Thursday, 1 October 2015

The Unobtainable Light, or Two Paths That Diverged

A person must continue to walk throughout their life or else, just like the stream that stagnates, all signs of life will slowly disappear and vanish.  Water, the giver of life, knows that it must constantly seek change if it is to remain alive, it knows that it must always flow, finding new pathways, and overcoming obstacles if it is to succeed, if it is to reach its journey's end. 
Following the path is a journey of discovery, it is a journey of growth, and a journey of evolution.  When I began in earnest, seperating myself from the known, the safe, and the secure, my life changed dramatically in ways that I could never have predicted.  Guided by my heart, it led me along a pathway that for many years, I had been too scared to tread, too afraid of the possibilities, feeling that I was not deserving of the happiness that awaited, afraid of the consequences that would come if I were to realise my innermost dreams.

There was one significant moment when I came upon two roads that diverged before me.  One was a secure looking, safe road, that was well trodden by those who had come before me, and it would make for comfortable, easy walking.  The other, now that one was dark and twisting, nothing was discernible around the first bend, it appeared uninviting, and where it led I could not tell.  Yet, as I stood before these roads, I knew already the way I would go.  Even though I stood a while and debated, argued, and reasoned with myself, the route I would take had been set long ago.  My head fought with my heart that day, and as I knew it would, my heart won.  I plunged into the darkness and lost myself in the vastness of the unknown.

The irony was of course, that becoming lost on this road was the very thing that helped me to discover myself.  Around that first corner, obscured from view, but so tantalisingly close (if you could ever know it), was the greatest, warmest, and brightest light that I have ever seen.  It was the light of love that awaits all who seek the true path for themselves.  It was the light of understanding of self, of the world, and the universe.  I tried to reach that light, I wanted to reach it and attain it, and so I walked faster and faster towards it, always seeking it. 

But I could not.  Like a dog that chases its own shadow, no matter how hard I tried, I could never reach my goal.  The light was always there, shining ever more brightly, burning with an intensity that was hard to look upon.  It took me some time to realise that there was one very good reason I could not reach that light, no matter how hard I tried or how fast I ran towards it.  The light had led me on a journey to new places, with new people and new experiences.  My life was changed, I was changed from the person who I once was.  Part of me remained, I could feel that, the old me lived within the new, one and the same, changed yet still the same.  And with me were fragments of all the people that I had encountered, all of the places where I had been, and all of the incredible wonders I had experienced, just as I was a fragment within those same people.  Everyone I encountered left a mark upon my soul, enriching me, as I too left my mark upon theirs, bonding us forever across space and time.

It was only much later that I was able to come to an understanding.  When I had stood and looked upon those two diverging roads, there was never a debate as to which one I would take.  I was always going to take the path that I took.  It wasn't just about where I was at that moment, it was also about when I was.  I was at the right place and I had arrived at the right moment, to be where and when I needed to be so that I could act and make the decision that needed to be made.  A decision that was preordained in the mists of time, in the making of the universe.  I arrived exactly when I was supposed to arrive, the result of countless trillions of possibilities and happenings.  

I was always going to become all that I have become.  It was my life purpose.  When I was born, it was written in my heart that this is who I would be, these were the things that I would do, and the thoughts that I would have.  From that moment on, everything I have ever done has steered me on my journey. Sometimes it has been done unconsciously, without my even realising it, but always I have steered myself on the journey of my own making.  I could never have changed it.  My heart is too strong, it speaks too loudly for me to ever deny its existence.

I believe that this is the same for everyone of us.  Every person has a message written inside their heart.  It is the DNA of who they truly are, the person that they are destined to be.  If you listen and take heed of that message, then you will find the path that is right for you at exactly the moment when you need it.  You too will discover the light that awaits.

And as for that light that I tried so hard to reach?  I still cannot touch it, no matter what it is that I do.  It still remains there, always out of my reach.  Why?  Because that light is me and I am the light of the universe that shines the way.  I am the light of love.  I am the light of life.  I am me, and that is all I ever needed to be.  The real me, the true me.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Reaching the End of my Second Teaching Placement - A Poem of Gratitude

This week is going to be a tough week.  It's the last week of my second placement in school and marks another major step towards the dream of becoming a school teacher.  The time has passed by so very quickly.  In fact, this whole year is flying past.  It seems only like yesterday that I was stepping off the plane in New Zealand, having flown from the UK.  Only now, has a year passed since I first submitted my application for university in Wellington, at Victoria University.  One year ago, it was nothing but an uncertain dream.  Now, it is a dream that is approaching reality.

I have enjoyed immensely my time on this second placement.  The class I've been with have been amazing.  It has been a hugely enjoyable and rewarding experience.  At the beginning of this placement, I felt daunted, overawed, and overwhelmed by what lay ahead.  I questioned whether teaching was truly for me.  It would have been so easy to walk away, to follow the urge that told me to do so.  But I did not.  I stood firm and resolute and I told myself that I had to at least see this placement through to the end, and only then would I be in a position to know truly.  It is at times like these when I remember a passage in The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho that describes how we are tested as we approach the realisation of our dreams.  The universe tests us to see whether we are worthy, whether we have learned all that we needed to learn and discover, whether we are certain that this is our dream, and whether we believe in our path.

I am not there yet.  I still have courses to complete at university but one thing is now more certain in me than ever.  I was always going to be a teacher.  I have felt it for most of my life, hearing the call from afar, waiting until the moment when I knew I could deny myself the inevitable no longer.  I do not teach because I can, I teach because it is me, it is my life, and it is my dream. 

Here then, is the poem I wrote to the class as a memento of my stay with them.  I have purposely removed a few verses to protect anonymity of the children.  

A Poem for Room 12

Room 12 has been a truly incredible place to be
It’s full of learning, friendship, and true camaraderie
I’ve had such fun with you all I never would have guessed
I hope you don’t remember me as a terrible, awful, nasty pest.

Remember at the beginning and we made a juggling ball?
I think we had a lot of fun; at least that’s what I recall
Balloons, rice and a little bag, colours and designs were made
Together we ventured out with them and in the playground we played.

We read a book by Roald Dahl called the BFG
About dreams and giants and girl whose name was Sophie
We thought about the dreams we have and whether they could come true
In our books, we wrote them down and shared our point of view.

What imaginations you really have to see such wondrous things
Fluffy unicorns, vampire bats, and a golden boot that sings?
Some were likely, some were certain and some that just could not be,
I thought all were amazing and brilliant, and explored some probability.

When you see yourself in the mirror, there’s a reflection looking back at you
And down the centre, right in between, there’s a line that divides the two
We used contrasting colours and paper folded in two or four
To show our lines of symmetry so they showed up even more.

Cut out a circle of paper and then you fold it one, two three
Take a piece of pizza pie and trace your design so you see
Rotate around, rotate around, rotate around that’s the key
If you fit in more times than one, you've got rotational symmetry.

Now, how to find your way around I wonder if you know?
East, south, west, north, please tell me it’s not so.
The compass needle always points to the north and after that it’s east
Never Eat Soggy Weetbix always remember that at least!

What shapes we found and placed them together with no gaps in between
To make some wonderful patterns, the best that I’d ever seen
Now what do we call it?  What name could it be?
Why it was tessellation of course! Oh silly, silly me.

How do you write instructions, please tell me what you need
Begin with a title that says it all and sows a little seed
Next you add a description and maybe a picture or two
Follow the steps you find below and you’ll know just what to do.  

In the mornings after a little maths we took ourselves under the sea
With a special room 12 brain break created just for you, by me
We looked around, we saw such fish, and wonders of the deep
And after we had finished, there was not a sign of sleep!

We learned about cause and effect on the oceans you recall?
How pollution, over fishing, and climate change are problems for us all
We need to act, we need to think about what it is we do
So in the future this planet of ours we still have seas of blue.

And in those seas the fish will swim and the whales will blow and dive
All of the life below the surface will multiply and thrive
We need the krill, we need the sharks, we need the tuna and wahoo
Because without those last fishy types, what’s the cookie cutter shark to do?

Now here we are, it’s come at last, the end of my short stay
Room 12 you’re the most wonderful people, and I know you’ll always be that way
And even though I’ll be gone, the memories, well they can never fade
Because you created for me, the best most brilliant dream that was ever made.