A lesson learned

It’s day 2 of the Uganda experience and I am exhausted. I actually left the group in the middle of the day today because I was copmpletely wiped out, emotionally and physically. Day 2. We started the day with our yoga practice. The practice felt good in my body. I felt strong and grounded and enjoyed the movement after days of travel and all of that stagnancy on the plane. By the time we got to savasana, however, something had shifted. Normally, savasana takes me to a deeply calm state. However, today all I felt was anxiety. It just popped up out of what seemed like nowhere. What the hell was going on? I assumed that my jet lag and sleep deprivation was catching up with me although that was my rational brain saying that. My emotional brain was freaking out because I just couldn’t have anxiety then! I had so much energy yesterday for our first day and our visit to the slums. I was surprisingly inspired and joyful after that experience. So, here I was this morning at 9 am feeling anxious and not ready for anything today and judging myself for it. Not helpful, of course. Last night in our group processing Seane spoke of how we could expect all sorts of emotional things to come us for us during the 2 weeks and how we should talk about them, be present for them and express them however we needed to, even if it’s some ugly  stuff coming up. We have to take care of ourselves so we don’t hold onto it and let it shut us down or close us off. It’s a lot to take in here and we need to acknowledge it and own it for ourselves. So, that was last night, it all made sense. And here I am at 9 am pissed off at myself for getting anxious.
So, I decided, after I got off the mat, to just be open to how I was feeling, breathe through it and move on with the day.
We started the day at Pace, learning about this incredible organization that serves the Ugandan community. Pace’s mission is to use their programs to improve the health of vulberable Ugandans  and promote sustained behavior changes. Part of what they do is create and distribute HIV prevention and care packages that include a safe drinking water system, condoms, mosquito nets and antibiotics. A lot of what kills people with HIV are the opportunistic disease that take hold of their vulnerable bodies and destroy their immune systems. So protecting from malaria, TB, and other diseases in important for those with HIV to remain healthy.
They are saving thousands of lives a year through this program. We took a tour of the warehouse and saw their operation. They are no machines doing the packing and processing. It is a dedicated group of workers who care about what they are doing and put their hearts and hands into creating these products for people. I thought about the woman whose family I met and spent time with yesterday, Abalo Betty. She and her entire family  have AIDS. The people in the slums don’t have access to many of these preventive AIDS programs and don’t have the means go out and seek it for themselves. There is just so much help needed in this country. It was great to see that Pace is making a positive difference in people’s lives although they are aware that there is much more work to be done as well.
After my experience at Pace, my emotional and physical state were not much better than this morning, actually a bit worse. I was exhasuted, sad and starting to feel physically ill. So, although there was more on our schedule for today, I  have learned through the guidance of Seane and Suzanne that if I don’t take care of myself, I’m not of much good and sustainable use to anyone else.
So, I listened to my inner guidance and decided to take the rest of the day off to rest, rejuvenate, and ground myself so that I can go out and be of service tomrrow in the best shape I can be in. There was a reason I was anxious this morning even if I’m not exactly sure what it was yet. But I trust that my body was trying to tell me something. Maybe it was trying to tell me to take care of myself, listen closely to my body, and just accept, not judge, what is going on with me. Well, that’s what I learned anyway. If I’m not taking care of myself, how can I do any good here for anyone else?

And onto  a new day…

xoxo Heather


2 Responses to “A lesson learned”

  1. 1 michele meixner
    February 9, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    dear heather,
    i just got done reading your journal entry of you challenging day and my blessings and love are with you. i have never done anything like this before and i can’t even imagine how challenging it is. i am however, thinking about doing this, the seva challenge, and immerse myself in a service of such humility and love.
    just know you are an amazing and lovely human to be there doing what you are doing…i mean i know you are already in touch with that, i guess i just want you to know that since i’ve read your story i will be sharing it with others and doing sun salutation prayers to you all, thus infusing more love and conscious into it all:)
    be well, be love, be peace
    i wish you all the best on your journey!
    michele meixner

  2. 2 Lea-Rae Belcourt
    February 25, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Nice! You listened to the wisdom of your body and your inner guidance then acted on it to honour yourself and what you needed in the moment. So many would ignore those signs.
    How did your day off go? Did it support you with the rest of your days in Uganda?

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