A “Career” in Education?

As a newly appointed teacher after years of trying to work out what I wanted to do with my life, what my “personal legend” (Coehlo) is I have come across yet another crisis in what I thought I was thinking to be the right thing. If that makes sense.

I should mention that one of my favourite accidental pass times is to constantly challenge my own beliefs and thoughts and if I find one which is more “ego” vs “self” driven or it is based on a misconception about myself or the world I love to challenge it and get to the root of it.

It’s just what I do. That is how I keep learning, keep getting deeper into myself and my spiritual connection with the world around me.

Tangent. Focus.

Recently I attended a term-changing conference that helped me connect with why I chose to be a teacher in the first place. Let me set the scene. Disclaimer: Words may seem far more dramatic than an outsider’s perspective.

The story up until now is one that I shall save for another blog post, but the short of it is that I have been appointed my first job as a full time permanent teacher. I finished my course last June and was having a lot of difficulties in finding work and working casually until I received a phone call offering a position 3 days from the first day of Term 1.

Forward to 5 weeks and I lack sleep, lack nutrition, my eye muscles twitch, my mind is constantly switching focus between 100 items, I am also running around all day, getting my resources, dealing with the spot-fires that occur in the school day/ per class, and of course dealing with things going wrong.

It has actually been a blur. By the time I get my head around one class, it’s already over and I need to think about assessment, creating engaging opportunities, satisfying outcomes, ticking things off, evaluating myself, keeping track of what I have to do… list goes on and not much gets ticked off!

BUT, it takes one smile, laugh or cute gesture from a kid to make it all worth it. Is that sad? is that good? I am not yet decided, but it still is draining. But that positive impact does fill up the batteries a bit and masks the symptoms of exhaustion.

So back to the conference- in all these dealings I realised I had no time to reflect on the purpose of what I was doing. I was doing something, but I had forgotten what the true nature of what I was doing actually WAS. I walked into a room with teachers similar to me and I was a part of an adult community of professionals who thought like me and who had dreams like me, and overall who cared for the kids as much as I did. The issues we discussed were part of a bigger problem that we are trying to solve, a bigger issue that we as teachers feel alone in, such that 30% of all teachers leave the profession in the first 3 (or 5) years. That is really sad- I am sure that all those teachers are amazing teachers. Teachers who are probably alone and just purely exhausted and thus leave the profession.

Lucky for me I have amazing mentors and people to look up to who help to guide me and also to vent to when I need. Already I can see the fruits of such a valuable resources. It also helps that those mentoring are genuinely amazing individuals.

This figure does not seem to reflect the social media world of teachers. Teachers I see posting the things they do in their classroom, or trying these breakthrough things at school or attending these huge conferences or trying to show everyone else the newest idea in education. All of this- I think is great and so amazing, but after a few conversations with teachers and hear-say from students regarding the monitoring and displays to educational institutions on these techniques- I am beginning to wonder; Is it appropriate to call the educational profession a career?

Do all methods and do all participants in these educational ventures truly benefiting our kids in the classroom? (i.e One size fits all so we should all do it for the sake of it?)
After spending 2 days with adults I came home with a fresh inspirational outlook and felt as though I might not quit this “career” path I had chosen.
But now I am thinking…. was I looking at this the wrong way?
I don’t want a career in education if my objective is “opportunities for progress”. Yes, of course I constantly want to learn, and always will be learning and striving to do better- but not for me or my school or my paycheck- They are all second; and yet they take up more time away from planning for, assessing and really providing quality feedback and building rapport with students!!

The first and most important objective is my kids. Each and every individual student who comes to class.

Restructuring the way teachers do things may provide a motivation for some teachers to grow or to progress, but it might also motivate them to take shortcuts, use other teachers and again become recluse in their practice.

In my next mid-term crisis, I am sure I will have a clearer picture, but that conversation I had today really made me question education as a “career”, and how different it is to other professional careers. It is a serious profession; yes, it is severely underfunded even though we are practically raising children to some degree; yes, but we mustn’t forget that it is not a profession that benefits from competition; rather thrives with collaboration. It is the “collective genius” of teachers which allow teachers to create the work/life balance and quality lessons. A balance in the life of a teacher ensures that he/she brings him/her BEST face to class to face whatever issues, to model good, moral, happy behaviour and stay enthusiastic.

I hope for a better future and more mutual support amongst the teaching community. For this we will always say we need more “time”. And then we are back to square one.

Please note: I didn’t edit this- Yes I usually am a perfectionist- that’s why I don’t edit a flow of consciousness.

Have a nice week.

 

 

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Hope love and lessons learned…And it started with Churchill

This isn’t political.

This isn’t about being historically accurate.

This isn’t a statement about what I feel about him as a politician.

This is about the hope.

This man is just one example of the hope I was looking for!! And you know what, that makes all the difference for me on my journey. It should for you too. If it’s possible to fight your physiology; he shows us.
He died at home with loved ones in his life… It is possible. It’s possible for people to understand you. See you through your struggle, celebrate with you when you feel crazy happy.

Me….for me….for me it is possible too.

Just because you give doesn’t mean you will receive. There are a million billion amazing quotes that remind you to know your worth.. And when you are ready…you’ll know when to make a decision best for you.

I have epiphanies all the time…but it doesn’t matter so much if I share them unless you can a) feel it on your skin and relate or b) you’re ready to do something about your current situation. But I will share them anyway in case one person reads it and feels LESS alone and enlightens some positivity.
I come to these epiphanies through deep thinking about myself and others because I always wonder why and look for patterns. I want to live a full life because I truly love people. I want to get them… And to get them and be a good person I need to get me and be good to myself.

Ego driven goals or expectations from life are a big turn off and unhealthy! …and unfortunately I have a difficult time with people who are done growing. But I get it. Baggage is sealed and they don’t want to leave that comfort zone. Their habits and ways and wants are established and there are “no other” (quotations because this is a choice) perspectives left. This is why sometimes people need to want to help themselves before they can take the steps (even if they have seen a dr so to speak). Whatever “reward” (psychologically speaking) is to be had is their own, and even if others around them feel the impact, it’s “our” (family, loved ones) job to support until ready. To my dismay if I felt like that it would be disheartening and would make me depressed, I don’t find comfort in misery unless I am in depression…. And to be honest that’s not desired. I met people like this on my camino… And I must say I felt very bad one day when his beliefs begun to irritate me and so I stopped to change my shoes…

My big stink about RW is really over. Now that I feel how tired he must have been I get it. I do…but I also get that not everyone who recognises their black dog is going to end up making that decision…

Churchill has been an inspiration for me since about 2008… His quote “if you’re going through hell, keep going” was the beacon of hope, and I was only to discover there was so much more. It didn’t offer any promises or sparkles…it just said something that my physiology in my brain betrays and tries to fight back….”carry on.”

Carry on…because there is always hope. Always. Hold onto it like a rich man to his jewels. That hope is all yours and it should be a reminder.

I read something today or maybe it was a YouTube video : that accepting death (I really should reference this) doesn’t mean you embrace it or you don’t grieve…it simply means you can carry on without thinking “why” or “why is this happening to me?”

People in my life give me strength not because they comfort me…but they have taught me skills and awareness. Awareness about myself, the good things, the signs that something is wrong and above all to be kind to myself and forgive myself. Along with my effort and persistence I’ve made a change. Doesn’t mean my demons will never try and infiltrate…but whose doesn’t…there’s no need to feel ashamed when you need help, can’t cope or are struggling…carry on and look at how you can fight to keep realistic perspectives. Life is about support and community and focusing on what’s important… Rather than wondering who you’re supposed to be -> just be…

Takes practice and a lot of it. Like ridiculously…. It never goes away..it’s a daily battle but it’s a worthy battle and yeah I do need people like Churchill or Andrew Solomon to show me otherwise…. I’m grateful for that.

So get up… Be aware/mindful of yourself…accept certain things (this part you must do) and carry on…

You can retrain your brain… Hormones (females) and neurotransmitters might betray you from time to time…but equip yourself and you will recover.

It’s ok to lose control sometimes but be aware that you have and that you’ll get past it…just like every other time because you my friend…are a survivor …. You are resilient…. And you have grown.

I’m a WHAT now?

Perfectionism..

What do you relate this word to?

Someone who is particular about their work and makes everything they do perfect or their best work?
Someone who always has neat and tidy writing?
Someone who always colours in between the lines?

No, no and ohhh heck no!

Instead it’s someone who is something who wants everything to be perfect but is afraid :  a) to put in their all in case they fall short , b) of their own high expectations  or c) knows their high expectations can be reached but unsure if they can maintain these expectations. Basically you are fooling yourself either way…
Who would have thought I fit into this category. I am speechless and somewhat annoyed. How is it that I have caged myself  here?

Well apparently I am a perfectionist, but that doesn’t always guarantee that you do not settle for less with the quality of work you can produce. It means the opposite. And if you could hear me now, I am laughing my loud, continuous laugh. Laughing out loud to say the least, because this is hilarious to me. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I have non-perfectionist tendencies, and that is when I am MOST happiest.

How ironic, I wonder who comes up with these. Whoever they are, they should go beyond just labelling and identifying idiosyncrasies such as these and tell us what in the world we can do with it. I guess I have two options… 1) Own it and make it a part of who I am and 2) Don’t own it, and change your thinking.
Personally I think it is silly, I don’t know where it comes from- I mean being a high achiever all my life, shouldn’t it just be second nature to just continue doing so? Perhaps it is something that has developed and will go away.

What I find interesting is it isn’t just me that has been branded with a label written on bright  fluoro sticker and stuck to my chest. We all have these quirks and such that put a name to our behaviours. And it seems that everyone knows it before I do, even though I over think everything.  I wonder if Perfectionism  is just on the outside to more deep seeded issues. If it is, then honestly you should learn how to take it easssyyyy. Or else it COULD become harder.

All I know is there is a way to beat it. Basically you just say no.  No… this is just a name and maybe I might be feeling like a perfectionist for this one task but that shouldn’t define who I am. Defining behaviours that I might do here and there shouldn’t be the reason for everything. In some ways I think we would be liberated if we didn’t have these shackles of labels even though at the same time understanding your behaviour can be liberating as well.
We can all help each other, instead of calling each other names. Honestly if I labeled my friends’ weird behaviours every time I pick up on them (and believe me, I do) then I would be basically putting them into a box instead of the dynamic individuals I see them as.
When I remind them of who (else) they are, at a time when their perfectionist parrot perches on their shoulder, they no longer think about the standards they think is expected of them, and they act according to who they are. They gain confidence in who they are and the decisions they make because those decisions are based on their OWN expectations. Not expectations they are trying to measure up to. Expectations they/ we guess the recipient is going to have.
Truth is, everyone will look at your work differently. Sometimes there is no rounded set of rules and standards- not everyone will like your work. And if there are a set of rules and standards that are explicit, well there’s no need to stress out, make a checklist and get through it one by one.

Procrastination is good sometimes, because you discover a whole world of inspiration and resources on the net and your whole house is sparking clean (haha) but at the same time it can be debilitating. Work out the reason for your perfectionism in each situation separately. If you feel you are a square peg- then this isn’t going to bother you as much, but if you aren’t it is going to cause a conflict of interest. In which case you can embrace your differences, or struggle each time you sit to work at a task you feel you interpret differently. Just do it, let it develop and as a wise friend told me today… Live it. Embrace it. Cherish it.

You are what you are- not everyone will like it, but you can create your own niche 🙂

Remember:

BEE        YOURSELF

Robin Williams… turned my world upside down

I don’t know Robin Williams and I especially don’t know his struggle.
But I know depression.
I know the feeling of losing all control of your own feelings.  Not knowing how to control them or tell them they’re irrational.
I know not knowing a solution or a way out. Not knowing how to fix something you don’t even know how it broke.
I know the feeling of being all alone in what you feel. There’s no other way.

I know the feeling of other’s around you feeling sad, helpless and feeling sorry because they cannot understand you, help you, pick you up.
I know the feeling of other people’s frustrations because they can’t help you, or they make you feel that doing so is a really big deal.
I know the feeling of people making you feel that a click of the fingers can fix the problem or feeling paranoid whether those you love see more to you than this? or not?

I know the pain the ones you love go through when you crash and fall.

But I also know how it is to be strong.
To pick up and just keep going until again your black dog barks its way into your life again.
To be strong every single day and to be fighting demons you can’t see or hear or put your finger on or comprehend or rationalise or understand or to just put a stop to it.
I know how much effort it takes to pick up and continue.
I know how much harder it is to do everything, even normal things because you feel ailed by that invisible force that holds you down like the heaviest lead weights.
Pulls on your hands, your neck, your shoulders. Grabs you and pulls you backwards, downwards, behind.

I know being alone in these feelings and others suffering as a result. I know that treatment is long and arduous and slow and painful. I know that doing what makes you happiest doesn’t make sense to others, or feasible in a world of “you should do …”
I know that we are one in a million and for the price of depression we are blessed with other things. Other feelings, intuitions, sensitivities, appreciation and love.  Other really beautiful amazing things. R.William’s was what he gave the world, what people will remember him for.

And I also had hope. Hope that this will be the last time that I experience this inexplicable dip. This is the last time that I would take this climb.

But today something happened and crushed my dreams. I realise that it is the action of ONE man. But it is so much more than that. It is the action of him and so many others like him. It comes to a point that they- with all their resources, the time and money they can afford, they chose to give up.
Does that mean there is no end to this ? Will this state of being never diminish? Are people bound to this condition? Is there no way out rather than death? Will their families (As much as they miss the departed) be at more ease now their loved one doesn’t suffer depression and no longer affects those around them?
Is this what it means?  Where is the hope when someone who has achieved plenty, has plenty, is loved and has so much potential for change- any kind of change gives up. With so many options… Did he try them all? did he? He surely can afford it more than others, he can also afford the time to take off to recharge and rehabilitate… but did he? Why do I need to know?

I may not know him, but I too have laughed thanks to him, laughed and cried in his dramatic roles. And I respect all the sentiment people have towards him.
But today he killed my hope. It wasn’t my hope he lived for, that, I know 100% but what message is this? Is the only option suicide? 63 and still suffering a disease no one can see or hear for decades. Is there no relief from it? And for that I am angry. I am furious. I am so so angry.

People always say “oh dear, depression is awful” but then what? What about when you know someone with depression? Do you batt an eyelid? What do you say ? Get over it? Pick yourself up and go? Do you think it?

A person with depression doesn’t need pity or empathy or sympathy or any of the sort, because no one can ever ever go inside a person with this condition. When people are seen with it we say dig deep and push yourself. Get over it, get past it.

What if there is no “past it” …  What is it in the mind that makes a person feel: with all the material needs around them, that there is no way out? How many times can a person handle “getting over it?” As many times as it takes?
Does anybody know?

What I do know is there are our heroes: Andrew Solomon, Kevin Breel, Winston Churchill, Sherwin Nuland, Jim Carey, Princess Diana, Angelina Jolie and all the others who suffer silently and make it through each day at a time.
Whether they are big stars or just people with amazing thoughts, who have taken steps, spoken about their experience, made difficult decisions. But they didn’t give up. I don’t say this as a judgement, and everyone IS different… but what is the line? what is the boundary? what is the push?
Each person we lose, we lose them to a battle  we are all fighting… An artist in all his sensitivities is just as valuable as anyone else, his or her black dog need not be their death sentence… nor be it the thing that defines who they are.

And that’s why it makes me so angry when one of these occur. It makes me angry and frustrated.
It shouldn’t be the solution.

Rest in Peace Robin…. I really really hope you are… I don’t hate you and I won’t be angry for too long. I truly wish both you and your family find the peace you were after.

Just a FEW things wrong with Society today…(I am sure you will relate)

Hello! I hope everyone has been absolutely wonderful.

I have been quite busy, I have many posts in drafts, but all my energy is being expended on doing my readings and working on my college work. When I get the chance to have a break, the last thing I want to do is look at the computer some more.

Most of the time, I uphold optimistic views. Don’t get me wrong:  I usually see the world through a much better perspective than I am about to portray here. The principle of community seems to be at a loss. I am currently working on a teaching degree, and all that I am learning is telling me wonderful things. Especially the principles of inclusion in a classroom, school as a community providing both academic support and pastoral care etc etc.

AND THEN I THINK OF THIS… What kind of world are we living in. Sometimes people and principles of those who “govern” us makes me sick. Sick to the depths of my soul and the pit of my stomach.  Let’s explore some of these.

Why discuss these negatives? Well because you cannot hide from them, turning a blind eye is just as bad as committing offence. It does nothing for the greater good and in fact, takes it backwards.

(I do apologise for my reference to curse words in the following accounts, while there is no swearing, I am just informing you)

We live in a world where men marry 12 yr olds and don’t get convicted as pedophiles in certain communities. WTF

Recently in the news in Sydney, Australia, a little 12 year old girl went to enrol into school and lo and behold it was discovered that she was MARRIED. Married to a 26-yr old man, and get this; he had parental consent to do so. Firstly what 26 year old man wants to marry a 12 yr old girl- clearly someone who is sick, more importantly what PARENT wants their 12 year old daughter, living in Sydney to be handed over to a 26 yr old man. I cannot even express how this makes me feel. I don’t want to understand the other side, because I just cannot see how taking the innocence of a child and subjecting them to a life and a place where their dignity, respect and safety is compromised. Disgusting. Able to resist your immoral urges or not I don’t care, we live in a world where you can get help to control them. Do something about it or gtfo.

We live in a world  where we eat GMO’s all the time, because anything other than that we cant afford.

I mean let’s be critically honest. There is astounding evidence that the toxins being produced are inevitably causing irreparable damage. With awful long term effects we are sold these products because they save money? Because they sell? Because we are told to? I am sick and tired of companies and big scale corporations selling us CRAP that we could do without. Lies and deceit and withholding information that affects each and every person’s wellbeing. What is our other option? Spending a million dollars on groceries and food? When you have a family to take care of + every other stupid thing you have to pay for that you are made to believe you cannot live without; insurance, registration, random taxes (one day it will be air)- it’s cheaper to just go to the markets and buy in bulk or convenient grocery shopping at your local grocery store or supermarket. At least you can enjoy of what is left to enjoy. It is not practical and while better solutions will exist, big corporations will do anything not to let them happen. Who cares if you’re diseased? You’re just another dollar sign.

We live in a world where every little child may or may not learn respect and consideration in  school but it’s all (for some people) forgotten when they become adults.

You see it in day to day happenings; in queues, when adults get angry, when adults ask for things, when adults want something. Let’s be real, we can count  the number aggressive, angry, demanding, inconsiderate, hostile and disrespectful adults we encounter daily. Not saying the opposite does not exist, but WHY are there so many dwerps?! It’s like at school they couldn’t WAIT to get out of school so they didn’t have to follow any more rules? Get with it. You don’t need to be a jerk, you choose to be. And if you don’t think no one can notice… not only do people notice, but they don’t like you!

(But there are so many incredible people too (especially the people I know 😉 ),and this is not my overall viewpoints, but it’s a rant okay? And possibly an attempt to wake up a random who might read this perchance.)

We live in a world where people don’t FLIPPING indicate when changing lanes.
 
How is this worthy of a rant to be indicative of the moral and social values the majority of the people represent? Oh, let me tell you, it is VERY worthy. It is the Principle with a capital P. How are you not part of a community of drivers when you are on the road.  How do people not understand the danger they put OTHER people when they drive recklessly?  Why not let somebody change lanes- isn’t it possible they made a mistake and need to turn left? What does cutting them off really help you achieve? How can people just change lanes zig-zag through traffic  without any indication to the others driving on the road WITH YOU. How STUPID must you be. ( oh I am so sorry but it just makes my blood boil).
 
There are hundreds of people dying on the roads every day. And it isn’t fair that someone should die because you don’t feel like caring today.
 
There seem to be too many egos but not enough real cheese to cover the pizza, we live in a world where people have lost consideration and all sense of community.
Get a grip, contribute, because one day it might be your child who’s safety is compromised, it might be you who are laying on the side of the road, it might be you who needs a hand. You are a part of this community as much as any one else, and if you think this way, your neighbour will stop caring too. Paying forward works with both good things and bad. Watch what you do, because it will hit you one day.
 
We are not “entitled” to feel safe and happy, we deserve to, everybody does and the best way to achieve this is to be a part of safe families, communities and act on kindness. It’s not that hard. This doesn’t require everyone to be best friends… It is a matter of respect, consideration and affirmation toward those around you. Community isn’t just the people at your work, or on your street, or those at your church or people with the same religious or cultural affiliation with you, it’s everyone you ever come across.
 
Thing Global, Act Local.
Please leave me a comment; together we can make the world a better place…

How to Keep yourself Accountable: the obvious approach

Meeting expectations can be difficult, especially when they are your own.

The reasons for this are :

1) We live in a fast tracked world and want everything to happen as soon as possible.

2) We tend to have a skewed perception of reality and put up high expectations for ourselves.
I believe this often stems from a sheep like societal mentality where just because so and so can fly so can I. But I am a fish… Differences are not often celebrated and high school clique-iness resonates. In adults.

3) Sometimes they are unrealistic like a fish who wants to fly.

However it is possible to reach these heights sometimes encouragement is what helps an individual to carry on.

Social Media Trolls- Hater’s go’n hate

I have noticed people using social media to hold themselves accountable to reaching goals and expectations. You Tube is one of these avenues that I have observed this trend in.

For instance:
Vloggers generally want more subscribers or a personal goal like to get healthy, lose weight or bake a new creation every week.  Thus, they provide their audience with the journey, causing them to feel the need to deliver to the audience either what they want or give them the proof that they have reached one step closer to the promised goal.
And added bonus is, they are often encouraged (exception is the trolls) by their audience as they share their journey. Because let’s face it, most human beings are prone to being too nosy in other people’s lives- on occasion, some more than others etc etc- and want to see how the story is going to end.

You Tube vlogging has  become like show business and the mantra of show biz has always been the show must go on!

What I have also noticed is that sometimes that these goals or expectations reach an entire new level and often some sort of alienation or abandonment. Otherwise known as hateration, by the audience.

This is when we get passive aggressive comments on Facebook regarding people’s “selfies” and hourly updates on their “gains”  and gym activities by the same people who probably liked every post and commented ” Oh you look so amazing” when the subject first began looking emaciated or strangely inflated, but it seems when these people put up too many pics, it is no longer socially acceptable. I use this example because I think it is the easiest to notice, its visual, its physical.

Another instance one can observe hating is through the serial whingers on Facebook. While they aren’t using the media to keep themselves accountable to their goals, any self expression (ironically) annoys the general population.

Then there are those who are aiming to reach academic goals, often do the opposite. Charming us with their interesting ways of procrastination, lack of study, levels of stress, and if you were me, you were posting violent zombie images or “disturbing” Kahlo works (to the untrained eye) as your profile pics. Otherwise known as the more subtle-expressive approach. Quite avant-garde if you ask me.

Gosh there is so much hateration on social media, and often it is appearing to be less and less post driven and often just on it’s own claiming that one type of person is better than another.

On a more POSITIVE NOTE:

I had this post as a draft and I was unsure whether it would be an interesting read or not, however I heard an example today of a positive way to keep yourself accountable and I thought I will share this anecdote with you.

There was a young woman dealing with some rough waters, and so she decided to make a journal of thankfulness. So she posted daily something she was thankful for in order to keep herself doing it by making herself accountable. Her overall goal was to do so every day for one year.

No doubt , there would have been haters who might have said ” Oh gosh not another one” but in the grand scheme of things it really doesn’t matter. Especially if she made her posts meaningful to more than just herself, I don’t see how your friends at least, have a lot to gain from that. Encouraging a cognition shift for the better should make you feel better too, and heck it might encourage you to do the same.

Whatever the subject matter may be, social media is frequently being used by people to be accountable and stick to their goals, contrary to how the “public” actually feel about it.

I mean even for myself, I keep writing, and posting, and use it to keep myself accountable to my promise to write. Does that mean I think what I have to say is worth reading? Not necessarily but just in case someone gets something by reading it, that is enough satisfaction for me.

I have to say I get so much satisfaction from reading blogs from people’s experiences in fields/jobs/ideas that I am interested in.  A blog is often a primary source to both the perception of an idea and an experience! How thrilling! Right?

But for “other” topics I guess all hope lies with the “hide from my newsfeed” option (i.e IN CASE OF EMERGENCY)

Now that isn’t really hating is it?

Why I walked the Camino (2)

I know this post deserves a better title. This is what I want to talk about today: why I walked the Camino.

Actually I am very nervous writing this post, but this is key to my story. My journey was more than physical, it was meta-physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological, and most importantly cognitive and meta-cognitive. Ridiculously.

It was my way of breaking free from all the things that made me “unhappy”. There were evil minions ruminating inside, and simply;  they had to be silenced by drowning them out by something more worthwhile to listen to.

THE INCEPTION

Like most dreamers I, of course, read the Alchemist. I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative nature of the tale and read a few more of Coehlo’s books and also did a quick Wiki search on biography. Along the way I discovered he had walked ” El Camino De Santiago”.  At the time I thought all the references to the things he experienced I assumed were metaphorical (later on I discovered some strange things about him-tangent I know-). Whatever it was, it just called to me, and I started reading more about it, read about it on forums, looked at it on a map and thought, this is something that I want to do. I wanted an experience just like it.

I didn’t really know why, I did not really know anyone like me, anyone who WOULD embark on this type of journey/adventure. I read more about it and decided that one day I was going to walk this. I didn’t read about the logistical components of the way just stories and quickly  read through other accounts. I could hardly bring myself to even watch a youtube clip on it. It was all very brief.

My approach to adventures seems to be : I want to know as much as I need but as least as possible.

FIRST TASTE

In February 2012 I had a mid-life crisis. I realised that I was not fulfilling any of my travel dreams, and  I felt anchored to my life and stretched like an elastic band. I was not sure what my existence was about: My job lacked  “fulfilment” I was looking for and I felt that everyone else was finding their “personal legends” (this of course I now know is not true).  I was stuck in between a rock and a hard place. People in my life were getting married and engaged, and I wanted wholly to be a part of these incredible experiences because I love my friends! But I felt like they were coming left right and centre and I didn’t want to miss any of it.

Meaning- I couldn’t find the appropriate bracket of time to travel. For a significant amount of time, that is. Come on, I need at least 8 weeks. I live in Australia… anywhere worth going is at least 24 hours air time.

So I found a time bracket. There was crying there was stress,  there were long talks and advice. But I made a decision and I was going to spend some time travelling and camino was a part of this. However from the original plan of walking for 3 weeks, it dropped down to 1;  while I was in Spain I could see this place and that place and … you see what happened.

I don’t really want to talk about my first camino at this point,  because it is not the experience I want to share at this present moment. Basically, it taught me many lessons on how to be better prepared and what to expect. It was as if it was in the plan that I needed that practice. The way it worked out is just too good to be true.

THE IDEA OF HER REVISITS

After my returning home in 2012,  something happened. I don’t know exactly how it happened, it was a few things, multifactorial, and most importantly I was unable to rationalise it.

I was in a rut and that spiralled further and further down. Before I knew it, I was suffering from depression and anxiety again. Just like when I was 19. It was like the Black Dog I thought I knew had crept up behind me and bit me before I realised he was there. I had some very dark days that I don’t need to explain. The walls were closing in and I forgot who I was.

So I did what I had to, because I love life and I don’t give up. Well sometimes I wanted to, but I have some incredible people in my life, so that was not an option. I sought out a few avenues for help and I diligently followed through. I was going to get through this and I was going to begin the retraining of my brain. I was going to find Gariné, I was going to find that voice and trust it again.

I also needed to get away. My cognitive load was overflowing and I wanted to simplify my existence, I wanted to be far from everything but not be without remaining occupied. I considered my other options; a health retreat in Australia, time off work, but those options were either too expensive, or were going to result in idle time not well spent.

THE CALLING

So why not go to Spain and walk, sleep along the way without too much choice, but not restricted either. It was perfect.

I got the calling, it just hit me. Camino… Walk the Camino G. Just do it! Thus it was born and I became obsessed with the idea. I just wanted to walk, Suddenly my life found the glimmer of hope I was looking for. All  of my hard work was starting to pay off too, and I was beginning to see the light again.

I could see the light and I was going to walk towards it. In hindsight I can see what I needed, but at the time, all I wanted to do was walk. My heart desired to be out and open, roll around in the world and be one with it. I love culture, travel and a good solid challenge. Especially when people told me it is crazy or dangerous; because they just don’t know.

SO… WHY?

I walked the camino because I wanted adventure and it called me. I walked the camino because I was depressed and I just wanted a break from life. I wanted to push the pause button and fly away.

I just wanted to walk, and I wanted to find my voice again, my intuition (which I was going to realise later). I wanted to be outdoors but I didn’t want to compete or race. I wanted to go at my own pace and I wanted to see what I could do. I was lost and feeling alone and so depressed. But I was emerging out of it but with a lot of work, I deserved a break!

I wanted to be closer to God, I wanted to re discover my spirituality and faith in both my God and my universe. And I wanted to do it in a safe place. In a community of people who would understand my need to “walk”. The Camino is so safe, it is a part of the world that cradles you to sleep, it takes care of you and essentially teaches you to love and care for yourself as well as others (which is usually not the challenge for some). It is a wonderful place and that is what I needed. Some soul searching, some singing, some fun, some new people and some good old fresh air.

And I’ve got to tell you, I got that and a whole lot more.