Rooftop Reflections Lessons Learned from the Outside Looking In

Reflections on the U.S. Embassy Bombings in Kenya and Tanzania
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We created a leach field to release the gray water into a food forest.

Midway through the training we shifted to our brand new yoga shala. The construction of the shala was an amazing journey.

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I needed to find out how to construct a supporting wall on a hill filled with river cane. I hired only local workers. They had no idea how to measure a round front. After a week, we had pipes up to mark the lines — very old school. We used a stick with a long string to create the curve, slightly angled towards the volcano view. It was going to be a one-story building, simple and clean.

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The modern buildings do not look particularly well insulated. Would there be more opportunity to encourage this type of building work to young workers as an alternative employment? As I wrote in the March Foreign Service Journal , absolutely everyone—Foreign Service generalists and specialists, Foreign Service Nationals, family members, Foreign and Civil Service employees in Washington, and many, many others—was critical to our recovery. Clearly, customers feel loved here too. As much as you may believe you understand terrorism, you will only understand the huge impact on the lives of survivors and their families by experiencing it yourself.

Today, I walk in to the 2-story structure and still have a hard time believing that this is the yoga shala I teach in. The view and the energy creates an enchanting space: sacred Maya land, built right by the river, with crazy strong reinforcement for the riverbanks. The October TTC was one of my most challenging times of my life. I was teaching full time, running the kitchen and wanting everything to be perfect.

I took the situation personally I got really frustrated and even angry, which just made things worse. Thinking my understanding of reality would save me from these feelings, I felt like I knew I that all of this is nothing — a constant changing screen of projections. And yet I fell into moments where I felt the movie was real, so real in fact, that I felt I failed miserably.

I was ready to give up. Close the center and go back to writing in a little hut by the water. At times, it was so bad that I was ready to die; I felt that maybe I was not worthy of ever teaching again. I read the book about Jeff Bezos of Amazon, saw videos about Steve Jobs and other great leaders and realized that things were not always pretty for them either.


But they persisted and walked through the fire to the other side. January we had our unofficial opening as we hosted a wedding of our beautiful neighbors, right after our third TTC program. Over people were there and it was in a way a blessing for the new space. We spent the following dry months reinforcing the riverbanks, buying more land and creating a new entrance for the DYZC. We used to walk in and carry wood and supplies through a 60cm wide path with barbed wire on one side. It took lots of negotiating to buy the additional land. Now, we have a nice wide entrance where even cars can enter.

So far I bought a total of 17 small pieces of land and pieced them together to create what is now one flow of energetic of land and water. March was turmoil. Our fourth TTC program was in progress, staff was leaving and I was running almost all the show while teaching. It was insane; an impossible mission. I had my friend Tina helping me with emails, working from Germany. The amazing thing of most hardships is that they pass.

The truth is, I would give up if it were not something I was truly passionate about and believed in the vision. If you are going big relative to what you consider is big , make sure you chose a project that is close to your heart. It will help you move through difficulties. Have the vision in mind, but focus on the present moment.

Some troubles seemed way too big to deal with. But instead of totally freaking out, I needed to look at one thing at a time and find solutions. Most urgent — deal with first, find a solution, and then move on to number two. Sometimes number three was just a phone call to start setting things in motion, and then I was moving to number four. It is amazing how the universal flow works with you and adapts to your needs if you just clear the mind and be present with what is the right thing for that moment.

And the right thing may seem completely illogical. This is still okay.

Logic is useful, but gut feeling, working with the force, the universal flow, is far more powerful. Waves are not always predictable, and so adaptability and flexibility are also a must. It is not always easy to accept that plans are not happening as expected. Ordering supplies that are canceled on the night before delivery, a bamboo supplier that disappears for an entire year with a part of the roof missing some is still missing now after 14 months , workers quitting while in the midst of a TTC, building errors and more.

I have expectations, but I work hard to not be attached to them, so I can skip the disappointment. Or even be disappointed, but let it go so the pain is released as well. Six Teacher Trainings so far, airbnb and Booking. Have you checked out Our Website recently?

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We sold out our New Years Rejuvenation Retreat, are growing the TTC numbers, and are finishing a new 2-story building with our second yoga space on top. These are exciting times. Two years ago this was a jungle, and now in our second year, we are becoming profitable. Our kitchen is offering ridiculously amazing vegetarian food, and our grounds look and feel wonderful. The river flows year round, and little touches of art and love are abundant. We get so many amazing reviews and wonderful comments and gratitude from our guests and students.

Do come join me here while we are still young and small. I am beyond grateful to all those that were part of this creation. Some were here and helped physically, some gave advice from afar, some donated time and money, and many of you were actually here as guests and students. You know what it is. What do I do? What do you do? So yeah, now I have all these awesome pictures of the outside. How did you find out that this fire had started, and what was your reaction when you saw that it was burning?

And I teach high school-ers, juniors and seniors, so they can be a little dramatic. So I was very sad about it. I was just very, very sad. Jenn: Right, and I think… oh no, go ahead. Is it just like the appreciation we have for everything that it represents? Jenn: I definitely think so.

I mean, there are things that double, or that double dip in just different subjects. But this one, it belongs to the world. And that is why I think it hurts a little bit more for us, because we just think of all of the things that are in it. I mean, what would happen if the Sistine Chapel burned down? And yeah, I think that appreciation we have of everything that goes into it is something that we try and pass on to our kids as well.

I wanted to ask you about that too. You talked about eating lunch with your kids. What is the discussion like in the classroom? How do you share your experience with them? What do you want them to know about it? How does that work? So we just talked about it.

But we talked a lot about too just the history behind it and the artistry and just Paris itself, and we did talk a little bit about just faith and how you get there, and could you just go and sit through a Mass, and what would that mean, and how would you feel, and how would you take that in.

So we had a pretty good chat about it. I showed them pictures.

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Then I took some… because they had it boarded it off, and they were still doing construction on it in , so part of it was boarded off. And I took some zoom in shots of reliefs and things that I had missed on my art history test in college. Like, I could not think of those saints for the life of me.

And we talked about it and we just talked about the fact that this was, for me, more than just a religious significance. And they take French, and the French teachers were beside themselves, and they teach them how to say it correctly, which I really appreciate. Part of the landscape and all of that. Tim: All right. Thank you to Jenn for coming on and giving us her perspective, just kind of talking things out with me, which is really all I wanted to do. And like I said, we start to immediately fear the worse. The rose windows, the amazing stained glass survived.

A lot of the sculptures, the artwork, the altar, were all saved, and there is some great stories about exactly what they did to get all of the artwork out, get it into a safe space. And I think being able to hear about that is a very, very positive thing. And I think looking forward into the future is another reason to be positive.

Just the pride that the French people take in preserving their culture I think is amazing. And they are ready to put things back together, which I think is really positive. And finally, donations have come in from across the world. And then just a couple last thoughts before I close it out here. So anyway, thanks for listening this week, and we will talk to you again soon. As I just said, thank you as always for listening, and we will be back next week.

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