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Friday, July 29, 2011

Getting through School

Right now I’m experiencing myself in school again, something I had a lot of difficulty with during the last semester. I took summer classes online and it’s interesting to be able to do it again, now that I’ve done it once. I get to experience everything I didn’t face the first time around, but a little more intense, because in not dealing with it appropriately the first time (or ‘times’; as this is a pattern that has been repeating for as long as I can recall) I have allowed it to accumulate and gain strength. My advantage, however, is the fact that because I have written these patterns out and forgiven myself for them, I’m a little more familiar with them, and I know where avoiding them leads (a living hell of anxiety, overwhelmedness and stress, where I stay up late and scramble to get things done, I crave all sorts of junk food and cave in to it, I get cranky with those around me and isolate myself, etc.. etc.. etc.. =NOT ACCEPTABLE!!).

So, in terms of my resistances to studying and not being able to focus, I’m able to look back and see that I’ve allowed myself to get away with always doing the bare minimum, and to become a survivor as a student. When I say this I mean that I would just barely pass my courses, and I would only apply myself a little more if I had pressure from my parents to do better. My motivation was to do as they said, and to not fail so as to avoid having to repeat a year and prolong the experience. Nowhere within me existed the desire to learn or improve myself, or to become a considerate human being, this was not taught at school. I learned how to regurgitate information and absorb concepts without ever applying them to actual reality.

At the age of 8 I was placed in special classes for learning disabilities, for ‘slow learners’, wherein my self-definition as ‘flawed’ and ‘incapable’ was stamped with the official seal of approval by the school, and I was effectively categorized and outcast by my peers, or at least this is how I experienced it. As a teenager I was placed in a support group because I had been reported by my teachers as displaying signs of abuse and addiction. This was not the case (unless of course, you consider the self-abuse of suppression and limitation through self-definitions etc...), this was a new school program designed to help troubled kids. I was required to speak with a counsellor once a week, with whom I applied what I had learned in all my years of schooling, which was to lie, to tell her what I thought she wanted to hear, and to regurgitate the information she spoke to me. To me the whole thing was like a circus side show, but to the school it was a successful mission to save the students in need. I successfully graduated and went on to flunk out of college. Mission complete?

So, how has my experience with the school system changed since Desteni?

After about two years of studying the Desteni material on my own, and having participated on several forums, I began to make directive decisions in my life by taking back my power and deleting, through self-forgiveness, all the definitions and limitations, fears and beliefs which had held me back as who I was. I went back to school, this time observing myself, through insight, to be able to see and trace back every difficulty I experienced. From participating in class, to speaking with professors to studying for exams to doing homework. I touched on self-discipline, time-management and even family relationships, as I had moved back in with my parents in order to afford the decision to become a student again. The Desteni process permeated every aspect of my life, because the process is of life, it is about who we are as life

The first semester of school was NOT easy! I was very confused as I untangled this image of ‘who I am’ as a student that I had spent my whole life building. On top of that, I had a bit of a rude awakening when it came to the seriousness and difficulty of the material I was learning, I was not used to being challenged like that, and also it was a huge change to be back in school, back in Canada, and back in my parent’s house after almost ten years. I fell a lot, but I didn’t give up. I didn’t do as well as I had envisioned, but I have steadily improved since then. It reminds me of something Bernard said, about how he’d rather fall many times then fail, because one who falls a lot proves one thing: that he will not give up.

The second semester I did better academically, but I had become obsessed with my grades. They meant everything to me, as if they were all I had to prove it to myself that I could do it, and that I had changed. Yes I had changed, but I had gotten better at regurgitation and memorization. I was trying what I thought was my absolute hardest, but I had reached this plateau in terms of marks, because I still couldn’t effectively prove that I had studied and derived my own understanding from the information. I had to learn how to learn.
This is where the Desteni I Process has come in handy. Because this course is real, in that it deals with real life, learning information, concepts and techniques and then actually applying them in my own life. It taught me how to go from simple memorization of knowledge and information, to creating a living understanding of it. This requires continued patience and consistent application, but in the end, this process is teaching me a fundamental life skill that the schooling system (in all 20 years I spent within it, and all the special programs and tutors) couldn’t accomplish: It taught me (is teaching me) how to learn.

So, this semester has been the best yet. I’m not so much concerned with my grades, although they are important, and it is imperative that I do well, they are now only a benefit, or a side effect of my personal process of training myself how to learn. I am more concerned now with who I am within the experience of school and learning. How I handle the stress and pressure, how I move myself through what needs to be done. These are the skills that are going to stay with me and assist and support me for the rest of my life. The importance of my grades may fade and become irrelevant over time, but the life skills of being able to effectively direct myself through any situation, expanding myself and taking back my power, becoming emotionally stable and relieved of stress and anxiety, being able to fall asleep at night and wake up early... this ever expanding list of what is becoming possible for me is what Desteni has given me, or should I say, what I have given myself through applying the tools, and I’ve only just begun!

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