The Start of my Blog
This past Friday I had the opportunity to participate in a 2 hour Wellness Workshop at my school. Friday was one of our twice per year Superintendent Workshop Days. On these days, our students get the day off while faculty and staff participate in some type of training and/or professional development. I have been in public education for 25 years and I still don't quite understand how these two days have come to be met with such a sense of dread and hostility. One would think that we would all be extremely excited about a day to develop ourselves or focus on a project. It just doesn’t seem to work that way.
In preparation for Friday, we asked our supervisor if we could use part of the day to focus on wellness. Thus, for the last two hours of the day a therapist from our community, her name is Jodi, came in to facilitate a conversation about self care for us mental health folk. Jodi took us through a simple meditation exercise and then led a discussion on some of the challenges to self care that are inherent in what we do. We ended the day with a wonderfully silly game called "laughing yoga."
Did I learn anything new? No, I can't say that I did. I mean I have been working in the mental health field for 30 years. I know alot of stuff and I have always focused on the issue of self care. In fact, a number of years ago I created a workshop that I named "Don't let your Role, Replace your Soul." In this workshop I brought together concepts from life coaching, positive psychology and personal awareness. I have had the opportunity to facilitate this workshop with hundreds of mental health practitioners and educators. I am proud to say that it has been well received. I know self care....I mean...damn....I teach the concept to others!!!!!
So why then did I walk away from this two hour wellness conversation with Jodi feeling like I had been hit by a Mack truck??? Why was I on the verge of tears through the entire presentation???
Because ladies and gentlemen, I have been guilty over the past few months of allowing my role to replace my soul. A process that can be so subtle, so complex, so gradual, that it does not register in your consciousness until that moment when it hits you like a ton of bricks. For me, that moment was Jodi's presentation. I had allowed the stresses of work, family, health....of being a vulnerable human being.... leak into the fiber of my being.
Damn!!!!!!! How the hell did I let that happen????? I know this stuff, right? I'm the guy who does that workshop on wellness!!!!! It’s the crazy system I work in anyway...right? It's not me!!!!!!
It's pretty cool how the universe delivers what we need if we are courageous enough to open the door when the universe knocks. And maybe at the end of the day this is the real issue. It's not about having failed because I allowed myself to get out of balance...welcome to humanity.......it’s about being open to another human being who I had never met and I had no idea was there on Friday to personally deliver a message to me.......a message that I needed to hear.
It was time to take full responsibility for resuscitating my soul. I could no longer blame people, places and circumstances. Jodi was there to request that I rediscover the many habits and practices that bring joy, satisfaction and meaning into my life. She didn't know that was what she was there for.......but it was.
Today, I sent a thank you email to Jodi. I didn't go into great detail, just thanked her for highlighting a topic that we can't talk too much about. My email signature includes my website address, which Jodi checked out. When she responded to my email, she commented on the name of the workshop I have done, "Don't let your Role, Replace your Soul." She thought it would be a great title for a blog.
Who the hell is this woman???? Another comment, this time about a possible blog, that socked me in the gut. I have been thinking about doing a blog for years. I stared at her email most of the day. Maybe all of this...getting out of balance...feeling overwhelmed....not practicing what I have preached to others......is another sign that it is time to challenge myself to move forward. Maybe I have become too complacent with being one of the "experts" about self care. In fact, there is no question about this given the incredibly crappy job I have been doing taking care of myself over the past few months.
So folks, a new blog has begun. One that will focus on how we can effectively fulfill all of the various roles we have in our busy lives, while at the same time, truly honoring our soul....our sense of self....our sense of purpose.....our sense of connection and meaning.
Should you find your way to this blog, I hope you find it helpful. I will do my best to identify resources and ideas that can help us all focus on our physical, emotional, relationship and spiritual wellness. But if I am to be completely honest, this blog is being created for selfish reasons. The last few months has demonstrated how much I am in need of new habits and practices that will, on a daily basis, remind me that I am ultimately responsible for my happiness.
Maybe, that’s not so selfish after all.
I wish you purpose, passion and peace!