I was laying on the hard, rocky ground—face-to-nose with the horse who just threw me off of it. Immense confusion and pain wrapped my body and collected in my head. The next thing I knew, I was sitting on a nearby hay wagon when my children came outside and found me. I don’t know how long I was unconscious or how I got there. What I do know is that my life was forever changed.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI). Those are words I’d heard before, but I never thought they’d belong to me. TBIs were things that happened to other people. Yet there I was—broken back, blown discs in my neck, and TBI in full swing. I spent the next ten months healing my body and my brain.
At the time of the accident, I was celebrating my 17th year of teaching. I spent the rest of that school year on medical leave trying to piece my body, my mind, and my life back together. It was a difficult journey and one that I was unprepared for to say the least. Neurologists, surgeons, physical therapists, psychologists, and many more medical professionals helped me explore and embrace a new normal—my old normal forever lost the moment my body slammed into the ground. I was seeing the world differently and uncovering perspectives I didn’t have access to before. My spiritual life burst open in ways it hadn’t when I was younger.
I was always aware that there was more to spirituality than I was taught. When I was young, I constantly questioned things like organized religion, contradictions between beliefs and behavior (e.g. “do what I say and not what I do”), and deeply connected with the earth.
As I got older and moved away from home, I learned more about how the universe worked and developed a deeper understanding of spirituality. However, the majority of people in my life did not. So spirituality was put on the back burner in order to fit in—that is, until my accident. With a broken body and a mind searching for answers, I couldn’t ignore the calling that had been stuffed in the back corner of my soul for decades. It was time for my awakening to be unleashed.
Awakenings can’t be silenced. They can’t be ignored, outrun, or stuffed away like the stale potato chips you forgot about in the back of the cupboard. Awakenings find you. If you ignore the subtle moments where your awakening shows up, begging for attention, the call will get louder until there’s no choice but to listen.
This is the cycle that I trapped myself in for years. Spiritual advancement opportunities kept showing up, and every time it showed up, I shoved it back to the safe little shelf I kept it on and continued living my life.
Eventually, I allowed spirituality to become something more than just a dusty knick-knack that I admired from time to time. Mentors showed up for me, and the more I learned, the more I opened up. Spirit, Source, God, Universal Power—however you refer to it—was not waiting for me to decide I was ready. No way! It didn’t care that I wasn’t listening. It made itself known to me in a powerful way—a major horse accident.
During my accident, I lost consciousness, died, and was returned to my body by an intense emerald green light. I was literally and figuratively broken with one simple message that I couldn’t ignore—I was not being true to my soul’s purpose.
I received the message loud and clear. It was time to wake up and there was no turning back.
I returned to the classroom the following school year and spent every day of the next two years struggling between purpose and responsibility. Nothing was the same. Suddenly, I saw the full extent of the indoctrination happening to the kids at school, and I could not stomach it. The job that I used to love became my albatross, my kryptonite. I realized that I was no longer aligned with that version of myself and my beliefs.
Spending time in my old reality was suffocating me, so I was thrust into a new reality full of wide-open channels enabling me to grow spiritually. Something had to change and I was the only one who could make that happen.
The number one thing I had to change was my mindset. It was time to release the beliefs that I was raised on, that had been passed down for generations.
I grew up in a place where I was rarely heard and validated. Instead, I was constantly put down and told I was wrong. Never believing that I was enough, I believed no one would listen to me because my voice didn’t matter. These beliefs leached into my adult life where I had trouble disciplining my kids, my students, and even standing up for myself.
What was most devastating was how these beliefs created cracks in my marriage and my identity. It wasn’t until I found myself at the bottom of a wine glass, numbed out and burying my emotions that I realized I was in trouble.
The truth was, I was in constant emotional pain because I felt so disconnected from everyone around me and from my connection to the Divine, that even I was ignoring my gut when it came to making decisions for my own life. Turning to alcohol was easier because it was advertised all over the place as the cool thing to do. It was the one thing I could do that didn’t only numb the pain but made me feel like I belonged. It gave me validation.
I belonged to a large subculture in the education community that relied on (and even promoted) drinking alcohol to survive the school year. Drinking was viewed as a perfectly normal (and necessary) part of being a teacher. PSA: It’s not.
A year after returning to teaching, I spent the summer in the mountains of Georgia at an intensive residential treatment facility. This is where I learned how to heal my addiction to alcohol and most importantly—how to heal myself.
It was easy to ask myself, “why me” in the dark moments. The moments where my body and my heart wanted to throw in the towel. The moments where a fresh start seemed like the only way to move forward. I didn’t realize that this experience would be that new beginning, and in ways that I couldn’t have imagined.
I naturally fell into the beautiful embrace of ascension in the mountains of Georgia under a blazing July sun. Mindfulness and presence allowed me to feel, rather than numb, my emotions. Expressing myself through creativity, connecting to my inner child, and doing work that I desperately needed helped me to find and share my voice for the first time in my life. As my voice grew stronger, my confidence built, and I released the beliefs that had been holding me back. Hundreds of miles away from my home in Pennsylvania, I was finally at home in my heart.
I made peace with many things that summer. I connected to a new tribe who had been on a similar journey with me—a community who saw me, heard me, and validated me. There was no turning back and not a bit of my soul remotely wanted to.
I made the decision that I was the only one who was going to change my life and immediately dove in and soaked up as much knowledge as I could get my hands on. I talked to people who could teach me what I wanted to know. I gathered resource after resource and committed to my personal healing and spiritual work, embracing it in the core of my being. It was not easy at times. Allowing myself to release the old patterning of beliefs was hard, harsh, and ugly.
I spent one more year in the classroom after my incredible soul-opening summer in Georgia. I embraced more and more of my spirituality. I found myself absorbing as much information as I possibly could to help me on my path of ascension. I discovered that the right people with the right lessons and messages would show up in my life. And they did, in droves.
Once I broke free from the patterns of fear and embraced my true spiritual nature, life transformed. Now in tune with my body, my spirit, and my mind, I could see so clearly what the endless blinding migraines, the physical exhaustion, and the digestive gymnastics were trying to tell me all along. My time as an English teacher was complete, and it was time to move on.
Throughout the rest of that last year of teaching, I encouraged my students to listen to their gut. We spoke about how they were not destined for the mundane life that the education system prepares most students for and that a test does not determine their worth, ability, or the rest of their lives.
Picking up the last box and leaving my classroom, closing a 20 year chapter in my life—I sobbed. Embarking on the next stage of my life wasn’t easy, and to those around me who didn’t understand, they looked down upon and spoke about me as a deserter—as if choosing a fulfilling, aligned life was wrong.
One teacher spat, “How could you do this to the students and their parents?”
I simply replied, “I am doing it for me and only me.” I could only hope that anyone who was affected by my departure could see that I was a living, breathing example of following my soul and breaking free of limiting beliefs. I hope that they were able to recognize my final lesson.
I learned that society’s standards did not have to be my standards and other people’s expectations do not need to be my reality. No matter what anyone says or does, the only person who shapes my reality is me.
More to that fact, I’m not stuck—I never was. I learned that I owe absolutely nothing to anyone but myself. I surround myself with like minded, supportive, inspirational people, and I know without a doubt that I absolutely have the ability to change my life in incredible ways.
Since making my major life shift, I have opened my own business helping others break free from damaging expectations so they can embrace their soul’s true purpose. I know I am exactly where I need to be and I am fully supported by Spirit.
Slamming into the ground that crisp, autumn day in November was no accident. It was a gift.
I am no longer feeling stuck and miserable because I know that I have taken charge of my reality and molded it to my highest good.