• Charli

A Very Warm Welcome

Updated: Jan 29, 2021

Getting to this point has been a labour of love, fear, anxiety, worry and exhilaration! I could not have managed this without the unconditional love and support of my family and in particular my daughters Lucy and Tillie who have guided and directed me through what could have been a gruelling and costly process.

Lucy has been the invaluable co-creator of this website, attending to the intricate machinations and format that would have left me befuddled, confused and weeping into an empty coffee cup. However, after my teaching experience in March 2020 during lockdown and the baptism of fire which is online learning, now that the format is in place I am far less afraid of digging around in editorial to add content.

So what is Catching Light Wellness all about? Why now and what is on offer?

First and foremost I am here because of a moment of realisation in May 2020 when there was talk of a recovery curriculum. It hit me like a thunderbolt – I could not endure another winter fulfilling a role for which I had lost my passion, energy and enthusiasm. Bureaucracy stole my creativity and I had a sense that this would become ever more apparent as time went on, regardless of the pandemic. Something had shifted in me and rather than do as I always do and push it back down I decided to let my intuition take over. I had long conversations with close family and friends, and more importantly my financial advisor. Financially I could just about pull it off, but there was potentially more at stake if I didn’t leave and this time I wasn’t prepared to compromise my mental health.

I thought back over the years and realised that the peak of my teaching enjoyment had left me about 5 years ago as I moved into the Depute Head Teacher role and had slowly been seeping away like sand dunes until there was little left to shore me up.

I have been on a personal quest for self – healing and self – worth for more than 20 years and have invested time and money in therapies, treatments, medication, counselling, reading and exercise and each one of these had a small impact, but something always seemed to pull me back down and out of myself. I started to tune in when well meaning family members and friends commented on how much better I was mid-way through the summer holidays when I had unshackled myself from the woes of a hideously long summer term and before the unpleasant creeping sensation that another school year was about to begin with its challenges and flash points. None of this was helped by my physical position in the senior leadership team: 2 blocks away from the main school with 30 young people with autism, 5 teachers and 15 learning assistants. I had experienced isolation long before lockdown.

Ironically I felt less isolated working from home during Lockdown 1 than I did being in work Monday to Friday: I got to know my immediate community because I was at home and visible. I became acquainted with neighbours opposite during the clap for NHS and we now go sea swimming together. My closest neighbour became a friend and we catch up regularly walking together. I was embedded in my local community giving me a real sense of belonging.

Travelling to Skye in October 2019 to complete the Head Teacher’s Leadership Academy delivered by Columba 1400 I was listening to Dare to Lead by Brené Brown, and upon hearing Brené’s definition of Integrity I experienced a eureka moment:

‘choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.’

The die was cast, the stage was set, now it was time to practice what I might preach to follow my heart and my head and develop a meaningful coaching career, until Fear prompted me to consider whether I was being foolhardy and impetuous. I researched Imposter Syndrome worried that perhaps I was about to make a monumental mistake by leaving a profession I had given blood sweat and tears to for over 30 years. However my issue was more to do with being out of alignment with my Ikigai than feeling unworthy to fulfil my role. Ikigai is the Japanese word which, broadly speaking is one’s purpose for life. Read more here: the Ikigai Tribe

I can confidently state that I have found my Ikigai: where my values align with work, hobbies and interests, roles and relationships and presence and hopefulness all of which has led me to be the most honest version of myself.

Some questions to ask yourself. You might want to write these down or discuss with a close friend or family. These are for you to consider.

Have you found your purpose? What are your values and do you live by them? How do you celebrate your personal achievements? Do you celebrate?

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