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.
(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!
(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.
(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?
(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!
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.
(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?
(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.
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!
(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.
(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.
(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!