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Goodbye Peace Corps. Hello Peace.

I listen to the rain patter on my tin roof and the animals crow and bark and honk and wine and sing in a beautiful chorus. I’m filled with hope and love and happiness and a tinge of sweet nostalgia.

Fine readers, I have just resigned from my post with the Peace Corps. Since January 2017, I have been working as an HIV outreach volunteer in a rural area in South Africa. Today is my last day in my village and I welcome it with hope and love and gratitude for all I have gained. Although I loved aspects of the work, and learned more than I can articulate, I have decided it is time for me to move on. I feel called to focus my energies on understanding and loving myself and living an authentic, empowered life.

What does this mean? Well, for me it means recognizing and following the callings of my higher soul; tapping into my true purpose and the unique path for which I was created to walk. I have embarked on a journey with the intention of healing myself and learning to heal others more effectively. My vision is evolving daily as I hone my connection with myself and connection with the universe.

Until mid-September I will be in Southern Africa following whatever calls my soul. I have no plans besides tapping into my intuitions, surrendering control, learning, and committing to internal and external love. Come September, I will be attending a Yoga Teacher Training in Mexico with cleansing and shamanistic healing components. I am trusting that this training and my time in Southern Africa will pave my way forward.

My current vision is to return to South Africa after a brief sojourn in North America. I’m feeling called to this beautiful country and these people I love. I see so much hope and kindness and loving compassion in this astonishing place. Yet this rainbow nation’s love and faith in one another is clouded with mistrust and prejudice and anger. This is a country marked with deeply entrenched pain and fear.

My current vision is to help the people of South Africa learn to trust in love as I also learn to walk this path. This is the mission I am committing to in myself and the mission I feel called to lead the world in, starting in South Africa. I desire to do this through dance and yoga and meditation and nature and music and movement.

My exact path is not yet clear, but I feel that with a staunch commitment to learning, loving, exploring, and faith, my way will appear.

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Who Am I?…….Really?

Today I find myself on a path of purification and self-identification.  I am questioning ME, I am questioning I.  I am consciously working on letting go of my sense of self, developed over years of conforming to who I thought I should be.  It’s like going through your closet, trying on all the clothes you used to love (or acquired thinking they would make you look good), and questioning your desire, nay your need, to keep them.  As I try on my traits, thought patterns, habits and discard the “unme”, I find myself wondering, ‘Who IS ME?’

WHO AM I?…………………………………REALLY?

The intense pondering of my identity began in May when I asked one of my mentors how he viewed me.  He painted a picture of a façade I wore, dumbing myself down through swearing and crude behaviors, impure habits, and a roughness that wasn’t truly ME.  He described seeing my inner grace and innate abilities that have been masked by the “me” I adopted.  Everything he said fully resonated.  I have a deep, deep fear of being me; or is that just my ego’s fear?

At this stage I’m not confidently in touch with who I really am.  I catch glimpses of who I feel I am when I’m meditating and/or existing fully in the present.  My ability to do this comes and goes as my ego fights to maintain its dominance of me and as my stress and, anxiety levels fluctuate (aka my present moment focus).

You likely know of the ego (aka, voice inside your head), or your own version of it. Ego has led me to edit this post for days without posting it, as it longs to sound educated and relatable.  When I listen to my ego, I succumb to its fears of failure and rejection.  I feel immobilized.  I quickly desire to layer the recently cast off ‘unme ‘, back on for protection.

The REAL ME is always there if I can access it, read it, trust it and follow it.  I can find ME through meditation or through simply taking a deep breath and focusing my energy inside (I currently visualize it in the solar plexus area) and feeling without judgement or thought.  This small exercise somehow brings me back to a place of identifying and writing from my truth; of knowing my truth is more than good enough.

These exercises of meditation have been a game changer for me.  Meditation is truly the key to silencing the noise/ego and tapping into your being.  It is difficult at first as it does not feel natural BUT it is natural, it is the way we enter the universe and the way we will leave….alone with our souls and the energy of the Universe/Divine/God (choose a comfortable concept).

There are lots of different types of meditation and places you can start.  I started with my ego feeling foolish while asking someone, “What is meditation really and how you do it?” It was much simpler than I had believed.  I also tried YouTube guided mediations, a few of the various apps (Headspace, Calm, etc), and through reading articles.

If you desire to start answering for yourself the question,’WHO AM I REALLY?’  I recommend beginning meditation now.  Don’t fall trap to the IF/WHEN…………….THEN procrastination. The future does not exist, it is a construct of our minds.  All that truly exists is now.  Do it now.

Ponder and Act.  Act and Ponder.  NOW.

My friend recently told me that just because I’m learning to swim, doesn’t mean I can’t help teach others to swim at the same time.  This blog represents me doing just that, the best I know how in this moment, through sharing the ME I am working with right now. Reach out if you have questions and I’ll help guide you or direct you to “answers.”  Also, keep an eye out for the links page I’m creating, to lead you to my current favorite guided meditations and other resources.

Time for a Change

The first half of 2018 was a huge struggle for me:  I partied too hard, spent too much money, experienced physical health issues, I reached two devastating emotional breaking points, and I lost my soul’s direction in my shattered ego.

What I now realize is that I’ve had this coming my entire adult life, and it’s about time! Initially I blamed my self-destructive patterns on learning how to cope post marriage, post traumatic relationships, post intense work life….yada yada yada, (insert blame here). I now believe all of these choices were in fact the result of the broken and lost me.

When I joined the Peace Corps and came to South Africa I thought I would heal my wounds of failed relationships, loneliness, lack of purpose…..through helping others and learning how to “bond with myself”.  I thought, “When I’m in South Africa then my binge drinking and other unhealthy habits will go away.”  Oh the ways we trick ourselves and stall change through our idealization of the future and use of, “When/If” statements.

Instead of fixing myself through “fixing” others, I’m realizing how much self-work must be done before I am capable of HELPING others. The bad habits I picked up over time and the distraction techniques I mastered, masked so much of my pain that I didn’t have a clue how many layers of muck and madness I would have to wade through to rediscover my true self.

In May, following what I then labeled as an injustice, where of course I was the victim, the universe sent me an amazing healer, friend, partner, soul (choose your label, he’s so much more) who has helped guide my path.  I realize now I have been begging for change for a long time, but it took even longer to allow it in.

I will be returning to the states for a few weeks in October.  This post and my posts to follow will serve as your first warnings that I will not return the same as when I left.  I feel so much more alive, authentic, raw, beautiful and connected than I have since….well ever I guess.

“What has changed?” and “How did it come about?”, you ask. Don’t worry, weekly blogs to follow as I record my epic vision quest…………………….

* Bolded words represent “thinking errors” and victimization patterns that many of us are trapped in.

* Italicized statements are food for thought/contemplation points for you to meditate their existance in your life.