from the heart...

some days are so profound...they snap you back into a reality you had long since trailed away from. people reminding you of your heart, your worth, your wealth. the girls center has been on a strike for the past week and with it no classes, no girls, no interaction and a certainty that my time in saint lucia would come to a screeching halt without a single good-bye or hug from the group of women and girls that have become my family. i understood of course, they are fighting for their right to increased wages and appreciation. but what was around the corner for me was so incredible even now my heart is bursting open with a love and tenderness i haven't felt in a long time. all of the women came into the center during strike to say good-bye and with them the girls. we had a nice lunch and a ceremony at the end of the day where we got to share with one another. there was not a dry eye in the room...mine producing the most moisture. it's rare that you sit in a room and hear of the impact you have made, the goodness you have instilled, the lives you have affected. it's rare to hear of the ways in which just being yourself proved powerful enough to impact a world view. and today was one of those days. where i heard. one by one staff and girls stood up and told me how i have impacted their lives. i was told how my tattoos were a put off in the beginning but taught to look beyond the exterior and look into the hearts of people to find truth. i was told how my ability to be me without fear of what others thought allowed for openness and gratitude. i was thanked for my words and my willingness to always have the girls backs...and how that simple gesture allowed them to open and listen and make life changes that will affect them for years to come. i was told how simply listening and connecting with a japanese volunteer helped her to settle and find her way a little more easily. i was given love. so much love. and it made me realize that in the year that i was unsure and uncertain but kept pushing on i was making a difference. i was having a powerful impact in ways i could have never imagined...and it made me realize how important we are as humans to one another. without ever sharing with the girls my own history or background...how i have been in their shoes...i was able to connect. i was able to listen. i was heard. it made me realize how powerful it is to put your differences aside...leave the struggles and pain at the door and push through no matter the situation...because it is that day in that moment that you might change someone's life. it made me realize that human connection and authenticity is really the greatest gift we can offer one another and when we live from our hearts, speak from our hearts, breathe from our hearts, and allow with our hearts...we truly can change the world.
so funny. i came into the peace corps with that lofty goal. i was told numerous times that goal is impossible...think smaller or you will burn out. i came to my own realization that maybe just affecting one life would be enough...would create a ripple..but here i am on my way out certain yet again that it is within my capacity to truly change the world. every person in that room was impacted by me in some way today. and that is an incredible feeling. but what is even more incredible is that my entire life and being has been forever changed by each and every one of them. and only for the better.
i was chosen. and i am so grateful i was.


some days...

Some days...I love you Sent Lisi...with your sea breezes promising to blow away any discomfort or uncertainties. On these days it seems everything will always be right. I love you when my day is full of kids doing it...living and loving and letting go. Days like today...when I woke before sunrise and practiced on your silent predawn bliss. When I run into incredible friends and stay for leisurely chats as if the world has nowhere for me to be. When the sun kisses my skin and reminds me how important it is to give gratitude for the warmth of life and feeling. Days like today fill my soul and make me feel as though all the pieces of the world are in place...and I wonder...should I stay here forever...as if forever exists...but then inevitably...some of your undercurrent shows Sent Lisi and I find myself trembling inside...longing for space to tear my heart out and scream...how can you be so ugly while maintaining such a beautiful face.

It's true I've been struggling and my emotional state has been so unbalanced. These life changes that are on my horizon are nothing less than magnificent and pulling me in a million directions. It's true that my mainfestation skills are seemingly on point which draws from all directions...it may even be true that I have a little negative karma that needs working out...but this place...this angst...you can keep it. And you should tuck it far away in a place that no one has to see. Being verbally assaulted, ridiculed, disrespected, shamed, cursed at, and belittled for an entire bus ride home simply because I was there and you were drunk. It's not okay. It's not okay. Sitting around while it's occurring and laughing...it's not okay. Not saying anything...it's not okay. If you came to my country or my town or were in my space and someone treated you the way you did me...I would speak out for you. I would stop your hatred because it's wrong. But I am here...living and loving in your country and you do not for me Sent Lisi.

My heart aches today for the disenfranchised. For the voiceless. My heart aches for you Sent Lisi and the message you are sending to your visitors...because while this has been my home...it is forever yours. And if you do not stand for it...it will fall. I wish for no one to ever feel the way I did on that bus this afternoon. I wish for no one to have to hold back tears and wonder what they could or should do. I wish for you to never feel that way and for no one to ever put you in that position and if I am ever given the opportunity to stand for you...I will...a hundred times. Because that is love. Universal Love.

Tomorrow I will wake up Sent Lisi and I will rise with your predawn soul. And I will whisper on your winds for a quieter storm to pass through. And peace to lift you up.