BY GEORGIA RAWHOUSER-MYLET
One morning this week, I put on my sneakers and went for a jog in the morning before work. It was a sunny El Paso morning and the October air was finally cool. I started running, motivated to get my body moving before a day of work. In front of me were the Franklin Mountains, contoured in greens and browns lit up in the clear morning sun. I’ve seen and admired these mountains most days since I moved to El Paso; we can see them clearly from the driveway of the volunteer house. That morning they tugged at my senses and reminded me to leave my head and open to the world around me. I slowed to a walk so I could focus just on the mountains in front of me, trying not to dwell on the work day ahead and just be.
On my way back home I noticed in my neighbor’s garden a wall of vines with purple-blue flowers that I think were morning glories. Their deep color contrasted with the muted hues of desert browns and greens around me. I stopped to spend a moment, observing the blossoms.
I had been stressed that morning, maybe worried about work or building relationships in a new city. The simple act of disconnecting from my mind and focusing only on what I saw in front of me slowed my thoughts and brought me into the moment.
I returned from that walk with more resolve to work towards accepting the present this year.
This program and my placement bring up questions daily. Is my work impactful? How can I take everything I’m learning from my dedicated and brilliant coworkers and use it after this year? What is my role in social justice movements? What gives work meaning, and how can I use my beliefs about that to shape what I do after this year? What will I do after this year?! Questions and worries spring into my mind in the moments between calling clients at work or while eating dinner with my housemates.
Some of these questions are big and important, and I want to ask them persistently. But when these worries press relentlessly for solutions, I want to acknowledge them and then let myself not have the answers. In this moment, I am in a place of learning. I don’t know how I’ll take what I’m learning this year with me yet, or how best to work for social justice. I am striving to accept that and sit with my unknowing.
When my mind starts to dwell or I begin to feel overwhelmed with all the things I haven’t yet figured out, I want to connect to my senses and be present to where I am now. I will strive to reflect on rather than dwell on the unanswered questions, and become comfortable being where I am.
Georgia Rawhouser-Mylet (she/her) grew up in Portland, Oregon and graduated from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa with majors in Political Science and Spanish. At Grinnell, she was involved with the Liberal Arts in Prison Program, where she coordinated academic programming for incarcerated students and tutored math and social studies in prisons. She was also a member of the choir and loves singing and is trying to learn to play guitar. In her free time, she likes cooking, gardening, hiking, crafting, listening to podcasts, and going on walks with friends. She is interested in politics and public policy, especially as tools of social justice. While living in El Paso, she hopes to continue improving her Spanish and learning new vocabulary words. She is excited and grateful to be a Loretto Volunteer this year and is looking forward to her work at Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center.
In Their Own Words
We invite you to get to know Loretto Volunteers and the program here. Volunteers introduce themselves and reflect on their experiences.