Nurturing

Two weeks ago, I found a massive lump in my left boob. Once, finding a lump would have sent me into a massive tail spin. This didn’t.

I felt a stillness from within, a trust that this is meant to be, for whatever reason. Whatever it is, I will deal with it, I’ll manage it, I’ll do what needs to be done. And, if it is worst case scenario, then I’ll make sure I make the most of each new day and live, doing things I love, being with people I love. And, the stillness and peace continues.

A couple of days after finding the lump, I made an appointment with a doctor. The appointment was last Wednesday, the earliest I could get.

My appointment was for 11.20. I had clients from 12.30. I thought I could make it. However, ended up cancelling first two clients due to the doctor running late.

Getting in to the car to go to the appointment, I smashed my left thumb in the door jam as the door closed unexpectedly. I have no idea how it happened. It hurt. My language was very unladylike lol. I held an ice pack around my thumb on my drive to the doctors.

Congested car park. One spot next to a brick wall. Figured I could make it. Figured incorrectly. Metal from the door jam to the back wheel on the left side pulled back. Yep. What the.

Pulled out. Drove to another spot, further away. Looked at the damage. Shook my head. Went in to surgery to wait for two hours. Still relatively calm.

I suffer high blood pressure (is it any wonder lol), but came off my medication last December because I didn’t like the side effects. I started meditating more to compensate. Also, watching diet and monitoring stress and self care strategies. I know I’m not a doctor, but I know my body best and me. Drugs weren’t helping; they were making it worse. No point managing one thing only to create others, and realistically, the drugs were managing the high blood pressure, not correcting it.

The doctor, whom I haven’t seen before, but I prefer a female for female things, looked at me, then to her screen, then back to me, and exclaimed, You look amazing for your age! I laughed.

Confirmed I have a tumour, not a cyst, and gave me the referrals for a mammogram and ultrasound.

Blood pressure 150 over 100. I was ecstatic. Yes, that’s high. But, that was my blood pressure medicated, occasionally it went lower, but not by much. More often, it was higher.

For me, on a day I had smashed my thumb in the door and smashed the back of my car, then had to wait for a doctor and cancel clients, whilst having a lump that after googling, I knew was a tumour, this blood pressure reading shows that I’m managing it! Ecstatic.

No family history of breast cancer. Older than 40. Approaching menopause. Doctor thinks it is more likely it is benign too.

I’m not worried. I trust that whatever is going on, is ultimately for my benefit.

One thing I know for sure, every time I’ve perceived I’ve gone through hell, I have discovered exquisite beauty and greater happiness on the other side. Every negative situation has created greater positivity in my life.

The universe is always in balance. Where there is pain, there is also joy. Where there is hardship, there is also ease. I trust that I will be okay. I am okay now.

Three things – left side – nurturing the feminine. I have lived so much of my life in masculine energy, it makes sense I need to balance my energy.

At school, I’m called on for masculine energy. In my business and life, I’m more feminine in my energy. Affirmation that my time in organised education is up. Time to nurture me, just like I’ve nurtured so many others.

I had a healing client yesterday. Seeing her face open and light come back into her soul, I knew that I had made the right decision.

Everything happens for a reason.

We all need to trust that.

Oh, and after extensive research, I will have the ultrasound but not the mammogram. It’s my right to say no.

Seven Weeks. Fourteen Days.

I am grateful that my windscreen was smashed. We have not found out who was responsible for it. But, I feel no anger, just gratitude. I hope that the child responsible finds the support they need to be able to fill the hole within them that lead them to the point where they believed their actions were appropriate and necessary.

Regardless, I am grateful.

Education no longer serves my highest self. This is no judgement on or against anyone else; these are just my thoughts and my perceptions. If you are a happy teacher, power to you. I no longer am.

I love children. I love working with them to empower them to fulfil their dreams. I love those light bulb moments when they get it. I love the jokes, the loving teasing, the rapport that is built through symbiotic trust. I love inspiring them to see the world and their place in it, in new ways. I am still a passionate and idealistic teacher. I always will be.

However, I do not respect or like the machine that education has become. I do not like the lack of humanity embodied in the broader leadership, and I cannot fathom or respect machinations that regard teachers and students as robots and tick a boxes.

I do not have the passion to fight it. There are too many who just follow it. My type of teacher is in the vast minority. I don’t see enough commitment to want to change; people don’t stand up and fight for anything anymore.

I will stand up and fight for me by being true to me, and putting me first. After all, no one else will. It is not anyone else’s responsibility; it is mine, and mine alone.

So, I have fourteen working days left until I hand in my keys. Keys that I will have held for very close to twenty years.

I have no intention of ever going back. I thought, when this time came, I would feel more heartbroken. Maybe the grief will come; maybe it won’t. At the moment, I feel like I’m finally answering a call to let go of fear and to start living. I feel liberated.

I have been sick this week, my body has been purging stress toxins, I’m sure. I have not been at school since the incident. I feel liberated. In the past, when I’ve been sick and had to take a couple of days, I’ve felt sooooo guilty that I was letting other people down. This time, I was able to prioritise my health and acknowledge my own worth. Illness requires rest. No one is let down; it just is what it is.

I feel happy. I have felt exhausted this week, every afternoon, as I’ve headed out to work with my clients. But my energy thrived as I arrived to the first door step each day and sustained itself until I arrived home. I feel very present when I work with my kids. I feel a happy heart and fulfilled soul; feelings, that in teaching, have been eclipsed by ever increasing administration demands and the systemic disregard for the welfare of teachers.

I know I’m a teacher. I always will be. But, at the end of the day, I am worth more and am more valuable than the system/broken machine of education decrees, and so, like all abusive relationships, I will move away from it so that my soul can thrive. I will not allow myself to be made small again in my life. This lesson is learned ( fingers crossed lol).

This time, I am breaking the abuse cycle that has ruled my life. This time, I empower me. This time, I am truly free.

Complicated

I was chatting to a friend yesterday about how complicated we make our lives. This week has really demonstrated to me just how true this is.

My leaving teaching has been years in the making, and I mean, years. For some people, it must be the most cliche and boring mantra ever lol. But, it had to be a process for me, and by being a process, I made it all a lot more complicated.

I still remember the day I raced home and informed my Mum that I was going to be a teacher. I just knew. I was five. I was so excited. And, I didn’t really or seriously ever from this path, until a couple of years ago. I’m now 47. I have been teaching since 1993. I was insanely passionate about it for the vast majority of those years.

What killed my passion?

Politics, bureaucracy, stupid decisions by the Department of Education, and their inability to see and respect teachers as a vital part of the education machine. Basically, teachers are required to sacrifice their soul, their personal ethics, their personal ideals, their identity, their lives, for a system that never supports their welfare first.

Yes, I still love my classroom and I adore my kids, but the stupidity of the bureaucrats is increasingly forcing its way into my classroom and into what I teach.

One of the best teachers I know refuses to play this game, at her own expense, but revitalizes my teaching every week. I will miss working with such a creative and empowering soul.

I want less fight in my life. I still want to create a different world. That was my motivation in my twenties, and it is my motivation now; however, the mode for achieving this has changed.

When I entered teaching, I was a victim of my childhood. I wanted to save others so that I could save myself. I succeeded, on both counts.

I have matured, and I have done a hell of a lot of healing.

My core values are still the same: we are all worth a lot.

Once I realised that I was worth something, it became difficult to stay somewhere I do not feel valued. The school I work at doesn’t make a difference because the system that underpins education in this country is broken. The management of it, is conducted by people who truly have no idea what teaching effectively involves and requires. The ‘system’ thinks one size fits all for schools, for staff, for kids, ironically, as they force more administration duties for differentiation onto staff.

I shake my head in disbelief.

The investigation year was difficult. I felt so guilty and so shamed. This triggered healing on different levels for me. Eighteen months after its conclusion, I realise that it is not me who was wrong. The system is.

My values no longer align with the values and philosophies of the system. I still believe that every child, every staff member, every family, is the most important thing and deserve, and are worthy, of being treated as such. One size does NOT fit all. Far from it.

And, if you’ve never experienced childhood trauma, if you’ve never set foot in a difficult classroom, if you’ve never programmed a unit, or written assessments, or spent hours marking, you shouldn’t be writing policy for education or legislating for Child Protection. It really is as simple as that.

The smashed windscreen forced me to stop living in fear of not having enough. My soul does not belong in a system that does not look after its people. My values no longer align. It is my responsibility to move to something that suits me better.

Last night, after an afternoon and evening of tutoring, I drove home with a full heart and a smile on my face. The same thing happened on Thursday night as I drove home.

I’m still making a difference in children’s lives, and they are still making a difference in mine.

I still program, I still teach, I’m still ‘saving’ kids. And, I’m doing it without fear. I’m not looking over my shoulder. I’m just being and doing, breathing and loving. Myself and them.

Maybe, I just reached a point in healing my own trauma and pain, and I’m ready to fly. Maybe, I’m ready to grow and live large, and really own my potential in changing the world. Maybe, I’m just remembering the whole of who I am, and systems don’t support the individual expression and accumulated knowledge.

And, maybe, I’m just overthinking it all, making it more complicated.

Anyway, I’m on the bridge. I’m almost to the other side; eight more steps. It’s scary and it’s liberating, all in one.

Doing what fills my heart is the right thing. I don’t know exactly where I’m heading, but I know I’m heading somewhere. I’m doing what makes me happy, where my skills and talents are at the fore, I’m living a passionate life, and I feel truly blessed.

I wish this for everyone who doesn’t have it. It’s scary changing course, very scary, that’s why it’s taken me so long. It’s hard to leave everything you’ve ever known and take a leap in faith.

Today, when I leave for a long day of work, I will feel light and happy. Tonight, when I arrive home, I will feel full and extremely grateful for the opportunity to work in a job I love so much.

Today, I won’t be sworn at, my windscreen won’t be smashed, my things won’t be stolen, I will only have the paperwork and admin to do that benefits myself and my clients directly. I’ll still be programming, targeting the needs of my kids, supporting their holistic learning, and connecting with community. I’ll be doing things that are purposeful and soul filling.

That’s the difference.

It’s time for this bird to fly. I might crash, but if I do, it will be on my terms and because of my actions.

The Benefits of Self-Care

Looking after your own needs is the best way to let yourself know that you are valuable and loved. We cannot give to others, without cost to the self, if we have not ensured that we are at optimum health first.

We carry so much guilt if we cancel plans, or fail to return a phone call, or aren’t there for someone else, but the truth is, it is okay, more than okay, to put your own needs first.

It’s taken me a long time to understand and to live this way. I am still a work in progress. But, I am working on it.

Yesterday, in the interests of self-care, I had a full body massage. I can’t really afford it at the moment, but last week was a rough week, and I hoped that the massage would relieve and release some emotional blocks.

In some areas, I felt such deep pain during the massage, wincing and cringing and praying it would be over. In other areas, absolute bliss and praying it would last forever. When it was finished though, and I took those first steps, my body felt loose in a way it hasn’t in a very long time. I was smiling from the inside.

Last night, I had the best sleep I’ve had in I don’t know how long. All up, about nine and a half, ten hours of sleep.

Today, my body feels at peace. I’m slowly getting my jobs done whilst a festival takes place on the road outside my house. I did the lawns late yesterday afternoon and the backyard feels like a haven. I’ve recaptured my feelings of independence, peace and hope.

I still have a snotty nose, have my business accounts to do, some school work and my tutoring lessons for this week to organise, as well as floors to vacuum and mop, a couple of loads of washing and a couple of phone calls to return.

The windows are open, the pets are happy, and I’m at peace.

It will all happen.

In its own time.

I am so grateful I looked after me first.

Values, Judgement and Empowerment

Every single one of us has the power to make a difference to other people, thereby changing our world. In every second, we have this power, whether we see it or not.

I try to use this power for good. I don’t always succeed, but more often than not, I think I might.

I’m a little addicted to social media when I have free time. I read a lot of articles and a lot of posts. I love reading the comments. However, sometimes they also challenge me. People can be very aggressive and very unthinking in their responses (yes, I mean unthinking instead of unthoughtful). I try to think carefully before I respond; sometimes I initially misinterpret the intent of a comment. If I responded without thinking, I could cause pain to someone by minimising them. I do not like doing this to other people.

I think we should all be a little more measured in our comments. And, in our thoughts and actions beyond the internet.

Something I have been practising learning since Uluru is my need to bash people with healing strategies. One of my core values is healing and the belief that we all should be striving to be the best we can be by healing what isn’t right within us. As a result, if you tell me something, I’ll go into Miss Fix-It mode and start healing you.

I am learning and trying to remember that sometimes, just sometimes lol, people don’t want a solution or pathway out, they just want to be heard. I am also learning that not everyone wants to be healed or is ready to start the process. I struggle with this too. It works against my values. But, I’m learning.

My values, upon last assessment, encompass healing/empowerment, learning and spirituality, and developing and strengthening my business practice.

By spending more time in the areas of my values, I am finding greater happiness and fulfilment in my life. They have also enabled and empowered me to learn better communication with others because I am more conscious of how my values impact my relationships with others.

We are not all the same. Understanding our differences empowers stronger relationships, fosters inner peace, and enables happiness. Understanding why we respond in certain ways enables us to be better friends and citizens, less judgemental and more open. In turn, this broadens our world and our experiences. Our lives and our selves become richer.

And, this can only be a good thing.

I worked my values out from the link below, using the worksheets that Peter has posted. It is something you might choose to do over the next couple of days.

All of the instructions are there and it is easy to do:

https://www.businessisbliss.com.au/demartini-method

How?

So, I keep saying follow your heart, jump and you’ll be okay, pausing my old life was the best thing I ever did, and things like those. But, how? How do we do this if we have kids, a mortgage, people to care for, no time, etc?

In small ways. Any change starts a ripple that could eventually turn into a tide of change. If that’s what you need.

I needed to jump. You may not need to or can’t. And, that’s okay.

I was feeling dead. I was just going through the motions of living. I was working long hours, coming home and watching mindless television or surfing the internet, getting sick all of the time, and sleeping most weekends. I was miserable. However, I was mostly competent at work (some inconsistencies in marking one task) and was putting on a brave face most of the time.

That’s not life. People comment now on my eyes. They have repeatedly said that my eyes have changed: they are alive, your eyes sparkle. Yes. Because I’m happy. Because I’m living.

It starts with one step.

1. What in your life brings you the least joy?

2. Write it all down, or say it out loud.

3. Are there things on that list that can be delegated and done by someone else (maybe not to the same quality, but well enough)? If so, delegate (at home AND at work). Is there anything you can just stop doing without the world self-destructing (maybe a cleaner once every six months to do the windows, or a cleaner every month to give you one weekend off, or a gardener or handyman occasionally to give you some time off)?

4. What things, that you already do, bring you the most joy?

5. What other things, that you don’t have time for, would you do if you had the time?

6. For the things you listed in 4 and 5, make a plan to do one of those things more or at least once during the next month. I’m not asking you to change your entire world overnight, just take small steps.

It could be as simple as getting up ten minutes earlier to stand outside with your face to the sun for five minutes before your day starts. It could be as complex as planning a camping trip or a weekend away in four weeks time, or for right now.

It is up to you. We are not machines. We do not have to live our lives without happiness and inspiration; it only takes one small change to change your perception of your world. Even if you feel happy enough, why not spend extra time doing something you really love to bring you a little extra joy.

It is Christmas, after all, and ’tis the season to be jolly falalalalala lalalala.

Merry Christmas Eve.

And, if you do try the above, drop me a line and let me know how you go. This is a mini version of a chapter in my new book (currently being written).

And remember, twenty seconds of courage. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Just stop making excuses. It’s your life, and it’s a short one. You deserve to live the way you want. Free your mind.

Thank you Paula Chalker for permission to use the image.

Deep Breaths

This time last year, I was excited by the potential of a new life. I was also absolutely terrified. That I wouldn’t have enough money. That I would fail. That I would be a hot mess for the entire year. That nothing would change. That I wouldn’t have enough money. That I wouldn’t have enough money. That I wouldn’t have enough –

You get the idea. More than all of that though, I was terrified I wouldn’t see it through. That everything would become too hard and I would just go back to what I knew. For the fourth time in my life, I had to jump, because if I didn’t, I knew I would be starving my life and my soul of something it needed, to breathe.

I think we know when we are hitting that point. We feel lost, stagnant, as if we are dying whilst we stand. We either become depressed or we change something. I had to change something.

So, I did.

From the outside, I guess it looks like I up and left my life. Big step. Lots of courage required. But, the truth is, I just put a pause on the life I lived. I created space to see what else my life could be. By doing this, I opened my life up, took the things I loved doing, and the space was there to do them.

I said yes to every opportunity, even if the opportunity was scary. I paused life as it was, and with it, I paused fear. As I’ve often said, twenty seconds of courage – acknowledge the fear, and then remind it that it isn’t driving the car (thanks, Liz Gilbert The Big Magic).

I have expanded. My life has expanded. I am happy.

At some point during the year, I let go of the fear of not enough money and really started to trust that I will always have enough. I am now working on becoming a multimillionaire within ten years, but that’s another story for another day. Especially as I face a January without income (or very little income because I will only receive what I generate for myself – and I’m cool with that. I think my bills are covered).

I have had many highlights this year. Many. I have been humbled beyond belief by the love that has opened within my life. I have been humbled by the growth of my business. I have been humbled by the sheer number of beautiful people and beautiful experiences I have encountered this year. I am in love with my life again. I am learning to see myself through the eyes of others, and loving who I am.

We create our lives. We create who we are. We create the potential and we create the lack of potential. We are in charge.

It might not be easy, but it’s easier than continuing to live a life that you don’t enjoy, and that is slowly killing your spirit and your happiness.

I am very poor. I am very happy. I needed to come to this point to embrace the riches I have, outside of money, so that the next chapters in my life generate both equally. Having money in a life not loved makes us rabid consumers and breaks our connection to who we authentically are. I am now living a life I love, it fuels trust that I will always be provided for, and generates the desire to earn more to enable the sharing of wealth with others.

It’s been an interesting year. The moment that best encapsulates it for me occurred very early on, during February, in Western Australia, when Mel taught me to snorkel.

Oh my. I still feel the fear, then the conquering of the fear as the cool water streamed past my face, stroking my cheeks, as my eyes opened to a whole other world under the surface of the water. It’s beauty caught my breath then, and holds it still.

What a wonderful life. What a wonderful world.

What will you do to create your best life?

A Rollercoaster of Emotion

Well, it has been a while. Today, my brain won’t let me do anything else until I have blogged. Not sure I am quite ready to put down the emotional rollercoaster that is my brain every year at this time, but meh. What can you do. I must blog so that I can achieve other things lol.

I cried myself to sleep last night. Unexpectedly.

A friend of mine had commented on a Facebook post by Em Rusciano. Em was due to give birth yesterday, but miscarried earlier in her pregnancy. It was such a heartfelt post, something resonated, and I just released. No prize for guessing what the next thing will be to work on when I return to therapy in January. I will, under guidance and not by myself, Demartini the mother out of my miscarriage. This morning I awoke feeling emotionally hungover. I can feel the cogs turning in my mind, a lot of processing happening, I can’t access most of it yet.

I head back to my permanent teaching position in ten sleeps. Yes. I am counting down. Why do we do that to ourselves?!

I have had a phenomenal year. My goal was to heal from the investigation, and for the most part, I have. I do not think I carry any anger anymore, especially towards the people that I used as a symbol for all that went wrong last year (and not the people you would expect). I feel quite calm about returning to work from that perspective. However, this year has really solidified for me the people that regard me as a concept and those that value me. This is a good thing moving forward.

I carry concerns that I will fall into past patterns at work upon my return. I have no desire to be the person I was when I left, almost a year ago. I no longer desire to mentor any adults in the workplace; I no longer want to be the ‘go to’ person for all and sundry; I no longer want the long hours and excessive workload, watching those that I have supported drive through those gates to liberation before me.

My life has moved. I have moved. My values have changed. I am no longer the person that I was; I have liberated myself from the cage I had imprisoned myself in.

I think I felt a lot of shame and a lot of guilt. I had always wanted to be a teacher. I didn’t stop to think that teaching takes many forms and doesn’t necessarily just happen in a classroom. I was, and am, grateful for all of my years in formal education. I grew into myself, forged new paths, and inspired and empowered many. My legacy in education may not have reached award status, but my impact has been significant. So, I felt guilty thinking I may have outgrown it, shame that I wasn’t being grateful by needing to move away from it.

One of my clients had to watch a TED Talk to use as a related text for an assessment on “Discovery”. We were deconstructing it on Wednesday. It spoke to me on so many different levels.

Emilie Wapnick’s “Why Some Of Us Don’t Have One True Calling”

It sort of sums me up. I think I am a multipotentialite. I am a teacher, but I think my main calling, and this has been a recurring theme in how I teach, what I teach, and in who I am as a teacher, is that of healer. This year, even in my tutoring business, what I am really doing, ultimately doing, is healing the fragments within all of us that we carry with us every day. My multipotentials come in the myriad of activities I have engaged in through teaching and outside of teaching. I am always doing many things.

So, the shame and guilt I have felt have given way (or are in the process of giving way to) an acceptance that in our society, living and moving unexpectedly, requires courage. And, I am courageous.

When you are unhappy in life, and we all have moments – mine just became a long term series of moments, it is imperative that you do something to change it. It takes courage, even to mix it up a little, let alone to take leave to see what else is out there. I have always said that all change takes twenty seconds of courage. Thank you eternally, We Bought A Zoo.

We can all do twenty seconds.

It will take the same courage to go back, to be authentically me, to stand by the changes I have made this year, and to remember that I am worth putting me first. And, I can do it; I know I can.

This year has been successful beyond measure, a true legacy to my friend Natalie. It took me a while to make my promise to you real, but I will live with passion and energy. I will not waste my life, because I know how much you would have given to still be here breathing and living yours.

I firmly believe that our souls find peace when we are walking the path we are supposed to walk. My soul had been restless and scared for years. She liberated herself this year and she will not go backwards.

I do not know what the future holds for me. I know that I return to my school full time in a week (ten sleeps) and then five days a fortnight next year. I know that my tutoring business is going to be fine (most of my clients have already re-booked for next year – humbling and surprising to me – such is my naivete, and I have new clients booking). I know that the outline and focus for my book found its shape yesterday. I know that I have some ideas for an online business to source and build during January. I know that I am excited to start programming for my school students and to be back in my classroom next year.

I am moving forward. I am where I am meant to be. I am not stagnating again. I will continue to wholly love and breathe, embracing change and the moment with passion and wonder that I could be just this blessed.

I should stop there. It was inspiring and empowered and strong. However, this post is a true example of my brain, my rollercoaster. Be grateful you don’t live in it lol.

Much love …

Tina’s Tutoring ~ A Love Story

I think it was either late last year or very early this year that my forever friend suggested I start tutoring to help out my finances this year. I balked a fair bit. I had never really enjoyed tutoring, but it made logical sense, so I started the tutoring branch of my business.

Thank you, Karyn.

Another of my closest friends hired me to mentor her and tutor her child, almost straight away. This pushed my business into start mode and empowered my confidence.

Thank you, Renee.

English, reading, writing, spelling and mentoring adults in writing. Bliss. I decided to use Facebook as my main tool for promotion and advertising. I set my rates. I encountered some public opposition to them. I countered that.

Small businesses are taxed approximately 30c in the dollar. Plus, I am a mobile tutor which means petrol expenses, and wear and tear on the car. Plus, purchasing teaching aids and stationery. Plus, I have to make a living to pay bills.

Add to that, I am an exceptional teacher. It has taken me a long time to own this. I am not exceptional for everyone, but the right people find you and stay a while, and I am exceptional for them.

And, not only am I an exceptional teacher, but I am an amazingly resilient and wise human being. I know stuff, because I’ve suffered and learned from my suffering. I share this with my students; I always have.

My students get the whole Tina package. We work on what we need to work on. Some days this is academic stuff, some days it is anxiety, or stress relief, or trust, or confidence … whatever my client needs, I try to offer.

Then I received a question about Maths tutoring. I responded to say that I didn’t tutor Maths, but I would try to find her someone. I spoke to Renee (a Maths Head Teacher) who told me to pull my head in because I could definitely teach Year 6 Maths. I replied to the parent and told her I could give it a go, and we could see if it worked and she embraced that.

I offered my services in Maths tutoring at a discounted rate, because I didn’t believe I would be good enough. I have surpassed my own expectations and now my rates are equal.

Thank you, Sophie.

Tina’s Tutoring grew, and grew quickly. I now work every afternoon and evening during the week, and all day on Saturday.

And, I love it. Every second of it. What’s more, I love my clients, and I love their families. I always imagined it would be awkward being in people’s homes, but it isn’t. I feel very welcomed in all of the spaces I work in.

I had a rough few days as a casual teacher this past week. In the old days, before the business, I would have felt sorry for myself and come home to mope. This week though, I got into the car, left work, breathed deeply, listened to my audiobook, and became even more excited to see my clients.

We have also started seeing improved results and happier, more confident children.

I firmly believe that success at school comes from the relationship between the teacher and the student; if a child likes their teacher, they will want to learn and they will learn. That relationship forms the foundation for success. Without it, learning is achievable, but loveless.

Relationships take time to build. I will miss my kids when they no longer need me, but I know that we both leave enriched. See, I get just as much as I give. If not more.

I love seeing kids finally get how to do something. I love seeing kids grow in confidence. I love seeing kids celebrate their success. I love seeing kids learn that marks aren’t everything. I love seeing kids love learning. I love seeing kids try, more than anything. I love seeing their smiles.

I love my business. It doesn’t feel like work, and even when I am utterly exhausted, feeling demoralised in life, I find the spark to keep going and am rewarded for it as soon as the door opens.

I used to feel this way about teaching in schools. The politics, and increased and unnecessary workload, has changed that for me. It is important to be happy and to feel fulfilled. As a teacher I felt taken for granted, minimised and very over worked. I do not feel that way anymore.

I earn significantly less money, am always very, very poor, but I am blissfully happy.

I know which I would prefer.

The Pursuit of Happiness

I think one of my greatest lessons this year has been that happiness makes life better.

No, we can’t always be happy, and I get that. We ‘need’, for want of a better word, moments that aren’t happy, for balance, for perspective and for understanding.

By happiness I don’t necessarily mean we are always smiling and laughing and dancing, but more a stillness, a calm, an inner peace, and a knowing that pain is temporary, and even whilst in pain, we need to remember that it too, is temporary. Happiness is knowing. It is trusting.

You are okay.

You have been okay.

You will be okay.

Happiness is also easier to achieve and to maintain when we are being authentic and living our best lives, as our best selves.

It could be easy for others to say things like, Well, we can’t all just abandon our lives for a year, and, Easy to do when you don’t have kids or responsibilities.

Maybe that’s right. Maybe it isn’t. We can never know. But, we can all make some changes. Even small changes like spending one day each weekend outside is do-able, if it brings you happiness.

And, taking this year off hasn’t all been holidays and happiness. Financially it has been difficult. My savings went earlier than expected and casual work hasn’t been as forthcoming as I thought it would be. But, I’ve survived it. I’ve asked for help when I’ve needed it. I’ve really grown the business to support me. And, I finally learned that I can live with less money, and that the universe will always provide.

More importantly, I have reconnected with me, on less money, and with more happiness. I’ve reassessed my values, and altered the way I think and the way I live.

I am also more cognisant of my need to suspend judgement regarding what makes other people happy. Thank God, we aren’t all the same and that diversity is encouraged in our country. We are reasonably free to be who we are, who we want to be, and do the things we want to do, even if it means we sometimes have to think outside of the box to achieve our goals (hopefully very soon same sex couples will not have to leave their home country to get married, and our first people will see real opportunity, acknowledgement and respect from us invaders).

Happiness is relative, it is subjective, it is forever fluid. But, what I know for sure, is that when we spend time with people we can be ourselves with, when we spend time doing things that make our hearts sing, when we are aware and conscious, it is easier to sustain happiness.

What makes you happy? How can you do more of that or bring more of that into your life?

Have a happy week. Let others have a happy week.