School is back in session. I look forward to getting back into a routine and to connect again with the students and staff. But I will have to be very honest and the start of this year has felt heavier than others.
I work as a school psychologist. I love my job. I get to work with school systems, teams, and individuals to help students succeed. Over the years, I have seen "mental health" concerns in kids grow. I know that awareness has probably helped shine a light on the problem, but there is more at play.
Some schools have kids as young as 4 talking about taking their life. The Child Mind Institute reports that half of all mental illness occurs before the age of 14, and 75 percent by the age of 24. This highlights the need to create systemic approaches to the problem. The responsibility often falls on the schools.
But I will tell you, that's a heavy burden. We often simply do not have the resources available due to factors outside of the districts' control. Many are left feeling like we are putting out fires.
‘There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.’
- Desmond Tutu
This quote...THIS is what I have been feeling for the past few years. In schools across the nation, we are often pulling kids and families from the water. It is important and necessary work but at the same time, we have got to recognize that more should be done as we explore why people are falling in the water.
I can sit here and list all of the things that I see and believe are leading to the water-falling-in scenario. I could get into talking about each area of focus separately and I'm sure those things will get their own blog post someday. But the reality is, each of those things would be a symptom of something deeper.
We have lost connection and the feeling of wholeness.
Most people in the mental health field or education do not talk about spirituality. I get it. It can be a scary term because it means something different to different people. But, whatever you want to call it, connecting with Spirit/True Self/Soul/Energy/the Mind, etc. matters.
This is the message Brian and I share. When we feel whole and complete, we do not need rules or regulations telling us how to treat people or ourselves. We feel it and know it. We cannot do harm to others because we know it will only harm ourselves. We may feel the strong, crushing feelings of emotion and know that we are not that emotion and it too will pass. We see others as people along this journey together (maybe taking different paths), but not as separate or competition. We will be able to set boundaries because that honors both ourselves and the other person as well. We will naturally take care of the Earth because we know, She is also us. We no longer look to material possessions or others for the feeling of wholeness, because we understand it comes from within.
This is a grassroots movement. This is why we have created Breathe and Believe. There is an expansive awakening in consciousness taking place. We know that there are people out there who are feeling this calling to step into the role of a Lightworker. We need them/you!
And if while reading that last paragraph you felt something stir inside of you, that was likely your inner guidance system saying "YES! That's me!" Please, don't ignore it. Know that sometimes, it's not the easiest road. It may mean great upheaval in your life as you redefine who you really are and what is really important. It will mean developing a spiritual practice and becoming dedicated to it so that you continue to come back home to your whole True Self, so you can go back out into the world without getting sucked back into the madness.
We will continue to work with students and do all we can to pull them from the water. We will continue to work within the system to incorporate programming and techniques to teach resiliency and connection to our kids so maybe they can learn to swim to the shore themselves OR better yet, prevent them and others from falling in.
And we will continue to share the bigger picture message because that's where the magic will really occur. If you don't feel that peace and sense of joy in this crazy, sometimes hard, often beautiful life, explore what tools feel right for you to uncover that wholeness within (i.e., therapy, breathwork, spiritual practices, meditation, yoga, being in nature, etc.).
We need you to discover your light. It will then radiate to others. Breathe and Believe!
The light in me bows to the light in you,
I also did a vlog on this topic on our YouTube channel.
For further exploration into what it's like for many students and schools, I encourage you to watch this wonderfully done documentary.
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