The journey to Afghanistan
That's me, during one of my beloved walks into the hills around Chegcharan, where I lived for six months of my time in Afghanistan. If you look closely you can see the village of Chegcharan in the distant background, to the upper right of the picture. You have to look carefully because the mud-brick buildings blend so well into the landscape.
My personal journey to Afghanistan began when I understood, very early in my life, that resources and opportunities were not shared fairly around the world. When I was a pre-schooler my parents moved to Papua New Guinea to work as missionaries and I came to see just how unevenly the world's resources are spread.
Finding my purpose
As a child I knew that I couldn't just accept things the way they were. I needed to find a way to live my life that would be adding to the stock of justice and well-being for all. Because I was a talkative (okay, an argumentative) little thing, the obvious route was human rights law. I found my path early and I didn't deviate from it. I had a sense of strong purpose and an even stronger sense of connection to the global community. People everywhere were my people. I was called to act globally.
More recently, as my life has moved through the seasons that a life moves through, I have been moved towards acting more locally. Yesterday I taught the second session of a seven week Yoga in Action course here in my local community.
Discovering your unique role in life
The course was developed by Seane Corn, Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling of Off the Mat, Into the World. I was trained by them this past summer, and now I'm preparing to offer this course here in New Zealand.
The purpose of the course is to support the participants to embark on a journey of self-inquiry, with the support of a small group, that leads to action within our community and outside world. "Action" here could mean anything from healing relationships with family and friends, to extending oneself to the larger community, or to doing national or international work.
The heart of the process is to know ourselves, uncover our motivations and our purpose, to understand the nature both of our interdependence and of our unique role in the web of life. Your unique experiences - including the challenges - have given you insights, strengths and abilities that enable you to serve others in a way that nobody else could do.
You have a purpose, you are needed
Right now this work seems more important than ever. In the wake of a tragedy on the scale of the earthquake in Haiti so many of us are left wondering what more we could be doing.
Some of us are called to act globally. Some of us are moved to act locally. Some of us are the manual labourers of change, others of us are the architects. Some of us are drawn to large-scale change, others know that our strength is in our ability to give our full attention to the small things that add up to everything.
Whatever your style, you do have a purpose and you are needed. We are all needed and together, we are enough.
If you'd like to know more about the Yoga in Action courses and how you can find out about them in your area, leave me a comment.