August 18, 2020

Carry this Paulo Coelho Truth in your Heart for the Rest of your Days.

The year 2020 has been an extraordinary year.

Extraordinary in the very best and very worst ways. I will leave it up to the reader to determine what has been good or bad for themselves this year; after all, our individual experiences are bound to run the gamut.

No matter what, though, “truths” of all varieties have manifested, and I am no exception.

For me, the extraordinarily bad has included the death of an extended family member from COVID-19, a mild case of the virus myself, which I nervously monitored for weeks in the event of worsening symptoms (it did not turn into a severe case), and now the return to in-person teaching in a few weeks at a public elementary school amidst much skepticism that the virus will truly be contained.

On the other hand, the extraordinarily good has been the opportunity to nurture my introverted soul these past months, being fortunate to be able to teach from home this spring, and a chance to pursue my truth and passion in the form of writing, and practicing Reiki and meditation regularly.

In the midst of this extraordinary year, the truest statement that I know for myself right now is:

Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.” ~ Paulo Coelho

In the ongoing trauma of a pandemic that has turned our lives upside down, a national failure of cooperation and communication to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and the glaring inequity that exists in our nation, I found my true statement.

But, the question is, what do I do with it?

We are about to return to normal, or a new normal, for as long as the virus “positivity rates” remain low in my state. That means hours away from home, coming home fatigued, and leaving little time for truth and passion.

Why haven’t I been following the truth in my heart all along? So many “reasons” come to mind.

I can’t do what I truly want because I have bills to pay and obligations to meet and people who count on me. I’m too old and too close to retirement to start over again. This is my third career, I need to grow up and get serious—most people are not totally in love with their jobs.

The thing is, I love teaching. Sure, I was a little shocked to discover just how much federal and state-mandated standards have taken over the K-12 classrooms, and I have mourned the loss of learning for the love of learning, replaced instead by successful mastery of some artificial measure of success and intelligence. Are there standards and requirements in my job? Yes. Can I try a little harder to spin my unique brand of passion into the learning process for my students? Also, yes.

And, I know I am doing this little by little, as I am building a Reiki and holistic healing practice on the side, changing my perspective and the way I send my energy out into the world, bringing mindfulness into my classroom, and teaching my students to pause and reflect before speaking up or lashing out.

You see, I was there once. Unsure of my role, even in my own life, as a child and young adult, I was rash, emotional, and hung up on being right and proving myself worthy. Except, it turns out, I never had to prove myself worthy at all. I was trying to become everything that I was not. And it was killing me. I had to change. And so began the journey.

It is easy in the “wisdom” of middle age to look back in horror at my foolishness and my lack of self-love and self-esteem, to wince at the antics I engaged in to “become something.”

Now, I know better.

It may have been a rough start, and there were plenty of mistakes and missteps made. But it was all necessary to unravel the “becoming” in order to commence the “un-becoming of everything.” I am proud to say that I am well on my way to un-becoming all the things I never was and never really wanted to be and on the journey to being the me I was meant to be. And that is my true statement.

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