Project Haiti
Collaborative Effort to Bring Therapeutic Yoga to Haiti

Bumping up against something

Dear Friends. It seems like forever since I have posted an update on Project Haiti but that is mostly because things just happen so fast around here. Personally, I’ve been “bumping up against something” which we have all experienced many times in our lives. It is that time in your life when you feel unsettled and ungrounded and have a general feeling that something should/could  be different/better but you don’t know what it is, what it would look like or how to get there. (For me personal story on this click HERE and fasten your seatbelt) This is the very time that you need to breathe and be accepting of the moment you are in. Breath and trust that you will move through it and that it will become exactly what it needs to become. Forcing things or efforting to “hurry up and get through it” not only prolongs the process but may derail you from what is destined to happen. Sit, create space, observe and all will become clear.

This advice is easier to give than to observe! Project Haiti is coming together beautifully, organically and as it is meant to but I find myself to be impatient! Great things are happening. Steve, Maggie, Jenn and I are Skyping with Hannah at AMURTHaiti to discuss the details of their trip down there the first week of March. Steve and Maggie can take a look at how things are operating in the camp and many of our questions will be answered then. Questions such as how are the children and adults naturally congregating? Do the separate into groups? Is there much adult supervision? Is there a core team of care providers that we can train in the trauma techniques that we use? What is the living situation like? Where does food and water come from? Are there other nearby agencies to partner with? etc, etc, etc…In addition to Hannah, I have made contact with an amazing woman named Gretchen who is already doing trauma healing breath work for women in Haiti. We’ll be talking about bringing a yoga component to these women but whatever happens Gretchen is a wonderful person to be connected with.

In the meantime we have been in touch with PIH who has shown some interest in having us work with their returning first responders. This is fantastic news as the secondary trauma recovery piece of our project is very important to us. I have seen first hand how the witnessing or even listening to the retelling of traumatic events can burrow it’s way deep inside you and make a nice cozy home for the rest of your life. Like a tiny little parasite we don’t give it much head and taking the time and energy to “deal with it” just isn’t our first priority, and over time it becomes an excepted part of our inner/emotional landscape. But just like any other trauma it begins to inform our current life. Add to that the addition of other witnessed events and the landscape becomes inhospitable but by that time we can’t really understand why it is so. My mother has witnessed many traumatic events in her years as a Public Health Nurse and just listening to her second and third hand accounts of these things leaves me with the feeling of being violated. We are serious about this work and very honored to be engaging in it. Mark Lilly will be coming to Boston in March to lead a self care workshop for first responders. Stand by.

Last but certainly not least we are just waiting for the right time (we’ve already had a general invitation) to run a yoga for trauma workshop at IIB in Boston. The Haitian Population of Boston is grief stricken and suffering. Grief is a long process and needs to be met with acceptance and compassion. It can take many shapes and forms (I myself am still grieving the fracturing of my family and it has been nearly two years) from anger to sadness to complete shut down to everything in between. The only way out of grief is through and the only way through is to make space to sit with it, notice it, accept it without judgement, and allow it. Like most everything, it is the resistance of the feeling that feels so bad: Not the feeling itself. We will be helping where we can.

Our proposed trauma team is growing organically. I have been bombarded with information about relief efforts for Haiti since we started this and I applaud them all. I feel a pull to reach out to every one of them and join together to make one giant conglomerate of trauma relief but I know that is not reasonable. I am impatient because I want to help more, sooner, better but I need to remind myself to pull back and settle in for the long journey. In the meantime I ask myself “If I knew I were to die tomorrow, what would I do to make a difference today”. What would I do? I would tell every person I ran across that they were beautiful. I would say, “I am going to die tomorrow and I want to tell you that I love you because you are human and I am human and we are one”. Maybe, out of all the people I relayed that sentiment to, one person would feel a softening in their heart and a small relief in their suffering. I know I would.


2 Responses to “Bumping up against something”

  1. I am a practicing yogini and yoga teacher living in Port-au-Prince, Ayiti (Haiti). I find this project at once challenging and inspiring. I would like to get in touch with both you and Gretchen. How can this be done?

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