My [redacted] Journey

A teacher's search for inner peace.

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My Joy

sunsetJoy:  the emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune; a source or cause of delight.

October 4, 2015

Dear Readers,

As joy settles in and around my soul, I am taken aback at my good fortune.  I have touched the lives of many young people, and this has been a source of great happiness for me.  However, countless young people have moved my soul, and this has been a great source of joy for me.

Why must I constantly search for more? 

Well, dear Readers, that is what is at the heart of the matter.  It’s not that I think I have done quite enough in my teaching of young people and I can rest on my laurels, it’s that I fear I could be doing more.  I have been dedicated to teaching to the point of absorption.  I have painstakingly and methodically set out to be a fine educator.  I’ve taken the time to hone my craft and I’m almost always tinkering at my workbench.  I am in restless pursuit of a greater understanding as to how to better do what I do.  If the key to success is based on extraordinary effort, well then, I am successful.  However, I nearly always fabricate an opposing force to my joy.

Why must I constantly feel out of balance?

I either have or I have not.  I either take or I give.  There seems to be no middle ground with me.  It’s time I look deeper into my life and question where it is leading, who is really in charge, and what’s really going on.  I need to get ahold of the big picture.

What is my sole (soul?) purpose?

I’ve always taken the road less traveled.  I’ve lived my life speaking my mind and seizing the day.  I’ve gambled that being bold would bring me personal power over my life.  Ahh, but somewhere along the way I forgot that true power always comes from God.  It’s through this relationship that I am blessed with fulfillment.  When I begin to believe that I am the source of my accomplishments, problems develop.  When I forget that I am not the source of my power, my good sense is overwhelmed and I become blind to my true intentions.

What are my true intentions?

Although I’ve faltered, I do have the courage of my convictions.  I believe that man is basically good.  I believe that one person can make a difference.  I believe that I can inspire a generation to act upon the goodness in their hearts.  And, I believe I am blessed.

Why am I worried about my future?

I’ve thought long and hard about these questions, dear Readers.  As near as I can tell, it’s time to take a walk with God.  Communing with nature is one way in which I connect to God.  When the words on the page clutter my brain, my wisdom dulls.  When this happens, it’s time for me to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation, Mother Earth.  Watching the sun rise over the mountains, being still and watching the nighttime twinkles in the sky.  Getting up close to a flowering plant so that the bud and I are aware of each other, breathing with each other and for each other.  Man and earth are dependent upon one another.

Why do I lose that connection?

When I can appreciate my connection to God through nature, I can reconnect to the nurturer in me.  I can once again appreciate and care for others.  After all, that’s part of the big picture, to serve others.  To be of service to others is one of my greatest gifts.  I must pray I don’t fall victim to, well, playing the victim.  I oftentimes have developed a “Why me, God?” attitude and plunged into years of selfishness.  I’ve clung to my cloud of oppression and bitterness.  I’ve substituted that for the big picture and it never works.  Selfishness is nowhere in the big picture.

What’s the point?

We were never meant to walk in self-pity.  We were made to rise to the challenges that God has foretold.  Disagreements, hassles, quarreling, arguing, and bickering.  Being at odds with one another does not manifest joy in one’s life.  Being bothered by the differences keeps us from looking for the similarities.  Quibbling over details only derails the peace in which we were all meant to live.

What are my options?

I’m finally beginning to see the balance I’ve been searching for all these years.  I now recognize that I can be an effective educator without dying for the cause.  I can embrace the challenge of teaching without losing myself and my sense of humor.  I can go with the flow without being afraid to go under somewhere downstream.  I can keep everything in balance.

What’s the catch?

Here’s the rub, I must learn to feel my emotions.  That’s what this all comes down to, feeling my emotions instead of constantly masking them.  Truly, this is my answer.  I’ve closed the door to my heart so often that I’ve found it nearly impossible to open it again.  However, through my constant prayers and my faith in God, little by slowly (thanks Skip), I’ve managed to let down my guard and let in my students.

kidsWhat’s changed?

The students are the same, I’ve changed.  I’ve begun to see my students not as empty vessels that need to be filled up.  But rather, as bodies with souls that need to be loved and nurtured.  And it’s been through this love that I have found joy, pure, unadulterated joy!  I’ve found my balance.  I’ve found my inner peace.

I used to think that I wanted to change the world.  But no, I want to teach the children who want to change the world.  There could be no greater joy.  Peace, ~v.



She Talks to Angels

January 1, 2015

Dear Readers,

Her name was Jane and she was my childhood friend.  We would play school together with all of my stuffed animals.  Jane played the principal, my stuffed animals were the students, and I was always the teacher.  Jane played the principal because she didn’t like to have to stay in the classroom (my bedroom).  Jane would sit off to my left and mostly just observe.  Once in awhile she would admonish me that I was being too hard on this student or that student.  And she would never talk to me whenever one of my brothers or sisters would come into the bedroom where we were playing.

By the time I was about nine or ten years old, I had stopped talking to Jane because after all, she was imaginary.  However, I never forgot about her and I am convinced that she never forgot about me.  Certain things would happen in my life and I knew they were going to happen before they would actually happen.  This did seem somewhat weird to me, but I would just chalk it up to being a self-fulfilled prophecy.  Then came the car accident.

For years I believed I would be involved in a car accident but I knew I would survive.  I knew this because Jane had told me once a long time ago.  I would say to myself, “I know I’m going to be involved in a car accident one day, I just don’t know how I know.”  Shades of Jane would flash through my head and I would just as quickly wave them away.  I might have told a few people throughout my life about my sense of being in a car accident, but I hardly believed how I knew I certainly didn’t expect anyone else to believe me.  Then came the car accident.

After my accident, and while it was still fresh in my mind, I wrote down my thoughts here and here and here.  I have done quite a bit of soul-searching and quite a bit of praying.  Now, I may not know everything, but I do know two things:

First – It is  my life’s purpose to be of service to others.

Second – Jane was, is, and always will be my guardian angel.

Yes, I talk to angels.  Peace, ~v.

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Be Still…Listen

October 12, 2013

Dear Readers,

Yes, I get it; be still, listen.  The problem with being still is that as you listen, you cannot filter out that which you do not want to hear.

Describe how you are feeling right now:

Every time I inhale, there is a whirlpool of hurt swirling around in the core of my being.  Simultaneously, my eyes bleed tears that don’t stop until they drop into my lap.  My body aches from the convulsive sobs that fall from my lips.  My throat is scratchy and red from the lack of moisture my crying seems to have taken away from me.  My lips are parched as well.

The sting on my tongue is becoming more prominent as I have to bite my tongue more, not less, as the days go by so as to keep from wailing aloud my sorrow.  My arms have gone numb from my wrapping them around myself in a vain attempt to soothe and comfort this sad woman who is me.

I am a pariah, a leper, one of the untouchables who must remain outside of the metaphorical city until I am healed.  My sickness is sorrow and it unnerves people.  Even as the tears run silently down my face, everyone averts their eyes, as if somehow, if they ignore me, my pain will go away.

And there is no relief.  There is no relief and there is no comfort.

I am exhausted, yet, I cannot sleep.  When the tears finally subside, I am out of breath.  My breathing is ragged and shallow.  My eyes are swollen and now dry.  Soon, my eyes will softly shut, my breathing will slow and become even.  My shoulders will only sometimes, shudder involuntarily and I will sleep, not restfully, not peacefully, but thankfully, sleep.  And still, there will be no relief.

Grief is not pretty, dear Readers, but it is necessary.  Today, my grief is palpable, tomorrow, who knows?  My crying jags are less frequent and begin later in the day.  Hmm, cold comfort.

And I pray…

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.  Psalms 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalms 147:3

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.  Rev 21:4

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1 Cor 13:7

Amen.  Peace, ~v.

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I’m Not Done With Me, Yet

October 12, 2013

Dear Readers,

“I’m on my way to self-discovery…yea!  So that I might gain some insight, I’m going to happily reveal all of my flaws and shortcomings,” said no woman, ever!  Yet, here I am.  However, there are a few things I must clear through my mind before I begin my journey in earnest.

First, I must deal with the obstacles I often create that hinder my progress.  That sounds crazy, I know. I mean who deliberately sets up roadblocks to stop progress?  Well, besides politicians, just about everyone on a journey of self-discovery.  I think people are more afraid of success than they are of failure; I know I am.  Once you reach a certain level of whatever it is you are seeking to improve, you are expected to maintain that higher standard.  And it is much more difficult to maintain excellence than it is to become excellent.

Although I have a strong foundation, I manufacture obstacles, or rather, excuses for not working to be a better me.  I know I have to mend, restore, redress, and balance what is off center in my life and within myself.  However, rectification must come before progress.  I must rectify my mistakes and my misgivings and my missteps.  In order to make right my relationship with my Self, I must stop avoiding that which has held me back through my own self-sabotage.  I cannot avoid my pain.  I cannot avoid grieving my loss.  I must go through the pain. I cannot go around the pain.  I cannot go over, under, or away from my pain.  I must go through the pain.  Additionally, I cannot rush the process; I must show restraint.  And in time, progress will begin.

Once I am safely on the other side of my pain, I will face another difficult challenge: receiving joy.  Yes, receiving joy has been my biggest challenge.  I have difficulty accepting that I am worthy of joy.  However, if I’ve learned nothing else this past year, I’ve learned that the light from within me shines bright and that light is my joy.  I must rejoice in it’s beauty, I must bask in it’s warmth.  With God’s help, I have a new clarity.  My soul, my joy, illuminates the me that I was always meant to be.  In time, that light will be restored and I will learn to accept my joy.

So dear Readers, what happens now in this new season of my life?  I believe it depends on the quality of my attitude and the clarity of my intention.  But first, I must be still.  I cannot act from my place in this world, such as it is, because I would only create new problems for myself.  I am coming from a place of weakness and vulnerability right now.  My best course of action is to just be still.  I will be careful not to indulge in my suffering.  I will be still and collect myself and wait on the will God.  And when it is time, I will move forward, content in the knowledge that I will live the life that God has planned for me, the life I so richly deserve.  Peace, ~v.