Have you ever got into an argument with complete strangers online? I got sucked into it again yesterday and the moment I posted a response to my initial post, it was like something came over me and compelled me to keep putting my opinion first until there was a clear "winner." My ego loved it! But I felt completely out of control and lost the amazing joy and gratitude for life that I had woken up with.
Ultimately, I ended up feeling like I had been dirtied by the negative vibes of the two or three other “posters” and needed to have some detox from such negative energies. Of course, a few other people supported my case, but this feeling happens every time I engage with this type of discourse. I end up feeling like I’ve been put through the wash. My girlfriend said that it would be best to go for a walk, so I did. I embraced the beautiful landscapes and walking track only minutes from my house and I immersed myself in the sounds, smells and sights of the amazing Australian bush.
Needless to say, I don’t want to feel so sullied like that again that I needed to do some debriefing about how it all came about and more importantly, how I felt disconnected from my true self during that horrible interaction. And that, I think, is the answer. I became disconnected from the source of my true self and became someone who liked to have the last say! It’s strange, but I feel like I have spent the first forty years of my life learning how to fit in and now I need to unlearn all that I know. It’s only in the past few years that I can start to feel like I can strip back the layers of what “normal” behaviours that I’ve adopted in order to fit in and start un-learning all that the world has taught me in order to be myself again. Which brings me back to the online argument…we’ve been taught that our opinion matters and that it’s valued. And it does. We are lucky to live in a country which by some miracle, still has a culture of free speech (whether that lasts is an issue for a separate debate) and people feel empowered enough to speak their truth.
But what is truth? Is my truth more valid than yours? The moment we start to separate ourselves based on who is right and who is wrong, better or worse, there is a clear loser. There is someone who is elevated higher than another. If I follow the belief that everyone is a mirror of me, bringing up dross within me that needs clearing, then everyone is a teacher. Those young men who engaged me in a heated debate yesterday taught me that at times my ego can get out of control, that when it’s an issue that is seemingly important to me, it’s like waving a red flag at a bull, I react. I lose my centre. I lose my balance and more importantly, I let my positive energetic space drop to a lower vibrational level…of who I used to be, of who I learned to be by my life’s experiences and of societal expectation of conflict and operating from the ego centre.
Social media is one giant distraction from life. We have arguments with complete strangers, look voyeuristically at other people’s lives from the comfort of our homes and pass judgement on things that pop up. I’m not saying it’s all negative, but for me, the more I engage with it, the more I place more and more of my life into the time I spend checking and responding to notifications, the less time I have to BE in the moment of life. It distracts me from the birds singing outside, the fresh, clean air that I breathe into my healthy body, time with people I love and the creative projects I have inside me that just want to get out.
This morning this came up in my newsfeed from Osho, which was timely (as the universe always is):
“Give life to things which are beautiful. Don’t give life to ugly things.
You don’t have much time, much energy to waste. With such a small life,
with such a small energy source, it is simply stupid to waste it in sadness,
in anger, in hatred, in jealousy.
Use it in love, use it in some creative act, use it in friendship, use it in meditation;
do something with it which takes you higher. And higher you go (the) more energy
sources become available to you.”
There are so many issues going on in the world and we cannot sit back and watch it happen, but we can make a change from an elevated space, not dropping down to responding in how things used to be or how we learned to respond. It is not about sticking our heads in the sand and allowing terrible things to happen to people and going “it’s their journey.” It’s our journey too. All life is a reflection of who we are. So, how can we address the things that trigger a response? With love, with loving action, loving words, loving kindness…we don’t need to change the entire world and bring everyone into our way of thinking, we just need to adjust the way we respond to the world and our little place in it in a way in which we feel authentic and centred in our divine power.
So instead of knee-jerking to the new issue that triggered a response in me this morning, I reflected on what would be the most loving course of action, where I still felt empowered by speaking my truth and yet could make a positive difference. I dropped deep into my heart and I spoke from there and it felt good and I let it go.
©Text and images Alyssa Curtayne 2015
You know when you meet people who are truly living their lives with purpose. You can tell that they have walked through that invisible barrier that we all put up. Rachel Davies Burrows is one of those people.
Rachel is the founder of The Joy Sanctuary, a beautiful oasis of peace in the Perth Hills town of Kalamunda. This vibrant single mother of two had to experience a few tough years before she started listening to the inner nudges, “I wasn’t living my authentic truth before I got sick,” she said. Rachel said that she had always been a happy and positive person, but she never really lived that with feeling. “I realised that we don’t get forever…if I don’t give it a go then what’s the point?” she said. Like many people, Rachel needed a catalyst to get her to move into authenticity. “I needed cancer to motivate me to live my dream, it’s almost ridiculous to say, but it’s true,” she said after being diagnosed with leukaemia in 2011. Rachel feels stronger from her experience with the disease. “I could be a victim to it…but it’s given me the fuel to push me to where I really wanted to be…it wasn’t an easy ride.”
Rachel opened the space in May 2015 and it has had a steady build-up of business for the eclectic collection of products in the retail section and the courses run by people who have just walked into the shop. “It’s amazing how it draws the right people in. I have an amazing interaction with every person,” she said. The Joy Sanctuary really is about bringing together all the things that Rachel loves. “I love being a part of other people’s journeys…I feel like I am facilitating some place where others can do what I have done,” she said. “That brings me my highest joy.” “I have had so much synchronicity in my life since I’ve taken that leap,” she said and has been overwhelmed by the generosity of people who have come into her new life.
“There’s no question that I’m doing the right thing.”
There have been a number of lightbulb moments for Rachel and, like many of us, often needs to hear to things multiple times before she listens. One of the more significant illuminating moments was when she returned to her administrative assistant job and realised that the life that she had been living no longer fit who she was.
“I couldn’t live like that anymore,” she said.
Rachel uses the analogy of crossing a bridge to describe what it’s like to take that leap of faith. “You can’t see where you are going and trust there will be something on the other side…and once you start you can’t go back,” she said. There have been a few scary moments along the way but it helped her to realise where her passion was. As for the future of the business, Rachel is not sure where it will go “but that’s okay, I don’t need to.”
Rachel says that her whole life had not been about being empowered. “The Joy Sanctuary is a place of empowerment…being within myself.” She is doing it for herself because she loves it and it brings her joy.
And I think that is the secret to the success to making the leap into the unknown. Like Rachel needed cancer to prompt her to take action, not everyone has to have cancer! Some people struggle with relationships, jobs, health, accidents, drug use and, in my case, having no money is my catalyst to start following that inner nudge inside. Following the things that you love and are passionate about, even if it means taking one step at time, after all as Martin Luther King Jnr said “you don’t need to see the whole staircase, you just need to take the first step.”
Synchronicity happened while I was writing this and it was affirmed by a video and article by the amazing philosopher Alan Watts who also affirmed that it is passion that you need to follow. Watch this link to a Steve Jobs/Alan Watts combo: http://youtu.be/3yFiqdCjNMk
On the TED Talks series, there is a lawyer and philosopher, Ruth Chang who had a great 15 minute talk on “How to make hard choices”. Please take the time to wrap your head around it. In it she speaks about the values we place on decisions, but also making decisions based on what you feel inside, not what society expects of you and its values. She calls people “Drifters” when you don’t put yourself into it. “Drifters allow the world to tell the story of their lives,” she said. I have been a drifter, professionally speaking. I have gone where society says I should be and I have never had enough money, even when I was on a great income. There was never enough. Maybe it’s time to put my agency behind what I’m called to do and to trust in who I am, how I think and my own divine uniqueness and most importantly the things that bring me enormous joy. I admire those people who don’t need a catalyst and trust in the path.
For me, I felt the strongest urge that my job was not working for me, pretty much the moment I started it. Here we are nine months later and I am officially “unemployed” in three weeks. But that’s the best bit, I am so excited about the infinite possibilities for me and I have spent the past year really meditating on how I want to live my life. There are so many possibilities that I love so many things that Rachel’s idea of putting all of her joys in one place appeals to me. I don’t have to do ONE thing. I can do and BE multiple things and create my world how I want it by following my bliss, the things that bring me joy.
Rachel (and Andrea from previous blog) are inspirations to me because they are living, breathing examples in my world of how following your bliss brings so much joy, happiness and synchronicity into your life. There’s an enormous amount of faith that is required to do this, but it feels so right to follow the inner callings within you and to step out of the hamster wheel where our authentic selves are smothered or lost by jobs, relationships and expectations that we value over our own intuitive whispers and knowing. Maybe it’s time to stop “drifting” and step into my divine authenticity, not just cognitively, but in real faith and action. See you on the other side.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2015
In the days around my 40th birthday, I met the most amazing man and the impact of the connection was so incredible for both of us that, in all honesty, it shook us for a number of months. Naturally, I wanted more of this personal growth and more of him. I was addicted to him, he was delicious in every way and our compatibility was intense in every area of our lives. But at the end of the day, he was still grieving the ending of his marriage and for me, no matter how amazing he was, I had to let him go. In the ensuing days, weeks and months, I learned to love him and let go again and again, but also that when a man says “he’s not ready,” it probably means that you aren’t ready too.
“Of course I’m ready!” I hear you protest, “I’ve been ready my whole life!”. Of course. You are right. You have been ready for a relationship for your life, but are you ready for what it is you deeply want and have asked for over and over again: the conscious co-created partnership with Divine love at the core? Is he?
For many women, our spirituality forms the basis of who we are and many women are not willing to settle for the traditional or “normal” relationship, we desire a spiritually-based one that can take both parties to the bliss of ecstasy. For that, no, you are probably not ready, there is a lot of inner work that needs to be done. It involves a number of things:
Ultimately, our search for love is one of self-love; that is when we truly, deeply love ourselves as a divine spark of the Universe. So the reality is, your longing and waiting is a reflection of the divine waiting and longing for you to connect with Source. You need yourself to move into a space of “I love myself enough to let you go,” with the other person. Like one of my meditation teachers, Kat, always used to say “Fake it until you make it.” Use this affirmation every time you think of the other person.
If it’s a spiritual based relationship that you are after, you really need to do the spiritual work required to get it and that means letting go of the past, the ego and being fully and mindfully in the present and being in divine love and joy in each and every moment. Then, that’s when the magic happens. The universe is taking care of all the details. All you need to do is to be open and receptive to receiving the abundance of love that you asked for. And it happens, just like that. Your only job is to be open and receptive to receiving your dreams: your only job.
Please let me know how you go with these tips. I’m happy to answer questions.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2014-15
I have resisted teaching for my whole life. I spoke to my Mum last month about how I wasn’t enjoying teaching and she said “you’ve never enjoyed it.” That was a bit of a slap in the face, but she’s right! I’ve been in and out of this career that I started having doubts about in university! Twenty years later and I think I have finally made the break away from it. This is my third real attempt to break up with teaching and I hope this time I can step away for good.
It’s not so much teaching that I dislike, I actually love the interactions with students, I LOVE planning and researching and I won’t lie, the holidays and wages are fantastic! But even in second year university I remember having a conversation about the flawed system with my lecturer and her advice was to get into the system and change it from the inside! Oh! We start with such noble intentions. There is no way that I or anyone can change such a huge system from the inside – there are way too many egos and teachers biding their time until retirement who have done the same job every year for 25 years for any change to occur. What I have tried to do is empower students by believing in them. I won’t lie, I’ve had my favourites. All teachers do. Some people we just connect to, no differently than in social situations, you have your favourites.
There have only been three students in 20 years that I’ve met that had such psychopathic natures because of horrendous childhoods and trauma that I couldn’t find any redeeming qualities. Those are issues that I, not being a psychologist, do not have the skills for. Everyone else has had a strength or characteristic that I have thought – yup, they’re going to be okay, they are a good person. Maybe I went into teaching to reassure myself that people were all going to work out okay.
When I think about my motivations for studying education, they went something like this (in no particular order):
a. I got into university on the first round.
b. I selected Physical Education because I played basketball seven days a week and it meant more sport for me.
c. I had no idea what opportunities were out there in the world of work except teaching and the medical profession, working in a shop and probably farming. So I picked the easiest.
d. I watched a friend in high school deteriorate and eventually drop out because she didn’t think she would amount to anything. I believed in her, fervently, and her mindset was such that no amount of my encouragement could change that. I figured that it was such a waste of her talents to give it all up. I wanted no other person to ever experience that. It happened again to another friend in year 12 and it was about then that I thought I could help inspire people to live up to their potential.
e. I had an amazingly beautiful and inspirational Physical Education teacher in years 9 and 10 and I wanted to be just like her. I thought she was perfect. And she still is. She is an amazing human being and an inspiration.
So my motivations for entering this career I guess were wanting to make the world a bit better and to “save” young people. And I have. I had a young man hand over the drugs that he was going to kill himself with that day, I have had a beautiful young woman “come out” to me and be the first adult that she shared that with and I have seen young people bloom and blossom and get married and teach the children of people I went to school with. I have taught kids who only come to school because they know that I will help build them up because of the way they are treated at home and of course, all those little moments that I will never know the impact that I made.
Those are the moments are what keep me going back to it; those once every five years or so moments, those moments when I can feel my heart exploding with love and joy for how very brave and courageous young people can be. How valuable you are all are and how much love I feel for people when they take down their barriers to be truly authentic in the moment.
But the things that drive me from teaching are the meetings (OH, MY GOD, the meetings!!) the bureaucratic bumbling that doesn’t put children, the learners, at front and centre of policy. They think they do, but they are just ticking boxes for higher and higher levels of government and ultimately, to politicians at the top who have a top down system that only benefits their electoral cycle. When the system is child focused, when it puts the needs and desires of each and every child first, then I might be interested in it, but the top-down policy model just ultimately puts enormous pressure on the bottom of the pyramid – the children, the young people who are forced to play this game of education in order to get a piece of paper that says that they can do a job to continually fuel this economic system. Kids don’t need to have pressure to learn, to conform, they need to play, to be creative, to allow their little souls to blossom without being directed where to go.
So here I am at the end of my teaching career crying because of all those beautiful moments that surpass any bad day and have made the experience worthwhile. I have learned that the older kids get the less authentic they are allowed to be. Let that class clown, be the class clown – he might just be a world-class comedian one day! Teaching is not about ramming content down kids throats, or watching six, 12-year-olds cry because they didn’t have the skills to access the NAPLAN standardised testing, putting their progress in confidence and literacy back six months (which, by the way, was my worst week of teaching – EVER!). I still cry when I think about how much work I had spent building them up only to have it torn down by a Federal Government policy.
In terms of who I am and what I’ve learned about myself and skills that I’ve developed:
a. I need to do what I love, but more importantly I need to love what I do. There is no point in going to a job or profession if you don’t love it. Life is too short to waste. Either love it or leave it. I have left it more often than I’ve loved it. But maybe I’ve also never given anything the opportunity to be loved. I need to love the moment, whatever it looks like.
b. I am comfortable in public speaking and can be an engaging speaker.
c. I have skills that are transferrable to any job.
d. I know when I’ve reached my capacity for caring and how important it is to take care of your own mental, social, physical, emotional and spiritual health as a priority.
e. I am happier being a relief teacher because it’s all the fun of interacting with young people, learning new information and mostly because I have no weight of responsibility other than to the moment.
f. Kids who are wounded, broken and have experienced traumas are drawn to me, because my philosophy is that they are human first. I wish all teachers shared my philosophy!
g. Teaching is an ego-centred profession, it’s about what I know and what I can teach you, not about asking where the child is and helping them to get where they need to be. A teacher should be a facilitator, not a dictator!
I was guided by the universe to take this leap of faith away from my security blanket of teaching and I will probably continue to take short-term and casual contracts in the immediate future, but as a career? No, I’m done. I am so excited about the possibilities that lay before me in writing, in healing, in circus, in spending more time with my family and friends and of the possible opportunities that I haven’t even thought of yet.
I’m free-falling and the Universe will catch me. Thank you Teaching for bringing me to this point and as the late Wayne W. Dyer says,” I’m expecting a miracle.”
©Alyssa Curtayne 2015