Beginning the Shadow Dance

“The beginning is the most important part of this work." ~Plato

Beginnings are hard. Even when it is the beginning of something you have wanted for an excruciating amount of time. Beginnings represent change and change can be disruptive, unsettling and damn uncomfortable most of the time. It requires a shifting of ideas and beliefs into action, physically and mentally. Who has time for that type of inner work? Well, I had to make time for that. I had come to a crucial time in my life (my 40s) that required me to take a good, hard look at where I have been and where I was going. Where I had been was in a classroom teaching for nearly 20 years.  Was I good at my job? Yes. Was I making a difference? I sure hope so. Was I happy? Hell, no. I was suddenly craving flexibility and freedom in my career, as well as my life. I wanted to have the ability to be in charge of my daily schedule, to make my own decisions and live life by my rules. As a teacher who had created structure and schedules for others on a minute by minute basis for decades, I was now longing for creativity, passion and resiliency in my waking hours. I was claustrophobic, feeling caged and I was convinced that my soul was slowly being choked to death. At the end of the 2015-2016 school year, I  walked away from that lonely island, the classroom, for good. I slammed the door to my old life, hoping the vibration would open a window to new opportunities. When the fear began to question,”How can you do this in your forties? I stood firm thinking, “How can I not?”

It was now time for me to foster my own potential.

As the days have turned to months spent away from the classroom, I now realize that I had spent years encouraging children and their creative spark, instead of my own precious inner child. Unsatisfied and frustrated, I had become a shadow artist. I had been dancing in the dark corners, the edges of life. I had channeled my passionate energy into fostering the originality and self-esteem of my students while walking away from my own creative, artistic dreams.  

I struggle to rebuild a relationship with my inner child, to find my way back to the creativity I stifled for so long. We are currently playing a dance in the shadows. She is shy and nervous. How can I blame her? She has been abused in the worst way, through neglect. Abandonment. She has to learn to trust again. This beginning, this starting over is an opportunity to be trustworthy, to truly honor the light inside me. At times, my inner child acts out, gives me the silent treatment. She has a fierce temperament; she knows it is her time to shine. She demands it even. I have focused on nurturing others for too long. My inner child will wait no more for me to understand that I am a creative soul, and it is my responsibility to cultivate my talents. I listened as I dug out my dream of writing from that dark corner where I once danced, dusting and polishing it until it was recognizable again.  My role has changed from teacher to learner, and the next steps are unknown, exciting, terrifying and absolutely full of hope. Just the way all beginnings should be...