Transition

In it: The Evolution of Purpose

I have one Master’s degree in Special Education and another in School Administration. My entire career, I loved the “tough” kids and worked primarily in the behavioral/social/emotional support realm. I love adolescents and their inherent mystery as they individuate. I have trainings and certifications in mindfulness and trauma. I can run a school, relatively easily, and I work with only the most innovative educational modalities.

And then I walked away from it all. It wasn’t as though I ran away from it all, it was more as though I walked toward the calling that is Embodied Breath. It started to knock at my door, this soul’s calling, about eight months after I’d created a school. It felt early to walk away from that project, but I began to name it publically by last summer as the school turned a year old.

The process of naming this and walking toward it has been a combination of faith and fear the entire way. I absolutely have the skill and resume to excel in the field of education, and yet, I am not on a journey of career ladder ascension anymore; I am on a journey of purpose. And after a while, the academics, to me, were a distraction. There is soul work to be done. I only wanted to work with the heart and soul of students, and did not have enough interest in the academics to really serve any school wholeheartedly anymore.

You know what I was really good at in education? Getting a pissed off kid to soften to the truth of the hurt under their anger. I was really good at seeing through an act of aggression to the true heart’s desire underneath. I was really good at showing kids that they had an ally, that they were believed in. I was really good at helping to break the cycles of shame that kids who struggled felt as they were told, day after day in classroom settings, how wrong they were, such that they had begun to believe somewhere along the line that they themselves were bad. I was good at sitting with kids and helping them to identify how it was that they were going to continue to put one foot in front of the other such as to reach toward just the next part of their goal, and I was great at helping them anchor in their success when they made it. I incorporated mindfulness, gratitude, even quantum-style meditations that showed them it was possible for them to shift their mindset and shift their felt perspective.

I never fit into any mold, and did things out of the box my entire career. Here I am now - no box.

A few years ago, I was a school administrator, and there was a struggling student that had become the one student taking up 90% of our time, as she was struggling severely. In a meeting, I said what I felt that she needed, which was outside of the scope of how a public school could respond, and I was criticized for often taking “intuitive leaps.” I’ll never forget that day. I felt the judgement of the criticism, but actually knew that it was a strength of mine. Five months later, I would be proven right as this child took the road I’d predicted.

Intuitive leaps. They have a place. I know that now.

Sit a person in front of me, allow me to feel, engage, and assess how they feel, believe, and act, and you know what? I’ll nail it. Most of the time, I’ll simultaneously see the big picture, backward and forward, and have a spot on recommendation. I’ll at the very least give a solid suggestion and start a conversation, and it will be one that engages on a real, human level. I engage more deeply than most.

I walked away from the structure of education, walked away from a paycheck and predictability, to follow my desire to create a thing where I directly serve the hearts and souls of my clients.

Hearts and souls. That is the work. So many hearts and souls are suffering their own experiences of disconnection and perceived inadequacy. It truly comes down to those two things in my book.

Is this life coaching that I’m doing? It’s bigger than that. I don’t know what to call it, and I won’t know yet, because the truth is, it is still being shaped.

My heart longs to do the deep work of healing human connection. A man reached out to me a few weeks ago and said that he just imagined, having watched me on Facebook, that I could see his true nature, hold him accountable, and help him to succeed toward his goals. He said he was always average and wanted to feel what it felt like to excel. He wanted to get organized to start a business and wanted help with confidence and accountability.  I had zero doubt, immediately, that I could help this man. It was as if he were a grown up version of how I’d supported my students, but here he was, so ready. You show up like that in front of me, and I’ll put my everything into supporting you. Heart and soul - mine and yours.

When we go to school for career preparation, follow the rules of progression, which I did for quite a time, the path is laid before us. I started looking at the payscale of teachers a few years ago - an assumed reality of every single person participating in the public school system - thinking, “Are you kidding me?” Why is this okay? Why is there an assumption that this is all there is? I’m not saying I do this work for the money, I AM saying that we don’t often question why we participate in the given structures. It’s often not a box I’m looking to fit into.

The truth is, when your soul calls, there may not be a box already designed for you.  I remember this same feeling of “this doesn’t make sense” when I was sitting in the guidance counselor’s office as a high school senior, being asked to choose a career. Why choose a box? It just doesn’t make sense. I tried to choose, I did. And it served me well. But I’m saying, it wasn’t for me.

Is it logical to walk away from a paid position? I don’t know. It’s not logical in the sense that it’s not linear and it’s certainly not the norm. But is it logical to work in a job your entire life while your soul is beckoning something bigger? I say no. That is not a logic that I can agree with.

I’m in this in-between space, where my heart is grieving - not the leaving of a career, but a deeper level of realization now, three months later, that I am truly leaving it behind. And at the same time, I am stepping into an unknown, which is fear-inducing, to be true. It is also exciting, meaningful, and tests every bit of faith that I have. It actually requires new levels of expansion as I traverse both faith and fear.

If we live and work in soul purpose, and we answer a call, I am assuming that there is support to live in that kind of bravery, that kind of alignment. But there is no assuredness. This is incredibly shaky at times. I look to examples of others and listen to their stories. I watch the synchronicities and I watch what happens when I take action out of pure intention and alignment with Purpose. Purpose with a capital P. It sounds magical and it is. And it feels a lot more true than what happens within the walls of a school. To say that breaks my heart for children.

I’m in this in-between space. In the space before, I knew my place, and I could predict my impact, relatively speaking. In the space now, some days I might pray for impact and talk to absolutely no one throughout the entire day. I might write something and have no idea what the impact is out there in the world. This confuses me. I notice my heart longing for ever-greater truth, ever greater connection, and I trust that if I follow it, Purpose will guide me to the right spot.

And guide it does, this Purpose, this mysterious pull that ever-expands me from the place of my heart. Every time I greet the fear of the next step into the unknown, I am stronger. Every time I am able to meet someone’s heart and soul and watch them take another step of their own, I just know that I am where I am meant to be. In that space, where humans let their guard down, get vulnerable, get honest, get emotional, and then break through their own stuff and heal because it’s safe to do so - it’s everything. It’s service. It’s Purpose. It’s my offering, dear humans. There is no where I won’t go when you are ready to go there.

For the fun of it, here I am, teaching mindfulness in a circle of students last year. And here's to all the circles to come. 

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Arrival.

At the turn of the year, I treated myself to an astrology reading, and in it, I asked her about the timeline of the year. It was to be, for sure, a year of transition. But when we were talking about how Embodied Breath was truly me living out my life purpose, I walked out of that appointment, and I said, “Now Please. Not in one year. Now.”

Do you have those goals you'd like to see happen... some day? What about NOW? 

And then, voila. Transition was delivered at an accelerated rate between January and March. (Did you know you could have that kind of influence?) 

I thought I’d stay and transition slowly out of my day job, but it happened quickly. 

I thought I’d be growing in my love relationship, but that ended too. 

It. Was. Hard. To say the least. And it was purposeful.

There I was, being given full blown permission to step into Embodied Breath, but I had some healing to do. 

I dug in. I don't think that I'd ever been through such a transition before. Sure, I'd changed jobs, but this move involved me doing more SOUL work than I had done before in three months time. 

Three months!?

That's how long I work with my clients! Oh now I see how truly powerful that amount of time can be! 

I don’t recognize myself from three months ago in so many ways. Who was that woman compromising all over the place? Who was that woman who was too tolerant, too sacrificing, overly hopeful in relationship? Who was that woman who was afraid to leap? Who was that woman that was still on some level, after 36 years of learning this lesson, afraid to use her voice for what she might lose?

Honoring every part of the process is so important to me. In fact, it is one of the major premises of my coaching. How is what we’re going through actually creating an opportunity for us? There is ALWAYS an opportunity.

Like I said, I took the opportunity. I took it deep into my soul, and I am changed for it.

What do you think you could accomplish in three months? I've seen my clients change their resiliency, how they show up at work, how they feel about their own abilities, their ability to speak up for themselves, their ability to LOVE themselves, their ability to BELIEVE in themselves, and the list goes on. 

You can experience a major life transition, and come through it a changed person, in three months. I just lived it. (Hey, thanks Universe for the experiential understanding!)

But you HAVE TO decide to say a big YES to getting as much out of life as you're meant to have. You HAVE TO be ready to choose you. 

And choosing you is hard. When we're parents, when we're hardworking, when there's not a lot of money in the bank - how are we supposed to choose to invest in ourselves?? I'll tell you how. When you decide that you want to put yourself on a different path altogether, you have to choose you. I mean that in the healthiest of ways. You have to say YES to what YOU desire. All this pleasing everyone else is not going to allow you to arrive where you want to be.  

Here's the honest truth. I wanted this. All last fall, I drove to work wondering when would be the perfect time to finally take the leap full time to my own work. I was enthusiastic about working with the people, but again, the paperwork and the focus on the things other than soul work were just mundane as hell. I tried to talk myself into it. I tried to look at the bright side, practice gratitude, be responsible, and on and on. I was putting my soul on hold. 

In these three months, I hired my own coach, wrote daily, woke up daily at 5AM to exercise and meditate, took on new clients and learned from them as they learned from me. I healed so many layers of my heart and soul. I let go of people (yeah, I said that.) I went to sound healings, acupuncture, yoga, dance, you name it. 

And you know what? I have arrived - in the place I wanted to be and wondered how I would get there, and now I walk forward from this place. Challenging myself, growing, and having a sincere-ass time being a personal coach to some amazing individuals. 

I'd love to know what your dreams are. What you're sitting on, waiting for that perfect time. When you're ready to go, I will help you arrive. 

Big love, 

s

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