This journal chronicles the adventures of a risk-taking, wanderlusting, kaleidoscope-eyed, strong-willed, peace-seeking
explorer taking on the title of Peace Corps Volunteer in the African country of Zambia. Follow me vicariously through
time and space to taste a little slice of my sweet life!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Sacred Self Reflection

Today I'm thinking about all the sacrifices I have made to fulfill a longtime dream of mine to serve overseas, albeit in the middle of the African Bush. For the contract of over two whole years I have dedicated myself to this land and its people, every day, living closely to both. I am missing my family's and (BEST, seriously each so dear to me) friends' marriages, divorces, career achievements, children's births.. Luckily no funerals yet.. But I have been to plenty here in central Zambia...

I have momentarily forgone other dreams, job opportunities, paths worth pursuing... In reflection, I used to let fear overwhelm me... Fear of missed opportunities, having to choose paths... And now I groggily laugh, HA!, Alas!, I have chosen for now. [These days, as a fact, I no longer fear. Fear escapes me. I have adapted in more ways to more unusual situations than I can count.]

All in all, it's a simple life here. Struggles abound, I greet the light of day with a smile. Even on a rainy day, it is welcome here. It's an odd simulation, though, I must say. I'm given a general outline of a job description, dumped in a two room mud brick house and have to budget a peanut salary. Then, I have a community asking me questions in a foreign language and I'm suddenly conforming to the cultural norms of the village. Ok great - challenge accepted.

Cut to, 10 months and 3 seasons later I am facing a certain time block ahead of me... Knowing what I know now... The language, the job, the seasons... And I just sit here painting my walls with the rain outside and my crops emerging from the soil in my field.. And I think, I am so content. But what's next? I'm a bit of an analyzer, if you know me at all. I take a lot to heart, too. I calculatingly fly off the seat of my pants and I chase dreams til I'm riding their clouds.

Photo courtesy of a 5 y.o.
Just noticed there's paint on me here too, ha!
I mentioned how happy I am these days... But damnit I get filled with inescapable emotion when I think about all the other fantastic days of my family and friends. I truly value the ways in which I can stay connected with them.. When it's possible.. I do live in the bush and half the world's time zones away.

Still, I am carving out this little happy chunk of time to serving the people around me in any way I know how. Oh, and I am in proximity to dozens of wondrous destinations around this continent and I have ample time to see so many! And it's not just me here in Zambia. I have made countless friends and brought along two fantastic ones that I already knew!

Now, I tell you, I'm growing within myself and in my gardens. I'm seeking, I'm finding. I'm being kind to myself and others. I'm gaining confidence in all things. I still have trouble simply living day to day, but the pace of life and the people here have dictated my rate of project completion and enforced a continuum of working to live.

Indeed, I have witnessed both working to live (here) and living to work (in the states) to their extremes.. And as I sit here covered in paint, listening to rain mixed with a cool jazz hi-hat tremble from my speaker, I think, I am so content.

I am as happy for my friends and family living their dreams as I am here living mine.. And I'm real happy for them! I look ahead with my palms outward facing, my blessings on my back, and my eyes wide open to what bliss I am to find next.

This small dissertation was the result of a moment to myself. These moments we each need; to align ourselves with our own destiny. Try it for yourself. Produce art, listen to music, revere nature - all at once if you are lucky. Find inspiration everyday: in the work you do, in the ones you love, in the reflection you make.


I am wishing everyone near and far Happy Holidays and don't forget to keep in touch. Love and Joy!

Brandi
Current Mood: trembling Current Music: Again Today/Hiing My Heart - Brandi Carlile