A few days ago I was handed an authentic gift…I struggled most of the day with my crazy-making monkey brain…could not shut the damn thing off. I couldn’t stay on task. I bounced around my house not able to focus, get started, finish anything…The next morning I found 3 half drank cups of tea in different spots where I had tried to calm down. My anxiety rose up like a storm, I was on the verge of tears and yet now, just a few days later, I see things differently.
I realized that I can not out run the storm…I am the fucking storm and what I chose to do, that day, with my very brief moments of clarity was focus on what mattered. When the spinning was at its worst I found the closest kid (mine of course) and squeezed her hard. I smooched the crap out of her, in essence reminding myself that I am made of love not anxiety.
Now that I am breaking open all of my good parts the shadows that were once held at bay by perfectionism and structure are also seeing the light of day. I welcome the struggle in reminds me that I am worth fighting for.
This insight was truly a gift and the gift did not end there…
While reflecting on this day, filled to the brim with anxiety and the unknown, I found a long-held memory of a profound moment years ago when I let my most authentic self, my soul, come out and play.
January 2011, I had just started the last required course of my Masters, Research Methods, on-line (argh!!). I wasn’t really looking forward to the experience, as I was a newbie to on-line courses and absolutely petrified by the idea of research…as a practicing perfectionist I had a deep-seated fear of failure and the idea that I would need to learn a variety of research methods that I knew nothing about scared the shit out of me. However I was committed to the course, the last course before doing my thesis, (which strangely enough I was looking forward to) and so on I went.
One week into the course I discovered that I was pregnant.
Kind of a big deal … I was thrilled and scared shitless for a whole new set of reasons. Looking back now I truly believe that in that first week of my new course, as my body was filling with hormones, brand new energy and life, a small crack showed up in the wall of the fortress I had built around my most authentic self. Then while writing, what should have been a simple and relatively boring bio to share with my on-line class, something amazing happened…
I showed up!
For reasons completely unknown to me, I chose to write a futuristic piece about who I was (going to be) in the year 2032. A journal article written for The Journal of Super-Duper Stuff in Education (totally real I’m sure), based on an interview done with me by a (I can only assume) lovely woman named Jane Smith. I had never done anything like this before (not when there was the potential to be judged by others) and yet I proudly uploaded the following “journal article” that represented who I thought I was (who’s kidding who?!? It’s who I really am!)
As my frequent readers can attest, I have had the privilege of interviewing some of Canada’s best and most interesting writers. Today is no different. I am here in sunny California at the home of Dionne Thomson, Ph.D. Ontario’s own writer and guest lecturer on the “Art and Science of Being” and “The Struggle for Wholeness,” discussing her most recent work, Human Beings, be-ing human: A look at the struggle to “be” in a world of non-present beings; which has been favoured as an excellent contribution to today’s literature on “Living a Whole Life.”
With her husband, musician and entertainer who many would know simply as “dave”, her two children, and their small pack of dogs, Dionne maintains that it is the simple things in life that have brought her the most joy.
Her move to California, although a bit turbulent, was according to her, the best decision she ever made. She attributes her vision and desire for writing to be found in the rolling hills of the mountains and splashing waves of the ocean. As she and I sit in her backyard of un-manicured natural beauty, sipping Cabernet from her favourite local winery, I can’t help but also be inspired to be more connected to the earth that she so richly speaks of in all of her books.
Before she put “pen to paper”, Dionne worked in adult education as a Program Coordinator, which she tells me was a management position where she oversaw and supervised all of the day-to-day operations of a 180-student high school, serving adult students ranging in age from 18 to 80 years old. She speaks very highly of her time in adult education and attributes her inspiration, focus, and direction in her own professional education to the energy and drive shown by the students she worked with, who, against what would be seen by some as insurmountable odds, returned to school to get their coveted high school diplomas.
As many of you know, shortly after 2013 a number of significant and revolutionary initiatives led the way to the excellent education system that Ontario is proud of today; however, in 2010, the turmoil that educators were facing from the reform initiatives, still in their preliminary stages of development, was significant.
Like many of the time, Dionne felt unsure as to the quality of education that she was able to provide in a world where technology, humanity, and bureaucracy were moving much faster than the education system positioned to replenish it. She felt that she had more questions than there were answers.
It was during her graduate studies, working towards her Master of Education degree, that she felt that perhaps her path was beginning to diverge from it’s original course. As she acquired more knowledge in areas such as leadership, reflective practice, and narrative inquiry, she had a feeling that her as-yet-unknown creative self was knocking at the door.
These feelings of uncertainty were new, strange, yet oddly comforting and, although this self-declared scientist with an undergraduate degree in Biology, who would have consistently chosen the safe and straight route to the end of her life, felt that something had shaken inside her, freeing . . . well . . . everything! Fortunately for us, she took “the road less traveled” and explored the opportunities and potential within her creative self.
Written by Jane Smith, May 13, 2032
Excerpt from the Journal of Super Duper Stuff in Education July 2032
A few days ago I was handed an authentic gift… And reading this today fills me with so much emotion. A few times sadness crept in and thought “well fuck I could have been so much further along on this journey if I had the wherewithal to sit up and pay attention to my Self“…
But that didn’t last long because of course the journey to authenticity can not be rushed and I know I needed to go through so much more before I could build the strength and courage to dig very deep into who and why I am.
I realized while reflecting on this, and many other moments when my soul had the opportunity to peek out and say hello, that I have been on this journey for a long time and that nothing happens before it can. Great things are coming, already happening, currently firm in my future and I must simply be patient and persistent in moving towards what I really want…Which clearly is California, to be a writer and creator of honourable and honest work. To drink wine while overlooking the ocean with Dave at my side and apparently surrounded by a small pack of dogs…bring it on!!!