“Your mind will give back to you exactly what you put in it.” ~James Joyce
This year I taught many mindfulness workshops for people of all ages. Delivering impactful workshops as an expert on the topic hasn’t been easy though. I feel a burning need to practice (and even perfect!) what I preach. It’s a heavy burden to bear and so I’m allowing this truth to surface now, on my professional site. My heart may be racing as I type, but if I don’t admit to the internal challenges I face on the daily, then how can I truly and authentically be of service to others?
I’m an educator and ‘expert’ in human rights, social justice, bullying, and mindfulness. Educated, qualified, and experienced. Yet, I face a daily oscillation between determination and self-doubt, sadness and hope, creativity and a sense of futility. Professionals are attending my workshops with the intention of learning something from a reputable, qualified leader – and sometimes I feel like a fraud. The workshops, which I love facilitating, do allow me to soar though. I was meant to be of service to others, yet I sure could use a break from my conflicted internal world.
Basically, to be mindful is to be mind-FULL – my mind is FULL of the effort to witness my thoughts yet not attach to them. Ironic, right? Somehow, my practice is supposed to empower me to observe my internal world without making it about me. In my study of consciousness and the ego, I’ve read Sam Harris’ acclaimed book: Waking Up, a Guide to Spirituality without Religion. The research illuminates, sure, but it also confuses me! I’m plagued with questions! How can I separate the ‘I’ from my consciousness? Who am I really? Why is working on being a more conscious human so hard?
I purport to know what’s ‘good’ for others based on what I wish for myself, for a practice I wish to do and become better at: meditation. Within the practice is a desire to facilitate self-love, acceptance, emotional resiliency, connection, and gratitude. Do I always succeed? No. It isn’t easy for the western mind. In fact, it’s pretty daunting. That won’t stop me though.
This summer, I plan on meditating, mindfully connecting with nature, reading for fun, and frolicking with friends. Vowing to myself to take a little break from the self-criticism will help me enjoy the summer days more. By practicing what I preach, I vow to recharge to be an even better facilitator and guide in the future. Perfection? Maybe I’ll just decide to be imperfectly perfect and go from there.
Jodi Derkson, MEd
FOUNDER OF !MPERATIVE EDUCATION
After attending UBC and earning her degrees, Jodi taught full-time for over ten years in the public school system creating student-centered curricula to guide her students towards a more knowledgeable and loving view of themselves and others. Jodi introduced topics of bullying, discrimination, mindfulness and positive relationship habits into her classes and celebrated students’ achievements as if they were her own.