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Working With A Difficult Colleague...What's The Message?

In my 10th year of teaching 8th grade, I was asked to co-teach with a special-ed teacher and share my classroom with her. I was very open to the idea and even excited about it. However, it was soon apparent that we were on completely different wavelengths and had VERY different teaching philosophies.

For me, the biggest challenge was agreeing together on boundaries for our students, and then her never following through with them. That made me the bad guy…always. In addition, she consistently undermined me which led the students to treat me with utter and outright disrespect. The classroom was always in chaos and became very toxic, very quickly. I came home crying several nights a week and I developed anxiety. No matter how many times we “hammered” things out, as my principal requested, it always went back to the same thing. It was so bad, a colleague suggested I start documenting everything that was happenings so I could report it to the Union.

After another incident, when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, it did. I will spare you all the gory details except to say that in that moment, Spirit said to me, “This is unsustainable. You are going to end up in the hospital with a nervous breakdown.” That scared me, and it was then, I knew I had to find a way out. That night, I sat down with my then, husband, and said, “I don’t know how, I don’t know what, and I don’t know when, but I am getting out of teaching,” setting my intention in motion.

Reiki had shown up in my life several months earlier. Reiki is a safe, gentle, non-invasive form of hands-on healing. Reiki energy has several benefits: it brings about deep relaxation, induces the body’s natural healing response, clears energy blockages, detoxifies the system, balances the chakras, provides new vitality in the form of universal life force energy, and increases the vibrational frequency of the body. Using the piezoelectric effect of crystals, complements and amplifies the Reiki energy.

I felt very drawn to learning Reiki because of the amazing healing session I received on a retreat in Hawaii. And at that time in my life, I desperately needed a way to shift all the toxic energy that was flowing through my system. So I used what I had learn on myself, and was intuitively led to start my own Reiki practice. That was my “how.” Today, in addition to my Master Reiki Teacher certificate, I also have earned my Certified Crystal Practitioner certificate from Hibiscus Moon and incorporate crystals into all my sessions. I think they’re so amazing!!

Looking back on that experience, I can see four key lessons I was meant to learn:

1. Reiki (and meditation) were key to my healing and spiritual journey. It helped me heal my body, quiet my brain, settle my anxiety, and open up my mind.

2. Spirit shows us contrast to let us know things don’t “feel right” and that we’re not moving in the right direction. It’s the big red flag that says, “HEY…you haven’t been paying attention!”

3. I never, ever would have said this at the time. But I know now, that special-ed teacher was put in my way to help transform me. Spirit uses people and situations to act as an instructor and catalyst, to shake us up, and make changes in our lives.

When we step into following our path, synchronicities start to happen, opportunities open up, the right people show up, and things start to happen easily and freely. Six weeks later, I was in a different position, in a different classroom, with a brand new set of students. Two years later, I was able to resign from teaching.

All of this to say, if you are going through a tough time right now, know that you are not alone and that there is hope. Look for the nudges and signs the Universe may be giving you and see where they go. Give yourself permission to explore your true feelings about a situation. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Reach out for help and give yourself the self-care you need and deserve.

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