Unsolicited Advice πŸ€ͺ

My whole life I have had very strong opinions about a lot of things. I was idealistic, passionate and very focused on my vision for this world. I would listen to the views of others, but only ever add to my arsenal of opinions rather than change them.

As we begin to age, I think we lose or temper some of that fervour, and some of my opinions have moved closer to the right side of politics (not right as in accurate, right as in right wing). The delivery of those ideas though would always encompass support and education.

For me these days, empowerment of individuals is vital to happiness and fulfilment. I guess that’s my underlying value and philosophy for living. People need to become empowered, by themselves or through a facilitated process.

In New South Wales in Australia, where I live, we have to vote in a State Election at the end of March.

I have always taken my vote seriously because the only dictatorship I would like to live in is one dictated to by me. When I turned 18, way back in the dark ages, and my first vote was coming up, I fastidiously researched (without Google I might add) the philosophy of each major party in Australia at the time (Liberal, Labor, Greens and the Democrats) and then I researched their leaders and then I found out about my local candidates.

I thought it was important to know all of this. During my twenties, I became involved in local politics, joined a political party, became active, a little militant, and served.

During my thirties, I became disillusioned. Candidates that WERE the best choice weren’t being supported by Head Office as much as they should be and I saw the yucky side of party politics.

Now, towards the end of my forties, having resigned from the political quagmire of school and education bureaucracy, I feel my passion and voice returning.

It has been bothering me that there is an election coming and I don’t know who to vote for. Here in Australia, politics and governance has become an ego riddled joke. Our Prime Minister changes with the winds and politicians don’t really seem to care about us real people and what we want.

So, for the first time in my life, I’m looking very seriously to vote for a candidate that quite possibly won’t gain office this time, but might next time. I’ve gone back to grass roots, and I think I’m going to vote for my local independent.

I met them on Saturday. They are traveling around the electorate to meet and genuinely hear from their potential constituents. Irrelevant who it is. I’m not trying to tell you who to vote for. That’s personal choice and your values may be different from mine.

I am suggesting though, that you find out about your candidates and the parties they belong to, and don’t ignore the independent candidates. Some independent candidates are stooges from the major parties placed in the ballot to extend the preferential votes. Find out.

Find out what each candidate stands for and don’t just vote a way that you always have – I truly believe our major parties need to know how disgruntled we are that they do not choose the needs of their constituents over their own and/or party needs.

It’s time for a political shake up and massive awakening in our country, and we start with our vote at the next elections.

And, yep, after months, two posts in a row hehehe.

Finding My Life’s Purpose

On Friday, 21st December, 2018, my resignation from the NSW Department of Education became final. I no longer have an employer. I am self-employed.

I am liberated from the perceived shackles I wore for 26 years.

There were a few moments of tears. Grief for the career I thought I would die in, happily. Grief for leaving a place that had been home for so long. Grief for the laughs and learning that no longer would occur with me in A4.

The ashes of my dreams.

I left for a cruise to New Zealand with my first Head Teacher from Reddall the following day. Exhausted from working seven days a week for seven months, with only a few days off during that time and no pyjama days.

It took a week for me to breathe. I’m still tired, but no longer exhausted.

On New Year’s Day, I set my intentions for this year.

I am fully booked with tutoring. I have friendships and working relationships blossoming with Michelle and Fiona to create more wellness workshops. I want to write and finish my book.

It took coming home for me to realise what was in front of me all of the time. My life purpose, things I couldn’t do whilst teaching.

I need to advocate for child trauma victims to receive mandated trauma counselling whenever a referral of abuse/trauma is made by an adult on behalf of a child. After trauma, it should not be the child or parent or School’s decision. Trauma impacts until it is resolved and/or processed.

I need to offer and facilitate a ‘support group’ for adults who have experienced trauma in their past and feel stuck because of it.

I need to become more active in my local business network.

I need to finish my book. I need to share my learning and my own healing so that someone else may feel empowered to remove their own shackles.

We all deserve this feeling of renewal and of purpose. It is my wish for everyone for this year – passion for life because we understand our individual and collective purposes.

Settling Myself

I didn’t realise I wasn’t great until this week. In fact, I was unsettled and out of sorts last Sunday, but didn’t realise how much out of sorts I was. I probably already had been out of sorts for at least a week.

No surprise really. It’s been a big few weeks. Aunty Val dying, then Jan, and then the Mum of a friend passed. I cried for Jan, I cried for Kerry, but not so much for Aunty Val.

And so, by the end of this week, I felt like my world was well out of balance and was crumbling around me. I was getting jittery and just wanting to hide under my quilt and letting someone else be responsible for everything.

I don’t know if you’ve ever felt so overwhelmed and so disorganized that everything just feels so wrong, like a house of cards, and all it takes is one wrong move and everything comes toppling down.

That’s been me, building steadily, since last Sunday. Probably already unraveling well before that.

Today, I woke up and felt realigned. That’s when I realised I haven’t been as aligned or as okay as I thought I was.

I also don’t talk to people anymore about how I feel or about what’s going on. I’ve learned that I function better and heal/process faster when it’s just me doing it. I am less dramatic in it if I keep it to myself. Also, it doesn’t give me the opportunity to feel sorry for myself if I perceive people aren’t there for me.

I think this makes it difficult for my friends, to be my friend. I maintain it works best for me. We all need to work out what works best for us and then act accordingly.

I also realised how many people rely on me for emotional support. I haven’t been able to give it – in retrospect, another sign I wasn’t okay myself – and couldn’t force it. Often, I’ll look beyond myself and find the resolve. This time, I didn’t. I think I’m growing, but it feels selfish – that old conditioning.

Such massive learning holes opening up everywhere.

We are our own worst enemies. We are enough, and it’s okay to put our own needs first. Lord knows, that’s what I’ve told people for decades.

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.

πŸ™πŸ»πŸ§šπŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

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