A few Christmases ago, I experienced one of the greatest synchronicities of my life.
[ in other words, a wink from the universe ;) ]
I received a beautiful large photograph, meant for hanging on a wall. It was a photograph of Christ the Redeemer...or Big Jesus as I fondly call it...
the iconic symbol of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
At the time, this had absolutely no significance to me. It was beautiful yes, and spoke to the world traveler within me, but beyond this it had zero connection to my life. I mean, to be honest, even though I loved traveling, South America was not even on my radar. Random as it may have been, I appreciated its beauty and found a new home for it in my office where I could see it each day.
Fast forward a couple of years later and I feel like I have been propelled into a different life.
Sitting in a small cafe on a street in Copacabana… Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Sipping a cappuccino, nibbling toast with requeijao, the chatter of Portuguese surrounding me,
and I am struck with the memory of this gift.
Funny enough, I have found myself having made a home in the very city this photograph was taken...
on the very continent I had spent years shrugging my shoulders at.
Touché Universe, touché.
I’ve just finished an amazing book that echoes this type of synchronicity and quite possibly may have changed my life. It’s called The Universe Has Your Back and it's a spiritual guide to releasing fear and embracing love in all areas of life.
Now, before you go thinking that I’m talking too “hippy dippy” for you, hear me out.
Finishing this book now, at this moment in my life, seems super appropriate, because it was just one year ago that I was confronted with this very same topic: Fear.
This time one year ago I was packing up my life and moving across the ocean to a foreign country where
I didn’t know anyone, didn’t speak the language, and had no prospect of a job or plan for what to do next with my life. My mantra at this time was quite literally,
let’s just see what happens.
Did I have fear? Um, yes…to put it mildly. The daily anxiety attacks determined this was no lie.
But the thing that saved me, the thing that actually moved me to act upon this crazy yearning I had, was greater than my fear…and that was my Faith.
I’ve learned a lot over this year of personal discovery.
When I am honest with myself, I realize that I’ve made more mistakes during this one year of my life than in the 26 years before it. (Impressive, I know.)
On the flip side, I’ve also settled in to who I am in a way I never had before.
These mistakes, or learning experiences as I would rather think of them, have shaped me into the person I am today…however cliché this sounds.
I’ve done things I said I would never do, I’ve found myself in situations I never would have dreamed I’d be in, and I’ve gained new perspectives I never would have thought I’d adopt.
When I say this I am talking about both the good and the bad, but nonetheless, these experiences have helped me to look at the world through new eyes, so to speak.
I had to walk through the trials and experiences I’ve passed through, in order to get to the place I am now…
And now, for the first time in my life, I feel confident on my own two feet.
I feel strong in who I am, in the life I want to live, and in what I believe.
It’s still a daily work in progress,
but the clarity I have today for my life exceeds any clarity I’ve ever experienced.
Am I starting to sound too "new age" again? Well let me throw another one at you...
It cannot be understated the sheer power there is in truly finding and knowing oneself.
For each person, this process may look different. But for me, it took breaking down the walls of my comfort zone, going out into the world on my own, and learning to swim using the strength I’ve discovered from within.
I don’t know what comes next for me.
Of course, I have goals and plans that drive me forward, but I’ve also come to accept that the plans I come up with may not be the greatest plan of all.
What I mean is, we can have a vision for our lives that seems good, but in reality there may be an even better vision that we are not capable of seeing on our own.
So for this, I must release the desire to control the outcome.
Again, I turn my life over to the Universe and let Faith lead the way. For this is the only way I’ve discovered a sense of fulfillment which I cannot describe. The type of fulfillment you receive when you begin living life for your purpose, rather than selfish motives or external expectations placed on you by society.
Now, this blog is not meant to be a diary for me.
Teach the World is a space about education and inspiring teachers
to shape the best possible leaders for the future.
However, I feel like its important to share my story with you because one day
when I look back on this chapter of my life I believe I will say..
yes, that’s it, that’s the chapter where my journey began.
I feel like this type of reflection and realization embodies what it means to be a good teacher.
As a teacher, we apply these same principles to our practice.
We all experience fear when we are entrusted with educating the future of our world.
To move beyond this fear, we rely on faith in our own education, training, and passion for this work.
We challenge our comfort zones daily as we develop our practice and try new things, always honing our skill and constantly striving to be better than we were the day before.
And we find the strength within ourselves to always move forward for the good of our students.
Even on the days when this seems most difficult…
when administration is breathing down your neck, when you’ve had to say “sit down” “stop talking” and “follow directions” more times than you can count, when you leave school looking like you’ve just come out of battle (and in some ways, maybe you did)…we suit up again the next day and keep moving forward.
Why? Because our students count on us to do this.
And so now, I leave you with this. My story is just that, my story.
You have a story of your own.
I’ve shared with you a message here and whether you apply this message to your classroom, or your life in general (which I hope you do, because I promise your life will begin to shine in ways you’ve never dreamed),
I hope you too can begin looking at the world through different eyes.
Because, whether you know it or not, the Universe truly does have your back.
And if, even for just a second, you can give up this control you think you have over your life and allow yourself to follow something greater..a calling that only you can hear...
imagine just how bright you will shine with your purpose.
And this, my friends, is the very basis of Teach the World.
To inspire the next generation of leaders [our students], we must first make our life an inspiration in itself.
So to you, whoever may be reading this, let me tell you one thing...
you've got this.
Let's go teach the world.
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