haphazardly integrated

i am in the midst of a pretty powerful break-up. it's heart breaking and wondrous in ways i have never known before. it's unlike any falling away i have previously experienced and definitely comes with it's own set of challenges and confusions...but it's intimately beautiful and precious at the same time.

having a relationship in peace corps is unlike anything i have ever experienced before. prior to becoming a volunteer, i had been single for a long, long time. single by choice. single with the need and desire to fully understand and integrate all pieces of myself so that when it was time...i could fully show up in a space that would allow even deeper growth, awareness, and understanding of the dark pieces of my shadow i couldn't see on my own. that personal growth took a long time. it took up a lot of space in the world...so much so that i got really comfortable with just me...and knew that when someone came knocking...it would be tough to open up the door all the way. but then i was in the peace corps. and life is different. and so the door opened and a little quicker and wider than i had imagined. and i fell in love. deeply in love. with another person that deeply and intricately reflected my shadows...the pieces of myself even i didn't want to acknowledge. so here i am in this world that is not mine...longing for connection and understanding and compassion and familiarity. i will be the first to admit i fell quickly into the comfort that was offered. but that is nothing new. it's my pattern. i always fall without regard and look back later wondering...if i had taken a little more time...would i have seen it differently. and consistently in that looking back i have regrets...longings and wishes that there would have been more...i would have done more, said more, known more....

so here i am in this deep, deep place with another human being...in a world that is not mine nor his...holding space in a haphazard kind of way because peace corps is haphazard. existence in peace corps is haphazard: characterized by lack of order or planning, by irregularity, by randomness; determined by or dependent on chance....and by chance my heart cracked open. all the pieces were in place for such an event. my heart was already bursting open wide with hope and possibility for this situation i was in...and when it started to prove more difficult than i expected and i became more distant from myself than i had ever known...a reflection of myself and my dreams and desires was the perfect addition to my experience. i fell in love. deeply in love with another human being. fell in love in a way i had never known before. in love with the dark pieces of myself that kept showing up in the cracks and crevasses of us. my heart cracked open. wide. and something magical happened.

i fell in love in a way i had never known. i fell in love in a way that kept me in when i could've walked away. i fell in love in a way that hurt deeper than i thought possible and kept me well aware of the truth that i am fully, intimately connected and alive along side every atom of this universe. i fell in love in a way that allowed me to see the essence of myself and ultimately fell in love so deeply that i had to walk away.

peace corps is haphazard. falling in love in peace corps is haphazard. it exists on levels that were unbeknownst to me before arriving on this island. it shelters in the storms that are forever rolling through and if we are not careful...it can aid us in getting so lost we think those bolts of thunder are how it's always been and always will be. i guess that is love though...strong, loud, powerful, scary, foundation-shaking. but here is the beauty of it...the beauty of love in the peace corps and this love that i have found...it has allowed me to find my heart open...even amidst the shadows and the pain and the struggles.

god has cracked my heart open again and again and again until this time....it is open...eternally. and gratefully. open.


finding the self in no self

It's been almost a month since I have come back from Saint Vincent. That trip and the choices since have ignited a significant change in me...one that was a long time coming and a reflection of the years of work I have done to get here. When I returned from Saint Vincent I returned with a renewed vigor for myself and my own growth. I recommitted to my yoga and spiritual practice and the integration of my past lives with my current Peace Corps life. This was not necessarily a conscious decision but more so a movement of soul. Let me give a little background.

My life has had its fair share of difficulties, challenges, edges that were mostly self imposed. I have taken high roads and low roads only to find myself forking to the left more than enough times. Somehow I have managed to always redirect my course and use the former twists and turns to ignite the next chapter all the while secretly, intricately interweaving the pieces to a form that has not yet presented itself...yet. What I have found as life has moved on and I have made choice upon choice is that those interwoven pieces somehow became lost...forgotten. Some, while painful and difficult to remember, were the pieces that truly define who I am on a deep level...a soul level. As if they are the pieces that have always been...joining me lifetime after lifetime in the hopes that the creases will get wrinkled out and the smooth form will take hold. As if they join me minute by minute in the hope that one day I will reconnect and all the pieces will take hold. I'm sure most of what I am saying makes no sense outside my own head...and even in there I'm not sure it was very clear until my return from Vincey and my commitment to stepping back on my yoga mat. Somehow that seemingly simple gesture, which I have performed hundreds of times before, turned on all the pieces of myself and the remembrance of who I am...truly...and how I wound up here.

Peace Corps is an interesting phenomenon. It is two years of your life where you constantly live in a state of uncertainty...of yourself and the world around you. I have spent the last year and a half in what seems to be a constant state of fight or flight mode. It has become such a common place to me now that I think I have just settled into it as normalcy. But when I stepped onto my mat this time...I realized something bigger has been happening. In the year and a half that I have been here I have relived every challenge, every difficulty, every hardship, every bad choice through different teachers. Same scenarios, different faces. While I had a small realization of this a few months ago...I didn't truly realize it until I was sitting in meditation one day and it all came flooding back. All of it. All of the memories and pieces of me I thought I had lost..all the pieces I worked to forget. I saw it so clearly...my experience in Peace Corps has been all about letting go and letting love. All of this time on this island has allowed me to reorganize and realize the deepest and truest nature of myself. When I opened my eyes from that meditation it was as though everything had integrated. And I let go. And I joined myself again in this world. In peace.

This morning as I was beginning my yoga practice a yellow breasted bird came and sat on the windowsill for quite a while and joined me in welcoming the day. In that moment I knew without a doubt every little thing is gonna be alright.