A few months ago, I tried to launch a project that didn’t work when I was sure it would… and when friends asked me how I felt about it, my initial feeling was frustration, then sadness took over and finally a deep silent disappointment. It was hard for me to say I was disappointed because I felt it would be admitting to some kind of failure. Reflecting on my feelings, I realized that I had had several recent reactions to different things with “what a disappointment or I don’t want to do something or get into something so that I am not disappointed” – it occurred to me that there was a pattern. I was uncomfortable in recognizing this. So I sat in meditation and asked for guidance to see where this came from and how it has affected my life. When I tuned into my heart I asked my higher self to show me the major time(s) in my life when I felt deeply disappointed.
Suddenly I had a flash back to my childhood in Greece… I was 11 years old and had been called into the principal’s office with my parents. The school wanted to expel me because I struggled academically and was often distracting the class with my behavior. As a result I hadn’t done well despite repeating the year. The principal and my teacher had told my parents that I had too many academic gaps and that they suspected I had a severe learning disability. As I sat and listened, they told my parents not to expect me to ever graduate from high school and recommended I be placed in a “special school.” At that time such schools in Greece were called schools for the mentally retarded. Hearing this, I was shocked and then sad because I loved my school and I considered my friends like my family. I felt ashamed that I had disappointed my parents and that I wasn’t good enough to make it at this school.
After we left the school meeting, my parents decided to try me out in one more school before considering a special school. They opted for a school that emphasized a more holistic approach to education and offered different activities and opportunities for sports. The different tone in this new school gave me space to shine in the many activities, to develop my talents as an athlete, to be the captain of several sports’ teams, and travel with my teammates around Europe to represent our school… the classes in this school were more engaging and support was given when students struggled. Two years later when I was ready, I decided to take on the academic challenge since I was expected to have a 70% average if I wanted to play for the school internationally… when I noticed I could achieve if I put my mind to it, I decided to strive to become one of the top students, to apply to the best Ivy League universities in the US, and to excel academically. After graduating from a top US university and unsure what I would do, I was unexpectedly offered a teaching job in Lebanon while visiting for the first time since my family left during the civil war. A school principal I met at a family dinner expressed the need for an English teacher and I said yes. He had warned me that the students for these particular classes had low ability, were very disruptive and that I should not expect much from them because they were hopeless… but something unconscious in me was unleashed when I met the students. I felt deep down that with the right support, love and inspiration they would turn around and get off their ADHD meds and thrive… and they did with huge success surpassing everyone’s expectations. The students taught me how to be a teacher and a student of life… I felt fulfilled and inspired but it wasn’t enough… I felt I had to achieve more… and so I applied to another top university in the US – Harvard for my Master’s degree and again was driven to excel. My family was so proud as this had been unthinkable for someone who wasn’t academic a few years back. After graduating I returned to Lebanon again in 2001 to teach high school students with the same aim of transcending any limitation someone had put on them and most did… but again I felt something was missing, I had to achieve more and so I applied for my PhD in Cambridge University. I was unaware at the time as to what was driving me when I decided to focus on student voice and student engagement. I struggled in the first year to meet deadlines and I realised at this point that I had a deep fear of failure. I thought to myself, “that’s it once I get a PhD I will be satisfied and feel I have achieved enough – that I am enough.” But that insatiable desire for more achievement to be enough kept nagging at me until after a third burn out in my life as postdoctoral student at the University of Edinburgh. After a serious stiff neck injury that left me incapacitated for days, I sought help from an acupuncturist who supported me to take an honest look into myself and get real about what whether I was truly living the life I wanted or whether I was living someone else’s life. After painfully realizing that I had suppressed my authentic self and that I was unfulfilled by what I was doing, I made the bold decision to leave academia and the UK. I went in search for a life more aligned with my soul – for a more meaningful kind of education, education of the self, that supports you to empower yourself inside out, that helps you to reflect on what a fulfilling life means to you and what your higher purpose is at a time of great changes on the planet.
While I felt good about shifting the direction of my life, I kept getting little hints that reminded me the shadow of disappointment and not being good enough was always lurking in the background when I put the brakes… my flashback to the childhood incident that traumatized me (being expelled from school for failing) and feeling I had disappointed my parents had formed part of my limiting belief blueprint in my life… part of this inspired me to fight for what I believed in, that is an education that honors children, that unleashes their talents and prepares them to live a fulfilling life – and yet another part of my blueprint was imprisoning me in fear and I didn’t feel free.
I was fortunate enough to be guided to work with a matrix reimprinting practitioner for the first time a year ago where we energetically followed the root of the imprint of my fear of disappointment in my body to this traumatic memory and even to my mother’s womb. I released the emotional trauma my younger self had been holding, empowered my younger self with resources including standing up to the principal and teacher and sharing how I felt with my parents. After transforming my belief to I am enough and feeling grateful for the gifts that experience had given me, I reimprinted a new image in my subconscious. I was stunned by how empowering this work was and knew this is what I what I wanted to do.
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