Mindfulness saves

I have two amazing jobs that I completely love; it’s engaging work.

On any given day, I travel from school to school- I meet with teachers, administrators, work with students, and athletes. I plan with colleagues. I shift from a kindergarten to an AP mindset. Then, I head to the yoga studio to teach and sometimes, on weekends, I train yoga teachers. And, with very few exceptions, it never exhausts me.

“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” -Rumi

I knew that I wanted to teach in the 7th grade. I got a job right out of college and when that district wasn’t right, I left. Then when NY wasn’t where I needed to be, I left NY for Dallas and then Dallas for NY. When I didn’t love teaching english any more, I became an instructional coach. And when that wasn’t speaking to me, I shifted to another building.

And then, and then, and then. I have never been afraid to move.

I stopped teaching dance and shifted to yoga. I left one studio for another and then, and then… I am in my hometown district as an instructional specialist exploring mindfulness and, I have a beautiful yoga studio down the street from my parents house. I have an incredible support system in my family, friends, staff and colleagues.

When I start to get overwhelmed, it can’t last long because the topic of each conversation and lesson is about being mindful. Each time I speak, I get to explore mindful bodies & mindful breath. I am in constant discussion about inner awareness and finding the language to explain those sensations. Then, I get to talk about how we navigate through all of those feelings- how we can be uncomfortable and breathe into it… How it’s okay. This work is my greatest passion because it’s the work of my life- it’s the work that is saving me.

The work is awareness. And, I believe that awareness saves us. Inner awareness helps us to know ourselves so deeply that we can respond rather than react. It continues to save our relationships because we’re listening, and I mean really listening, without judgement or an agenda. It saves us from an inner dialogue of fear and gets us in touch with who we really are. Sometimes the process is scary. But it’s also calming and spiritual and grounding. It goes beyond and gets behind the shoulds to unearth the absolute truth in our hearts.

“You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.” ―Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (If you haven’t read The Alchemist, read it… And then, read it again.)

Do the work of awareness, and then be the work. Rest in it. Be present and listen. My guess is, that after time, mindfulness will save you, too.


Written by Erica Denman