In my first post of this adventure I shared my experience of expectations versus reality around where and how my volunteer time would be spent. More specifically communicating how originally I was going to be creating a volunteer yoga program, but then it fell through.
In the first weeks of being here I’ve been caught up in the whirlwind of all that goes into the transition of living in a new country, new culture and new language; in addition to all the learning that goes into the onboarding process for a new position, new industry and new organization. I have truly loved so many elements of the process and have continued to feel excitement about the possibilities.
All the while I have continued to been present to the desire to offer yoga to the community I’m now part of in a meaningful, need-inspired way. Not having a clue of how it would work – What are the needs? How will I connect to the people? How will it fit in with my other responsibilities? Where do I start? Even as I write this I feel the impatience and anxiety that began to creep in. I recognized this as another moment to choose – would I allow this time of waiting and discovering to be filled with anxiety and resistance, or might it be an opportunity to trust the process and create space to allow things to unfold. This has been the crux of the tension in waiting – what does it mean to be a powerful creator of my life, while also having faith in my journey and allowing things to flow?
Naming my desires – this practice came back to my mind as a gentle invitation. This is an important and powerful part of Ignatian discernment which I discovered in my time working for a Jesuit University. So feeling moved, I wrote my desires down – being both clear and specific about what was stirring within me. I wanted to offer yoga to people with physical, emotional and mental pain, who may not otherwise have access to it. From there I felt the urge to email my friends from Dong Hoi to ask for their creative ideas. The energy started moving as many supportive responses began to come back.
Within 2 days from that time I received a call from the Director of an organization called the Association of Empowerment for Persons with Disabilities. She heard about me from a new colleague at the NGO I’m volunteering for. Wow. Wow! I felt the growing anticipation as our meeting drew near. Among the variety of collaborative opportunities we discovered that day, just last week, developing a yoga and mindfulness program for their organization was at the top of the list. More specifically they asked if I could train their staff and the family members of those identified as having disabilities on how to offer mindfulness-based practices and yoga to support this population. I could barely believe it – this was beyond what I could have imagined possible! And as I look at it now – it appears as though I found ease from the tension through being in a dance – a dance between staying active and engaged in pursuing my calling, and yet also giving space and time for things to unfold in a more expansive, organic way.
So I invite all of us to reflect on who we are and how we show up in the waiting spaces of our lives. What is your automatic response? What fears arise? Might there be practices you can lean into to give rise to your engagement in the dance of simultaneously acting and reflecting?