Day 3: Finding My Passion

Nature_ArtToday during my morning meditation I asked my inner being again…what is my greatest passion? A thought entered my mind: Don’t forget that you need to sign up for that conference Christine texted you about.  Teaching, I love my job.  I have been a teacher for fourteen years, but I was a teacher long before that.  When I was a little girl, I would create fake classrooms in my mind and I would be both student and teacher.  I would read a spelling list to my stuffed animals and then take each individual spelling test as the various students and then grade each one, closely checking for mistakes.

As I went through public school, I was inspired by the good teachers who made a difference and driven by terrible teachers who should have left the profession long ago, and I dropped my dream of being a writer to teach.  I wanted to make a difference. I knew that my love of teaching students and not necessarily the content was my greatest asset to offer.

I am passionate about finding ways to help my students learn. I have taken so many workshops, read so many books, and worked tirelessly on lessons and enjoyed it immensely.  This conference (that popped suddenly to mind this morning) was offered to me months ago, but the district wasn’t sure it was going to pay for it.  Yesterday I found out they approved it in the budget and that I need to sign up ASAP.

Could this be passion number 1?  It seems so simple. Could the exact thing I chose as my career be one of the greatest passions in my life?  Was I expecting a bolt of lightening and a burning bush to lead me where I need to go?  Like writing, I have lost the thread over the last few years.  As I tried to juggle my new life as a single parent, many of the things I love doing have fallen by the wayside.  Now that things are settling down, getting back to being a strong teacher feels me with excitement.  Creating new lessons and ways to reach my students have always been sources of great pleasure for me.  I have enjoyed the things that have worked out and also the ones that didn’t.heart

Perhaps this workshop in August is just the kick start I need before the new school year to start to focus again on my career.  Yes, this feels good.  This feels like a start and a positive step in the right direction.

Trust. Trust. Trust.

Day 2- Finding My Passion

hearts2As I sat in mediation this morning and listened to the singing birds outside my window, I deeply asked myself what are my greatest passions. I was met with silence.  Silence. Silence. Silence. My mind started to wander.  I started to think about which bathing suit I was going to wear, the text I needed to send back, the laundry that needs to get done.  I realized that I was way too much in my mind, so I tried to concentrate on my breath.  Breathing in and out and in and out.  I felt out of balance.  Out of wack. My mind started to wander again.  I concentrated on my asking again, what is my greatest passion…Silence. Silence. Silence.

Then through the stillness came the word trust.  I must admit trust and I have had a very difficult relationship, so to feel this word emerge when I just asked my inner being about my greatest passion was frustrating.  Trust in what?  I asked my inner self.  Trust was repeated.  As an English teacher we have addressed trust as a topic in the novels we have read.  We have diagrammed it, defined it, characterized it.  Many a thesis has been crafted around its purpose and greater message in many of the word’s classic literature, and now the word was being whispered to my heart.

So I stayed on my mat and felt the word trust and felt the frustration and felt the silence and I felt my one leg start to go numb and I was gentle with myself.  “Yes, trust,” I said quietly to myself.  I fought the urge to analyze the message and the word itself.  I tried to just soften to the direction to trust.

Today I will trust the process.  Trust in the fact that my answer is not immediate but that it is coming merely because I asked the question, but patience is required.  Trust in the Divine who is constantly working to bring about the higher good for all and that I am a part of that patchwork quilt and that when the time is right I will be shown my greatest passion.

Currently my youngest is laying on the coach beside me while I write this.  I am starting to wonder what his greatest passion will be.  I feel like looking for mine might in someway enable him to find his as he grows into a man.  Can I trust enough to know that I can help him find his way?   Trust. Trust. Trust.

Finding My Passion

landing-stage-sea-nature-beachYesterday I sat on a park bench on a beautiful beach in Cape May, New Jersey engaged in a phone therapy session with my meditation teacher.  I often seek her guidance when I cannot wade through my own personal mind fields.  She is always extremely helpful, and that morning was no exception. I am still reeling from my previous relationship, not sure how I am going to finally move on or continue to hope for something more.  Everything was going extremely well until she asked me what I am passionate about.

“Wait, what?”  The question threw me.  I was silent after she explained that I should dig deep and find the things that light me up and help me to feel happy and fulfilled.  My only answer burped to the surface of my mind: romantic relationships.  I instantly felt ashamed as I described that the push and pull of men and relationships have been my main focus outside of my two children, my job, and my own health.

“You need to go deeper during your meditations,” she said.  “You enjoy writing.  Is that a passion for you?”

“Yes,” I answered excitedly.  “Yes, I do love writing.”

“How often do you write?”  She asked.

“I have just started making myself write fifteen minutes a day.  I read somewhere if you do something that way for forty days you can make it a habit,” I answered proudly.  She laughed.

“That’s not very much time to develop your craft, Kelly,” she responded.  “If I only painted for fifteen minutes a day I would never accomplish anything.  Perhaps you are not passionate about writing.  So would you say you spent more time obsessing over your previous relationship than you’ve spent thinking about writing?”

So now, hours later, I am contemplating my passions.  I have sat in silence this morning and each time my mind wanders back to relationships and love.  Could I be passionate about finding out about love?  I do love to write despite the fact that I am only doing it for a few minutes a day.  I love reading and learning about the stories of people around me.  I also love cooking and traveling, but all of these passions take time and energy and as a full-time working, single mom who really just wants a beautiful, loving, partnership where does one find the time?

In addition to finding my passions, she also put my in charge of individuating myself and finding my soul path.  She insisted that true contentment can only exist in me and it cannot be found in others.  It is a message that has been repeated time and time again.  I don’t know why it is so hard to hear.  It seems too easy and too hard all at the same time.

If all journeys begin with a first step, I guess I am making mine.  I will work on staying present because true power is only in this moment.  I am asking the Divine to show me the way to my soul path because I think I am a bit out of alignment.  I am going to find joy in this minute instead of chewing on past decisions and plausible future scenarios.  This is a start.


Abuse and the Empath

loveWhen I was child, I was abused by my father. When I did anything wrong, I was beaten with either a hand or belt. I was most scared of the thinner belts.  They hurt the most.  My father has a “funny” story that he used to tell when we would be sitting around the dinner table.  It went something like this…

I was four or five and I had wandered around the block.  This was wrong. I was not allowed to go past the house with the big white pillars and the small porch.  This was a rule, but I had broken it.  Perhaps I was chasing a butterfly, maybe I just wanted to openly defy the rule. I don’t remember why I broke this rule; I just remember that I did.  As a cycled back around the corner, I saw my father’s angry eyes.  His mouth was twisted and I knew that he was furious.  I knew that I was caught.

“Don’t beat me, Daddy,” I cried as I put my hands across my behind to try and save myself from a subsequent beating.  My father’s face changed as he glanced at the few neighbors who were watering their gardens are putting out their potted plants.  He smiled and bent to the ground, supporting himself on one knee.

“It’s ok, baby,” he said soothingly.  “I am not going to hurt you.” I smiled and ran into his arms.  He hugged me as he carried me into the house.  I buried my tear-stained face into his neck and sighed.  I did not notice that we were walking back towards the house.

And this is the part my father always thought was most amusing, the part that he would chuckle while saying,

“So here she thinks she got me,” he would continue.  “She thought she could manipulate me and embarrass me in front of the neighbors, but I showed her.  When I got her inside, I spanked her so hard she didn’t even know what hit her, and I made sure she really knew I was serious because I really laid into her.  She never did that again.”

And I didn’t do that again…throughout my life, I don’t think I ever did that again.  How terribly did that scar me?

I find it difficult to trust men.

I believe all men lie to me or are going to hurt me if I give them an ounce of trust.

I fear men and the things they are capable of doing to me.

How does a person have an intimate relationship with a person of the opposite gender when this is just one “story” in a vast sea of abuse?

How long will it take me to walk away from these stories to find myself in the rubble of a broken childhood, a broken marriage, a broken life?

I know that dwelling on this past and sitting in these stories detract me from the present moment and feed my victim story, so I am trying to relinquish them to a time that is no longer here, but I do feel a sense of loss when I think about letting this story go.  I do feel like this story shaped me, but at the same time I also feel like it is keeping me small.  It is keeping me from freedom.

I am not that five year old girl holding her butt in front of her angry father.  There are no large men lurking in the distance waiting to beat me for my wrongdoings, but I still act as if I am.

How do I let go?  By writing it here in this sacred space?  Maybe by telling the truth about my past, I can let each story go with a touch of the “publish” button, shedding each layer of skin one story at a time.

And perhaps I need to be reminded of the following:

“You have to be larger than thought to realize that however you interpret “your life” or someone else’s life or behavior, however you judge any situation, it is no more than a viewpoint, one of many total perspectives.” – Eckhart Tolle