Owning It 

At the workshop yesterday I felt that we were a room of like minds. One of the beliefs that we seemed to share concerns ownership and responsibility. 

Today I was chatting to a mate, and she said that she believed that people always left her and never came back. 

I have had times (many times) when I have made similar sweeping statements that lay responsibility on the shoulders of others. Predominantly through my IVF journey when I often felt misunderstood, sorry for myself and very much alone. I don’t hate or dislike myself for this; it was what it was. 

But, I do think it was important and vital to my happiness that I was able to move on from these feelings. The only way I could do that was to focus on what responsibility I held in maintaining the situation. 

I could not control what my friends and family chose to do, but I could own my part in it. Once I owned my part, I found that I was liberated from expectation. Not in a bad or bitter way, but in a loving way. In turn, I think this made it easier for me to maintain my friend and familial relationships. It has also empowered me to work through my own issues as well as reach out when I need to. Basically, from owning my part, I have liberated myself from unnecessary psychological torment. 

Our host yesterday spoke about this too. If we have a recurring pattern in our lives that is unproductive, unhealthy or unhappy, we need to own our part in it. 

Often in life, things occur that are beyond our control. This is normal. But there is always something that we can control ~ us: our physical reaction, our emotional response, our future choices. 

There is always something. 

Sometimes it may just be that we control whether we take another breath. The important think is to own the choice. Once we can control one thing, it becomes easier to believe that we can control more things. 

Like with anxiety, focus on what can be controlled rather than what can’t be. Own what we can, because yes, we can’t control everything. 

Saying it makes it sound so easy. It isn’t. Like with everything, it is a process that requires consistent effort, stuffing it up, and then trying again. But it’s a worthwhile process. 

For me, it has resulted in an unrivaled and unprecedented happiness/wholeness that I am also owning. 

Intergalactic Activation 

Waving my freak banner here. 

During the week I saw an event that one of my good friends was attending. Curiosity inspired me to click on the event to see what it was about; the name intrigued me. I don’t know much about other worlds and realities, and during my Body Talk sessions, mention has been made which had already piqued my interest. Also, since following my instinct regarding India and that being such a phenomenal retreat, I decided that anything that feels right I will do, regardless of fear (remember my snorkeling adventures). 

I’ve been on such a mad growth/transformation trip thus far this year, and I’m happy for the learning to continue. I feel so at peace. 

Well, not knowing what to expect and after waking at 9:25 (workshop starting at 10:15 twenty minutes away – this is not who I usually am) I made it on time and opened myself to whatever was coming. 

Amazing. So much reinforcement and so many things explained for and to me. For want of a better word, the workshop consisted of a series of meditations followed by discussion and laughter. Our host toned and channeled. 

Throughout our first session I kept hearing the word Palidean or something like that. I don’t know what it means. Googling may help, and it may not. But I have a feeling …

For many, many years I have broken into gibberish – random times – usually because I feel that my brain is going too fast and my mouth can’t keep up, or so I’ve told myself and others. In one of the sessions, I became overwhelmed by emotion as I recognized the tone of the language. But even before that, in the very first opening session, I saw a being. I thought, as you would, that I was just being silly. But later on I saw an illustration of a similar being on the wall. 

I wasn’t making it up; it was real!

Add the language, the goosebumps and ear ringing, and I felt less of a freak than I do in my everyday life. 

I was asked what I do. Hmmm, a bit of a lot of things, but teaching wasn’t my automatic response, neither was writer. And I realized I really am in transition this year with no real knowledge of what my life will look like after this year. It is liberating and empowering. 

Ideally, I would be living near the ocean and writing, running workshops to empower other people to be their best selves living their best lives. Together, we would raise energy and spread some peace. People working together to empower others. 

So much processing happening. 

And on the way home I got ‘lost’. A voice told me to trust and I did. I moved in the direction of home, through bush on dirt roads, and eventually came out at a point I recognized. You can’t ask for more than that. I could have used my phone but decided to trust. No stress because the phone was there; a safe gamble. 

And at home I remembered that last week I asked for my spirit guides to make themselves known to me. 

I think they have. 

Season 6 Episode 3 Girls

“I want to write. I want to write stories that make people feel less alone than I did,” Hannah, and Tina. 

But, not the whole point of this post. I dislike Hannah, and not a huge fan of the show, but something caught me when I saw the first episode of Season 1, and I’ve watched every episode since. It’s like a pulling to waste time. I’m weird like that. 

I like the episodes. This one, in particular, is exceptionally clever and Hannah seems to be finally growing up, into herself. I don’t know. Maybe she reminds me of how I once was, am, will be, and that’s why I don’t like it but watch it anyway. 

This episode, number three of season six, targets an issue that seems to be popping up for me in conversations, my friends’ experiences, TED Talks, everywhere. 

Consent, sexual violence, intent, power, imbalance. 

Relationships are difficult enough to navigate, attraction more so. 

I think it is safe to say that more often than not, women need closeness to be intimate whereas men feel closer after intimacy (thank you Kell, for putting it so succinctly). Women feel the attraction and want to know the man, but also feel ‘valuable’ and ‘special’ when men pay attention. It does seem to be the way that we are socially programmed. Our worth is intrinsically linked to the status of the men who ‘love’ us. 

I don’t completely believe this to be true unequivocally but it can be true. Meh. I should process before writing. In this case, trying to process through writing. 

Anyway, sexual violence changes a person permanently. This is true. A person, male or female, is never the same again after sexual violation. What constitutes the violation though? This area can be murky and grey. 

Tom Stranger (video link yesterday) reflects that he believed it was his ‘right’ to violate his drunk girlfriend, and that the culture he grew up in gave permission for this. Chuck Palmer, the writer in Girls, eloquently crafts a story that forces us to question his abuses of college girls and the extent to which he is victim too. 

Our society demonises perpetrators of sexual violence. I don’t this is wise. 

When I wrote the final piece for my Masters, I wanted to really write by exploring a voice that wasn’t mine. I chose to research and write the voice of the pedophile. One scene in particular made me physically ill but to be able to write the character well, I needed to find that part of myself that was a demon, for want of a better word. 

We are all capable of evil, of darkness, of violation. Maybe not in terms of sexual violence, but I remember I once killed a spider with bug spray and took delight in watching it writhe futilely (no, I’m not proud of admitting this). I became disgusted, repulsed, abhorred by my behavior, and don’t use bug spray or kill anything intentionally anymore. 

I learned the value of life in that moment, and the responsibility of power. It was a significant moment in my life. 

On Q&A on Monday night, Josephine Cashman, was quite condescending to the experience of Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger, and of the concept of forgiveness as it relates to sexual violence. I found her perspective way too literal and too rigid. Obviously, her context as a legal warrior has created this; she experiences the darkness of women in domestic violence situations who forgive others from fear only to be abused again and again. 

I believe that forgiveness is vital for mental health. When I hang on to anger, I am unable to live unencumbered. Forgiveness is not for others. Oprah suggests that forgiveness is really just giving up the hope that the past could have been any different. And when you do this, the weight literally lifts from your shoulders. Forgiveness is a gift that everyone who has ever experienced anything negative, any violation, deserves. 

Meh. Many thoughts weaving in and out of my consciousness. 

I think the way forward for all of us extends from people owning their behaviors, out loud and often. When we own our shadow selves, we bring light to them, and this reduces the impact of shame and guilt. The more light, the more voices, the healthier we all become. 

This is why I write this blog. I own my experiences, good and bad. Killing the spider, still seeing the delight I felt as I watched it die, reminds me that I have a shadow that thrives on power. I am vigilant to ensure that I do not abuse the power I have. But it does require vigilance. 

I emerged from a childhood devoid of power, and my natural instinct is to desire and covet power. I have met many adults, and due to dysfunctional pasts, in childhood or adulthood, they claim power against other people all of the time. 

They do this in a variety of ways, but mostly they keep others small by relentlessly putting them down. They stop others from being their best selves with criticism, by silencing their voices, through not creating an environment where others feel safe to just be, warts and all. 

I struggle in these environments, and I struggle to defend myself in these environments (when turned against me). My first instinct is to run. My second instinct is to shut a part of myself down, away from the ‘abuser’. When a person loses power to another, they try to address the imbalance by exerting power over someone or something else. If we just started by owning these times, I think we would all be happier. 

At the core of most sexual violence is the issue of power. 

Let’s light this up. Let’s fix it at the most basic level in all of us. Let’s change our world. Together. With many united voices. 

When you put my beliefs down, it makes me feel worthless and like you don’t care, and then I don’t trust you. When you don’t own your behaviour, our relationship breaks down. When you do own your behaviour, we both flourish. 

The Power of Words 

Warning:

I don’t want to say too much about this TED Talk; the power is in viewing it. However, it is about sexual violence and could trigger you if you have suffered or perpetrated such acts. 

I love that it humanises both victim/survivor and perpetrator; something I aimed to do when I wrote my final piece for my Masters in Writing a few years ago. 

I think everyone should watch this, think about it and talk about it. 
Our story of rape and reconciliation https://www.ted.com/talks/thordis_elva_tom_stranger_our_story_of_rape_and_reconciliation

An Interesting Place To Be 

One of the most empowering things that I have done since I last worked in December is to let go of knowing where my life is leading me. The last few weeks have been instrumental in me starting to truly trust the universe/spirit/fate that I will be alright. I am trusting that I am moving to a path where I can do most good. 

I miss teaching my kids. But, I don’t miss being a teacher as a job. 

I just watched this week’s episode of Insight, A Teacher Changed My Life. I am truly blessed that I have been such a teacher to many kids over many, many years. I have wonderful memories of my work and my growth in the classroom with my beautiful students; a truly symbiotic journey. 

I am a great teacher. It’s taken me many years to realize my worth and my value to the profession, and I own it with pride now. I am grateful that I can, that I never stopped trying to be a better teacher. 

Last week I received some horrible news. It has taken me days to be able to even write about it, let alone talk about it. I have taught for twenty four years. I do not remember when I taught different people, just that I did. 

However, early in my career, first or second year, maybe my third, at the high school I attended myself as a student, towards the end of the year, I had a block teaching History and English, and I taught a class that I think was called 7 Orange. They were a very mixed class and I was a beginning teacher who just wanted to change the world (this hasn’t changed). I was young enough to believe that every child could be whatever they wanted, and if they wanted, and I believed in them enough, they could achieve anything (this too, hasn’t changed). 

At the end of a lesson, last one of the day and I think it was a Friday, one of the boys stayed behind. We chatted a bit about his progress. He grinned, not saying much but listening to everything I was saying. He laughed and he said, “Thank you. I appreciate you trying to save me but don’t waste your time. I’m heading to gaol. I know my future.” 

I have never forgotten that conversation, and have relayed it many times during my career. This kid grabbed my heart, my conviction, my idealism, and made me stronger. 

I have a public and a private Facebook. Imagine my surprise and happiness when I received a friend request from this boy, now man, a few years ago. He had a child and was turning his life around. He was growing into his potential. I was so proud of him. 

It takes significant character to know yourself at twelve and to fight it and/or want to change your ‘destiny’.

He died last week. 

I didn’t believe the post at first. Shock. I went to his page to see if it was really true. Yep. And then I cried. I read the posts. Many familiar names. Children I loved in pain as adults. Nothing I can do. When they were younger we would have created community and the bonds would last forever. As adults, lives are too removed. But the pain stays the same. 

Many students have died throughout the years. I have a tattoo for some of them. I feel the pain of each passing, even if I haven’t had communication for years. I think, as a teacher, the relationships we build create memories that we feel keenly when someone dies. 

Anyway, I am proud of Ashley’s journey to become the dad and man he became. I wish with all of my aching heart, that he could have stayed here longer. 

Respect. 

Living Your Best Life 

I ran a successful workshop a few weeks ago. Yesterday we had a catch up to see how everyone was going. It brought to light something I have learned in my quest to live my best life. 

Last November I made the decision to drop to part time for this year, and ultimately in December, decided it needed to be all or nothing, so took most of this year as leave without pay. The day I made this decision I sat with it before I informed my boss. By the end of the day I was ecstatic. 

I sat in this happiness until January. In January, anxiety set in about money. I kept moving forward, acknowledging the fear but not bowing down to it. This fear has since passed and I know that I was right to not return to work this year. My time in Western Australia has reassured me that I am on the best path for me. 

I am at peace and trusting that all will be provided when I need it. I am loving my life. I am living with minimal stress and happier than I remember ever being. 

However, as my catch up highlighted, living your best life is a journey, a process, and there will be glitches, moments of doubt, and fear at times. And this is all okay. It is also okay if your journey has no complications or glitches or doesn’t move as fast as someone else’s. 

Every journey, every process, is unique. Even within your own life. 

The important thing is to acknowledge the glitch, manoeuvre through it, and to keep going. Moving forward is vital to the success of living your best life. Availing yourself of opportunities for support is also vital. 

Take a deep breath, take some time out, re-evaluate the steps, and when you’re ready, keep moving forward. 

It will be worth it, I promise. 

Standing in my Truth 

I am home. I have slept most of today after a delayed flight and two hours of very disjointed sleep on the plane. And possibly, probably, after a massive and very transformational week in Western Australia. 

Man. Today, I can feel the shift deep within me. There is a sense that life has changed for me. I am owning, claiming, who I am and the power inherent in that. Today, I am standing in my truth. And it brings with it an organic trust that I will be okay. 

I am powerful. 

My arrival in Perth was a whirlwind experience; straight from the airport to breakfast to Mel’s and a workshop for us and Mel’s cousin. We opened with the I Am writing activity, the creation of personal affirmations and a clay manifestation of the intent for us. My affirmation, I am powerful. 

The days that followed provided opportunities for me to manifest this. More importantly, I met some incredible humans who enabled me to manifest this. And, this growth was consolidated yesterday when on two separate occasions, two groups of strong women stood in a circle of power around Mel’s lotus in meditation and manifestation. The power generated was palpable. 

Women, working together, rise together. The sense of community generated when women commune fuels the Goddess’ compassion in action. Women become buoyed and supported, inspired to reclaim what has always been their’s; their destinies. 

Between my experiences in India and Western Australia, I know this to be true. And I can feel another shift in my ever emerging business plan. I know the direction I am moving, and I embrace it. 

Bring on the best seller so that Rocky Point becomes a reality lol. 

What a difference a day makes … or six 

I leave Western Australia tonight for home. Molly, Max and Sammy wait for me there, as does a different path. A path that will require ritual, nurturing and above all else, patience. 

I trust that I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment in time. 

When I arrived last Thursday, Mel and I created a mini workshop to complete with her cousin. The workshop involved affirming, I Am, and a manifestation of this through clay. It set the tone for the days that followed. I was open and excited to experience the opportunities that lay in wait. 

A huge thank you and bounteous gratitude to my buddy, Mel. She provided opportunities to try new things, meet many new people, see different places, and welcomed me into her life. I have met many people who are living their creative paths wholly. This has inspired and empowered me. Our friendship has grown because we have navigated hurdles with grace and honesty. I adore her, her beautiful family and her wonderful friends, many of whom welcomed me willingly into their worlds. 

What a trip! 

What a beautiful state; Australia’s best kept secrets reside here in WA. Such beauty and virtually untouched landscape. Whole foods abound – choice is vital for a healthy lifestyle – and regular commune with the divine is inevitable, consciously or not. 

I will return home, somewhat healed, refreshed, open and trusting. 

Forgiveness is a process. Trust is a process. But the return from both when given is monumental. A freedom of spirit and an enthusiasm for life that is unrivalled in the journey of personal growth, and fulfilling life goals and dreams. 

My life, since commencing my fertility treatments in the hope of conceiving and carrying and nurturing a child all of those years ago, has been frenetic and painful, but has landed me here. And here is pretty awesome. Renewed hope, renewed faith, renewed dreams and goals. 

What a privileged path and blessed journey. 

Namaste. 

Feeling the Forces of Change

When I sat with my Principal towards the end of last year and told him that I needed to take leave this year, he said that he didn’t think I would be back. I replied that I thought I would be; I just needed a rest, and time to heal from the trauma and anxiety that the investigation had triggered. I am due to start back in my full time substantive position in the first week of December. 

Last night I started to look for shop assistant employment in my local area. 

Yep. 

There was nothing. 

This morning I drew an oracle card that told me to trust the universe. What I need will be there when it is time. So I am trusting the unknown. And I am good with that. 

I no longer feel anger towards all that encompassed the investigation. I accept that in the eyes of policy, my actions should not have been delayed, and I forgive myself for my tardiness and perceived wrongdoing. I also accept the divide between policy and humanity, and understand why policy is important. As a result, I forgive those that lied to the investigators when they were questioned, and I forgive all involved for the behaviours and choices that resulted in the investigation in the first place. 

Importantly, I understand that it needed to unfold the way that it did so that I could grow and prioritise my health/life. I was not looking after my needs and had stopped looking after my needs a long time ago. 

In the chain of events of my life, I was still healing from my miscarriage, resolving many failed IVF attempts, and coming to terms with a necessarily intrusive foster carer process. A process that I felt that I failed because my answers were not deep enough for the assessors yet I had nothing more. 

My needs – the basic needs of love, security and health – were not being met by me. I had let them go. I had not been nurturing myself, my relationships, or my life outside of work. There was no balance, and I was suffering but caught on a treadmill without brakes that moved faster and faster.

The investigation was the brakes. This devastating trauma and anxiety forced me to stop, pause and then question EVERYTHING. I fell apart, bits of me lying everywhere. India started the process of picking the pieces up and I gathered them in my arms. 

And then I decided to put me first. 

And now I am here. 

And I don’t want to teach anymore. 

I want a different life. 

I am walking forward, in trust, that I will walk where I will serve myself and this world best.