© 2019 by Isabelle Tschugmall
Switzerland & Botswana / isa@inthemiddle.company

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When limits show new ways

January 20, 2019

 

I wake up this morning with a different feeling than usual - I have trouble getting out of bed and hardly hear the wake-up call of my colleague in front of the tent. My shoulder ache and my bad shooting results from the day before unfortunately don't add anything positive to my grouchy mood. Today we drive into town by car to do some groceries. We also pick up three women from a British tour operator at the airport in Maun.

After breakfast I sat down in the car and notice right after driving off that this drive becomes painful for me. The bumps from the uneven road show their effect on my damaged shoulder and make me flinch every time. I try to press my left arm against my upper body to create some stability. I give up about halfway through the ride and ask to sit in the passenger seat. This seat is a lot more comfortable and so I can enjoy the rest of the ride and especially the bush a bit more.

At the moment it feels as if I have to give up half the way and I have a hard time with this thought. My trainer Jami notices my change of mood and says to me: "To accept it and take a different path than you thought does not mean to have failed". I smile and look forward, the wind in my hair and answer: "Yes, now I'm also annoyed that I actually swore that I wouldn't force anything anymore just because I thought of it that way. I want to give life its freedom. But somehow it also feels as if I don't bite through when it gets difficult." At this moment my roommate at home in Switzerland comes to mind: self-love or empathy for oneself is the highest level. So on this day I try to settle with myself and not be too hard on myself. I accept my limits and build on what I have. I try to meet myself outside my comfort zone, but I also have to learn what feels right and what doesn't.

In the afternoon I have a conversation with a fellow student about it and he adds. "For example, I only noticed here in the camp that I won't take a shooting test because I really can't handle it morally at all." I nod my head and reply: "At home I have thought for a long time about whether I want to and can carry a gun and whether I want to take on this responsibility. On certain evenings it almost tore me apart, because when going through the manual the question is asked again and again whether we want to do the course after the theoretical knowledge of how to kill which animal. Especially with the knowledge that we might have to apply this knowledge. I became more than aware of the responsibility over life and death and that I must end a life if necessary. I would like to walk in the bush and discover all the small details and connections and show them to the clients. I want to share these experiences and open eyes, use all senses again and feel really vulnerable. I will only take risks that I can assess and not walk carelessly in the bush just because I carry a weapon. I don't want to have to use this weapon. But if it has to be and the animal attacks, then I will have to react. I made the decision that I will and must act that way. I make this decision with responsibility and so I will carry it." We sit still and watch the dry riverbed in front of us. This course is more intensive than my last one, I reach my limits more and the awareness about responsibility is sharpened. The subject of leadership is repeatedly addressed and I get a completely different approach to it, but for this subject I need more than just these lines.

This evening I go to bed with a feeling of reconciliation. I acknowledge my limitations and am grateful for them. In order to be able to act responsibly, I have to be more than clear about myself and my strengths and weaknesses. Our limits are at the same time the guidelines and the starting point for a new way in our lives.

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