Yoga Journal

To Go or Not to Go

I traveled to volunteer in Guatemala, arriving with many good intentions, and radical anti-globalization politics. But I soon found that, due to the economic, race, and gender dynamics that preceded me, I was often viewed as wealthy and expected to either tell locals what to do (about challenges and difficulties that I had no context or skills for) or to dole out gifts (whether to individuals or a community). Over the course of hundreds of interactions, I learned that I would have to remain in one community for decades to become a true partner in change and not be seen as just another imperialist gringo. At the time, my yoga and meditation practice helped me grapple with the disappointing truth that

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