Love Hoop Heal Documentary Trailer

 

This is a preview of what I am working towards.

I have been holding onto all of these beautiful memories and images for years, unwilling to let them be shared as it was too painful to feel them let alone look at them or talk about them. After 2 years of shedding old baggage, I am feeling ready to let go and move into a new, fresh space within myself. There’s a lot to come forward but it needed the time to process so when it does come through it is pure and heartfelt. It feels like a birthing from within and the energy inside me needed time to gestate, to gather itself into a state which could survive on its own outside of me. It has a life of its own and my job is to simply be a vessel for its manifestation.

I look forward to sharing the finished product with you in the near future and for future projects to come forward.

Namaste

Culture of White

“Culture may even be described simply as that which makes lifeworth living.” T. S. Eliot Notes Towards a Definition of Culture(1948)

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Statue in downtown The Pas, MB – The Gateway to The North!

I’ve reflected on the idea of culture many times before and I love immersing  myself completely into new ones on a regular basis, the root of this curiosity stemming from a perceived lack of culture in my own life. What I learned about myself through this was that  I am my own culture. I believe we all are.

The more ways I experience life, the more open minded I become and the more I see that I am not in need of belonging to any one way of being in the world. If anything I am grateful to know the freedom associated with not being attached to one way of life.

That being said I love seeing cultural practices alive and well because there is ALWAYS an element of connection to the earth and the creator which is so primal and calls to the very very animal nature in all of us.  So this is the dichotomy; the love/hate of it all. I see how people fighting for their culture can become angry and resentful, pulling them further from their truth. I see how one culture believing they are “right” has detrimental effects on other human beings.  I see what one needs to give up in order to stay connected to anything pure. And I see that fear lies somewhere beneath the surface of all of this.

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Rwandan drummer practicing with traditional dancers at Inema Art Centre, Kigali, Rwanda. The sounds and movements are rooted in the earths pure energy.

 

Fear of what? Fear of not knowing who we are if we are not our culture? Of feeling a sense of being lost in the world without it to identify with? Feeling like an outsider on the inside when we run into something within a culture that doesn’t seem to fit us?

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My 10-days of Yoga retreat group at Yasodhara Ashram, 2010.

Through the practice of Yoga, which in itself is a culture, I came to understand myself as something much greater than any external thing, rule or idea. I practice identifying with my highest Self which is a practice everyday as I am met with my very real human nature which my physical self and my mind provide for me.

If I identify with my Soul, as the term Namaste suggests, then what purpose does Culture serve in forming my identity and is it beneficial to human evolution?

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Traditional mukluks made by woman in God’s Lake Narrows and traditional snowshoes make for a fun afternoon in the bush!

 

As a “white” person living in Central/Northern Canada I am reminded daily that I am not a native to this country in various ways. My heritage is questioned every day at my workplace as I engaged with Native people of this land. In Rwanda it was even more blatantly obvious that I was not of the land by the simple fact that I had white skin and blond hair. And yet in both of these places I felt I belonged somehow and found great connection to the people. Traveling to other countries and immersing myself into cultures helps me see the thread which runs through all of us……….Oneness.

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The human spirit knows no barriers.

My ancestors came from Norway, Ireland, and England as far as I know. I identify mostly with the Norwegian side, I think because of my blond hair and blue eyes…….also the gap in my front teeth which I inherited from my Grandfather who was full blood Norwegian. This is my fathers side of the family.

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Me and Gramps out for a winter walk on the farm!

 

My grandfather married a local girl in Alberta whose parents were from England. My great Grandfather, her father, started the first Newspaper in Vermilion, AB – the Vermilion Standard which still exists today. It wasn’t until I started to write that I realized I had roots in this field and I began to see myself more clearly in terms of my genetic blood line, my human qualities began to take more shape.

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One of my first published stories for the Opasquia Times

 

My mother’s mother was English as well and married a Military Airplane Mechanic whom she met in her 30’s. He was of Irish decent. I never met my grandfather but from what I hear he was a quite and gentle man. My grandmother was not! She was feisty and independent. She loved to dance, cook and gamble! I definitely see myself in her!

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BellyDancing!

 

All of these people are living in Canada today because someone in their family was brave enough to get on a ship, sail across the ocean with very little and enter into a new land with hopes of a better life, or maybe just for the adventure. They did so with great courage, personal strength and faith – Wether they knew it or not these are the qualities they brought over with them and began planting some very wild seeds. It is these seeds which laid the foundation for the next generation of adventurers, my parents and now me.

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My parents…..how Awesome are these two!

My parents, two farms kids from rural Alberta got married and moved to Northern Manitoba in their early 20’s. Adventures by nature, they flew the coop and unknowingly created what would become my norm.

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It may not be a ship but it gets me across the ocean waters!

So with all of these characteristics, genes and cultural backgrounds how on earth could I identify with any one culture. And with life being so easy these days compared to the harsh reality my ancestors faced to provide me with the only life I know, how is one to find a cure for the inherited fiery adventurer spirit?

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Winter Peacock!

Never identifying as one type of person and constantly updating and recreating how I exist in this world. I go against the grain, searching for meaning in all experiences and utilizing the gift of the life I have been given, thanks to my ancestors efforts at a “better life” for themselves. They may not have experienced much of the supposed “good life” that they thought was awaiting them but I benefitted from their goal being realized to a certain point. Is it then my role to continue building on their dream by creating my dreamlike? Its as if every soul/life is connected and seeks to support the next generation in reaching a “better”  place in which to be human. Evolution of the human spirit one generation at a time.

 

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Village in Rwanda, searching for Nataraja!

 

Being “white” (as I am referred to in The Pas) or a Muzungu (which I am referred to in Rwanda) I am lumped into a category of people which has become a diluted version of various European cultures which facilitates, if one is to place weight on culture as identity, a great sense of disconnect from me as a human being, the same as everyone else in the world.

The practice of identifying myself as something greater than anything  earthly supports me in this place of lacking a pure cultural identify which once held my life hostage.  I believe as humans evolve and move away from identifying with these ideas there will eventually be more peace in the world. Not that cultures will disappear but the fear around losing them will be replaced by a celebrating heart which seeks to share in our common human experience.

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World Dance 4 Humanity,  a group of women dancing in Santa Barbara, CA to support cooperative in Rwanda and making a huge impact on everyone involved. Talk about sharing in human spirit!

Where I once felt lost I now feel at home. My existence on earth is unique in this day and age with the ability to travel to the other side of the world in only a day or two and communicate in different languages with friends around the world on my phone. Instead of holding tight to someone else’s idea of who I am, I now have created my own culture which lives within me. It has flow, movement and is always taking in, shifting and updating along with me. It has become who I am and how I exist in the world, I don’t need to think about it or fight for it as it simply exists.

What worked for me one day may not work the next but I carry the experiences with me in my back pocket for when a time arises where I am called to utilize the skills I acquired and thus more learning takes place as I see how one experience facilitates success in another.

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Learning Water Release Therapy* with my Orca brother, Rob Harrington in Santa Barbara, CA – Water is a Culture near and dear to my heart! My lifeguarding and Nursing background were very useful tools for success here.

What began as a barrier is now my key to freedom. The feeling of being lost led me to an awareness of a life long journey full of wonder and curiosity. This is my practice, my art, my Culture of Self.

 

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Hoop Dance Culture rocks my soul! As well as creative expression being captured through the lens of another being. Photo by my dear friend Amy Senecal, http://www.amysenecal.com

 

 

 

 

 

Hubble

Hubble

Layer upon layer, peel after peel revealing my ugly truths

Raw and open I stand before you offering the gift of presence during a time of weakness

Giver of space, holder of light

I worship the death that comes from the game we play

I am a seeker with no arms to fend off  baggage which blinds, spilling forth the guts and the glory to anyone willing to join the war

I am honoured to have you

The Gita has begun on this day of birth, reborn to reveal my souls nature

I trudge through being human with fumbling ecstasy in hopes of being honoured, if only for my efforts

I seek no one, no thing, no body, no soul to unit me for I know my essence is pure love

I seek no score, no peddles to propel me into learning as it stands before me in grace awaiting my clear eyes to see

There is no one for me, only me in truth

This I know, it is so

Balance comes in rocky stages

Foundation prepared for building a home on new a platform, yet I see the other options and turn my nose up in disgust

It is not for me I say and I move on down the path less travelled

My path

A pebbled beach trail at times with winds so fierce it knocks the sense back into me

A rough uneven terrain which strives to build my strength in ways I have not seen before now

l Iive with the deep well of Self below the armour of my heartshell

To love is to be human, to be accepted by my human self is my work in this life and to love it I must see it

Openly welcome the onlookers who donate time and energy to become a part of the master puzzle created as our playground

We take no recess, we have no holiday from the skin of the self within which our truth exists

Chance encounters with those that are presented and watch as the small seeds plant and replant themselves in hopes of something different, something other than the  same beautifully painful garden growing where it has many times before

Only this time I do not scatter them, I plant them orderly, intentionally and with care knowing that the time will come when the fruits of my labour will be visible to all and the judgement begins all over again

From within is what matters

The reflections back are fierce and my heart reacts like a lioness protecting her cubs from harm but this mothers heart is not broken any longer

She loves big and bold

Walk away scared souls and save the rest for those who are brave to receive

Give it to me and I shall share my milk with you, regaining the trust I once had to the mother connections above, below and in between

Ubiquity of essence

Truth

Light is seen in all things great and small

All beings come to receive, give and leave the earth with no more than they came with

The truth in this is that we leave with all we brought

Labouring our lives away to see ourselves through the lens of love, we can parish with peace of mind

Until then I will play, battle and brave the odds which come daily and without fail

Like a familiar cat sitting on the porch step, I return somehow to a place I barely remember

Landing on my feet over and over, lick my wounds and rise up once more

Clarity with each new sunset

Maybe this time I will take the road that I have travelled less, not concerned with the masses any longer

Finding my way

Home

A way back into Love

I have entered a new phase. I am feeling quite done with the alone time, the big travels, the need to be putting my words, face, name and cause out there for all to see and hear. I am done with writing about my past, trauma and old desires. I am coming out of a cocoon of sorts that this journey wrapped me tightly in. A warm, soothing yet harsh, reality that transformed me at my core. My metamorphosis has reached a new state and I am ready to become fully this newer version of self.

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I feel as though the last year or two have been a symbolic replay of my teenage rebellion. Previous to that, transition into womanhood was symbolically done while living at the Ashram. These rights of passage needed to happen and were holding me back. I felt stuck in the canal of my own birth – feeling caught, breathless and half way there most of the time. The cord has been removed from around my neck (what a powerful symbol that was!) and I feel like new life with fresh eyes has been given to me.

Because the necessary rituals and rites of passage have now been performed I can see the validity in the way society goes about things without all the pent up emotion around it, which I now see was an immaturity that created a fear about going to a place I had not taken the steps to get to internally. Just because I am old enough physically does not mean I am mature enough emotional or developmentally.

How can I be in a healthy relationship if I am still a scared 13 year old confused about her role as a woman and unsure about her body? How can I marry if I am still ashamed\resentful\ignorant of my ability to birth another human being? Does that make sense? I couldn’t and so I set out to give myself the experiences I needed to move forward and grow internally.

IMG_3874It really began to unfold in Rwanda, as I rode on the back of a Moto I had this rush of energy surge through me and in that moment I knew I wanted to be a mother. I have never had that feeling of knowing about myself before even though way deep down inside I have known that to be true, the realization and acceptance of self was a huge victory. This feeling came after months of exploration with sexuality, being surrounded by tribes of women carrying sweet little ones on their backs and witnessing family and community in a whole new way. It did not just suddenly appear  – I was intentionally working on healing the barriers to my own truth and each layer had to happen as it did, in its own time.

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I am now back in my own culture, witnessing the rituals that take place here and they make much more sense to me now. I no longer feel anger and bitterness around weddings and marriage. I see babies as an amazing creation to be cherished and I see relationships as beautiful gifts of healing and growth. I also see work and money as a way to achieve my goals and create the life I need and want for myself.

I feel much more calm, settled and free inside myself than I have in the past. Almost as if the seeker in me can now take a bit of a break and sit back to reap the benefits of the hard work I have been doing for 4 years. Thats a really long time to be intensely studying myself, healing and consciously creating major transitions in order to become a better human being BUT I wouldn’t  change a thing about all that I have done.

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I am here in The Pas where I will stay and continue to grow and learn with the help of my community and loved ones, old and new. I will engage in old things in new ways and witness the changes I have made in action. I am here to settle within myself on a new level and although it feels at times like its all way to simple, I am seeing that that is the gift! Life can be simple and maybe that is exactly what I needed to learn – Simply how to live in this world, as this human being. Part of me knows but is pleasantly surprised that it will look very similar to the life I left behind me but another part of me knows that internally it will be a very new experience.

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(My home 4 years ago, which I now see as an amazing creation of love and self expression)

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(My favourite pet Thelonius Sphere Hoyle!)

 

 

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(4 Years ago I Iet this person and this life go and it is just now that I am able to appreciate it for all that it really was and what it offered me. Now I see the way we are looking at each other and the love that did exist between us with more clarity.)

 

There is less of a draw for attention, no need to be seen in the same way. A cabin in the woods with a loving husband, a beautiful baby, a few pets and a garden all sound really fulfilling to me now. I have not lost my sense of adventure, instead I feel as though I have refined it to now allow me to see it in all the things that are very common to us as humans.

Love, family, home, new life, connection, responsibility, sharing, comfort, security and stability are an adventure I am ready to take once again, this time with a brand new intention and a greater capacity to embrace!

Om Radha Om

 

 

 

 

What If….

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What if I just took a breath and let it all out when I was done with it?

What if I just lived a simple life, nothing grand, not trying to do or be anything?

What would happen if I just let go of needing to be needed by someone or something?

Would I dimly fade away into non-existence or could I actually shine like never before?

To need is human, to love is human, to give is too but at what cost?

What will happen if I continue to give this way, under the disclaimer of being selfless, will I exhaust my source? Will I really let it go that far? Im afraid I already have.

Clear new eyes see the light of this day, Ego takes a trip and shame hits my brow.

I have lost, lesson learned and now I move on.

I give in order to receive, but don’t we all in some way?

To know that love exists between humans beings and that we will be there for each other is so natural, so foreign and hard to accept.

I live in a space of not being understood, not fitting in and not really wanting to.

 

I long to be an elephant, a lion or a giraffe, knowing my place in the kingdom of God.

I was born a human girl and this is my destiny.

Make peace with all that being human brings, live in my own worth and nothing less, take care of this my gifted temple, trust in the unknown and know that there is nothing perfect about this life except the life itself.

 

 

Here I Am World

I have never lived my life more authentically then I am in this very moment. I returned from Rwanda with a swagger that is unshakable. My time there showed me the strength and confidence that was just waiting to be seen, other people have told me  they see it but I needed to see it for myself. I transformed daily. With every corner a new experience awaiting to call on my trust and inner knowing.

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(This  is the first of many dresses  I had made while in Rwanda. This was an amazing creative adventure. I began to step into parts of myself that I had put away until the moment I was ready to explore them. I knew I would know when the time was right!)

From hailing a “Moto” or eating strange food to dancing in large groups of men and speaking a new language – it all asked me to step up and be who I really want to be. Rwanda was the finishing touch to this amazing journey of healing. It showed me where I was, who I was, and how far I have come. I come away from this  experience more my Self than I have ever been and I know  it is but a peak into my potential. I am soooooooooo proud of that girl who walked out of her home, her engagement, her career and her life with the intention of healing at all costs. I continue to be proud of myself and all the hard work that I have done to get where I am today and I am not afraid to say it!

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(You are as your name speaks to Amanda – Worthy of Love! I so proud of the girl in this picture! Even at your lowest you still knew your worth and were willing to fight for it, you are a survivor!)

I have seen my life unfold into a magical, amazing adventure that not only heals me everyday but also does great things for  those around me. I know through my experiences in life that we are all connected and what we do impacts everyone.  I also know that there is no such thing as “Good” or “Bad” as one  always leads to the next in some way shape or form. The impact that my choices have on others can sometimes lead to Kaos, Ruin, Heartache, and Pain as well as Love, Joy, Inspiration and Peace – all of which are necessary for change and growth.

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(My first official, self guided project: Love Hoop Rwanda. A project to introduce something I love and brings me joy to the people of Rwanda. Venturing into the remote villages of Nyanza to share this gift with the people helped me build the confidence I needed to get to this place I am in today, only a few months later. Murakoze to all the people who shared, laughed, danced, hugged and rejoiced with me in this project! You are all with me now giving me courage to continue on. You are all truly some of the Bravest Souls I have ever met!)

In my life, the Ruin lead to Love , the pain to peace, the Kaos to Joy and Heartache to Inspiration. We need things to get dark before we can truly see the Light! I look at it all as one big picture, the focus being on the balance of my life as a whole.

In the moment it may feel dark, sad, and lonely but I have lived enough to know that when I  come out the other side I am a much wiser and stronger person. I embrace it all and at the same time let it all go. One moment at a time we are lead into into the next page of our life story, the whole while the pen is in our hands. How do you want your story to look?

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(Santa Monica Pier, just days after returning from Rwanda. My future’s so bright I gotta wear shades!)

I have found my groove, my flow and the connection to my life is so strong that I feel pulled by it continually. As I walk down the street, I allow myself to truly feel where I want or need to go next. When I listen and follow through wether it makes sense to me or not, I go. The other day I decided to go with a new possibility that had been presented to me by a friend and went to inquire about a Government program called “Self-employment Program”. I had known about this for over a year and a half but it just never felt right.

When I returned to The Pas I began to see myself through a different lense, with the help of my friends, a business lense. I knew I wanted to start a non-profit and continue my work in Rwanda with Gilbert and the kids but I wasn’t sure how to do that. After  2 months, a few shifts at “Snakland” to help out my friend and myself financially,  a phone call from my friend Sarah, and a few long chats with my friend Paul. R, I suddenly saw things very differently. I needed to look after myself first and then think about starting a non-profit AND I did have what it takes to start my own business. The business of LOVE IN ACTION!

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After a few weeks of building this idea in my mind, I went to the employment office in town and inquired about the program. I was caught of guard when asked to describe my business idea to the man behind the counter but gave it a shot anyway (how to describe what I do in my life and do it well enough that a Government employee is going to take it seriously?). I did it and he was sold enough by my 30 sec explanation to pass me through to the next step and from there it became clear that I had met the right person to help me through this next phase. Thank you Paul L.!

The work I have done in the past was easy to explain; lifeguard, Nursing, swim instructor, laborer, etc. as it all fit into the societal norms and made “sense”, meaning I didn’t have to explain what it was I did as the job was self explanatory. I lived in a very rational world, very male energy dominated paths of determining success; money and material possessions. In order to bring balance back into my life, I have spent nearly 4 years living in a very irrational world where the intuitive, the “feeling” has very much  become my norm. I am now at a place where I want to bring the two worlds into balance in my life.

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(Ok, so I found a way to be myself even in the Rational world but really what I see when I look at this picture now is how much I used my sense of humor as a mask for my insecurities. I always felt like a “fraud” as a Nurse and did not take myself seriously most of  the time. Now I am able to bring back those parts of myself and have it be authentic. I have moved through the doubt and into a new confidence!)

I gave away my belongings, left my home, my life and my career so that I could Heal from the inside out.  I have healed to the point where  I want to bring back in the things I need to thrive in a way that is true to who I am now. To do that I need money because this is the reality I live in today. I do want my own space to call “home” as I know how important personal space is for me and what it provides for me. I also know that I will not do “work” that is not in some way meaningful to me, which can mean I work at “Snakland” to help my friend and ultimately myself in the short term but what I really mean is that I am not willing to push or force anything that does not naturally want to open up for me. I can find meaning in anything but what is it I am meant to be doing?

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(Letting go of possessions I said I would NEVER part with, like my 1970 VW Beetle named “Inga Ja”, was one of the biggest tools to my healing. I realize now that I can have possessions that serve to provide me with the life I want to live and not as an escape from the life I am living. )

I have explored the path of Nursing many times throughout this process, each time the doors just do not open or if they do, only enough to take a tiny step forward and make an internal shift towards going back into it to support myself and my vision. What that tells me is that even though I have a really nice safety net if I really need it, in terms of money and security, there is something bigger awaiting me that wants me to focus on it and not fall into old patterns of fear. I feel that until I fully embrace this business of being myself I will not be able to fully step into Nursing, although things seem to be happening simultaneously.

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If I look at my situation right now I have everything  I need to survive. I have food, clothing, a roof over my head and the love of all the people who support me in life. There is no reason to jump back into something just because it will give me money. What I need is to focus my time, energy and life on creating, even further, the life  I am meant to live. So that is what I am doing!

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(After a visit to The Pas in 2012, just after leaving the Ashram I knew I needed to be here but the time was not right. I stayed for one month and then headed to California to study Water Release Therapy (www.waterreleasetherapy.com). I had no idea where this would lead me but I knew I needed to do it before I committed to staying anywhere long term. Little did I know I needed to Rwanda first!)

The gift of friendship that my best friend and I share is something so transformative,  unique and beautiful – it can hardly be described. We take turns being the rock and the water. We are creating a beautiful dance that supports us both. We both have nothing to fear when we have each other in our lives as we both understand or “get” each other in a way that facilitates change.

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(On our way to the “Welcome Back Unicorn” Party that Carrie hosted for when I arrived!)

Together we have gone through many phases, trials and tribulations but through it all we have had an unshakable bond of sisterhood. This part of the journey is just a next logical step for both of us and makes perfect sense to us!!

So, after a few more meetings with the people at Employment Manitoba I feel more confident and supported than ever before. Something about sitting in a room with a man telling me that he believes in my vision allowed me to believe in myself at a new level. To be taken seriously by myself has been one of my life’s biggest challenges and I know that when I embody my beliefs I make others feel the same way about me. This was a very clear indicator of just how serious I have taken myself since March 7th, 2010.

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(My home  and “studio” in Rwanda where I created Healing Art, Love Hoop Rwanda and began the journey into seriously being ME in action!)

This is what I have come to see myself as, a facilitator for change and this is what my business will be. I will continue to take the next steps into what is being offered to me with grace and gratitude. I know the Universe had guided me to the people I need to be with during this time and that all I need to do is allow myself to receive the gifts that await me!

Hari Om

Say it with a Song

 

Brand New Me

It’s been a while, I’m not who I was before
You look surprised, your words don’t burn me anymore
Been meaning to tell you, but I guess it’s clear to see
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of me
Can’t be bad, I found a brand new kind of free

Careful with your ego, he’s the one that we should blame
Had to grab my heart back
God knows something had to change
I thought that you’d be happy
I found the one thing I need, why you mad
It’s just the brand new kind of me

It took a long long time to get here
It took a brave, brave girl to try
It took one too many excuses, one too many lies
Don’t be surprised, don’t be surprised

If I talk a little louder
If I speak up when you’re wrong
If I walk a little taller
I’ve been under you too long
If you noticed that I’m different
Don’t take it personally
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of me
That ain’t bad, I found a brand new kind of free

Oh, it took a long long road to get here
It took a brave brave girl to try
I’ve taken one too many excuses, one too many lies
Don’t be surprised, oh see you look surprised

Hey, if you were a friend, you want to get know me again
If you were worth the while
You’d be happy to see me smile
I’m not expecting sorry
I’m too busy finding myself
I got this
I found me, I found me, yeah
I don’t need your opinion
I’m not waiting for your ok
I’ll never be perfect, but at least now i’m brave
Now, my heart is open
And I can finally breathe
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of free
That ain’t bad, I found a brand new kind of me
Don’t be mad, it’s a brand new time for me, yeah

 “Brand New Me”,  Alicia Keys

Finding Nataraja!

Living life symbolically is a wonderfully rewarding experience and it reached a peak yesterday when I meet the very sign that brought me on this journey – World Dance Calf Nataraja! It took until the end of a very long, hot day but when it did happen it was an amazing experience that lead to spontaneous singing and dancing by the locals!  (see Nataraja)

Before I left Canada I had a dream about a a scarf and a few days later I walked into a store and there it was! I just bought it without even really looking at it. I knew I needed to bring it to Rwanda but I wasn’t sure why and it didn’t make sense until I got to California and I realized that it had an image of Nataraja on it and it was meant as an offering for him.

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So when I walked up to him and presented him with scarf by wrapping it around his neck, the locals went crazy with laughter and clapping! Justin B. explained the story I had just told to the camera man about the significance of the scarf and they were even more elated. As we walked away the group of men and the pastor spontaneously burst into song and dance! It was one of the most amazing experiences I have been a part of!  I immediately joined in and celebrated in joy with them. I am honored to be here and to be sharing in these magical moments with these beautiful people. I am again learning so much about what dance really means to me and how powerful a tool it can be.

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Earlier we had joined the Never Again community in the fields, walking a few kilometers through the open hills to find a colorful patches of people working joyfully together. The image of water being thrown through the air in large fan like shapes to the buzz of community engaging together in the work is something that I will never forget. I was handed a watering can and began to sing the “numbers song” that our group now has replaying in our heads! The large group of people that had gathered around me all began to laugh and join in! They love to just watch what the Muzungu (white man who wanders around aimlessly) is doing. I balanced the watering can on my head and they laughed even more. Soon it was time to move onto the next field and I said my goodbye (Murabeho) and thank-you’s to the group (Murakoze).

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The next group is where I met my very confident French, English and Kinyarwanda speaking friend Julliet and gave her my card as promised. I am not so sure what she will do with it but I am happy to follow through on my promise to her. We gathered with this group and to my delight, I was again handed a baby (from one of the girls who hoped on our bus the day before!), all of the dancers were spread out amongst the people when singing started and dancing began once again! We trekked up the side of a hill with the members that followed, some were small children with full water jugs on their heads. These small men of the ripe age of 4 or 5 not only worked as hard as any adult I have ever met but they do it with the same stoic nature. One little boy was so determined to hold my had that he let water drops drip into his eyes as we walked up this steep hill. I stopped to wipe his eyes for him and was met with a look that resembled confusion as to why I would do this for him but then a small smile appeared and I knew he understood it to be a loving gesture towards him.

I am not a naive person and I am not here with any delusion that I can “save” anyone but what I do know for sure is that the exchanges of Love between these people, myself and the entire World Dance group is making changes in the lives of everyone involved. Some people are not supportive of my being here and feel I am being selfish but what I know is that I trust my heart and this is exactly where I am meant to be right now. I know that love is a powerful tool and it works in ways that we may not be conscious of – yet! Human connection is a necessary and vital part of making the world a better place and it has made the support of World Dance even more real to the Never Again Fellowship and they deserve that and they are worth the trip.

Oh yeah, I lost my camera today while dancing so no photos to share of Nataraja 😦 Oh well, I was just saying I would really like a better one anyway! Om Shiva

update: Thank you Bess Brownlee your fabulous photos!