The Chakra Village and finding ways back to myself by leading me better.
In December 2018, I left Uganda in a blur and glided into a funk I have been staring at for almost six months now. I knew I would return to Uganda for a much-needed closure as I bade farewell to all the amazing spaces and places I had so warmly embraced. I kept going back and forth about my visit until one day I decided that August would be my month of adventure and Uganda would be my very first stop. Naturally, I checked with Jackie if she would be in Uganda during my intended visit. Not only did she confirm in the positive but also informed me that there was a women leaders’ retreat she wanted me to be apart of. Who says no to Jackie and an opportunity to be part of a women-only space? Wait, don’t answer that – I said yes! That began a wonderful weekend journey for me that brought so much insight, awe, wonder, questioning and closure. The venue was Mitooma and one of our sisters hosted us at their village home – what a weekend that turned out to be! The Chakra Village was a much-needed space I attended in August of 2019.
Being in Mitooma at the Chakra Village reminded me that as women, we lead at very many levels. We have the power and potential to make a difference for ourselves and those we lead. I founded a growing organization – Zimbabwe Young Women’s Network for Peace Building (ZYWNP) in 2008. I recall that in those days, my passion was my greatest asset. However, with leading a non-profit organization also comes the urgent need to understand what it means to lead others towards a shared vision. It was very challenging. I have since grown and learnt a lot of lessons about myself and what it means to be aware of myself and those that I lead. Being amongst sisters in Mitooma, during the Chakra Village, showed me that many times as women leaders, we struggle with how we are as individuals and it can be so difficult to practice self-love and acceptance. This manifests in unhealthy ways as we lead. The space to reflect in Mitooma meant that I was able to unpack who I am as a person and find ways to become more aware of how best to lead not just myself but those I lead at many levels be it family, work or even where I get my spiritual enrichment. That journey began in 2008 when I founded that organization.
My greatest takeaways from the Mitooma retreat was the urgent need to journal and work with a life coach. I have always been sold out for support through life coaches. This notion was emphasized during the retreat. Learning to unpack my emotions and thoughts for what they are and exploring ways to express them in a healthy way is critical for me. Sharing with each other what it means to have emotions and thoughts that constantly affect how we show up and how best to handle ourselves in ways that empower us and facilitate for a holistic woman was such a powerful force to reckon with. Hearing the stories from each one of the sisters, sharing the laughter, the pain and the tears gave the space such a deep sense of authenticity, honesty and humanity that left me understanding more for myself the need to always, always turn within. I rediscovered my inner wisdom, Chakras and urgent need to keep myself aligned - heart, body and mind.
On return to my home Harare, my heart is full and I’m excited because I’m confident that when women decide to come together and make a difference for themselves, their energy becomes more aligned. This means that once women decide to lead themselves in a healthy and grounded manner, their energy is irresistible, inspiring and formidable. They become a force to reckon with because they spread that love, security and encouragement with others just like we collectively managed to do in the Chakra Village. It remains one of the most resonating and inspiring spaces I have been a part of in this year of 2019. No distance is too far to be part of a space that reignites one’s inner fire and ensures that one understands how to live one’s best life more so as a women leader. Women are their own best friends and this space proved it. It is my hope that this process of exploring women’s leadership through energy will be duplicated to create safe spaces for women to keep making a leadership difference for them and others.
By Grace Ruvimbo Chirenje