What does it mean to change? How much change is possible? How can you accept yourself as you are AND make room for change? These are hard questions for me to answer.
I am nearly finished with an amazing book by a woman I am honored to know named Emily Holland. The book, “And Still Peace Did Not Come” is the heartbreaking tale of a woman (Agnes) from Liberia, coming of age in the midst of unimaginable destruction and trying to find her place in the world. Agnes essentially stumbles her way into her life’s work – helping former child-soldiers in Liberia recover from the war and rebuild.
Talk about damaged human beings in desperate need of change. Tens of thousands of children were ripped at gunpoint from their families, made to watch unimaginable horrors, drugged, beaten, raped and forced to commit heinous acts against their own friends, family and strangers.
After 14 years of war and nearly eight years of peace, former child-soldiers are now grown men and women, but remain drug addicts and outcast members of society with nowhere to turn.
The realities that these souls face are more than sobering. Their plight brings into crystal clear focus the challenges we all face with forgiving ourselves and others; with learning from the mistakes we have made; and with believing in our (and other’s) ability to change.
While it seems unfair to make any parallel between my charmed life and the life of a Liberian ex-combatant – there are threads that tie us all together. While far less dramatic, in my own life I am faced with the need to forgive, to learn from the past, to believe in change and to bravely step forward into an unknown future. To do this work requires a few key elements universally – an open heart, a clear mind and a sense of Self.
I am so grateful for meditation and yoga; two practices that have given me the tools to weather life’s storms. I am so excited to share these practices with others and especially through Africa Yoga Project in the months ahead.