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.



My Selves

July 10, 2014 Dear Readers, On July 1, 2014 I celebrated my one year anniversary blogging My [redacted] Journey on WordPress.  When I began blogging, my main purpose was to keep in touch with my friends and family in the United States, as I was teaching in the Middle East.  Since then, my blog has evolved into something more meaningful to me than mere correspondence.  As such, I have decided to take a look at the direction in which my writing is taking me, and you as well, dear Readers. I will spend the better part of the next few months re-inventing both my selves and my blog.  Well, not so much re-inventing, as gaining a tighter focus on what I want to convey to the world.  Although the title of my blog will remain the same, my tagline (that short sentence found under the title up there at the top) has changed.  In addition, I will be recreating my ‘About” page so that my readers, past, present, and future, may get to know me a little more in-depth. In yesterday’s blog post, “Peace Within”, I expressed my desire to live my life outside of teaching with the peace and sense of purpose I have when I teach.  I have focused on the questions, “What do I want  my blog to be about?”  and “How can I reach even more readers?”  The answer to the first question lends itself to my spiritual side.  Whereas the second question is  more egotistical. In short, my blog is about a teacher’s search for inner peace.  I hope that you, dear readers, will want to follow my journey as I live out my dream of being a teacher, and take an honest look into my search for inner peace.  Although I am further along in my journey than some, I am certainly not as far along as most. At the end of the day, I hope to accomplish two things.  First, I would like for my everyday self to become closer, in fact even merge, with my teacher self so that I may experience inner peace on an everyday basis.  Secondly, I hope that some of what I am learning about myself will ring true with some of my readers around the world.  After all, as a teacher, I wish to share my knowledge with anyone willing to learn.  I am willing to put myself out there, willing to show you my slips and falls and subsequent mistakes, so that you, dear Readers can do so privately. If there is one lesson that I learned teaching in the Middle East, it’s that we, all of us, around the globe are more similar than we are different.  I have readers in the United States, Australia, and Singapore.  Also, Brazil, Spain, Ireland, Jamaica and India.  People read me in Mexico, Sweden, Kuwait, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates.  My blog is seen in Croatia, Nigeria, Greece, Tunisia, Egypt, Romania and Switzerland.  And those are just the countries this week.  I would like to believe that most, if not all, of you, dear Readers, will be entertained, energized, and maybe even enlightened in this teacher’s search for inner peace.

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me. –   Sy Miller and Jill Jackson

Peace on earth, dear Readers, it has never been just a dream.  I’m absolutely sure of it.  Peace, ~v.