Death is a Profound Teacher

I have been to too many funerals. Definitely too many funerals for people who died before old age. Death is an amazing teacher. Like all classrooms though, we don’t all choose to learn the lessons.

Today, a group of broken people gathered to remember and celebrate the life of a beautiful human being. Belinda and I sat and stood together, as we always have, and we supported ‘our babies’ and each other in our collective grief.

Trae’s death has impacted me beyond – I am not sure why. Love is love. Bel suggested it’s because this group of kids is the last group that we had such a strong connection to. We both taught 8E and we shared stories and jokes and learning. So many of that class are no longer at school. One, no longer alive.

Meh. I am writing this out so often because I don’t know how to talk about it. I can’t find the spoken words. I’ve turned to my faith to try to make sense if it, and I can.

Death teaches us.

When my friend, Natalie, died, I vowed to live my best life because her life ended way too soon. I wanted to honour the gift that my life is, that each of our lives is. I still think of Nat every day. Every day without fail. And I love that. She drives me.

I also think of all of the people I love every day. I carry them with me, even when I can’t see them for loooong periods of time. I feel blessed to be able to love so many people. To have known so many people. To have shared life with so many people.

Death has taught me that even a long life, is really a short life. Our time in this body, in this incarnation, with these people as we see and know them, is short. Some, a lot shorter than others.

We all have choices to make; I choose life.

It’s often the seemingly insignificant and routine things that are the hardest to let go of. Trae’s brother, whom he lived with, spoke beautifully today, remembering the dumb shit that brothers do that in the day to day, means nothing really, but ultimately, means everything.

Everyone that spoke, touched on these things. The memories that make the loss of Trae significant. We are all that for someone. We touch people’s lives, often in ways we never fully appreciate.

One of our beautiful kids humbled us by being her authentic self today. I’m so proud of her. She’s had a tough life. She knows where she’s at, even though she’s not always sure, and she knows she has a long path ahead of her to heal her childhood trauma, but she’s walking it, every day.

The trust kids hold for adults they connect with never fails to humble me. Being a teacher to so many kids has truly been a great blessing in my life. I truly do hope they know and believe how very very much I love them and how significantly they have imprinted on my soul.

There is more that connects us, than divides us. Sometimes we struggle to see that. And when someone so well loved dies, it is easy to look for someone to blame, someone who can be responsible, someone we can take our extreme feelings of loss out on, to unleash the anger and the pain and sometimes, the misplaced guilt.

The thing though, is that Trae wouldn’t want division. He wouldn’t want his death to be responsible for more unnecessary pain. When people die, we need to honour their life and their impact by living our best lives and being our best selves. This is what death teaches us.

There are broken young adults en masse today. I hope they find peace. I love them. I always have and I always will. I hope they feel that and truly know that. I miss those connections; would be lying if I said otherwise. Like all parents, I want them to live long and happy lives, but ultimately, that choice to do so is their choice, and their choice alone.

If only cotton wool was sold in massive bulk.

Meh.

Until we meet again, Trae. You were a gorgeous kid. Thank you for being my student and being a great kid. I wish I’d told you more.

I Just Can’t Sleep – Ughhhh

And I emotionally ate some biscuits.

A week and a half ago, one of my ex-students died. I was so shocked. It feels like I heard the news months ago. I kept an eye out for funeral details until I went back to work this week.

Today, the bestie shared the information. I only saw it tonight after I had packed up my workshop. That was probably an hour or so ago.

We messaged back and forth, organising our travel plans. I need to cancel some appointments so that I can go.

After that, I ate some biscuits, not immediately realising why. Not caring really when I did realise why. Meh. This is just so wrong.

Belinda and I have ‘buried’ too many of our kids. Some funerals I just couldn’t go to. It’s so bloody hard. No one tells you, that when you become a teacher, funerals feel like they become the norm. No one can tell you how much the kids become part of your soul either.

I have always just expected that when they leave they go on to create wonderful lives. That’s what they deserve. All of them. Even the ones who give you grief. After all, they’re kids, and kids are full of angst. That’s not meant to continue though. They deserve to be happy.

I cannot believe that Trae has died.

Cannot believe it. I feel for his family – there are no words to bring peace to their hearts and no words to make it okay. I wish that there were.

I feel for his friends. The friends I know and the friends I don’t. I feel for my babies. Trae’s Year 8 class, whom Belinda and I both taught – a blessing for us and them (lol) – were gorgeous.

Some exceptionally smart kids and all nice (even Tahlia for those who remember that for most of the year I was a “slut” to her lol – love that kid’s spirit – I hope she still has it and it has served her well). We had some good laughs.

Trae tried really hard all of the time. He was always smiling, grinning or laughing. He loved his friends and they loved him. He possessed a beautiful heart. Possesses.

I can only hope that we learn from his death, what we learn from all death, and that is that life is short and we should do what makes us happy.

I remember my first student who died. That was a massive shock, like this. Erin didn’t wake up. Year 10 Graduation was cancelled and I went home to stare at the walls for months after. One of her friends vowed to live her life fully in honour of the life cut short. She did and has and will always I think. She created a bucket list of things to do before thirty.

Death serves us.

It reminds us that all life is temporary. And, it teaches us to share our love for others, and to not take tomorrow for granted. It teaches us that judgement is stupid and love is sacred. It teaches us, after grief, how to live better, more fully.

But, it also hurts. It does force us to stare at walls, to be numb, to say dumb stuff, do dumb stuff, want to belong and to fit in.

Ugh. I still can’t sleep.

Broken People

I don’t know how many of you will remember an email chain that went around in the late nineties – yep, I know lol – focused on the paradoxes. One of the tenets was that we are more connected than we ever have been, but people feel lonelier than they ever have.

That hasn’t really changed in the last twenty years, just become worse.

I think society has broken down. I also think we are all responsible for changing that.

Community is the way. Holding each other accountable for our behaviour is the way. Loving one another by looking for similarities rather than focusing on difference is the way. Checking in on family and friends is the way.

I feel most alive and most present in service to others. And travel, but that isn’t the norm for my life. I love my businesses. I love working. Not so many hours, but it is what it is and it is temporary.

Now though, that I see more of the world, I see how many people are broken and living in fear of change or even being themselves. At our core, I think we all want to belong and be loved. Ego tells us we want power and notoriety, not our core selves.

Ego disconnects us from one another. Ego is hurt feelings, vengeance, anger, frustration. Ego is the I. Ego serves the individual – sometimes – but at the expense of the heart and at the expense of community.

Real and true community, like when I grew up and people looked out for one another. Community where you want others to succeed. Community of loyalty and trust and empowerment and support.

The sort of world our kids deserve to live in.

Maybe, if we lived in a communal society, so many kids, so many adults, wouldn’t be feeling hope-less and lost and alone and disconnected. Maybe people wouldn’t be so broken and there would be more love. Maybe more people would survive.

Pain and loneliness is temporary.

When we make different choices, life gets better and we get healthier.

How are the lost meant to see this when we are so disconnected we don’t share it.

I don’t want to see more sadness, and tragedy, and pain. I think our leaders need to stop focusing on the silly things and focus on reconnecting people, growing community, finding peace and balance. They need to serve from love and not ego. They need to model a different way.

I want our children saved.

Standing in Truth

Something fundamental has gone wrong in our society. Kids are feeling alone and troubled and disconnected and we don’t see it. Hope seems to be non-existent.

I grew up in trauma and I know many people my age who did. We just kept going. I guess, it’s like we felt we didn’t have too much of a choice.

Fuck. I don’t know what I’m trying to say.

Yesterday, I received a message to let me know that one of my ex students from school had died. This has become a regular occurrence. Just too regular. Too many young lives gone, at their own hand or through accidents.

Too many of our youth feel there is no light. They wander aimlessly, living the life they feel they are expected to live. Scared to pursue their dreams, or to even dream, not believing in their own light. Not realizing they even have a light.

We are all so connected. The ripple effect of kids dying is savage. Meh. The words won’t flow. I’m still in shock.

Death serves to remind us all that life is short. We deserve happiness and peace, but they don’t come easily. We need to work towards it by making choices that take us there. One after the other.

Hardship is part of life. It serves to teach us humility, compassion and resilience.

Every time someone I love dies, I take stock of my life. Is what I’m doing serving others, serving me, making the world a better, more authentic, happier place? What do I need to change? We only get this one opportunity to live this life.

Ah, Trae. You were a gorgeous kid. Year 8 English, sitting with your boys, staying back to have chats, smiling at, but not participating in their silliness. I am just so sad that you won’t become the adult version of the child I knew.

This is the hardest thing to go through as a teacher. We give our hearts and souls to our kids. We invest in their happiness whilst we invest in their education. When they are sick, or lost, or suffering, all we want to do is grab them and hold them and save them from all of the shit that can be this life, their life.

But we can’t.

We all impact those around us. Even when we feel we are nothing, we impact. Even when we feel we are unseen, we impact.

Man. I feel for Trae’s family, his mum, his friends, all being forced to deal with and process and work through something that must be ripping their hearts apart.

Life is short. Significantly shorter for some. We need to ensure we honor the memory of those that pass early by living our best lives and creating a beautiful world.

😥

Healing is Hard

I am in a slump, spiralling down into the hole.

The difference this time is that I am mindful and have been mindful and am doing what I need to do.

I could feel and see it coming. I was tired, like soul tired; I had nothing left to give. I became impatient. It was harder to stay in balance. I just wanted to hide away. I got sick and couldn’t shake it. I had no patience for other people who’s experiences are mirroring mine – no one likes a mirror on a bad day.

I started to self care. I cancelled appointments, but I explained why. I have said no. I have been careful to not over commit. I have had a lot of silence. I have been really honest with myself about where I am at.

I know this transition is temporary. I know my body, mind and spirit need time out to process all of the changes I have made to my life in the last twelve months. I need to process who this new identity is. And I need time to really love her, for all that she is. She’s pretty darn amazing and quite a beautiful person. I’m happy to be her.

Massive growth right there.

I think when we’ve experienced trauma (and I did this for more years than I can count and feel blessed that people have stayed with me), it is easy to feel like the world owes us something. It is easy to blame other people for not getting it and for not trying to get it.

The impact of trauma really changes the way your brain is wired. A traumatised brain doesn’t see the world the way a healthy brain does. Everything is personal – everything. It is a horrible way to live. It keeps you victimised. It doesn’t permit happiness or stability.

During my tapping class last night, I was triggered by what we were doing – playing it small in life. I had a flashback to a moment in childhood. The word uncertainty kept popping into my head.

I was uncertain I would be safe, uncertain I would be cared for, uncertain that I would be okay.

I was safe, I was taken care of and I was okay in this moment.

However, that loss of certainty because of the trauma I endured has lead my life. It has kept me small – the what if question was always framed negatively. Now, I am rewriting it positively. Or need to.

Because I am not that child anymore. I am a strong, resilient, empowered woman with a strong voice and a massive heart who doesn’t tolerate bullshit.

As children, we didn’t have choice, or control, or the knowledge that we were going to be okay.

As adults, we do. As adults, we create our lives through our choices.

I think it is easier to stay where you are safe, as a victim living in the trauma, but it keeps you small and none of us were destined to be small.

As adults, we can change what we aren’t happy with. We can move through and alter patterns. We can own our own shit. And we need to. If you aren’t happy, be honest with yourself, step out of the victim mentality, and own your healing.

Empower yourself.

You are worth that effort.

Unsettled

This doesn’t happen often anymore very much at all. I’m going to own it though now that it has happened.

I’ve woken up with a head heavy with swirling thoughts. I think one of my friends sensed the downward spiral starting yesterday because they randomly asked if I were okay.

I was – mostly – I have been sick and have pushed through except for Tuesday when I cancelled all of the clients I remembered (a sign in itself) and slept through the afternoon.

I’m exhausted. It’s been a big start to the year and feels like December already. The term is almost done, and I decided to write the bloody trauma book lol. It triggered my process last week. This week the process has triggered something.

I dreamed of sexual abuse last night. I can’t remember the dreams. I was not the abused. I feel that. Meh.

I knew the book would be difficult to write. And I know I’ll be okay. I’ll work through whatever this is.

I have already stood on the grass to ground myself. I’m going to do some body groove and I’m going to do a grounding mantra I learned at yoga yesterday.

Once my brain is ready to release whatever emotion it is processing, I’ll work through that too.

Childhood trauma is the gift that keeps giving. Like IVF lol.

Memories, feelings, stuff can come up at any time and knock you. And that’s okay when you have a self-care strategy. I do – years in the making to deal with these times. I won’t slide deep. I know what to do. And I’ll take the time I need to do it by saying no more often.

I’ve got this. You’ve got this. We’ve all got this.

One Choice After Another

One March 1, I started a food program to improve my physical health.

For years, I have been healing the emotional and the psychological aspects of myself, and consolidating and extending the intellectual.

I felt last December that it was time to embrace the physical wellness aspect of myself. I had already worked on loving my body as it was. Embracing all it can and has done for me throughout my life, and just generally being grateful for and to it.

I ordered the Isagenix program the week leading up to the 1st March and was ready to start.

I’m not advocating Isagenix for everyone; I’m sharing my story. I am well aware that it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I am advocating for it for me.

A few years ago I looked into the bariatric surgery. It didn’t feel right for me because I believed I needed to work through the reasons I was holding onto my weight or no method would be successful for me. I didn’t just want to lose weight, I wanted to empower holistic health for myself. Hence, starting the process of living my body and expressing gratitude towards it.

Initially, because of the bad press around Isagenix, I felt ashamed of my choice. I felt judgement – this is my perception, and I think it existed because of my old fears of not pleasing people and low feelings of self-worth – and was reluctant to voice my choice.

I am losing weight. But I’m not obsessed about it. This is a marathon and not a sprint. I’ve never felt that way before. The program has also just slipped into my life – fairly easily.

The benefits for me though, extend beyond weight loss. I feel empowered. Truly empowered.

At first, I had more energy. I live a busy life. Energy is great. I felt like I had control over what I put into my mouth and how much I put into my mouth. I’ve become very mindful about my food choices.

I also organised an appointment with my nutritionist, Michelle from Eat to Treat Nutrition. Her aim is to get me off relying on a food program and being knowledgable enough to do the same thing with natural foods, ensuring sound nutritional balance from natural foods. At the moment, she has advised me about good combinations and small changes I can make to ensure that as a vegetarian, I’m getting enough fats etc.

My blood pressure has become relatively normal and amazing for me. I’m sure this is the loss of teaching too and really loving what I’m doing these days.

A couple of weeks ago, I became excited about exercise. I’ve tried to get to a group PT session, but first rain and then illness stifled those plans. Signs from the universe maybe. I am going to Pilates once a week and yoga weekly. And now I’ve discovered Body Groove.

I love dancing, but I’m not a dancer. I have no coordination in following routines – it isn’t organic for my body. But Body Groove seems to work. I love Misty Tripoli and her methods. More than that, I’m getting up, and willingly and easily, doing it. I think I’ve found my groove. Lol – strength (Pilates), fluidity and consciousness (yoga) and now cardio.

Also, when people say to me I look like I’m losing weight, I don’t freak out. A very short time ago, comments would have sent me straight to emotional eating. Not anymore. I’m also resisting cravings. I stop and really think about what it offers me. I haven’t been drawn into a craving yet, close but not filled. I just don’t want to pollute my body. I don’t feel the need to.

I was ready to do this. Isagenix provides a tool that compliments my time poor lifestyle. It is enabling me to make better choices in moving towards all I can be. My mindset and relationship with food is transforming and becoming much healthier.

This too, is a journey. And it is a journey I was ready to take.

I think with emotional weight gain, you need to work on loving yourself and your body before you can lose weight and keep it off. I think that’s something our society doesn’t get.

Meh … my thoughts. I’m happy. I’m on the road to healthy. I’m not feeling shame. I accept I’ve always lived my life my way and I just ain’t normal. Whatever that is 😉

To Speak or Not To Speak – that is the question.

When I was younger, I stood up all of the time and spoke out whenever I perceived something was wrong or unjust.

I got burned – a lot. I was often standing and fighting on my own. So, as I’ve aged, I have carefully worked out which battles are worth fighting, and as a result, I don’t fight as much.

I’m not happy with this.

I’m in transition at the moment and I’m not quite sure where I’m going to land. The universe keeps giving me opportunities to work myself out, rediscover and rebuild myself.

Yesterday, a woman I greatly respect, reminded me who I used to be. It’s been on my mind since. I woke up thinking about, and reflecting on it, this morning.

At a polling booth, a man from an opposing group, whilst handing out, in public, made a comment that Liberal women are the “best roots”.

My friend was angered by her perception of his disrespect to the mixed company and the public (voters). When I arrived to hand out, she mentioned what happened several times. She needed to do something about it.

She was advised to speak to the Booth Organiser inside. She did. He came out with her to speak to the man responsible for the comments.

You know, all he needed to do was acknowledge that his comment was disrespectful to women and inappropriate in the company he was in, and it would have been over.

Being the person he is, he didn’t. He kept it going.

My friend became very angry. My friend became my younger self.

I tried to calm her down.

And, this is the interesting part for me, I’m not sure I should have done that.

I’m not sure I shouldn’t have turned around and stood with her.

He was clearly in the wrong, and he was, quite clearly, an arrogant dickhead.

The socially acceptable version of myself understands that we were representing a candidate and not ourselves, that nothing would be gained by taking on a dickhead, that it wasn’t worth the fight.

However, we also need to call out poor behaviour. My friend did, and she stood by her calling out of his poor behaviour.

Was she naive to think it would change something, change his perception, or was she just being plain hopeful and trusting that people would correct their ways when poor behaviour is pointed out.

Regardless, I’m proud of her for standing in her truth. It took courage to speak up, and then to stand by that.

Not only that, upon reflection, when she held her ground outside, the Booth Organiser from the Electoral Commission, turned on her and attempted to put her in her place, and I think he did this because she was a woman. Because we were all women.

The moronic guy kept making comments. Not in front of my friend – she had fairly cuckolded him. I warned him at least three times after that to pull his head in and he made comments about me. I, too, stood my ground and told him he was disrespectful and an idiot. His Booth Captain supported me in it.

He became cowardly in her presence, choosing to make sideways comments out of her ear shot.

Two different ways.

I like her’s more. There was passion and integrity. Calling out every idiot in the world takes time and energy and requires putting yourself in the firing line.

I think I prefer how that feels.

I’m proud of her. The jury is out on me.

I know I did what I had to do. I know that politically we need to play things a certain way. But I think I’ve become too politically minded, and that means playing it safe and only disrupting the apple cart sometimes. And I don’t think I like it.

I’m working out who I am and who I want to be and whether they are the same thing. Massive time of transition.

Grateful for it.

A Healthy Ego v Arrogance

I was chatting to one of my sister tribe this morning. I’ve said a hundred times before that whilst I was a teacher, I became used to keeping myself small. I was safe there, being small, working within the parameters I was given by an institution. It suited me to not expect very much from myself. I was scared of so much.

It took me fifteen years to acknowledge to myself and then to others that I was an amazing teacher. I still am.

I build amazing relationships with my students and I work from a place of love. And, I myself, am a lifelong learner. Education is holistic – it involves significantly more than delivering content and enabling skills.

I am now developing into an amazing business woman, but I am a work in progress and wouldn’t have come this far in my businesses without the help of four women specifically ~ Karyn, Donna, Mai Mai and Michelle.

And then, wouldn’t be here without the support of my family and extended family ~ people who love me and support me through the every day. I may not see them often, definitely not as much as I want to, but they are in my heart every day and I know they are in my corner which enables me to keep moving forward.

I am humble in my arrogance. Hehe. And I will never allow myself to be small again.

In our society, as women, we believe (are taught) that to stand in our truth, the truth of who we are, and express what we are good at, what we have achieved, what we can achieve, what we have done, is wrong.

It isn’t.

There is a distinct difference between a healthy ego and arrogance.

We should be able to speak our truth. We should be encouraged to speak our truth. We should stand proud when we speak our truth.

I’ve worked fucking hard in my life and on myself to be the strong resilient woman that I am. I have had very low lows and some amazing highs. I’ve lived a full life of extremes and of balance. I’ve weathered storms and basked in sunlight. I’ve had it all. I’m proud of myself.

Every day, I wake up, blessed (and bloody tired lol) and ready to serve. Every day, I am grateful for all that I have and all that I am. Every day, I take steps towards achieving the life I want to live, and every day, I live the life I want to live.

I own this. I own me.

If you call me arrogant, I ask you to look within yourself and ask where that need to judge comes from. If you think you shouldn’t own the best in you, ask who is keeping you small and who that serves.

Me being amazing does not diminish your amazing-ness. There is enough light in this world for us all to shine.

Today, mentally, vocally, in writing, List the qualities, the things, that make you amazing. And then, stand proud in your truth.

We are phenomenal people.

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