Lately I’ve been suffering. Not from physical pain but from emotional pain. A couple of weeks ago we went to Barcelona to get a feel for our soon to be new home. During that time, I went on a few interviews for teaching positions, but I didn’t walk away bounding with joyful anticipation since I may be too progressive of an educator for their traditional institutions. (In one of my interviews, I asked if they do inquiry-based learning, and the lady looked at me as if I had asked her if they “give the children poison”. Awkward, to say the least.) So now I’ve written my thank-you emails and haven’t heard a word since. Surprised?…Well, I shouldn’t be, but the sting of apparent rejection still hurts. And the question is beginning to penetrate my thoughts: If I am not going to be a teacher, then Who Am I? This potential identity crisis is the basis of my suffering, as I recognize how my self-worth is wrapped up in my job description.
I’ve heard it said that that your worst day can actually become your best day if you can see it that way. Well, I’m open to seeing the gift in this experience, but let’s be honest here, that is easier said than done.
As a practice, when my mind starts to go dark and I begin ruminating and singing that song, “Nobody likes, everybody hates me, I think I’ll go eat worms”, I dig in and do the work to shift my mindset:
- Observe and attend more consciously to my breathing
- Engage in more physical exercise that challenges me
- Practice more “mindful moments” when I can feel gratitude and enjoy the subtleties and essence of my human experience–like a hug from my daughter or the smell of coffee or the beauty of the moon.
- Read and listen to more encouraging and inspirational things.
This post is mostly about #4.
So about a month ago I got introduced to a show call Inside Quest (the host kinda reminds me of one of my nephews) on YouTube and so I decided to check out their directory of episodes. Well, I came across this interview with Tony Robbins and it resonated deeply, making me realize what my suffering is about but also how it can be cured. Here are some thoughts shared by Tony Robbins that shook me out of my self-pity stupor:
The way you suffer is to focus on yourself. Suffering comes from when we are obsessing about ourselves: what we are getting or not getting; what we should have done, what others should have done for us. Its’ the Me, Me, Me, Me, Me Game.
Suffering can be worry, can be anger, can be frustration–anything that takes you out of a ‘beautiful state’…..but you can end suffering by stop focusing on yourself and start focusing on something you want to serve that is greater than yourself.
When I stop to consider these words, I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude, thinking about how liberating this experience can be for me. Perhaps this might be the time to develop some new skills and an opportunity to explore some new career paths. What is my new “WHY”? Who can I help and how can I serve the world in a bigger way?
Because I have so many interests, I don’t know the answer to this question yet, but what I do love is the potential to now choose my mission in life and the freedom to explore it without feeling shackled to the expectation of being “the bread-winner”. Right now, in this moment of awareness, I can decide to trade my expectations for appreciation. In this instant, I am willing to stretch my mind in a new direction.
(God HELP me–I need it!)
And I decided to write about this in a public forum because I am hoping that people like you (known or unknown to me) will hold me accountable to thinking bigger and acting greater than ever before.
In advance, I want to thank you for that!
Until next time….Keep breathing.