A Perpetual Work in Progress

Massive lessons being learned by me at the moment. I am in transition again. So much movement in my life, and so much trying to be and do everything. You can only ever disappoint when you try to be everything to everyone.

Hmmm … I didn’t mean to underline, but there you have it. The first salient point in this post lol.

My whole life, I felt small. I felt like I had no worth unless I was doing and being for others. As I reflect, that core belief is what has always landed me in trouble during my adult life. And it is ultimately the belief that has lead me here to be able to smash through it. Gingerly lol.

Obviously, that belief started in childhood. I don’t hold others responsible for it – it was my perception (mis-perception) of the trauma I encountered. The same trauma that has made me who I am (who I like – an empowered, resilient, and beautiful woman – a little proud I can say that without any challenge or awkwardness).

Last weekend, I hit a snag on Sunday. I forgot I had organised to go to the beach and then catch up with one of my very closest people. I was too tired. Soul tired. I slept ALL day.

I knew I had to make changes.

I couldn’t keep watching people live their lives – explore the world, see family and friends, do stuff – whilst the vast majority of what I did was work. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work. I just realised last Sunday, that I also love not working. It’s as simple as that.

I am most present and most liberated when I am doing any sort of healing work, be it with others or on my own self. Healing, and all that means, is my highest value and the reason I am on this Earth at this time – to empower and inspire others to be their best selves.

When I am not engaged in this work, I am not as buoyant.

This work takes many forms: tutoring, workshops, clients, writing, videos with Renee, and connections. And I’m sure there is more. It is my whole self.

But there needs to be a balance within the healing work.

And because of my ‘fear’ of disappointing people, my inability to say no for the same reason, all connected to my belief that my worth is connected to what I do for others, I have run out of mojo already this year.

When I’m working in my balance, I am energised. When I’m working out of balance, I become soul tired.

I’ve made difficult decisions this week, had difficult conversations, and the world hasn’t imploded. I still woke up this morning. People are managing to live their lives. Not much seems to have changed.

However, I have. As someone said to me yesterday, “It’s good you are setting boundaries, Tina. We would keep taking as long as you were still giving.”

As a person who has experienced trauma, standing up for what I want and being supported in that and not being belittled or punished, has been empowering.

The world didn’t end when I set some boundaries. People are disappointed, but we are all still functioning. The difference now, my needs are being met too.

And I AM worth that.

If You Build It

Tonight is the first night of my Moving Beyond Childhood Trauma workshop. I am excited and terrified all in one.

Running workshops always terrifies me. The impact of my own trauma becomes very obvious to me: the fear that I’m not good enough and have nothing to offer of use.

Obviously, this is garbage, but it is the narrative I’ve told myself my whole life. I’m not good enough. I think that’s why I stayed in teaching for so long – the system kept me very small and I enabled that because it fed my narrative – I’m just not good enough.

So, I have to walk the talk. I have to tell the fear to sit in the back seat whilst I drive the car. It can come, but it can not speak. Thank you, Liz Gilbert. I pay this metaphor forward and it changes lives.

Fear is normal. Minimizing yourself as a result of it is something you can control. To live our best lives, we need to learn to harness it. Acknowledge its existence, but do not give it power.

I scaffolded the program weeks ago. As you do. Something had been holding me back from fully committing to that scaffold. Yesterday, just before heading to work, tonight flashed into my brain.

The last week, first.

Always have the goal in mind. What do I want my life to look like? Who do I want to be?

Then, we will deal with the trauma.

I’m hoping the participants find the courage within themselves to attend; I have such a good feeling about the group.

Another impact of my own trauma is that I used to struggle with stepping outside of my comfort zone. Twenty seconds of courage to click yes and to knock on a door changed that. I now go when and where I am called.

Changing my trauma narrative comes one word at a time, one impact at a time, one change at a time. With lots of self-love practiced.

Trauma doesn’t have to define our lives. It is our choice.

What Happens When We Let Go

I left teaching seven weeks ago. I haven’t looked back. I was past my ‘best before’ date and I knew it. I still have a hundred percent in the classroom, but I wasn’t as motivated outside of it. Probably because I was running a business outside of school hours and all day Saturday; there was no time.

I am now working seven days a week. I’m knackered lol. I’m blissfully happy too. I’m growing my business and creating new pathways for myself; I am living my dream. Did I mention, I’m exhausted. Lol.

The last couple of weeks has been bizarre.

I was first contacted by an ex-colleague who has offered me the opportunity to run a stress relief, mindfulness and meditation session for Year 7 students at her school. Yes, please, thank you. Humbled and initially terrified, I accepted. Of course I can do this 😳.

After saying YES, the universe realised I was willing to accept opportunities and was serious about not going back to teaching in a school.

I was then contacted by an ex-student from another lifetime altogether and asked if I was interested in running meditation/healing in his centre.

Yes, please.

From that meeting, a whole other new opportunity emerged to work with the Department of Housing, developing and implementing programs to support the empowerment of women. Oh my. It’s still sinking in. That was the end goal of my business; it’s come ten years early.

Yes, please.

And, then, realising that what they want is just who I am. No bells or whistles, just what I do every day being me.

What a gift. I am beyond grateful. It is amazing what transpires and manifests when you just let go …

Let go of everything that no longer serves you, of everything that does not bring you happiness and joy, of everything that no longer fits … and you create openings and space for everything that you do want, to come in.

It’s a process, but man, such a worthwhile one.

The Universe Does Conspire 🙏🏻

Beautiful moments. I left teaching with a little bit of a plan. I wanted to grow my businesses so that I could live comfortably and easily and happily without my teaching income. I wanted to thrive, but I needed to take my foot off the bridge.

Doing that, jumping from everything you know into a world you don’t know, is terrifying. But, when you really think about it, you can always return to something you do know. I am so happy I found the courage to jump, to try a new path.

Six weeks on, I don’t miss school teaching. I miss some of the staff and I miss the kids, but I don’t miss the internal politics of institutions, the games, the small mindedness, and the competition.

For me, I realise how much I allowed the institution to keep me small. It’s interesting that as my sense of self-worth improved, my ability to fit the institution’s model diminished. This is for me; I am not applying that epiphany to anyone else’s journey.

My businesses are growing. My tutoring business is at capacity – stretched beyond really – and the healing business is morphing slowly. I’m okay with that.

More importantly, I love waking up every day, excited for what the day might bring. I love working again, and I never feel a sense of dread. I am still surrounded by love and am still developing deep rapport with people I meet. And, I’m beginning to be able to celebrate who I am as a person.

I’m fierce. So capable. And, just so very blessed to be living and creating this life.

I put to the universe that I was ready to fulfil my mission here, and slowly I’m receiving opportunities to run healing/meditation groups and sessions for kids. I always think to myself initially that I’m not good enough and then I shake that off, and say, Yes, I can and I am more than good enough.

My warrior spirit kicks in and I acknowledge the residual pangs of self-doubt and then I jump in. It’s becoming easier to say yes and it’s becoming easier to stand in my truth all of the time. There are no games here. No politics. No staying small.

Jumping ship, starting something new, breathing deeply and living in the present moment, is an amazing journey. I’m so grateful for absolutely everything in my life to this point, for without all of it, I wouldn’t be standing here.

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.

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?

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

A horrible night of sleep. Bad dreams have returned and I just couldn’t stay asleep. Only two days of holiday time left. To look after myself, I am considering taking some leave. 

This is the healing way though. Moving backwards forces us to process events and process our growth. The continual to-ing and fro-ing eventually results in core balance. 

It’s okay. I’m okay. The anxiety is okay. But it is temporary. 

It was a significant turning point to realise the anxiety was serving to force me to move onto the path it is time for me to be on. I can’t let go of the fear that change brings but I can choose to not let it cripple me. 

That is my choice. 

Life as Learning 

What an incredible learning experience life offers us. Never a dull moment. Lord help us all lol. 

I am in a calm place at the moment, and have been for a few days. Solitude supports me quietening the noise that life usually offers. As a result, I have started ticking things off a to do list, and more importantly, started formulating what will become a five or ten year plan. 

Small things to take control of my life back. 

I have always said that Oprah is quite right when she says that the big things that happen to us, often happen because we haven’t taken heed of the smaller signs that fate/the universe/God has shown us. I have now started to listen. 

Obviously, I’m a phenomenal teacher and a great leader. I love the work. But it isn’t all fun, and the workload in modern teaching practice effectively corrodes a life/work balance. And realistically, my employer (NSW Department of Education) does not care one iota for my welfare or my contribution to their business. I am dispensable. Ridiculously. Because I am not. 

As much as I love the classroom and as much as I love making a difference through leadership, I resent what teaching has done to my life. What I have let teaching do to my life. Mostly from fear of not knowing and not trusting what lies beyond teaching. 

I wanted to be a teacher from five. I found a nobility in providing opportunities for kids to learn and to empower them to realise their dreams. Obviously, not all of that when I was five. At five, it just seemed magical to learn. I still find a nobility in teaching. But the cost in achieving it has become too high. 

I am a highly competent and resilient and intelligent human being. I am also a gifted healer. And I love writing. I can create opportunities for myself. And I will succeed. 

Breathe. Lol. Faith. 

I am in my seventh week of anxiety. I know that once a situation is resolved, one way or another, relating to work, I will be able to move forward. The anxiety will come under control (fingers crossed) and I will recommence living. Hopefully, with renewed vigour. 

But, I think the situation causing the uncertainty aka anxiety, is also serving as a big shout out to me that teaching is no longer my life path. I deserve more. I deserve better. I am valuable. My value is unrecognised and unrewarded beyond myself, my peers and my students. 

And that’s just not good enough anymore. 

So, I’m going to conquer the anxiety, conquer my fear of the unknown beyond teaching, and jump … If all else fails, I can always go back to teaching. 

Now to put the steps together so that I can reach the platform from which I will jump … 

To reclaim my life. My value. My self. 

Quick Post

So I made and followed through with some decisions today. I will work four days a week for the next two terms and I am going to go to New York in July.

And as a result of just deciding to do something different I am starting to feel alive again. My two decisions are at odds with one another. I don’t have the money to go to New York and dropping my days of work reduces my income but so what, where there is will there is a way 😳 or so I am hoping.

And funnily, today when I woke up, I liked my face again. I saw the pretty coming back.

I was scared to approach my boss, a very caring man, and when I say scared I mean terrified. I fought back tears several times. Fear really has held onto me. I think constant failure at conception has resulted in me not believing in myself at all, and as a result, in the last six or so weeks, not liking myself very much.

So after listening to Liz Gilbert yesterday in conversation with her fears, and giving them a seat on the journey but no voice and definitely no vote, I had a similar conversation with my fear today. I told my fear that I knew it was there but I had to ignore it because if I listened to it and failed to fight for my self, only disaster would come; I may as well be burned because I wouldn’t really be living. And I’ve never just wanted to exist.

And so, I moved beyond my fear. And now I will start working four days a week next term for two terms, writing on the fifth day, and in the middle of it I will manage to accrue funds to go to New York.

Reclamation of the self.

Thank you Liz.