Hope and Healing

I know it’s been almost a week now since Yoga for Congo Women in Pennsylvania. I have had a hard time writing about this one.  It was just so personal and so perfect…I didn’t know if my words would ruin the beauty like something fragile.

Do you know the feeling of something being so beautiful, so perfect, there is almost a sweet pain upon remembering it?  Some part of you that longs for it deeply.

The honor I had of being immersed in so much goodness and love from so many people.  It’s something I still can’t describe.

Each time I do this, it somehow becomes more a part of who I am.  It becomes more and more exquisite and beautiful.  I feel immersed in perfect love.  I think it is because my heart becomes more open, and I allow for more teaching and love to enter my heart.

Though I have a very sensitive heart, I have shielded and protected it for most of my life.  Taking away that protection means opening yourself up to pain.  Each time I come to these events, my own shield falls away more and more.  I think it’s because I see so many people who trust me enough to come and drop their own shield.  They know they will hear things they’d rather not hear.  They must know it will be painful.  Yet they love and trust enough to come anyway.

That love envelopes me and washes away my own defenses.

This time, it hit me full force.  I don’t know if it was all of the exhaustion of late.  But I had no defenses left.  Secretly, I was almost afraid of what I would feel.

I cannot describe the feeling in that beautiful room.  I have rarely, if ever, felt so much unhindered love from so many people.  Yes, my defenses were gone, and yes, the pain and sorrow of the world and my own little problems washed over me.  I could not help but silently cry during parts of the presentation.

But it didn’t end there.  Having an open heart meant being open not only to deeper pain.  It meant being open to love and healing in a way that I don’t think I have ever experienced.  The connection I felt, the level of love I felt for the women in the room and the women we were trying to help…I still haven’t been able to find words for it.  My friend Nicole put it so well: “It was as if I had witnessed something very holy.”

The feeling in that room…it was sacred.  So much love.  So much power.

Lately, before I left for Pennsylvania, I have been so sad.  So full of confusion, stress, worry, anger, and frustration.  Healing and hope washed over my aching heart like a warm wave.

The next day, after trying to cram as much talking time in with a cherished friend as we could, and the rush of airport security, I sat, alone and quiet, for the first time in I don’t know how long.

I was in a crowded airport full of people.  I couldn’t stop crying.  I just felt so full…of so much and so many things.  So full that it felt that my physical human frame was almost incapable of the level of feeling I was experiencing.

I am awed, humbled, and amazed that I of all people have had the honor of this journey.  Insignificant, awkward, terribly imperfect me.

Thank you, with all of my heart, to each beautiful soul who came, who helped, and who changed me forever.  I am awed by the incredible people I met last weekend.  Thank you, Nicole, for your passion and love, and for organizing everything in spite of the incredible and awesome responsibilities you have.

All photos by Mike Dirle and Nicole Shiffler

I set out trying to change lives.  But I am awed, each and every time.  We do change lives in that one hour.  But something I never expected is how much we change our own.  Each time we open our eyes at the end, I am a different person than I was an hour ago.

My life is forever changed again.

I’ll be back soon with moments of our life moving forward.  This has been such a fascinating week.  A special birthday and many decisions have been part of it.  :)

8 Responses

  1. Anne

    Ann,
    Your little imperfect self inspires me so much. You make others feel like they CAN do something, and be part of something so sacred. I love your work, and you. Thank you for all of your hard work and for your impeccable example of Christ-like service and love.

    May 5, 2011 at 9:39 am

  2. www.theevolvinghomemaker.com

    So beautiful. You are such an amazing human being, the planet is blessed to have you on it.
    Can’t wait for the next one in Denver! I love the photo of the five little gals in their five little pink frilly skirts. That is loveliness right there…

    ;)
    Jen

    May 5, 2011 at 10:36 am

  3. Krista

    *sniffle* (I think every comment I make here starts with that, whether I record it or not…) Something holy, indeed. :) I’ve recently (finally) noticed the grammar in a scripture about charity: it’s *being possessed of it*, not *possessing it* – there’s a yielding to holiness involved, and that holiness is far greater than ourselves, and much more expansive and all-encompassing. Uniting. Beautiful.

    May 5, 2011 at 11:11 am

    • Ann

      Krista…THOSE were the words I was looking for. Thank you. Love you. :)

      May 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm

  4. Libby Ipson

    You’re amazing! I’m so profoundly amazed at all you accomplish and are able to do in your busy life. I’ve recently realized I have way too much time on my hands and hope to someday grow up to be like you. : )

    May 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm

  5. Christine

    Can we schedule another Vernal event this year? Pretty, pretty please? :)

    Sure love you. You’re doing good things! It was fun to see you for a little while this weekend.

    May 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm

  6. Debbie Domenici

    Such beautiful words! I NEED to attend another event! When and where is the next one, or should we schedule another one here? Glad you had a wonderful experience there. Can’t wait to hear what decisions you are making. Love and miss you!!

    June 9, 2011 at 9:17 pm

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