Sunday, June 25, 2017

What is Your Dharma?

I Was Born to Be a Teacher!

At the end of the school year, and while everyone is doing the countdown to summer, I'm a bit sad. Do you know why? I'm a teacher, and
I mean, what could be better than 
hanging out with kids all day?
(the grown-ups are okay, too, I guess . . . LOL!)
Good thing I'm teaching summer school!

Honestly, I feel super lucky and blessed to have a job I love, and to tell the truth, teaching actually found me

Here's the super no-coincidence story:

Once upon a time in my twenties after college, I was in my room late at night reading a college course catalog (yes, I was working at a department store in the mall with a 4-year degree, living at home with my parents . . . and that's okay . . . I just didn't have a direction, or a focus, and I wasn't sure what to do with my life, hence the college course catalog). I turned a page open and vwah-lah (is that how you spell it?), out popped a section in the catalog for a teaching license program for English (which was my degree in college).

I was like WHOA! COOL! I could be a teacher! and looked farther down the page. I needed two letters of reference from college professors, a copy of my college transcript, an essay explaining my interest in the program, and a completed application form. Not a problem, really . . . but then I looked at the deadline: 
it was 
due the
very next day at 5:00 p.m.
I didn't know it until later, but this was one of the very first times I felt the Universe leveraging itself for me. I knew I was going to be a teacher after I saw this program, and I knew I was going to meet the deadline.  

I stayed up all might long writing my essay and filling out the application, and right away in the morning, I called two of my favorite professors the and asked for references THE VERY SAME DAY. They agreed! (of course) . . . 

That very afternoon (fewer than 24 hours since I had read about the program), I headed down to the University of Minnesota with my application; I picked up the references from my two professors; I went to the transcript office and got an authorized copy of my college grades; AND, I hand-delivered my entire application at (you guessed it!) around 4:55 p.m.

I made the deadline!

Anyway, that is the story of the beginning of my love affair with teaching. I feel so blessed to be a teacher and to have a job that I absolutely adore. Deepak Chopra, in his Seven Laws of Spiritual Success describes The Law of Dharma in this way:

"Everyone has a purpose in life . . . a unique gift or special talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals."

Do you know people who absolutely love their jobs? They may be working and connecting with their dharma, a Sanskrit word that means "purpose in life."

What if, since you were born, you were encouraged to find your spirit, express your unique gifts in the world, and use those very same talents to serve others with your PURPOSE? What if someone told you that you were born with unique gifts that only YOU can express in this world . . . and that if you give with an attitude of service, you will be abundant, and you will never experience want. That's what happens when our calling (job) is in alignment with our spirit; that's why people leave corporate America (and the big bucks!) to find something more meaning-FULL!

Sometimes, I hear folks complain about their employment (btw, I don't mean those who are irked once in a while . . . I am talking about people who chronically complain about their miserable existence at work), and I wonder usually one of two things:
  • Why aren't they doing something they absolutely love that gives them energy?
  • or, Why don't they change their attitude, try to appreciate their job and stop feeding the cycle of yuckiness that probably creates their misery in the first place? I mean, just cuz' we don't love something doesn't mean we have to be uncomfortable, right? We bring our attitude to absolutely everything we experience.

Anyway, as  I write this, I know that loads of folks have to work to support their families--me, too! I would rather do something I love to support my family . . . that actually doesn't feel like work . . . and teaching is like that to me.

I know this might sound all spiritual hippie-dippie, but my experience is that when I focus on MAKING MONEY, I am pretty lost. When I focus on serving others, I feel much better, and the Universe sustains me beyond my wildest dreams. 

My students get how much I love my job (I show them and tell them everyday), and they also know that I get that my job is much much bigger than teaching 8th grade English in a middle school. To be honest, I've known for a long time that my dharma is bigger than teaching English . . . for example, being a role model for kids; being present for them in other ways (like, if adults aren't around for them, emotionally, physically, or psychologically); watching over them, socially, at school; and helping them learn how to be students; also, sometimes, just listening and checking in daily and throughout the week when I see them.

AnD (here it comes . . .), my caLL has gotten bigger, starting last year.

BACKSTORY: In all honesty, I have been a bit checked out at work in the past years while I was in transition with my family and my LIFE. A couple of years ago, I was coming out of the fog in so many ways, and I had the opportunity of having a student teacher--so, I had some time and space outside of my classroom.  During the same time, I began working with Mastin, and I became interested in blogging. It reminded me of journaling, actually, an activity I've done all my life.

When away for a weekend at my best friend's cabin, he showed me how Blogger works--and I wrote my first blog in about 30 minutes. It's like I was totally ready to write and put myself out there, and the right teacher appeared at the perfect moment. It was so easy and natural! Later, we came up with the name of my blog: funfreeMe, and showed me how and where to set up an LLC. Anyway, since then, I've had a tickling of something greater. MUCH GREATER. 

I didn't feel ready for IT (whatever it was), and Mastin told me that I can start anyway--that IT would unfold as a result of my starting the process. He also reminded me that we are never really ready, anyway, so I might as well just take a leap of faith and trust that the Uni-verse will lead and support me . . . I do know that whatever IT is, it has to be in synch with my dharma (purpose in life), aligned with my spirit, and of service for the benefit of others--- as Deepak Chopra writes.

After I 'fessed up that being nudged toward something different from traditional teaching has left me a bit apprehensive--not only 'cuz I'm not sure what IT is, but also because knowing WHAT THE DEAL IS, is always comforting. . . no surprises, right? That's how I've lived: safe, predictable, knowing the outcome.

Stepping into something different is kind of freaky, since many of us have gotten the message along the way that CHANGE IS SCARY. (Also, I'm 48 so that's freaky, too . . . ). On the other hand, why would life present us (you know, as in present, like a gift?) with opportunities if we weren't supposed to at least pay attention?

So--here's what might be trying to get my attention--btw, I'm not going to quit my amazing and fabulous teaching job; I just want to make sure I'm listening to the whisperings of the Uni-verse in case there is more to my dharma:
  • creating a business around the content of my blog
  • writing a book or an e-book
  • becoming a spiritual consultant
  • studying to become a kundalini yoga teacher--for kids!
  • creating & spiritual curriculum and/or teaching coursework about creative, empowered living
Weird, even writing these ideas down and sharing them is kind of SPOOKY! -- but part of me sharing what has been tapping me on the shoulder for the past year or so makes me accountable.

Has anything been TAP, TAP, TAP, TAPPING on your shoulder lately? Share your experience by leaving us your story in the comments!

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