Posted in The Journey Begins, Yoga

2 Ways to Deal with a Montessori Maelstrom

Sometimes life hands you a storm.                

And today was my day for it.

I had easily made it thus far, but in the blink of an eye, I began to struggle. Suddenly, I was aware of the turmoil beginning to brew inside of me. Then, in an attempt to find some peace of mind, I put on my glasses to look at the clock.

Grrrrr…20 minutes left of this torture. I was tired, frustrated, and really close to walking out.

I just don’t do Power Yoga.

Internally, I rolled my eyes. I mean, really, dude! When are you going to stop calling these poses and get to the floorwork already?!?

Then he said it:

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% your reaction to it.”

Oh, alright, Universe. You got me!

And just like that, I relaxed. It was in that one simple phrase that I heard exactly what I needed to hear.

To back up a bit, I have been struggling with writing this post for the two weeks now. I have not been able to get it to come together. In this random yoga moment, though, I realized why.

When life hands you a storm, you essentially have two choices:

  • Option 1: Hide under the covers
  • Option 2: Grab your umbrella and face the rain

For this particular post, I realized that I have been choosing option 1. I have not been honest with myself as to what I am trying to say. And being the analyzer that I am, I needed to figure out why.

So let me back up even further to last year…..

In the spring, when I applied to enter Montessori Training, the teachers at my school made one thing clear to me: It will change your life. You will never look at children, or the world for that matter, in the same way again.

Huh???

(scratches head)

Considering that yoga had already changed my life and I already saw the world “differently,” I wasn’t sure how much more “changing” there was to go. I mean, surely, I had evolved enough?

But when I showed up in July and started to learn the theory and curriculum of Montessori, all of a sudden ideas were swirling around in my head like a vortex.

I became inundated.

  • Awe!
  • Fascination!
  • Excitement!
  • This makes so much sense!
  • THISISIT!!!!
  • Why didn’t we learn it this way in school?!?

Then, surprisingly, I encountered an unexpected guest to this party: Anger.

  • Anger at my experience teaching public school.
  • Anger at the fact that this answer was kept from me.
  • Anger at the fact that the system had failed me.

I felt like I was lied to. And all my hard work and good intentions for those 9 years were for nothing.

It was a cold, hard slap in the face.

And I had a really hard time dealing with it all. Honestly, I didn’t know how to. Anger is not really an appropriate, acceptable emotion to express. People will think you have “issues,” and stuff. That, and I am a Zen yogi, so I am supposed to be peaceful.

I really needed to figure this one out.

At the end of the day, one thing was abundantly clear to me, though: They were right. I was not done changing yet. There was a storm brewing inside of me and it was up to me to make a choice in how to deal with it.

(Cue the blog)

So fast forward to now…

It’s July and I am back in training for the summer once again. Although much has changed in me, one thing has remained: I am still dealing with anger and frustration. It pops up in unexpected places.

And, also like last year, I am still struggling with whether I should write about it or not.

Montessori is peaceful. I should not be angry. That’s just not cool.

To work all of this out, I have needed to spend much time in contemplation. One of the reasons I enjoy the two-hour drive back home on the weekends is that it lets me do this. In one of those stretches sailing down I-85, I came to terms with the fact that this anger is part of my Montessori journey. And if I am going to be accurate here, I have to be willing to discuss all parts. Even the ones I don’t like.

Another one of the things that I concluded was that my life experiences have shaped and will continue to shape me. Everything has been important to getting me to where I am now. And since I have found myself in an incredible place doing incredible things, it’s all been a good.

Case in point: While I kinda said I was done writing about yoga, I can’t manage to stop. It’s who I am. I can’t escape it. And the more I study Montessori, the more I find that I cannot stop connecting to two!

In fact, I have discovered that they truly are one in the same: an internal, life-changing process that creates the space for the human being to let go of things that are not serving him/her, in order to fully express his/her potential.

(How’s that for a Montessori elevator speech!)

But it is a process. And sometimes that process is painful.

If we are going to make a positive impact on future generations, we will have to examine what is not working and be willing to try something new. Even if everything inside of us is screaming to remain stagnant, doing the same destructive things over and over. The only way we can heal and move on is to acknowledge the truth. Turning a blind eye only causes further pain.

So in considering this blog, maybe my quest here is to speak the truth to myself. I need to acknowledge how much hurt I feel from my previous experience. I need to process my anger of how I felt cheated and lied to and I literally could not help those in my care, no matter how hard I worked.

And in me sharing my experience, those out there that are also hurting will experience healing too.

But you must know that it makes me feel vulnerable to do this and it’s waaaaay easier to just not. In these moments when I question it, I revert back to the person who, 15 years ago, used to sit in the corner and say nothing. The one that was called a wallflower by her principal.

And I return to that not because I am angry at this woman. (I firmly believe that people reap what they sow. The Universe sorts it all out.) I return to it because I sat there and said nothing.

And this one moment represents the cause of my anger.

Because that reaction is the 90%. And it speaks volumes as to who I was at that point in my life. Someone who, out of fear, went along with everything that tore up her soul and allowed it to change her into someone unrecognizable.

Through my actions and reactions, I created that story.

I caused it.

And now I take responsibility for it.

Most importantly, I need to forgive myself and move on.

Because the 90% is still hard at work inside of me. I am still angry that I tolerated what I did and contributed to it for so long. And it breaks my heart that I participated in it.

The gift that Montessori has given me is that I have seen, first hand, how things don’t have to be that way. Children can be free to learn and grow. And I know, in doing so, they will not make the same decisions I did all those years.

Now give me that umbrella.

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