Hello Dear Ones, and Happy October!
As L.M Montgomery said, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” And I don’t know about you, but September happened like a hurricane – literally across our world. As so many people were struggling with the storms of September, I was also coming to terms with my own new weather patterns. For those of you who don’t know, I gave my resignation notice last year to leave my counselling/teaching job.
I was working at an amazing school with an incredible staff and it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in my life. But I had this niggling desire to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself in new ways. I want to share the messages of well-being, mindfulness, and self-compassion with educators worldwide and I knew trying to be everything for everyone was not sustainable for me. I have experienced the ups and downs of being exhausted when at school while trying to talk about well-being in the world and I realize that for me to do it authentically I needed to step out of the system to be present with you all.
This year, September was a really great start with really good energy. I was travelling and connecting with educators while presenting about self-compassion and excited about launching out of school.
I went back to my old school the first week to support their start-up and it solidified my decision to grow in other ways while leaving me feeling grateful for the continued connection to schools. I have always known I wanted to work with adults and I was excited about future planning. I celebrated my birthday and was ready to springboard into this next season of my life.
But, as sometimes the world likes to slow us down, I got hit with a terrible sickness early in September.
Being sick is never easy and with it often comes doubts, fears, insecurity, and self-criticism. It was hard to care for myself in the way I really wanted to. But during this time of disease and unease, I kept practising my compassion. When I wasn’t sleeping because I was coughing too hard and my body felt like it couldn’t breathe, instead of getting angry, I was gentle with myself. When I couldn’t think, process, or engage in the way I normally would want to be present in the world, I set boundaries to what was actually possible for me at that time and didn’t do the things I couldn’t manage. It was really hard to say “no thank you,” “perhaps another time,” or “maybe next week.” I wanted to show up in the world, but I couldn’t.
It’s amazing how quickly our inner critic can sneak in and convince us that we’re not good enough or brave enough or strong enough to do new and hard things. I had to really rely on my practices of self-compassion. Having these words on repeat in my head and heart sure helps:
So, instead of getting caught up in the negative spiral and criticizing myself, I met each day slowly, with kindness and trust that the present moment would guide me through this patch.
What words help you to feel better??
Share your worlds or statements with me that help you feel better.
And now, as I start to come out of this illness and make a little more space for my meditation practice, a powerful question keeps coming up to me. The question sitting close to my heart right now is: “how can I be more tender with myself and others?”
As Meena Srinivasan says, “tenderness is a gentle, brave, loving energy akin to a warm embrace.” It helps me to touch into a deeper place of compassion inside. When we love someone, often the best thing we can offer is our kindness, our presence and our care. When we love ourselves, we can offer ourselves the same care, love and tenderness; soothing ourselves the way a mother would soothe and care for her child. Meeting ourselves with a ” Hello Dear One,” “Honey,” or “Darling.”
If you haven’t yet called yourself one of these in a moment of stress, struggle or suffering, see what it sounds like to so tenderly meet yourself with a moment of “oh, honey this is hard.”
It doesn’t solve or fix or change anything, but it does meet the moment with a little more care. And this is the practice of compassion, not to fix or change or solve, but to learn to accept and meet, and love.
So again. I’m happy to be moving into October, turning towards the light, the love, and the tenderness that comes with the practice of letting go. There’s a beautiful quote that says the trees are about to show us how easy it is to let go. And I sure hope you’ll join me on this journey of sharing love and compassion in our world, and most importantly, in our education system. We all need a little more tenderness.
If you love this work and want to share this journey with me today, I ask for only one favour. To share this post with someone else and invite them to join my mailing list so together we can grow this community and connect with more educators around the world who are ready to build their own practice of self-compassion, sustainable well-being, and create a beautiful world of whole-hearted educators.
With deep kindness,