Have you ever watched a movie and connected with it in such a way that it changed your life? When I was eight I watched The Miracle Worker. It focused on the relationship between Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan. In the movie, we saw a young girl who was trapped inside her body and feeling isolated. Once she connected to what Annie Sullivan was teaching her, she escaped from that prison and never looked back. That moment in time set my life on a trajectory that I didn't realize until I was in my 40s, but which I know will continue until the day I die. I knew then, without ever having to articulate it, that I wanted to connect with someone on such a deep level that neither of our lives would ever be the same again. And so, at that moment, a teacher was born.
I wanted to connect with people and help them realize their full potential; have them understand that nothing could stop them once they realized how powerful they could be if they just believed in themselves. Life is a journey, and its focus is on connecting with ourselves. That realization makes sense to me of everything else that goes on around us….our relationships, our society and even how we respond to global events. Whoa, heavy stuff, right? No worries. This isn’t the sort of thing we focus on in our daily lives. We’re generally just too busy living life.
As it turned out, I taught at an alternative high school in Toronto whose school motto was: 'Alis Suis Exsurgunt' ('They Rise By Their Own Wings'). The students were highly self-motivated, independent and intellectually curious! The Socratic method of teaching (question everything, even your assumptions) was a perfect fit...not only for them but for me as well. They challenged me and I loved that. I learned as much from them as they did from me. I was teaching English, but the majority of my day focused primarily on drama and art. With a student population of 120, there were 8 teachers. I was the art department. And as such, I drank in all things arts related. I couldn’t get enough of either learning or teaching, so much so that I taught at night school and summer school, too. And it was through teaching that I fell in love with the elements and principles of art. I was, pun intended, in my element!
Life has a way of taking up our time. Sometimes we’re so busy doing that we forget to check in with ourselves and for many, especially when raising children and/or having a successful career, time passes and we lose sight of who we are, or what our purpose is in life.
This search for fulfillment led me on the journey I’m still on. I’ve learned so very much along the way, but most of all I’ve learned that being in tune with myself, my dreams and aspirations, is paramount to my happiness. I know that life keeps us busy and that sometimes we’re so busy doing that we lose sight of who we are and what we’re capable of achieving. We’re a multifaceted bunch, and each one of us is magnificent in our own right. Sometimes we simply need to be reminded of that.
Let me know if there are times when you’ve lost sight of who it is you’re meant to be. Who has played the role of The Miracle Worker in your life? I’d love to connect with you and learn more!