Celebrating the Journey

I think, sometimes, we get so caught on the treadmill that is modern life, that we forget to stop and take note of how far we have come, and then celebrate it.

Two years ago, I was nearing the end of the worst year of my life and about to head to Varanasi, India, with Alana Fairchild for a retreat that would change my life.

Today, I am no longer a system teacher. I run two small businesses. My healing business is slowly finding its way and I’m discovering what I would like to do with my life. I’m happy.

I’m living my life, for me, with me as my boss.

It’s not perfect, but it’s so close it is quite unbelievable.

I like myself. How I look, how I behave, what I do, who I am, what I represent. Again, I’m not perfect, but I’m closer than I ever have been.

I’m so grateful to be alive and to live doing things I love with people I love.

I’m choosing to celebrate that. All of it.

True Beauty

True beauty rests in our own ability to see it.

Two years ago I went to India and met some incredible women, some of whom I am still very blessed to have in my life.

I went to India, calling myself shy and thinking I was ugly.

I came back, owning my confidence and thinking I might possibly be beautiful.

Tonight, I saw myself in the bathroom mirror and liked what I saw.

Genuinely. I saw beauty.

I might not be physically perfect (far from it), but I am beautiful. Something from deep within shines through, and I peacefully and humbly own and accept it. Am grateful for it.

If you can’t see my beauty, you probably can’t see your’s either, and my wish for you, is that you do own and accept your own beauty.

Om shanti.

Back When

I’ve been reflecting a lot, probably too much, on my teaching career.

When I started teaching in 1993, the world and the education system were completely different to now. I wouldn’t say better, but definitely different.

I teach from heart. I still do when I tutor. That connection with the children or child in front of me, or the adult in some cases, is vital to me. It makes my heart sing. I truly believe that my best teaching came from my best and strongest connections. And, my best years, came when that connection existed with whole classes.

I was blessed to have that connection a few more times than most in a twenty six year long career. So blessed.

There seemed to be more openness in 1993. We could try different things to motivate and engage our kids without having to get clearance for every little thing. Mandatory testing happened twice – Year 10 and Year 12. We were more about kids learning and growing than, ironically, we seem to be today.

I believe there is a huge difference between kids learning and growing, and mandatory testing every two years.

Achievement is significantly more than value adding and improvement in numeracy, reading, writing, grammar and punctuation, and spelling. Such contrived examinations that don’t really assess the achievement of a child. I think mandatory testing does more harm than good.

In fact, a good teacher can tell you what a child can and cannot do when they know their kids and check their work.

At my Stress and Mindfulness workshops at a high school last week, the teachers commented to me that they were surprised and impressed with how fast I identified the who’s who and engaged strategies to minimise their impact and engage them. I can develop connections quickly with this group: the disconnected who often don’t believe in themselves very much. I always have been able to.

Real teaching, heart teaching, soul teaching seems to be going by the way. The system, it’s requirements and endless administration, data collection and paperwork, is robbing teachers of the ability to teach. Their way. To get the best engagement and results for the kids.

This saddens me.

It also saddens me that there is a system, so flawed, designed to mire and disconnect teachers from the system. EPAC is a disaster. It may work in some cases, but I’ve found that it is severely under resources and complaints/investigations can take over a year, or close to a year, to be resolved.

The toll on teachers is significant; it demoralized me entirely. There was no way I could ever come back from that. And, morally, I hadn’t done anything wrong.

It highlighted how far the system and my values had become removed from one another. They used to be less removed.

Sad.

Very sad.

I unexpectedly ran into a colleague from my old school last Saturday. He told me that the kids miss me dreadfully. They feel that they lost someone precious.

They did. I now know and appreciate my value in a system that wants robots teaching kids. I’m not mainstream. I am different. And there are fewer of us every day.

I genuinely loved my students. Not all of them and not every day, but by far, the vast majority. I was genuinely interested in their achievements as a human being and as a learner. I would find new ways of doing so that I could engage and develop them. Far beyond mandatory testing, because ultimately, being a good citizen and a great human is more significant to society.

I wish we could do that again.

Taking Stock

It’s hard being me. Lol. I overthink everything. I always have. Jan’s passing really shocked and overwhelmed me. I just didn’t stop crying last night. I’ve woken up looking very malformed this morning and am praying that my face goes back to a more normal appearance before I go to work.

I’m very introspective. I couldn’t engage any of my strategies last night. And, as a result, I have remembered that feeling the intensity of emotion that comes with intense things is okay. I can Demartini it all later today or later this week (later today lol). I will restore the balance to my perception.

I think my massive flood of tears and sobbing last night was a culmination of a lot of emotion, not all mine, triggered by the shock of such a beautiful soul no longer being here physically, and that realisation again that our lives are short.

Also, exhaustion. All I have done for months is work. And recently, I have supported a lot of people in their healing processes, consciously and unconsciously. I let my emotional account become very depleted. Today, I will start to rebalance that.

So, Jan, thank you for reminding me to give to me, for reminding me that I am worth something beyond my service to others, and that I need to create a family circle of my own so that I am not left alone.

🙏🏻🧚🏼‍♀️

Wow.

I have just heard that a lady I worked with at my old school has passed. I adored her. The tears aren’t stemming their flow and I’m feeling lost.

This has made me realise how disconnected from people I have become. Working seven days a week and keeping a business afloat whilst studying is exceptionally tiring. There is little energy or time for staying in contact with people. I’m hard to contact; I work when others are not.

It makes me realise how blessed I am to have worked with so many amazing people in a variety of schools.

Jan was an amazing woman. She loved the kids at school and gave so willingly to them. I adored her. She had an open smile that brought peace to the soul. I called her JanTina and I was TinaJan. I can’t remember why. But, that’s what we did.

Amidst all of the trauma that work can cause, it is the beautiful souls that you meet and share time with that lessen the impact of the hard days as you move forward in solidarity. I feel for her friends in the Office; other women I adore.

I think the worst thing we can do is to tell people the impact they’ve made in our hearts and on our souls. It requires courage and trust, and we are all just so freaking vulnerable.

I know Jan will ‘hear’ this. Jan, I adored you. I thought you were a wonderfully loving and compassionate presence for so many. You left your mark at school and on me. I will love you always, but must clean the snot off my face.

Rest In Peace beautiful soul,

TinaJan

xxxxx

Permanently Exhausted

Whinge whinge whinge hehehe. Nah, not really.

Up until last weekend, I had been working seven days a week for over ten weeks. I know there are people who do this all of the time – hats off to them – I have struggled. By the last week, I was quick to temper and quick to spiral down. Just tiredness. And I knew that, so could keep tabs on it all quite easily.

I’ve had five days off. I don’t feel replenished. I have a couple more off after today’s work.

I have been reflecting this morning – has anyone else noticed that as daylight savings draws nearer, they wake up earlier – and I think that walking my path can be hard work at times.

I am okay about my grandmother passing. I am sad about the loss, but it’s purely sadness from her physical departure. I believe, quite strongly, that there is life after death. My experiences after Nat’s death have only strengthened my faith. I know that when we pass, our soul continues. Death no longer holds fear for me.

I also think the DeMartini work I’ve been doing with Mai Mai has shifted the way I perceive the things that happen. I’m more aware that there is always balance – sometimes it isn’t as obvious as at others, but that’s our mis/perception – and this makes the drama harder to access.

Death is a natural part of life. After all, it is our only certainty. I am endeavouring to live every day with intention and with purpose. I am being as I build. I am present and honestly acknowledge each moment. I love my work and I love where my work is leading me. I love the lessons because they enable me to establish my worth for myself.

But, today, and yesterday, I’m tired. I’m grateful for it – tiredness means I’ve been productive. But, it’s time to learn how to balance it all.

After self-worth, that’s my other ongoing lesson. I have faith I will get there – the self-worth is coming along very quickly. Truly escalated over the last ten weeks.

I wonder where I will be in another ten.

The Lessons In Death

A couple of years ago, you may remember, my grandfather died. He was not my grandfather by blood, but the grandfather that was provided because my parents’ parents were in Finland and Germany. I never met them. My parents worked hard to create a surrogate family of grandparents and aunts and uncles for us.

Yesterday, my grandfather’s wife, my grandmother, died.

I pause and stare out at the incredible landscape before me as tears surface. The chimes that had been sounding stop, as if time stands still, but the birds do not. I hear them chirping and chattering throughout the many valleys in front of me. Two small rabbits bounce through the grasses, avoiding the watchful eye of the territorial magpie. The breeze picks up and the chimes cascade and wash over me.

Sigh.

I am sad. For unexpected reasons.

She had been ready to go weeks ago. Medications kept her breathing and kept her heart beating. I will miss the knowledge of her existence in this realm, with me. In the hospital, we laughed and shared. I was blessed enough to be able to tell her exactly what she had meant to me in this life. I could tell her I loved her.

Another pause. Another sigh.

Looking out across the mountains and the valleys, I realise how blessed I am. The breadth of this landscape enables perspective. We are all born. We will all die. Our times here are fleeting; the trees and the mountains will easily outlast us all.

And, that is okay.

Life, as the old cliche goes, is short. We can resist change or we can embrace it. We can create chaos or we can create peace. It is our choice. We can focus on the negativity of life or we can bring life to balance. We can be inspired, or we can be cynical. All choices. We can stand still, we can become stuck or we can strive to move forward, carrying with us all that we gain along the way.

Healing truly is a process. It requires a hell of a lot of hard work. It requires rests along the way; time to reflect on how far you have come and time to just be to let it all integrate. My work has garnered strengths and peace. I mark Aunty Val’s passing in my soul, but I choose to celebrate her existence in my life rather than hold on to her passing.

I am grateful for a very developed belief system and faith that enables me to know she isn’t far away from me, and within reach whenever we may need each other.

Thank you, Aunty Val, and to Uncle Ian, for being my grandparents and shielding me from pain, as best you could, as I grew up. Thank you for the wonderful memories and laughter and sense of family, But, most of all, thank you for loving me and reminding me I was enough. Just as I was.