YOP – May

Is May really over? Wow.

The other day I was talking to Melissa and she said, “You’ve been gone for a year now, huh?” Not quite, Mel. But this month did go fast and now we are into June.

Do you know what the most exciting part of June is? NEW VOLUNTEERS!

Technically they are trainees, but the arrival of a new group is like Christmas to current volunteers. They are CHEDs (I am an education volunteer, therefore, in a different work sector) but I get to do a session in July during their PST. Just that work makes me thankful not to be in training – two of those are enough.

Enough about the future. This post is about reviewing last month in terms of my Year of Presence project.

May brought many of the Peace Corps-notorious ups and downs. One day I went home at 3 p.m., put on my pajamas and cried to Judd Appatow movies. Another day I was singing and walking through the village, so happy to be here. I felt useless. I felt useful.

Part of the reason I started this project was to focus on myself. To be present means to indentify who you are at the moment, not who you were or who you will be. All of my issues, insecurities, anxieties, apprehensions and fears are exposed here, where I spend a lot of time alone and unable to hide behind the daily routine. So, I am taking the opportunity to work on them.

I am not “fixed” – I don’t even believe that is possible or what I want. I want to be comfortable with myself as who I am, so I am working on that. It’s little things like not allowing myself to feel ugly or stomp off angry when things don’t go my way.

I am still working on self-acceptance but this month love for myself was stronger than it has ever been. I am happy with that.

With that a general happiness is settling in. I go to bed many nights smiling. I am creating stronger friendships with other volunteers and my villagers. And I am learning what I can do to best the volunteer that I can – and it isn’t a lot of projects.

In a month I will reach the mid-point of this project and I still haven’t reached my preferred level of presence. But, I’ve got time and, mostly, I am learning amazing lessons each day. And maybe that is the trick of presence no matter where you are.

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