Where to start? I guess with the literal “where,” where I am right now. I am currently in Latvia, the small country in between Estonia and Lithuania, in Europe. Why? Officially for a trip with a nonprofit group called 109 World to volunteer with children in the country and teach creativity through expressive arts and yoga. That in itself would be enough for me—my ultimate passion lies in the chances I get to help others and make a difference in someone else’s life. Since arriving though, I can see this trip is as much for me as it is for the children I am connecting with.
Many experiences in life are double sided like this one. Whether we are on a giving or receiving end, it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. What makes human connection unique is that we feed off of each other’s energy. When positivity and love is sent outwards by one, it is absorbed by the other, and then translated to the next receiver. In attending this trip and volunteering my time with these kids, I am a giver because of the actions I will be taking to reach out to the Latvian children. Yet, I will be a receiver when I can see the impact that I can make. It is that impact that warms my heart, and ignites my passion for service. There is nothing like seeing that something you as an individual can do or say has affected someone else positively.
The group that I am with, 109 World, was started by three inspirational women with the desire to make a change in the world. Here’s their website—visit it! It’s incredible! I discovered this opportunity simply by an Instagram post by Rachel Brathen, the social media star @yoga_girl. That led me to thinking: why not? This is a perfect chance for me to go out and do what I love to do best: help others. Altogether, the 28 or so of us in Latvia right now are a diverse group from around the world; there are women from Sweden, Norway, Aruba, the UK, Qatar, the USA, and others!
From the moment I saw everyone, I was struck by the awesome concept that we, no matter where we live or come from, are here with one sole purpose: to send out love.
I am certainly already feeling the love, and I haven’t even met the children yet.
We had a Welcome Circle on the first day to introduce ourselves. We were all asked a simple question: why are you here? The responses, however, we far from simple. They were thought out. Meaningful. Full of intention. I knew this trip was the best choice I could have made.
I hope I can keep you all updated as the trip continues, beginning with today! I thought I might try and draft a new blog post, but realized that, instead, I would share my journal entry from right after this morning’s 7 AM yoga practice. I wrote it on the beach, in a truly special moment of reflection. Enjoy!
“5/27/16—Connection. That was them for this morning’s yoga practice (our first from the trip). What is connection to me? It is quintessential. It is the essence of what we all are. There is not one thing on this earth, be it human, plant, animal, rock, or grain of sand that we are not connected to in some way. It may be a physical connection, when we literally touch each other in an embrace, a kiss, or a handshake. Perhaps it is our toes in the sand, or water running over us in the shower. Then again, the connection need not be a physical touch to be there. Sometimes it is emotional: moments when we can stop and relate to another person or a situation. We may react to something we hear. We may feel drawn to another person because of this mutual, unspoken emotional pull. I believe that often when we interpret something as “love,” we are interpreting moments of connection like this between fellow human beings. Regardless of the mode of connection, it resonates within each one of us. It is unique to every individual, yet simultaneously binding.
This morning as we saluted the sunrise, Lara, our yoga instructor, told us of a research study performed with metronomes. Multiple metronomes, each set to a different beat, were placed on a spring floor. However, after a few minutes they all began to beat as one. The movement in the floor—its energy—connected each device to the others.
I firmly believe that, as humans, we have the same effect on each other. We follow the laws of physics and beyond. Think about it: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The energy we send forth will reach others; their energy will in turn bounce back. It is an energy that never stops, but is only transferred.
To reference science again, consider conduction. There is physical, direct conduction, like the heat from a metal spoon against a hot pot. There is connection without direct contact, like the transfer of heat from a bonfire to your cold hands at night. Conduction is simply science’s connection. Never gone, only transferred.
And eventually, it will all come back to you. So my goal today, with connection, is to send to others as much love and happiness as they and I deserve.
I’ll close with a quick reference to a final science experiment (completely true). A scientist removed the labels from water bottles, replacing them with written-on words instead. Half were labeled with loving, kind, and positive words like “love,” “peace,” and “joy.” The others were hateful, with adjectives such as “hate,” “cruelty,” and “anger.” The researcher let the water evaporate into crystals. Then, he examined each words’ crystals. The positive ones produced the most amazing, intricate, thriving H2O molecules. The other, hateful ones were harsh and scary-looking. This amazing result just goes to show that the power of energy is real and incredible. We all have energy to transfer and channel. Let us channel good today.”
I will continue the insights and experiences I have on this trip with all of you! For now, stay connected!