instrumental in my journey and in my confidence to listen to my heart. Namaste Saradananda)
So the fact that I am now here in The Pas going through this huge transition into the next phase and doing it with my best friend literally by my side everyday is by no means a surprise to either of us. I live my life by following the signs to where I am needed. I am learning that when I listen and follow through I am simultaneously giving and receiving.
(Carrie’s 27th birthday!)
The Pas, Manitoba, Canada is the place I was born. Energetically this is where my spirit was destined to enter into the world. To me, that is very powerful and symbolic as the next step in this journey of healing. I am here to be reborn. I learned a lot about myself during my time in Rwanda, at the Ashram, and through losing and regaining my health. Now I am here to put these experiences together to become the best version of myself that I have ever been.
I have the love and support of my friend, her family and all the people here who have known me for nearly my whole life, some since the day I was born. I can feel all the support here in so many interactions I have.
(Carrie’s 19th birthday party!)
I spent a lot of time in Rwanda just getting used to the culture, the language and the lifestyle. Then I spent the rest of the time doing what I now see as a nearly impossible feat, hosting Thrill The World by myself in a third world country with so many obstacles, plus the other projects and healing that took place. It is just now sinking in how much I managed to pull off and what it took to do it all.
At the time I was just in it so deep that I didn’t see any other way to be. I was in love with what I was doing and nothing, not even sleep, hunger or money kept me from doing what I needed to do. This is how I want to work always, deeply in love with my passion. I have been reflecting on how much I did with so many barriers to my success. I never looked at them as barriers just as something that needed to be navigated in order to make my goals a reality. This is a huge shift in my perception and lead me to be able to do great things for myself and others.
(Thriller Group, still going strong in Rwanda with the support of Gilbert and myself)
Here I am now in a place that is not only familiar to me on every level but also teaming with people who already know me, love me and want to support me. The possibilities that come from setting myself up for success in this way seem endless. Anything I want to do I can do here. Is that scary to me? Possibly. Is that why I have taken 5 weeks to feel like I am ready to engage in something even remotely? No. There are many reasons for me taking time.
The reality of the change in climate/culture, the huge drop off in momentum in my life and the stepping into a completely new life within only days of being on the other side of the world where I was fully engulfed in Love, community, culture and discovering new passions are just a few of the reasons.
Other reasons are far beyond my realm of consciousness right now and I may never fully know what the impact is that I had or it had on me. All I do know is that I needed to rest and rest I did. Slowing life down to a manageable and sustainable pace at first looks like slowing it down almost completely and then as if like clock work I get a cold, which shows me it is not yet time to take on the next thing.
The reality of my life now is that I am here to help someone who has helped me in a way that, by my definition is the best relationship I have in my life at present. I am at a place where I am good, healthy, strong, confident, happy, unshakable and ready for a challenge. So here I am to be the best friend I can be to her in return. There are no IOU’s or pay back, it just is what needs to happen and so it is happening.
(New Years Day, 2014)
My days have been filled with taking and picking up children from day care and school, grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, putting kids to bed, bedtime baths, helping her cook dinner, last minute babysitter needs for sick kids and parents or for a much needed date night. I am here to serve her to the best of my ability and I am so happy to do it. No matter what she needs I am willing to offer myself to make it happen. Wether it is to provide emotional support for her when she feels down, to know when she needs a good laugh, sitting with her in the ER for hours and being her advocate for healthcare or to just sit beside and so she can rest her head on my shoulder – whatever she needs I will do it. I am here to make her life easier so that she can make the changes we both want for her in life.
(Camping with Maya and Elicia, summer 2012)
This is not a give and take situation, there is no part of us that feels we owe anything – this is simply community and love in action. I get just as much as I give but no one is keeping score. We are both equally invested in one another’s future and love each other unconditionally. She helped build me up to the strong person I am today so that I could come here and be a rock for her to lean on. She created this for herself just as much as I did when I chose to consciously make more time for her in my life about 5 years ago.
The small action of choosing to make small phone calls regularly to my best friend instead of just big, long 3 hour conversations once every 6 months opened the doors to a friendship just waiting to blossom into something even more wonderful for both of us, all it needed was a bit of water. Small actions can lead to big changes in ways we never imagined.
(Highschool Christmas Dance, 1995)
And where is her partner in all this and what do her kids think about it? They are all here, making room for me, shifting things to accommodate this new permanent fixture in their everyday lives. The girls give me so much love, they even gave me their bedroom! They allow me to love them, help them, and I am happy to do anything for them.
(Carrie and Ken’s Wedding, July 2009)
Her husband just accepts that his wife needs her best friend to be here with her for support, he wants her to be happy. I don’t know many men that would want to have another woman living with their family and I know even less men that would be as open and accepting to this change in lifestyle. He demonstrates to me a willingness to make change happen in his life which I find inspiring.
(Carrie and Ken, 2007)
So here I am living in my best friends old bedroom that she and I spent hours and hours in together as teenagers. I have been given an amazing gift of friendship and support but I also know that I helped create this. It was not luck or fate that made this friendship what it is today, it took work and perseverance, which we both were active participants in. It is some of the best work I have ever done and I plan to continue to grow and learn with this beautiful, strong, caring woman that I am so proud to call my friend. I am here to lift her up just as she has done for me so many times before, which helped me create the beautiful life I now have. It is now her turn to rise and shine. I want to be the light that helps her find her way along the path to living in her full potential! Together we can reach new places of awesomeness and we are both more than ready!! I love you Carrie!
(Waiting for Baby Elicia, January 2010)