When quiet dreams become loud.....
When I was a child I would love nothing more than to play in my bedroom and pretend I was a teacher. I would make a list in my notebook and spend time writing the names of all my imaginary students ever so neatly in my beautifully created school book. Using my red pen I would then diligently tick off their attendance so I could begin "teaching" them whatever I had concocted up in my vivid imagination. When I was this age around 9 or 10 I wanted to grow up and be a teacher , I think it was all the pencils and books and the way they would carry themselves that made it all seem so important and organised.
The reality of school and a few whacks across the knuckles with a ruler taught me that not all teachers were nice and some were just plain mean. I preferred to retreat to my imaginary world of nice teachers until the thought of teaching fell away as the distractions of teenage years took over.
Life then became life as I have chronicled in my memoir "The Suitcase" and childish dreams became just that - dreams, forgotten dreams.
It would be many years later and in another life that I once again found myself enjoying a different type of teaching. For two years I had been unwell with chronic fatigue and this had impacted living life immensely. Simple tasks seemed insurmountable and after eighteen months I was trying desperately to look at any way to get better. I came across a program at the local community hospital that assisted people to live with a chronic health condition. Looking for any angle or help as a way out of this miserable existence I signed up. This program was a great help and in reality it was stripping things back to a very basic way of living. If my goal for the day was to walk to the letterbox then that was it, celebrate it, if my goal was to wash three dishes and not ten , accept that and get it done. Set achievable goals and accept the moments. I learnt to stop trying to live a well life when I was unwell and to just in effect be in the moment. I would set my daily action plans ( you just know I love a plan ) and then progressed to weekly and so on. In my desire to get back to good I was a good student and embraced all the course could offer. So much so that as I got stronger and better they asked if I was interested in teaching the course as I had a different perspective . After attending training in Melbourne I soon returned as a teacher of the program for one day a week as my health improved, this became a lifeline. And here I was a teacher, with proper teaching books and coloured pens and a whiteboard !!!
After I got well I slowly returned to the workforce and it would be many years before I got to teach again, this time in a different way. Running teams of volunteers and staff I love nothing more than a planning workshop , yes I am THAT person. I really enjoy teaching , planning and gathering like minded people together to achieve good things. My role at the time allowed this and I had the happiest years of my work life doing this until retirement.
But you see the quiet dream still sat there. Quietly.
In the stillness of retirement and the wonderful freedom of age and wisdom I found time to explore who I was and chase what I wanted. I was drawn to learning something new, finally following up on some of my quiet passions and looking to challenge myself. As the universe is want to do just when you need a prompt I came across some information on a course to follow up. The scared me gave me all the reasons not to , can I afford it, I am to old, others opinions, can I commit , what is the point and a lot more negative fear based self talk. However the quiet dream suddenly became loud and brave so I dove in head first and followed my wild heart to do this for me. And what an inspired decision that has been. In between all of the learning there is play and self healing , a long dormant childish joy of creativity and mess and much much more.
How long has it been since you wondered down to the beach to play in the sand ? It has been several lifetimes ago since I have made sandcastles or foraged for treasures on the beach. On this glorious autumn summer day I got to spend a whole day with my feet in the sand and water playing , yes playing. The memories evoked of summer days at the beach building sand castles, digging big long trenches so the water would get in, finding seaweed and shells to decorate your castles, it had been an eon since I had done such things. I used to take my kids to play at the beach but was probably too harassed with carrying everything, thinking ahead and not being in the moment to appreciate it. But this strange luxury of reconnecting with play was such fun. I got to make a self sand portrait of me - complete with seaweed tassel boobs, I decided to become a bush mermaid as my love of bush and sea could not be separated. Besides who says there is not such a thing !! After a beach hunt and collecting beautiful shells, rocks, seaweed and more I had time to create a nature mandala. The hardest part was leaving it there and letting it be claimed back by the sea. I possibly took longer than most to let it all go. Another lesson learnt -surrender, let it go with the flow. I also have been painting and getting real messy. Once I gave myself permission for it not having to be perfect and got over the "I'm not an artist" nonsense in my head I could embrace the process or as they say in the reality shows - it's the journey .
So between chanting, sound meditation , painting and play I have found myself right where I need to be. Lots of learning ahead and I actually love to study , you are never to old. Where this new found learning leads me I don't know but I feel I am on path to complete a circle. Along the twists and turns of life there seem to be all these little clues and happenings that lead us to now.
With the experience of a life lived, the things we learn along the way and the quiet dreams of a child I eagerly await this new life chapter and continue to live life Outside the Lines .
May you get messy and find time to play - you won't regret it.:)