Wednesday, March 9, 2011


This March 8th, as the world converges to celebrate the 100th anniversary that acknowledges inalienable human rights to females, I inquire how this translates for me, Jamaican by birth, African by ancestry and Universal in outlook.

In a riveting exchange with the first African woman to be chosen as a Special Representative to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, we concluded that a century later, we are still demanded to work that much harder for our accomplishments to be [begrudgingly] acknowledged by both men and women. I hastily add that this concurrence emerges from a place of conscious awareness rather than from victim-hood.

Throughout my upbringing, I was encouraged to be the best that I could possibly be. Being an only child, I never experienced the issues of sibling rivalry, and having attended an all girls’ school throughout my formative years; it never dawned on me until I entered the professional arena that I may be treated differently on the basis of my biological composition. Here the biological became juxtaposed against the cultural as well as the political. The treatment meted out to females was driven by the other’s cultural norms and attitudes, and ‘gender mainstreaming’ drove the political vehicle.

A strong advocate against injustice, initially I was outraged by this sort of largely ‘subliminal’ discrimination. The idealist within me could not reconcile that this sort of discretionary treatment could possibly exist within the hallmarks of humanitarianism. As I continued to climb the professional ladder, things deteriorated.

Refusing to succumb to the linear projections of others, I made a conscious decision to embrace, cultivate and respect my feminine approach to bureaucracy. Rather than become a victim or worse yet a ‘wanna be’ male, I chose to lead from the heart. Clearly this recipe continues to work given that I am still ‘on the ladder.’

Presently, life finds me in the heart of Africa; the Central African Republic (CAR) to be precise. Each morning as the sun rises and I stare out my window, I see women of all ages laden with baskets heavier than their body weight striding gracefully towards the markets. The younger ones may even have a baby tied to their backs.

When I drive through the markets en route to work, it is these same women that I witness harking their produce that they awoke during the darkest hours before dawn to pick. And at mealtimes, the women head home to prepare some semblance of nutrition to feed their families from their daily earnings. This scenario is by no means limited to CAR and in fact, is largely representative of the [un-defined] role of women as being the economic backbone of lesser developing countries.

Yet in many of these countries, families are forced to choose which of their children to educate and most often, the choice is clear: send the boys to school while the girls stay behind to tend the fields and take care of the household. The subsequent vicious cycle of their lack of education has many of them becoming mothers before they are adults.

In Jamaica, there are a startling number of single family households, the bulk of which are financed and run by women who wear multiple hats – mother, daughter, sister, bread-winner and community leader, struggling to survive within a society where patriarchal norms and practices reign supreme. In addition to juggling these multi-faceted roles, many continue to invest in themselves by way of further education, health and wellness and seeking spiritual sustenance – the latter I suppose to give them the strength to ‘carry on.’

100 years later, as females, the givers of Life, it is time for us to step up and claim our rightful positions within our respective societies.

How do we do begin?

Rather than perpetuating the divide, it is in our interest to help our communities to appreciate and embrace the fact that we are human, absolutely. Given the reality that we are incapable of reproducing without the other is a sound vantage point. As women, many of us are taught from a very early age that we must act and behave in a certain manner that is ‘lady-like.’ The connotations surrounding this are pervasively submissive and subservient. Too many of us value our worth against our attachment or lack thereof to a male.

My appeal on this International Women’s Day is for us to continue to create feminine ‘centrarchies’ where we are able to heal, grow and honour the women that we are. The universality of this notion calls us to collective action to support those amongst our clan who are abused, molested, marginalized, raped, objectified, victimized, ostracized and ridiculed and to celebrate those amongst us who are moving, shaking and transforming.

Together, let us join hands and hearts and share the blood, sweat, tears and laughter of the Divine Feminine. She lives within each and every one of us human beings.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

‘I can of mine own self do nothing’-- John 5:30

On 11-01-11, at approximately 1853 hrs Central African time, as I was wrapping up another neurotically busy day at work, my boss, to his office, summoned me. I am fast getting used to hearing his famous last words, ‘I need you.’

He had literally just received an unreasonable request from the head of our office. As I sat before him, he frantically outlined this latest one.

In that 23rd hour, it had dawned on ‘Madame’ as she is affectionately called, that 12 January marked 1 year since Haiti had been struck by a massive earthquake, one that the country to date is still struggling to emerge from.

She was demanding that a flag ceremony be arranged to accommodate up to 800 people, in less than 24 hours. For those who are unfamiliar with such protocol, this 7 minutes of pomp and circumstance would compel us to jump into very high gear, including the raising and lowering of the UN flag, placement of a wreath, a moment of silence and lastly, a few words echoed by Her.

As I listened to this professional command, I was having a very different inner [personal] response. Quickly I scanned my body to find where I may be holding my own remnants of this disaster that in an instant transformed my life up until that point. It was my heart that spoke to me and from where this appeal today emanates.

I recalled being propped up in bed working on another humanitarian project in South East Asia when I received the call which prompted my fast return home to Jamaica to establish the GVN Assessment Team that traveled into Haiti less than 12 days after the quake.

Today on 12 January 2011, with immense humility and gratitude, I am remembering the lives of those lost as a result of this quake. I can still feel the trauma – tense, tight and raw – that loomed over the land as our aircraft touched down with seven team members who arrived in Haiti, committed to making a viable contribution to the Haitian recovery.

Besides the agenda of our hearts, we had no clear vision as to how we might even begin to contribute to the reparations of this immense atrocity.

One thing I do know for sure is that in spite of the insurmountable odds, we gave it our all, which subsequently led to the placement of over 400 volunteers in Haiti over a period of 6 months; seemingly ordinary human beings taking on extraordinary circumstances and manifesting projects beyond their wildest expectations.

For a brief moment, across the world, we humans, managed to step away from ourselves to be of tireless service to our fellow beings. I pray that now, one year later, we do not wane. Especially now, Haiti needs us during her re-traumatizing moment.

At 1653 hrs today, wherever you may be, I invite you to join me as I pause for a moment of silence to reflect upon the strike of Mother Nature then, and how we may strive to show Her our love and respect today – such that She recognizes that we’ve heard her call and are committed to being the humans that she invites us to be – kind, loving, compassionate and respectful to all sentient beings.

As I approach the mat shortly, it is my intention to honour all those who chose to give of themselves so that the lives of others, known and unknown, may always lovingly be remembered.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fright and Flight: Is there a dark side to yoga?

About a year ago, one morning a student arrived reluctantly to class.

She claimed that she had chosen to stop practicing for several months as she found that whenever she practiced that she came away feeling in her words “depressed and out of sorts.”

My response/invitation to her was this: keep practicing. Sharing from my own experience, I related to her what I suspected may be happening within her. Given that our bodies are the canvasses upon which we paint our lives, perhaps her post-practice feelings were as a result of the body releasing untold works of art.

Something resonated because she chose to remain in the class that day. At the end, I acknowledged her courage and willingness to just be with her Self throughout the process. Over time, she became a regular participant in my morning classes.

As practicing yogis and yoginis, we approach our mats in reverence, gracefully. Sometimes we are surprised when unpleasant memories arise during our practice. Without the proper tools to confront and channel in these moments, we may be tempted to run away from them.

The first and most important tool is always available to us; namely the breath. When we are afraid or angry, we may notice that our breathing becomes short and agitated and emanates from the chest, rather than from the base of our abdomens.

It ain’t for nothin’ that whenever we face anger, either within ourselves or another, our innate advice is to take a deep breath and calm down.

This morning, I found myself in precisely the same situation of my student of a year ago.

Since my arrival to the Central African Republic two weeks ago, my meditation and asana practice have been my refuge and my strength. Truth be told, had I not been blessed with the gift of yoga, for a variety of inane reasons, I may have already flipped – perhaps this explains the sublime improvement in my inversions these days?

Heeding to my own advice, rather than sit and ponder my frightful plight, each morning, in spite of some degree of resistance, I have approached the mat, humbly.

The question that arose this morning startled me: is there a dark side to yoga?

For a brief nano-second, my deepest dark inner voice mustered, ‘perhaps you should keep off the mat for a while.’ Immediately though, wisdom shone through and pushed me to keep breathing as I reached up toward the sky in Warrior I.

Here in the remote, forgotten heart of Africa, fear and anger – different sides of the same coin I might add – have arisen within, vengefully.

These issues that have spilled themselves from within and onto the mat have been ‘fast and furious.’ My recurring rhetorical question is: why am I here?

Suffice to say, my initial impressions remain incomplete after two weeks. Usually, I am able to garner a feeling for a place from the moment that I step off the aircraft. Then again, in a place such as this where linear time seems non-existential, equanimity is essential.

Bangui, the country’s capital, is one long main red-dirt road with a few shops selling prohibitively expensive goods by shop owners who are mainly of Lebanese and Turkish extraction.

Characteristic of many developing countries, the polarities are stark. Along “The Strip” is it not uncommon to see an array of luxury vehicles – I’ve even seen a Hummer. Yet right alongside this supposed mark of affluence, prostitution is blatant and accepted as part of the status quo.

As elsewhere, the level of poverty is incomprehensible, silencing almost. To see it creates a twisted, futile validation that perhaps holds the clue as to why I am indeed here. This remains to be seen.

Whereas my time in Sudan taught me patience, I see where my lesson here is one of acceptance. Acceptance though can be conflicting and contradictory because what I note here is one that is laced with numbing apathy.

So in this vision, I’ve accepted that these are the lessons that are forth-coming to a humble student of Life. My duty is to Face them, Embrace them, Accept them and then eventually Release them.

For me, this is the essence of FEAR.

The practice of yoga is not for the weak at heart. In the words of David Life in the film Titans of Yoga “yoga is not for everyone. If you’re completely happy, satisfied and at peace within yourself and your life, then there is no need for yoga.”

At the end of my practice when I bow my head in *Namaste and then I open my eyes and take in the view of the Oubangui River before me and the coast-line of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) just beyond I brim with gratitude for having the courage to approach the mat and to take the practice from it into my heart and out into the world.

For then, the real yoga begins.

*The Divine within me honours the Divine that exists within you.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Paying attention, mindfully

One afternoon while visiting a friend, we tuned into a pretty fascinating programme on the science channel of that proverbial box that seems to consume us; i.e., the television. Imagine this: living in a home that is entirely computerized – from opening the door to keeping inventory of what may or may not be on our kitchen shelves or in our refrigerators. In the words of the narrator, ‘imagine never having to run out of milk ever again!’ A simple scan of the item ‘automatically’ has it delivered to your doorstep by the following morning. This world is closer than we think; dangerously so I might add.

LIFE, at our fingertips, brings further away from discovering the essence that we truly are.

Later, while laying in Savasana (corpse pose) during the twilight hours of what had been an otherwise grueling day up until this point, I began to ponder the distinction between paying attention and being mindful. For me, the former is passive, permitting us like a Pavlov dog to react to directed stimuli. Being mindful on the other hand, demands that we play an active role in carving the life that we choose to lead – abundantly so.

In the words of Marilyn Munroe, ‘I am always running into peoples’ unconscious;’ the end result of a linear life that is led by polarities.

Lately, I seem to be suffering from the ‘Munroe Syndrome.’ As a yogini, one could argue that I ought to be able to make this annoying phenomenon wash over me, however this is easier said than done for one that has more than their fair share of another popular affliction, one that is rooted in control; i.e., the ‘Type A’ personality.

Once revered, even businesses today are beginning to recognize that the Type A personality while undoubtedly useful, [it] lacks vision, hence the high rates of burnout that are experienced by such types.

In today’s world where everything has already been done and tested, we are witnessing and experiencing a call for something different, one that produces more meaningful results than the insanity that we’ve continued to weave under the illusion that this is life.

The notion of paying attention takes us outside of ourselves rather than bringing us closer to our centres; the only place where any sort of transformation is possible. Rather when we are mindful, we are able to see the connectedness in the ebb and flow of our lives and therefore respond responsibly and appropriately rather than from mere impulse.

So how then, do we live mindfully? The first step starts with bringing awareness to the breath; the main hallmark of the gift of yoga. Even if we then choose to live in a world that invites us to scan our way through our existence, through mindfulness, with gratitude, we are able to appreciate even more the wonders of scientific advancements such as a fully computerized home.

However as we move at breakneck speed towards technology I question the fate of the human condition and its need for love, something that no degree of technology will be able to provide for/to us.

New age ‘dis-eases’ like attention deficit disorder aka ADD, is reportedly a direct result of information overload – a very simplified synopsis of a seemingly complicated issue that affects all aspect of our being. Gosh, with the onslaught of information coming at us via telephone, SMS, BB, MMS, Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, newspaper, television and the good ole’ word of mouth, it is a miracle that we even manage to remember our names! Thankfully, those seem to get sewn into the threads of our DNA whether or not we are aware of this. When our names are called, it evokes and resonates a certain vibration within us and depending on the intonation of that calling, dictates how we respond or react.

Not to be mis-construed or mis-understood, I am by no means advocating that we shun paying attention and opt to wade mindlessly through life. Instead, I am inviting us to be mindful such that it takes the work out of paying attention. Being mindful requires that we trust ourselves and listen to our inner voices from a place of courage rather than succumbing like a helpless victim to that voice of fear that always lurks around the corner, like an angry cat, waiting to pounce upon its prey.

In paying attention to our inner guides we open ourselves up to mindfulness, the abundant flow of this thing called Life.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Bientot!

Eight months ago, I had absolutely no inkling whatsoever that I would be penning the entry that I’m about to share with you.

In the words, of [John] Lennon, ‘life is what happens while we’re busy making plans.’

Roll-back to December 2009. Life finds me in my sacred spiritual sanctuary in S.E. Asia; Bali. My soul has come home. I’m looking forward to setting up my own little pad just on the outskirts of Ubud, and Meghan and I are excitedly brain-storming various ideas for the upcoming BaliSpirit Festival.

12 January 2010. Haiti is struck by a massive earthquake and I am compelled to respond, someway, somehow. Immediately I set to work, and by the time I land in Jamaica on 16 January, on behalf of Global Volunteer Network (GVN), I have managed to assemble an advance team of multi-talented professionals to make an initial assessment visit into Haiti.

3 August 2010.

It is with a mélange of contradictory yet confronting emotional feelings that I depart Haiti today, as [now former] Director of the GVN Haiti Volunteer Programme initiative.

During my time overseeing this programme, through the dauntingly hard work of individuals moved to make a difference in the lives of others, GVN has made viable contributions to the lives of hundreds of Haitian people. What’s more, for many of these volunteers – myself included – Haiti captured their/our hearts and moved them/me in ways they/I had ever imagined humanly possible.

Perhaps it was my own illusory thoughts of being a world class humanitarian veteran that brought me to Haiti in the first place! One thing I know for sure, Haiti is not for the weak at heart. As one meanders through the hills and valleys, streets and alleyways, this is a country that takes your breath away – and in some instances, not pleasantly so!

However, herein lays the allure that is the spirit of Haiti. As I shared with the kindred spirit seated next to me on my flight today from Port au Prince, aka, PAP to Miami, Haiti is undoubtedly the Africa of the Western hemisphere. Its soul and spirit has the ability to seep under your skin, ooze into your pores and stir up your emotions to unfamiliar levels that can and do manifest themselves into all sorts of actions. Few places with the exception of India and Africa have managed to evoke this sort of raw, primal emotion for me.

Yesterday, as I made my final rounds around Jacmel, I stopped by one of the very first places that we’d visited in Haiti – Le Rousse Ecole; a tiny orphanage jam packed with way too many children – from babies to age 10 – to be remotely comfortable. As I entered, my jaws literally dropped. The vast improvement in the aesthetics of the place in a matter of mere months, made my heart fill with humble pride and my eyes brim with tears.

Within a matter of seconds, there he was; the little withdrawn boy who I bonded with on my first visit to this orphanage. 5 months ago he was still a toddler. This time, his hair had been cut and he looked ever so handsome yet still withdrawn, in his little khaki and chocolate brown plaid overalls. Our immediate recognition brought us into a tiny corner where we could be alone, removed from all of the ‘frenzied-ness’ of the other kids who were only too happy to have another set of ‘new’ friends from abroad, bringing with them hearts filled with love and the possibility of hope. It is not unusual in such settings to have at least 5 children dragging and pulling at one’s hair, legs, arms, t-shirts, ID cards hanging from our necks, you name it.

The presence and memory of this withdrawn kid haunts me as much today as he did when we first encountered each other. When I inquired as to why he would be so withdrawn, volunteers with education experience informed me that this was likely due to under-stimulation. I intend to delve deeper.

Just prior to leaving the orphanage, the adults who oversee it called me in for a meeting. With some degree of apprehension, not quite sure of their agenda, I approached the even tinier room just off to the right of the single concrete floored classroom. Upon arrival, they offered me a seat. Obligingly, I accepted and smiled, wanting to exit this hot, cramped and unpleasant smelling spot as expeditiously as possible.

Our meeting began with the gentleman thanking me for coming to visit, and how the contribution of the volunteers have made a meaningful difference to the lives of these children. He further explained that plans were underway to re-locate the orphanage to a newly acquired plot of land that had been donated them. He was most eager to know whether I and/or GVN would be in a position to support this upcoming endeavour. I responded by letting him know that while I could not promise cash, that through our volunteers, especially those with construction/building experience, that we’d be only too happy to support this new dream for the community and the beneficiaries especially – these beautiful, innocent children who have been abandoned for one reason or another. True to Haitian form, he expressed his gratitude with such graceful dignity.

Next was the Madamme’s turn to speak – through her makeshift interpreter – the gentleman who had just concluded his ‘delivery’ to me. As she looked deep into my eyes with her large, hopeful ones, we sat across from each other, and I held out my hand to hers. This is what she said:

‘Mme. Nadine, I am very, very happy to see you here today. Even though we have not seen you for a long time, I see you in each and every volunteer that comes to Rousse Ecole. Thank you for remembering us and for your commitment to wanting to make a difference.’

In this moment, something deeply powerful transpired – at least for me. Irrespective of language, whenever humans, women especially, choose to step into who we truly are – spiritual beings having a human experience for the time that we know as NOW – only transformation is possible. This is what my encounter at the orphanage reminded me of.

As I thanked her for this necessary lesson, I promised that I would continue to maintain contact with them – directly as well as through the volunteers.

For now, my work in Haiti is complete. With several lessons learned, some more complexed than others, with immense gratitude, respect and love, I acknowledge each and every individual who have made this GVN Haiti Initiative possible – building something from absolutely ground zero to where we are today, having had a positive impact on the lives of others, and not least of our ourselves.

A Bientot!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Happiness is an inalienable [American] right!

On 15 July, along with one of my dearest friends, I spent the day at Orlando’s Magic Kingdom.

Talk about the perfect way to spend one’s landmark birthday – or any day for that matter, especially if one is tempted to feel ‘down and out’ in the dumps of desperate depression. In short there is no space provided at Walt Disney’s World for the expression of such dark emotions. With the dramas of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Snow White and Cinderella to name a few, one’s own stories quickly fade in comparison.

Upon arrival, we were each given a large fluorescent green round pin with balloons that screamed, ‘I’m celebrating.’ Yvonne was given an additional button that said ‘Happy Birthday Yvonne.’ The subsequent result of this second button was that everywhere we went, total strangers, filled with so much love and joy, presented her with greetings of ‘Happy Birthday Yvonne.’

In shops and restaurants, she even received special treatments – like the nine men who serenaded her ‘Happy Birthday’ along with after dinner dessert. And at the bakery where we stopped for afternoon tea, she was presented with the largest chocolate chip cookie I’d ever seen, sealed with a kiss from Mickey Mouse.

The last time that I’d been at Disney World was a very long time ago. In fact, I’d gone with my Dad and one of my childhood memories that remains vividly etched in my mind is the laughter that emanated from my Dad even 30 minutes after we’d descended from our roller coaster ride on Space Mountain.

At the impressionable age of 10, the Magic Kingdom felt divinely real. Thirty odd years later, it was the most surreal experience that two girlfriends could ask for.

As we meandered through the ultimate ‘Fantasy-land,’ I internally mused, ‘when, why, where and how’ do we manage to lose our childhood wonder? I was awash with emotion as I watched a Disney Musical performance with the Magic Kingdom Palace as the backdrop where the over-arching theme was, ‘everything is possible, find the dream inside of you.’ Prior to this, the last time I was reminded of this was during my stay at the Sivananda Ashram in South India, a stark contrast to my present Disney surroundings filled with happy smiley faces, cotton candy and a large overdose of ‘make belief reality.’

Perhaps one of my most memorable rides was on our adventure cruise around the world, ‘It’s a Small World’ [after all]. In awesome wonder I recognized how my adult life has essentially been a mirror reflection of my present little sojourn – from Africa, to Asia, to the Middle East to, South America and to the United States of America, 'land of the brave, home of the free.'

One could easily describe me as a dream weaver and a dream catcher; a gift that enables me to see the connectedness in all things, great and small. While one may not immediately liken my Disney experience to being a yogic one, it certainly felt that way. A roller coaster ride through the crooked mountain provided us with ample opportunity to breathe and evoke sounds by way of screams as we approached the wicked drops that our ride entailed. This literal ride was symbolic of life as I know it – a roller coaster ride filled with peaks and troughs – best approach through breath and living in the moment. Dumbo the Elephant, a seemingly large and harmless creature gave me a moment to pause and honour Ganesh, the ultimate remover of obstacles.

Throughout the park, Disney re-enacted scenes from various aspects of American culture – from the Native American Indians – another spiritual element to the animals of the wild – deer and bears.

As the sun began to set, followed by torrential downpours towards the end of our magically surreal and wonderful day at Disney’s World, and like a child, exhausted in the most exhilarating way from all of the sensory stimulation of the day, I am filled with the gratitude for the love of a lifelong friendship.

Elatedly happy, we departed Disney’s world filled with special memories that will warm our hearts and cheer our souls. Should Darkness choose to make an unannounced visit in the near future, I will draw from my Disney experience, and,


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Journal Entry; 3 June 2010

Recently I read an Eisenhower quote that said something to the effect that when caught in a quagmire, one needs to move to a higher level/state of consciousness to find resolve.

Another trans-Atlantic flight, 30,000 feet above sea level, at the very least presents me with this physical possibility.

Who was it that said that the opposite of love is fear?  As much as I love being ‘above and beyond it all,’ I also note where I don’t travel as comfortably as I once did.  Perhaps this has to do with an emerging state of consciousness.  On the other hand, it mightn’t even be that sophisticated – I’m being mindful not to develop a fear of flying as this would totally usurp my commitment to being a global humanitarian and Universal Empress. 

June 1st, six months into the start of 2010 caught me between European cities; I awoke in Den Haag – my old stomping ground and 12 hours or so later, slumber found me in London town.

Upon arrival in London, I attend a yoga class with one of my favourite Jivamukti teachers; Cat.  She shares with us about having her in-laws to stay for the weekend and invites us to honour our parents irrespective of what our relationships with them may be.  I’m in awe.  At one point when she comes to assist me with a posture, she says, ‘you’ve literally smiled throughout this entire class.  I wish more students could find their joy in their movement.’  This is the power of yoga; saying everything and nothing.  Making a connection without having to explain it away with words.  Namaste.

In this month, both of my parents will celebrate landmark birthdays; on 2 and 17 June respectively.  I’m sad because I’ve missed the one on the 2nd though happy that my Higher Powers provided me with a glorious London day with clear blue skies so that when I called and sang Happy Birthday while standing at the corner of St. John’s Wood, I could feel the love emanating through the telephone line. 

Thankfully, I’ll be home for both Father’s Day and Mum’s birthday.  My greatest wish is to just shower them both with love. 

Prior to Den Haag and London, I’d been in Italy, co-facilitating GVN’s first European based ‘Be The Change’ (BTC) programme; a resounding success at many levels.

Given that I had been riding a Haitian roller-coaster emotionally akin to Disney’s ‘Space Mountain’ with intermittent twirls on the proverbial Merry-go-round, it literally took me 48 hours after arriving in magical Italy to unwind and embrace the beauty that surrounded me.  It was also the first real indication I had of how close I was to the edge of burnout.  For my family, friends and colleagues who have bore witness to my 19 hour days, 7 days weekly for the past several months, they may bet to differ and say that I was already smoldering.

In spite of being geographically removed from Haiti, still I continued to be pulled in several directions – being a stand for others wanting to Be The Change, supporting the Haiti initiative from afar, teaching yoga and oh, as if I didn’t have enough going on, having to worry about the impact of the elusive Mr. Coke; aka Dudus, on Jamaica and my community there.  Divinely though I was being taken care of as where in Italy, I did not have access to television.

One morning in particular, I would too soon forget this vivid sequence of events:

·      0600 hrs: exhausted and feeling rather unwell, awake to an e-mail that invokes a serious argument; one of those where you shake from inside out, head to toe

·      0630 hrs:  SMS message arrives to inform me that Jamaica is in a state of emergency

·      0700 hrs:  teaching yoga class

·      0900 to 1400 hrs:  Presentations to 20 participants about life in the humanitarian world

Overwhelmed and on the verge of being buried by it all, somewhere between 0630 hrs and 0645 hrs, my inner voice of calm and reason reminds me to live in the moment and to take all of these dramas with a dose of equanimity, breathe, and do one thing at a time.  Ah, in the end, not such a bad day after all.  For the yogis out there, why does it seem to always take a situation where we are rendered helpless to understand the essence of equanimity?

Upon completion of BTC and not wanting to play tourist in Italy of all places – tells you where my state of mind, body and soul were – craving the comfort of the familiar and being surrounded by love – kinda impromptu, I venture home – to the land of canals, cheese and clogs.  Being surrounded by nature and lifelong core friends this short sojourn served as the thirst-quenching dose of respite to restore my stability, focus and perspective.  I filled my days with meandering walks and my evenings with leisurely heart-filled intimate dinners with loved ones.

As I bode my eclectic Dutch family ‘tots later’ – Miranda, Sole, Joe, David, Sofia, Suzie and Sander – I knew that I was definitely guided to be in Holland at this juncture in my life.  During my almost 9 years of living there, the last three [years], were living hell.  The transmutation that life circumstances there presented me were in fact a gift; one that I was unable to recognize until 3 years later while having a Eureka moment at my desk in Indonesia.  In acceptance of that moment and with an almost overdose of courage, I managed to depart a life that had served me well for most of my adult life and to leap empty handed into the dreaded void.

June 3, 2010

AA 105.  Remaining flight time to destination:  3:07 hrs.

The week ahead is one that I’ve greatly looked forward to; participating in a yoga workshop entitled ‘Off the Mat and Into the World.’  This workshop that will be held upstate NY combines yoga and activism.  AND I managed to get a scholarship to boot!  The crème de la crème to this workshop for me will be spending time in the presence of Marianne Williamson; the other of ‘A Return to Love.’  In it she states,

‘….our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure….our playing small does not serve us nor the world in which we live…’

Ha!  In humble gratitude, even I am watching the space.

And so it is.