Hold Your Vibration. Be the North Star.

by Rachael Hemsi

I was with my friend in Nepal on a Tibetan retreat. We were going to see the Padmasambhava Caves. We were riding in the Jeep—myself, my friend, the Lama, Lupan-la—aka the organizer, our Russian friend Dinara, and the driver. It was our second day on the “road.” I’m not sure you can call it that. There was no actual road. If we were in the States, we would have turned around and said, “The road is broken.” But here in Nepal, it is the way it is. You go over the broken road. Not better. Not worse—different. The Jeep will go up and over. The side of a cliff is a road. It’s the way it works here. It’s stunning, awe inspiring, and bumpy.

I’m not a very good photographer. I’m good at having things imprint on my soul. Not as good at the physical picture. I am learning. I’m also not great at making the external feel beautiful. I can love and love, make my place anywhere feel like home, but I’m not great at the outer appearance.

I ran a community house of thirty people in London. Someone’s mom came to visit us. (They were both exquisite artists.) She said to me, “You make everywhere feel so beautiful. I just don’t get why it has to be so ugly on the outside.” I looked around and had to agree. The beauty was not pouring out of our dining room where twenty of us were sharing a Christmas meal. I know that day was meaningful, one of those days you never forget. I put it into my cap. “Next time, have the outsides as pretty as the insides. Will do. Beauty in all directions.”

We were bouncing along in our jeep. My friend and the Lama had great banter. Lupan-la throwing in his two cents. And the Lama said, “Stop. Pull over. We are going to walk over a rope bridge.”

We pulled over, stretched out our legs, and started walking over the rope bridge. They were making jokes and walking slowly. I sped as fast as I could over the bridge. I am not usually one to leave people and do my own thing. But I was scared. Things where you can see the ground and you could drop to your death scare me. The bridge was swaying and moving. I got across as fast as I could.

Now I am not a person who scares easily. I will do anything. Go anywhere. I traveled alone for six months in India, no problem. I wasn’t scared. Took the second highest road in the world up to Ladakh in a huge bus, where I could see other buses had fallen off the cliffs. No worries. Then there was the temple I happily climbed to the top of in Cambodia. Walked up it easily. Coming down I was so afraid. I had to go down on my butt alone the whole way down. A few things scare me, and people don’t think of me as someone who things scare. I am the steady one. Who will walk anyone through any situation.

I ran across the bridge. And waited for them to come to the other side. We, of course, had to walk back across the bridge. Everyone caught up to me. “You ran across,” they acted surprised. “Are you rushing through life?” they laugh. “No, I was scared,” I tell them. They were all sweet. “Are you ok to walk back?” “Of course. I mean there isn’t a choice, and of course.” We started walking back over the bridge, and, right in the middle, my friend said to me, “Walk by me.” As I walked next to her. I felt settled. The bridge wasn’t that scary anymore. I was breathing. I was inside of my friend’s world. And in her world, the bridge was beautiful, not scary. The view—stunning. The shaking of the bridge was a nice shake not a terrifying jostle that would throw me over to my death. I stayed by her side. She did nothing. She radiated out her field, so I could walk into it. I have seen this. A teacher walks in and quiets a room with her presence. When you hold a baby, if you are feeling calm, the baby will calm down with you. Holding your vibration, that is the key.

Recently my nonprofit Free Food went through a big growth spurt. We started working with another nonprofit in a beautiful church that allowed our meals to be a few times a week. There was so much to do: there were pets in the basement, storage areas to be set up, fundraisers to plan, chefs to hire. I went in full force to take it all on. I read back over my dream for Free Food, and we were creating the exact dream I had written about four months ago. We had a few staff leave and new staff come on, and the next thing I knew, I was so tired I could barely breathe. I had joined the ranks of the mantra of the Western woman—I was tired and wired. I was fortunate enough to have some friends remind me that nothing matters except for the vibration of love and possibility that I put into the world. As I rested and found my way back to being the woman who emanates instead of does to the point of exhaustion, I remembered this time on the bridge in Nepal. There is nothing to do but let people come into my field where their fear can leave, where love envelopes them, where home is created. Nothing to do but be a place where the impossible is not only possible, but fun.

Rachael Hemsi is the Executive Director of Free Food Harlem. She can be found serving, fundraising, or scavenging for donated winter coats.

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