Saturday, June 30, 2007

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

They are all here. All three...

Lessons, lessons, lessons.

I am coming up to my 6 month mark on Monday. I first arrived in New Orleans on February 2nd, and have never regretted a moment I have spent here.

I have learned so very much in 6 months. Most of all, how to be "with" people who are suffering. And I am learning as I I move forward through time and space the most important lesson of all for me, discernment.

And this is how the lessons of discernment manifests for me. As with any new relationship we have with others in our lives, after a period of time, the masks fall off.

For me, I have spent years learning how to become as authentic as I possibly can. For those who meet me, well, I think they want to be authentic, and want to be the best people they can be, in time though the masks always slip, and I get a peek into the "real" person behind the persona.

It happened again today. I was shocked again. (I'm just too easily shocked by the shift from persona to person aren't I?) It's okay, trusting and loving my planetary brothers and sisters is not going to change because of these experiences, they have been happening for years to me.

Odd though, how each time feels as if it is the first time.

Helping - serving in the capacity that I am in New Orleans isn't easy. Not having an 'organization' behind me can leave me out in the open so to speak. People can tell me how glad they are to have me in their lives helping, that they believe "God" sent me, etc., and then whatever it is in them that was in an unhealed state before I entered their lives, comes into the picture and the "ugly" comes out. (I believe and have been taught, this occurs for the unhealed within to be "seen" and if the individual chooses, to be healed.)

I have pretty good boundaries around these situations. I am able, after years of experience, to identify what is going on and move through the ensuing crisis or drama with relative calm and ease. Today's experience was a little out of left field, I never saw it coming. I was able through the conversations I had with one particular person I am helping today, identify where in previous encounters there had been deception (through omission) going on and articulated what I perceived. It is a shame for the person who was deceiving me and not telling me the "whole" truth so to speak. I understand, I was disappointed, and I took it personally for a few moments, (oh, so much to learn on my part!). I also found out that not having an organization behind me leaves me open to the criticisms of the organizations, whom I am sending people to that I identify are in need of their services.

It complicates matters, but will not stop me from doing the work I feel called to do.

In this case, an organization (I do not know who) has led whom I was helping to believe that they should not trust me as this individual conveyed to me that "I am not with an organization". I told them that the organization was right. That they had been exploited and deceived in the past, and if they did not feel with certainty, after the time I have spent in their lives and the evidence of my deeds, that they could trust me, then they needed to heed the advice of the organization. I also told them that it would be best that I not proceed, (nor heed anything I had been involved with that may come about in the future for them) with arranging for volunteers to gut or rebuild their home as there were organizations involved now that could arrange this for them.

("Who are you with?" Note: I was with one 'non-profit' organization when I first got here. I found out that the non-profit I was volunteering with and whom I was receiving a small stipend from, was making a 'profit' of 50k for 3 months of work. This experience was not the norm. Most of the non-profits in NOLA are doing incredible work and utilizing their monies to best help those in need. I prefer to work on my own, guided by the Beings of Light and God - Jah. This is how I feel best utilized. I work in the streets identifying needs and guiding people when I can to the resources that are available to help them as they rebuild their lives. I help others with processing their suffering when I perceive that the conversations that they are having with me in the moment, is actually 'processing' on their part. Often, I do the very glamorous work of taking people to appointments and to different agencies. My not being with an organization makes for difficulties some organizations, others tell me that they feel that I am helping in their efforts to best serve those in need. 6 of one - half a dozen of another...)

I assured this individual that I would still be a part of their lives, that I would continue to bring groceries on Saturdays, that I would come and visit, and that I would step back from advocating on their behalf.

(Another brief note: I pick the free groceries from the kind folks from a Slidell church group, in the Lower 9th Ward and deliver them to people in need without vehicles in the Upper 9th Ward. I have found out that the church group receives the food they give away to the community in need from Second Harvest. The bags of food are really nice and I have been told, helpful. Those who receive them are grateful for the good brands and the assortment of foods that are put in the bags.)

So that's the bad and the ugly bits of helping. People are just trying to survive here. I do understand and have great compassion for them.

The good bits? The actual helping. The being "with" those I meet in the moment. The opportunities to be love with my brothers and sisters; to serve. The photographing and the writing of my experiences and of what I see as the suffering occurring here on this blog, is deeply meaningful.

I took a personal day yesterday, I was absolutely exhausted. No phone calls - nothing. I just did what I wanted to do, slept when I needed to, did a few errands. During the course of the day, I observed that even though I was so tired, I had this grin on my face, pretty much all day. And I realized, I am happy. I am content. Exhausted and content. I am getting to be 'me'. And being 'me' means serving and helping those in need.

That's the absolute good. I love the people I meet and see in the streets of New Orleans. I love serving my brothers and sisters.

For these last 6 months I am experiencing what my heart, my soul, has always longed for - a meaningful life - serving those in need in the streets.

I have had enough of these moments in my life lately, where I can observe the fact that PEACE HAS COME UNTO ME.

Thank you My Beloved.

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