I have been a teacher for my entire adult life. I have worked as an educator at aquariums, animal shelters, high school classrooms, and even a real estate office. Being a teacher equates to constantly being vulnerable. Every day, you are putting yourself out there, speaking your truth, and handling whatever comes your way.
I have had a principal call me late at night to yell at me. I have had students throw chairs at me because they did not want to do homework. I have had a headmaster physically change the grades in my grade book because parents complained about me. I have even had an entire group at the real estate office publicly mock me at the annual retreat because they thought I was ridiculous.
Umm...how did I possibly handle all of that??
Well, the truth is that in the past I handled it...not well. I cried. Called in sick to work. Started job hunting so that I could simply run away. And then wallow in low self-esteem for a while until I chose to try again.
I currently teach middle school math and science. Although I like to think that time has passed and I am much evolved at this point, I still get triggered. Like last week. A parent challenged me and I felt old emotions and patterns rise up.
Here is the difference. The emotions were fully present and I felt my inclination to defend or run away BUT it happened in slow motion. It felt like the shame would swallow me alive. Instead of reacting, I watched it. Instead of running away, I stood still. When the dust settled, I responded from a place of confidence.
It did not feel good. I did not enjoy it. Thinking about it makes me uncomfortable.
There is a thought out there that yoga and mindfulness are magic elixirs, that they heal your problems. This is not the case. Yoga and mindfulness create space. Just enough space that they allow you to see clearly and to heal yourself. Indeed, that feels like magic...and also hard work.
None of this is easy but I prefer this work I am doing now to the reacting I did for the majority of my life.
Join me on the mat or in a class. We make this journey together.
I had a student tell me this week that our cells reproduce at such a rate that every 10 years you have a new skeleton. In that case, I am currently working on my 5th skeleton. With yoga and mindfulness as my tools, I have high hopes for the ways in which Danielle 5.0 will grow.