One of the things that I truly enjoy about every WEL-Systems® programme that I have ever chosen to step into is that we check in every day. The question is always “Where are we? What are we bringing into the room today? What’s coming up for us?” Or as Louise would say, “Over to you. Over.” It is just the best feeling to know that I can speak up and say what I need to say in the way that I need to say it and that no one will tell me that now is not the right time to talk about what is moving in me or that I’ve got it wrong [whatever ‘it’ is] or that I’ve misunderstood or that I just need to ‘suck it up Buttercup’ or that I can only talk for a finite period of time.
The gift of being able to say ‘my piece’ in the way I need to is immense. And I know that it did take me some time to trust that I am always safe to say what I need to say. I had had very long experience of being silenced and of learning to edit and silence myself. So it’s not only the gift which others give to me to listen – really listen – without judging but also the gift which I give myself to trust that I can take the time I need to say what is moving in me and that I need not worry about being ‘appropriate’.
I bring this up because last week at the CODE Model Coaching™ Intensive training, I said something that I had never said before. I didn’t even know that it was there.
About 18 months ago, Sheila spoke to me about our other sister. I remember her saying that she believed that if our sister did not decide for herSelf to make changes in her life, that she would die. At the time, I thought that Sheila meant that our sister would literally die. I know now that that is not what she meant.
And I realize what Sheila meant because of what I spoke about last week.
I retired after teaching for 33 years just about four years ago. At the time, I was not sure that I wanted to retire. Part of the issue was that I was only 59. That seemed to be too young to retire. And then, I felt that I still had something to offer to the profession which had been such a seminal part of my life. I know that if I could have continued teaching in the way that I wanted, doing the work I wanted to do with students and my colleagues, I would have been tempted to stay. And I knew that the contract structure would not accommodate what I wanted to create. So, I chose to retire even as I was not convinced that it was the choice I should make.
Last week, I told everyone at the CMC™ programme that I know that I am glad that I retired when I did. If I had taught until this year [when I could have retired on a full pension], I know now that I would have died. Oh, my body would still be here and I would be walking and talking and breathing AND the ME that I AM would have been dead. I would have gone somewhere into the ether never to be visible again.
A few days ago, I went back to the school at which I had taught for all those years to visit a colleague and friend. And as I spoke to her and others of my colleagues I acknowledged to them the truth I had only spoken the week before. To a person, they knew what I was saying. What their responses to me drove home for me was that life is too short to just believe that how things are is how they have to be – whether it is in our personal or professional lives.
We can reclaim our lives. We can come to know who we were meant to be. Take the time to ask: What is it that I want to create? What is it that gives me energy? What is it that gives my life joy? Who do I know mySelf to be? We can give ourSelves the gift of our own truth. We can choose ourSelves over social and cultural expectations. We can believe in our right to live life aware of our own potential for evolution and transformation.
The greatest joy of living is being awake to living and not merely enduring.