Yesterday, the emotional became physical. Feeling intensely sad and torn up inside as I realize that I don’t know the future of my relationships, career, and life. On my way to my colleague’s bachelorette party I fell out of the crowded taxi bus only to find a large trench ahead of me. Underestimating the width of my skirt, I jump excitedly only to fall on my arms and legs. No looking back. I was devastated. Trying to hold back the tears, I lost all control. As Sarah ran to my side, my eyes turned blurry and I felt like a wreck. I had literally lost my grip on this Earth, but I had to keep going. Stay strong and meet the day and the beautiful people at the function. I lasted about an hour before the pain became too overwhelming. First, we went to a doctor and then later I went to another clinic to get an X-ray. Thankfully, I did not break any bones; it was just a sprain. Today I am feeling much better, emotionally and physically. I went for a swim and the muscle is feeling better and I spoke to my loved ones who provided me with encouragement and support. I have never felt so vulnerable and alone in a long time. I have learned that I must enjoy each moment of this beautiful country. Soak it all in and ignore my worries and anxieties about the future. The future will come soon enough. This moment right now is just amazing. Sitting outside in my garden listening to birds and the never-ending church in the neighbourhood. Remembering how lucky I am to have all the material wealth that I have. Today on my boda boda ride the driver asked if I liked Uganda. I said, “Yes. I love the people, the nature, and the food.” He replied, “That is only good if you are middle-income, not for us at the bottom.” How quickly I can forget the struggles of the people around me. While I am feeling pain in the heart, they feel pain in the stomach daily. A little gratitude can go a long way.
It is nice to finally settle into a house for longer than a couple of weeks. (Thank you Devi for recommending Claire and her house!) I will be here for the next two and a half months and so far the people have been wonderful. Claire is the owner of the home and her 17 year-old daughter also lives here. Then, there are six other housemates from around the world: Ireland, England, and Germany and they continue to change. Everyone has been so great and I feel that I have been living such a dramatic life since I arrived on Friday. I hope that this ends and it is ultimately my decision to calm down and just breathe. I think I am just surprised by my own weaknesses and vulnerabilities when I thought I was stronger. But, every challenge just makes one stronger and I am working on practicing compassion for myself. It is not easy to leave everyone you love, but there is also an opportunity to meet new people and forge new relationships.
The rest of the trip in Nebbi was really memorable. I felt that we had established a little community there by the time we left, which may also be the reason why this transition back to the city life has been more difficult than expected. The Social Survival Skills Training went so well and the impact of the training on the girls lives was so evident. I hope that the 30 girls continue to be leaders in their schools and communities and prevent early pregnancies and stay in school! One girl named Charity especially enjoyed the yoga classes so I gave her my little booklet of yoga poses from my training that I hope she will use in her practice. They are such intelligent and strong women and inspired me each day.
We also had the chance to meet the King and have a drink with him 🙂 It was the last weekend we were there and the King of Alur Kingdom was in Nebbi for celebrations to commemorate peace with the Alur chiefs in the DRC. We crossed the border into the DRC and didn’t go as far as we hoped, probably only about 5 kilometres or so. The rituals comprised of the King staying in a hut to listen to elders, killing two sheep and spraying a bit of water on the chiefs from Uganda and then the chiefs from the DRC. After the celebration, there was an after party at our hotel since the King and King’s brother were staying there. The King’s brother who by that time had become my new friend invited us and before we knew it we were having drinks with the King and his bodyguards. It was a nice way to leave the city and Dr. Tadria joked that she could have gotten a lot of cows for me.
Back in Kampala, we are working in the office and I got a new gig teaching yoga at the American Recreation Association two days a week. I am also going to teach at MEMPROW offices and possibly other NGOs that are interested so I really hope this arm heals quickly. I am going to focus this week on loving and caring for myself. Sometimes I expect too much from myself and I must accept that I am here. I am in Kampala, Uganda, a new place for me where I must make new friends and keep busy. I will also dedicate time to sitting on my mat and meditating. Recently, every time I sit down to meditate I break down in tears, but I will force myself through it. When I left San Francisco I picked my last Angel card and it was “Strength”. No better word for what I need in my life right now. I send you all my blessings wherever you are. Find your firm feet in these challenging times.
An inspiring friend, Eric Wallace, shared this Astrology Forecast for November. Even if you don’t believe in astrology the passage is beautiful:
The manner in which Life will be working this month will be by showing us our deepest fears. These will vary from person to person. Some will fear financial loss, some the loss of relationship, some their own loss of control or desire. Others may fear responsibility, commitment, or intimacy and vulnerability. The list is as long as the number of us on the planet, for we each have our own past and our own path. But as sure as the Sun will rise tomorrow, Life will bring us face to face with our fears for our evolution calls for it. Only through seeing and feeling our fears will we come to know that they are not us, they are our teachers, and that through them we come to know ourselves, our worth and our path.
The exposure of these fears brings not only self-knowledge but choice. The choices that we make in the face of fear determine our character. Our character determines our destiny. Part of what makes these decisions difficult is that the number of them within a given amount of time is increasing day by day! It is as if Life is becoming ever more demanding, exacting, and merciless in its intensity, like some kind of movie. Yet this too can be considered “intentional,” as it demands that we draw from ever deeper levels of emotion, instinct, and desire when we simply don’t have the time to “figure it out”.
In addition to the nature of time rapidly increasing, Life is bringing us closer and closer to “home” by affecting our closest relationships. Our most intimate partners will bring us our greatest challenges, as they know us best and mirror our unconscious fears and shadows back to us most clearly. Facing and owning this shadow with all the humility and possible shame that it can raise within us clearly destabilizes our sense of self with far reaching ramifications. We can no longer maintain the false stories we have told ourselves for so long. Stories that have carried us this far but can carry us no longer. We are now on the shore of a new ocean, a new frontier that can only be navigated with the utmost honesty, clarity, and maturity. I suppose this is a complicated way of saying that we just can’t get away with anything anymore!
With the feeling of time speeding up, pressure building, and our closest partners/allies not supporting us the way we think they should or have in the past, we are thrown back upon ourselves. The discomfort of this can lead to every and all forms of denial, avoidance, escapism and addiction. As it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain, we just may not want to! We can question why, what it is all for, why bother with it, and fall into states of hopelessness and despair. These times are practically designed to push us into a quest for the deeper meaning, purpose, and intelligence behind the supposed “accidental” life events. Through this questioning, we will come to know Spirit Mind and not before.
Close to the King of Alur
With Fred, the King’s Brother, and Monica (colleague at MEMPROW)
The girls showing me their favorite yoga poses 🙂
At the end of the Social Survival Skills training with MEMPROW Girls