14 Life Lessons From Peru (How To Serve Your Heart Out)

Dr. Rhea in Huama creating an opening to serve the community.

Hi There, it's Rhea here.  I took a moment to write a bit about life lessons learned on our recent service trip to Peru (many of you joined us for the Facebook Photo Journal Here!).  I just revisited the blog post that I had prepared to post before the Napa Earthquake sidetracked my ability to get back to it.  It is amazing to me how these 14 Life Lessons have been totally applicable and in action for me and my community in the past week!  I think life wants me to get these down!!

Here is the blog, written three days prior to the quake:

This trip was powerful for me in many ways.  While the film features one of our trips in the story, it was also a really brand new experience with new locations, new team members, and new clinic staff.  It was a really awesome opportunity to let go of what was, and embrace and jump in to what is.  It was also a gift of time for me, to fully allow the energetic transformation to occur that is always a part of the experience.  It allowed me to strip away some of the stressors of film marketing & distribution strategies to get dirty, humble, and into being a servant of life.  It was the perfect (exhausting) refresher that I needed to re-center before stepping into a whole bunch of upcoming premiers, hopefully bringing the energy of humble loving service with me into connection with many of you.

While we were in the depth of the experience it occurred to me how unique the way we run our trip is, and, how unique our team members are in the type of commitment that they make to being a part of our team.  I realized that as we move forward it would be beneficial for me to spell these commitments out so that others could understand the intensity before stepping in, and so that we could also play full out with the principles we are committed to living while there.

That is why this year the first day home I jotted down a list of attributes and agreements I felt would be necessary for future team members as we move forward, and our very sacred circle expands.

Once I had my list complete I realized, wow, this is an amazing list of life lessons that would be powerful for ME to commit to on a daily basis, and are in large part, a list of ways to give your amazing love bomb to life as your amazing you.  I know I will be reviewing this list as I work as a daily evolving team member with my Blossom staff and everyone in collaboration with me on so many facets of releasing and screening a film!

I therefore give you 14 Life Lessons from Peru, or, "How to Serve Your Heart Out".  

1.  Adapt and act.  A few weeks before departing on the trip we found out that all of the schools would be on holiday, and to top it off, the clinic directors would be out of town until mid-week while we were there.  It was crucial for us to go forward with a positive energy regardless of these last-minute unforseen circumstances and to be so in the present moment that we could handle anything that came up.  What happened?  Well, turns out some schools WERE in session and when the clinic team found out, they had us scheduled to go serve them within hours, our team adapted and we were in a car en route to our first school on the morning of day 1.  We also got to experience how amazing the clinic staff was without the directors present.  What a lesson in assembling a powerful support staff and working as a team with them!

Volunteer chiropractor John Coleman loading up the jeep alongside volunteer Victor San Ramon who was there to translate for us at the clinic.  He immediately turned into our school coordinator, translator, and driver for several days of action!

2.  Serve the moment vs. Get from the moment.  Be willing to love in a variety of conditions. While we are serving we have some areas that we go that are awe inspiring, and at other times we might be serving alone inside of the clinic which is not as well ventilated, darker from halogen lighting, and a bit slower in rhythm and excitement.  It is less adventurous, however, we never know what beautiful exchange will occur with those arriving there for our care.  By bringing a spirit of love to the moment we transform the limitations of the space (any space) into a bright, happy, vibrant, energetic, and loving atmosphere!

4.  Look for the good in your teammates.  Remember, everybody’s sh#$ stinks, including yours.  Love anyway.  Accept faults in others and yourself.  Speak with love if you need to rather than holding grudges and building tension.  Build harmony.  It's not a matter of IF personalities will collide a bit, it's really a matter of WHEN.  The question then becomes, how will we handle it?  Can we do it with love and acceptance versus contraction and judgement?  This is even more crucial when we are working ourselves towards exhaustion.  It is when we bring a commitment to creating harmony that we can transcend the lower parts of ourselves and emerge into a truly emotionally mature experience with ourselves and one another.

6.  Remember everyone is going through an intense experience and hold silent space for them as needed with love.  For some on this trip it was their first time out of the country, for others it was their first time serving in poverty conditions or seeing so many children that do not have material goods.  This along with the physical exhaustion brings up so much.  When we know how to give one another space to be, we can honor each other and allow for the vulnerable, unique, sometimes messy process of life to unfold.

Doing breath and positive affirmation meditations together each day helps to create a container with one another of connection while creating the positive tone within ourselves, even as the exhaustion starts to set in.

Doing breath and positive affirmation meditations together each day helps to create a container with one another of connection while creating the positive tone within ourselves, even as the exhaustion starts to set in.

7.  Do not take anything personally.  Remember you are exhausted and do not let reactivity get the best of you. The more we know others are in their own "stuff" the more we can offer them love vs. judgement and realize not to take any of it personally.  This helps build harmony. It is of utmost importance when you are in your own exhaustion going full out to recognize it and know when to take breaks, even if it is only a moment of deep silent breathing en route to a service location.  (I love the Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz for this one!)

8.  Bring high-level skills.  We expect all of our team members to be bringing very high level skills to the table, as the trip is going to push them mentally, emotionally, and physically in such challenging ways, we need to know they are showing up ready to go with very powerful skills as practitioners.  This is all about showing up with an A-game having done the training!  (For us this means we actually only bring licensed D.C.'s as team members on our trips, we are happy to bring along students as support members of the team.)

9.  Be humble.  Magic happens when we are willing to get very humble, so that the experience is not about us, it's about the others.  Get dirty.  Do what it takes.  My most profound moments in this trip came in those moments where I got to let go of what I might look like, what anyone might think, how it might benefit me, and just deeply profoundly connected to the moment as it unfolded.  I felt the most honored by the most humble offering off food after serving in the one room dirt floor beautiful home of the people we met there spontaneously.  This not-designed-for-social media experiencing of life!  

Being offered a steaming bowl of Peruvian corn and potatoes cooked fresh from the ground in a beautiful humble home in the Andes.  There was a family whose home we were being hosted in here we connected with but didn't photograph, it was honoring of the moment to simply be there with them.

10.  Break down walls, in yourself, and in the environment where you will serve. You create the opening, you are the foreigner and it is your job to soften, give the first adjustment, spread the first smiles, and create the opening. Be sensitive to your surroundings.  We are sometimes brought to very remote locations where it is our job to bring an energy of love, fun, and joy while also being sensitive to the environment and people there.  What will help them to feel comfortable?  What can you do to invite them into the experience, versus waiting for them to invite you in?  

Rhea & Erica connecting with a community by breaking down walls and humbly stepping in to serve.  Here again, by keeping a soft energy we were able to connect sweetly in this area with a predominantly female group with their babies and children.  It definitely felt like we got to be a part of a very present female tribe in this moment (No cell phones, appointments, or other out of this moment distractions going on here for this amazing group!)

11.  Support one another:  you are a team.  Step up and in when someone needs a break. When we are going full force it is so awesome to be able to get real with your own energy to say, "I am totally spent right now" or, to realize someone else is, and be willing, without judgement, to step in for them.  Realizing it is a team getting a job done vs. one person helps with the transformational power of humbling into oneness.

12.  The person under your hands is the most important person in the world in that moment. When you are about to deliver adjustment number 300 for the day it would be very easy to forget that the person under your hands is about to have experience number 1 with you. Make every adjustment, every moment, the freshest, most powerful moment of connection that you can.

Haley Thompson serving for her second year with us, connecting with people in a rural community and building a very positive experience for everyone.

13.  Be as present as possible, magic is unfolding, take it in.  It is over before you know it, do not waste the time, take it in, create it, love now.  The next miracle could happen in any moment.  In the midst of being tired, or spinning from altitude, or simply due to our amazing lack of full presence in the moment being encouraged by addiction to our technological gadgets and full-press schedules, it is amazing to slow down and fully, totally, take in the magic that is happening.  In Peru that might mean stunning surrounds, or a baby being handed to you, or someone laying down in full trust on your table.  It is powerful, and it is available, in every moment of full presence.  Let go of being distracted and TAKE IT IN.

Too amazing not to ask the driver to stop for a photo.  This was the highest I have ever travelled, after a drive that had me praying!  Still, I had to ask for a pause to get a photo with the team for the day, Erica Peabody, Miriam, and Me, with the fresh dusted snowy peaks in the background.

Too amazing not to ask the driver to stop for a photo.  This was the highest I have ever travelled, after a drive that had me praying!  Still, I had to ask for a pause to get a photo with the team for the day, Erica Peabody, Miriam, and Me, with the fresh dusted snowy peaks in the background.

14..  Have fun.  Bring the lightness!  This is amazing!  Enjoy it and have fun!  Your joy is contagious.

The kids wanting to return the love to Austin.  He is amazing for jumping right in and bringing the fun in any environment he is placed into.

14.  It is all about the Love.  At the end of the day, the only thing, THE ONLY THING that matters is:  did you feel the love?

When these amazing little children snuggle right up to you to receive their adjustment,....all you can feel is heart opening, tear inducing, humbling love.

When these amazing little children snuggle right up to you to receive their adjustment,....all you can feel is heart opening, tear inducing, humbling love.