Once I knew I had a week to recover before going back to work, I tried to push my anxiety and stress aside and just enjoy myself. I went to an apple orchard, hung out with the boys, watched only higher vibration videos or music, and did my best to keep nourished and treat myself gently. My breathing got better as I relaxed. I felt more peace, more joy.
As I kept listening to Abraham Hicks, I kept hearing that focusing on how you feel is the most important thing you can do. Your emotional guidance system is constantly showing you where each thought you have resides. Bad feeling thoughts are farther away from the truth or how Source feels about you. The uncomfortable feeling is an indication that you are pinching yourself off from Source. It is an indication that your thinking is out of alignment.
As I thought about it, how many times have I kept thinking thoughts that didn’t feel good? Often times, I justified it with needing to keep my feet firmly planted in reality. I rationalized that everyone has to deal with unpleasant things. By being irritated with them, it was just showing my weakness. If you don’t like something, you just have to work harder. My lack in satisfaction was only a result of not putting in enough effort. This kind of thinking allowed my inner demon to go on a litany of how much I sucked at a moment’s notice.
I wanted to believe that my happiness meant more. I kept thinking that it was such a wonderful idea, too bad that it was unrealistic. As I laid in a hospital bed, gasping for air, I began to think that maybe my happiness was the most important thing in my life. Every choice I have made in my life has been based in fear of some sort. I worried about how people would view my choices. I felt that my options were always limited, so the goal was to pick the lesser evil. In every choice, had I ever really thought that I had another option?
I thought about how I felt about my work. I came to teaching because I wanted to get out of sales and recruitment. I thought helping out the next generation would sit well with me karmically. It had good benefits. Once you got in, there was some job security. I knew it was a career people viewed with positivity. I also hope that it would mean more financial stability.
The entire time I went through the process to become a teacher, I ran into tons of obstacles. When my pre-diagnosis symptoms were at their worst, I had my first interview for a teaching position during my student internship. I could feel that I was bleeding heavily during the interview and did my best to ignore it. I felt the blood overwhelming my protection. When I stood up to shake the principal’s hand at the end, I felt a huge clot fall out and could feel it slip out of my underwear and down my pantyhose. When I looked back, there was a pool of blood on the chair. Embarrassed is a term that can’t even begin to express the horror I felt. Still, I pressed on.
As painful as it was, I wanted to prove that I could do it. I accepted a job at a wonderful school, with a principal that got it. The student body was kind and loved me. I put in the endless hours and resources just to receive a 12% pay decrease within the first four months. Even with the help of great mentor teachers, understanding administrators, and a kind student body, the burn out was high. We were often asked to create something out of nothing because the administration and the school board kept mishandling funds. I felt like I proved that I was a good teacher, but I was exhausted.
The next year, I never came back to school. I was diagnosed and went through treatment. I was given the time and space to heal and I appreciated it. When I came back this year, I didn’t feel super happy about it. I had learned so much about myself in a year. I realized I was a lesbian. Knowing that I was in a conservative district, I worried about being persecuted for it. Having taken a year to care for myself, I didn’t feel great about submitting myself to the pressure and the stress of teaching. I realized that I have social anxiety and being in this kind of environment was never going to sit well. I started to question my competence. My self-worth began to take a hit. I would commute two hours, put in 12-hour days, and have no energy left for anything but throwing myself in bed at the end of the day. My legs and back killed. My ankles swelled and caused great pain.
I tried to plow through the discomfort. This was my life now. I tried to take steps to make things easier, but things are never really easy for a new teacher. The curriculum didn’t exist, so I was trying to make it up. How could I pack 48 hours of work in 24? I started feeling depressed. How long can I do this for? Is this what the rest of my life was going to be like?
By the time Thursday rolled around, I had a serious conversation with the boys. I told them that I didn’t think I could go back. I knew it was ridiculous to give up after a good job and great health care, especially after being so sick. Still, as I thought about going back, all I could feel was this overwhelming sensation of nausea. As I described all of the reasons why I didn’t want to do it, my eyes flooded with tears. It became clear that every fiber of my being was done, over it.
If I am to go through life with ease and joy, selecting only the better feeling thoughts and letting my emotional response guide my behavior, there was no clearer message. The thought of going back, if even for one day, was too painful to even contemplate. If I really want to change the way I live my life, making my happiness my number one priority, the answer was very clear.
Still, this was something I have never really done before. I always have chosen security over my happiness. I didn’t always have faith or trust in the Universe having my back. I believed every news article that said jobs were hard to get. I believed in the myth that no employer would ever hire you if you had a bump in your work history. I viewed failure to be a good employee with homelessness and dire poverty.
When I realized if I only had three months to live, would I rather spend it forcing myself to do something I didn’t want to do or try to follow my bliss, the answer became clear. The boys backed me up. They understood and didn’t judge.
Over the weekend, I took a few things out of the classroom that I couldn’t live without. I looked around and questioned if I was doing the right thing. Maybe it would have worked out in a different time or space, but I was a different person. When I became a teacher, I had no connection to who I really was. I didn’t know what I want or what made me tick. I didn’t realize that I was putting myself in a situation that allowed me to bully myself or be bullied by others. I accepted that it was all right to be talked down to by students, parents, administration, or society because I was trying to do a greater good. I deserved more. I was worth it.
On Monday, I made the call and submitted my resignation letter. It was very quiet. No fireworks. I felt a peace come over me. All of the struggle I had put myself through lifted. I never had to worry about another conference or student fundraiser. I didn’t have to worry about teacher evaluations or the constant staff meetings that never produced anything. I was free.
I am not advocating that everyone quit their job, but it became a matter of life or death for me. I didn’t come through this last year to just go back to being the same miserable person I always was. It is time for me to take radical efforts to put me first. For once, I am not running to another job immediately out of fear. I am putting all of my time and effort into developing who I am and what I want to be and do without limitation. Finally, I feel truly free.