...And still I struggle...
And yet, there is an answer!
Since renewing and refreshing myself in Rishikesh, I have been able to access long-forgotten tools that help me overcome my Egoic Self and its attachments.
Well, it is a work in progress of course, I haven't yet achieved enlightenment...though I keep moving toward freedom!
I've started using Byron Katie's "The Work" process again--that helped a great deal with the frustration I continue to feel with my co-teacher, L. (See Backstory, below.) Then of course, something else happened in the last few days to set me off. I was feeling angry and frustrated at the lack of collaboration, and how she just makes decisions without consulting me for feedback. Then I realized that perhaps I was overly attached to collaboration. Yes, collaboration is positive and creates a great working environment for co-teachers; however L. is the symbolic Rock I come against in my peaceful flow. And as Mooji stated: "Water hits a rock, and it doesn't argue. It flows around. It is flexible." This is what I keep my recall and heart upon: remembering L. is the rock, and I am the water--why argue? And if insisting I have a collaborative work environment creates stress, why hang on to that attachment when it is not going to happen? Why fight reality? Why not go with the flow? What underlies all of this is my Ego's need to Be In Charge. That's what is really going on. I feel disempowered and it seems that my voice does not matter. That creates pain, which makes me feel angry as a result. Of course, this all stems from my upbringing where I truly Had No Power as a child: I (my voice) was To Be Seen And Not Heard. Yes, perhaps I am still quite sensitive -- not, perhaps, overly, but still the full embodiment of sensitivity -- to having my voice squashed, ignored, or otherwise deemed irrelevant and unimportant, which condensed, translates to the expression of personal power.
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What I am trying to keep in the forefront of my mind is:
I keep grasping at the idea that my current work environment should be positive and that I should get to fulfill my role as an actual educator, when that is not the reality. I think my biggest current challenge is that I continually fight with reality if I don't like it. I have been unable to accept situations or circumstances and always bang against the wall of What Is. It creates so much suffering in my heart and soul-- and eventually, my body! (And yes, I admittedly need to work on conflict resolution and self-empowerment to speak up for myself, because I see the pattern in previous jobs where I leave because it is a negative environment where I don't speak up or can't resolve some sort of interpersonal conflict with another.) And What Is, is that this school is a Chinese school that does not truly embrace progressive, international, or IB education (though it claims otherwise!); I will never be able to truly teach (what I love) here because they really only want an over-qualified ESL teacher; and none of the Chinese teachers have been trained in progressive methods so they cannot overcome their own cultural limits to lead and empower children or themselves. Both they and leadership are handcuffed by their own policies and culture. I know this! I know this! I know this! So I need to accept what I cannot change (the school, the classroom, the co-teachers, the education philosophy of this system and culture)-- that my job is unfulfilling and I am miserable and dislike it very, very much; change what I can (my perspective, my actions, my thoughts-- and get another damn job!); and have the wisdom to know the difference!
Grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change,
The courage to change what I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference!
I also want to continue to re-open my heart to love and compassion, for this allows me to see that L. is just doing her best. She has worked for this company for 17 years and this is most likely her lifelong place of employment, so she is wants and has to keep the job. She is also a really great teacher within the parameters of the Chinese education system--she is really good with the kids. I need to stop making assumptions that she isn't collaborative and thinks she is the boss, because this leads me to take things personally which makes me feel angry, hurt, and defensive. Once again, my thoughts are what leads me down the tunnel of anger and frustration and job-hating, not anyone's actions. I know! I know! I know!
It is ALWAYS my thoughts, always, and not others' actions, that cause my suffering.
My job is to do what I can, let go of attachment, view others with love and compassion, try to remain positive in an unhappy situation, know that I have the power and competency and skill set to gain a better job, and take action to keep my heart and body and mind healthy and stable with self-care.
As is part of my life this entire school year, I struggle with my co-worker. It's been the most miserable year of teaching I have ever experienced and I dislike my job to the point that I have been looking for another and considering asking for release from my contract. Not only is the school poor quality when it comes to progressive methods of teaching, but my co-teacher is non-collaborative. I've basically given up. However, this is also a learning and growth experience, and I continue to seek ways to improve my Self while stuck here. This co-teacher is also the greatest teacher for my Ego.
Katie freely shares her worksheets, and you can find more on her website!
See Katie's website to end the conflict and suffering!
... asana, pranayama, meditation and the true Self.