This post may give you bit of reader’s whiplash, but I promise it comes back around. Just hold tight…
Recently, in a last-minute effort to add some extra fun with a friend of mine we decided to visit a psychic. Now I really have no idea what I believe as far as this kind of spirituality goes. However, regardless of what someone believes, I always find it fascinating to hear how people view the world around them even if it relies on a bit on theatrics.
I decided on a tarot card reading and the process was captivating. The cards were absolutely beautiful. The drawings on them were bright and intricate and really beautiful small squares of art. She told me things that were fun to think about. She relayed that I’d live a healthy life until 97 and that I was an old soul and in my former life I was a doctor. She told me one of my strengths attached my soul is healing. Considering that I have worked my way into the realm of mental health and teacher support, the thought that I’d be comforting to people was appealing to me. But as she talked to me about my work she turned to me and said while you have many gifts and you do great things for people, your spirit is broken. You have thrown yourself into your work to ignore other problems in your life and you have in turn damaged your spirit. However much you question the legitimacy of what someone is telling you, it’s still difficult to listen to anyone tell you your spirit is broken and not have it impact you on a deeper level.
I grew up with horses. My horse, Dakota, was a beautiful white Arabian Appaloosa who had been a trail horse after being a barrel racing horse. He was sweet and kind and I could tie nothing but a rope to his halter and ride him bareback with no issues whatsoever. But we had another horse that was a black Morgan and she was the most difficult horse we ever owned. She didn’t like people and she didn’t listen. She did whatever she wanted and would look at you with the most defiant eyes I’ve ever seen on an animal. When speaking to a friend about her she said that she never seemed to really be broke entirely. My horse was always compliant because he was well broke. And I think one could argue that when you break a horse in that you are essentially breaking their wild spirit to get them to do what humans want. Damaging the part of the horse that makes them a horse. Even though she was a rideable horse for an experienced rider that could manage her, she was difficult. But her spirit and relentlessness also caused us to make changes in the barn and the way we did things with the horses that ended up being better practices in the long run. Those things wouldn’t have happened if we would have completely broken her spirit because the complacent horses would have just kept doing things the way we had them.
Here I was, in a position of needing to do some reflection to see if anything that the woman told me was actually true. There’s a good possibility that she tells everybody that gets a tarot card reading the same thing. And honestly, with the state of our world today, I nearly wonder how many people have a broken spirit and she would be right even if she’s just guessing. But I do know that the possibility of me being more like the horse that’s been completely broken than the one that still has some of her spirit is not the place I want to be. And it feels like something that someone could go their whole life without really knowing why it feels like there’s a hole that they can never really fill.
When I look at the issues I speak about most often in education it is always around engagement and change. I have known ridiculously smart teachers who had intelligence that I could never hope to have who did not engage passionately in teaching. I’ve also known kind, sweet teachers who, while always nice, had lost their passion for the profession. I’ve met disengaged teachers who are apathetic to change and moving forward. When we talk about spirit and compliance and having the wherewithal to overcome obstacles and create change I feel like a broken spirit would only lend itself to apathy. If we are not working right, how can we help anyone else?