This is the story of why I left my dream job.
I have dedicated half of my life to working with children and adults with special needs, with a wide variety of disabilities. I started as a Special Olympics Swim Coach and fell in love with this population of unique people. The connection I had to the special needs population led to getting a Bachelors in Elementary Education and a Masters in Special Education with an Endorsement in Autism at the University of Florida.
I continued to push myself in immersing myself with different types of disabilities. My first job was with a program called Character Counts at a school called A Quinn Jones in Gainesville, Fl. My students were repeatedly suspended and expelled from their regular public schools due to disruptive and sometimes violent behavior.
Nothing could have prepared me for the challenges that came with working with violent children with no current diagnoses or educational/behavioral plans to guide me towards success with them. It was a sink or swim situation, but the surface of the water was on fire. Good thing I was a good swimmer!
I learned to become extremely adaptable while working at that school. I was not only a teacher, but often was forced to play the roles of an investigator, a nurse, a SWAT police officer and a mother to children who had maladaptive behaviors for a wide variety of reasons.
And I loved it. I was good at it! I felt like a conductor in a grand hall of world class musicians. I could sense the slightest twitch in a child’s face that I could act on before they spiral into a full breakdown. I made connections with agencies, group homes and families, learned the workings of stressed and dysfunctional families, and saw the results of generational trauma. I gave genuine love and care for precious children, who through their violent actions, were really crying out for help.
Doing that work for many years, I wanted to expand my knowledge. I started working at another school with the most severely disabled children and young adults in the county. My students had a combination of intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities (mostly wheelchair bound), were non-verbal AND they were medically fragile. Medical fragility, in the context of my classroom, means that I had to be trained in a variety of seizures, including grand-mals, o2 readers, G-tube feeding and more.
Some of my students did not live past their 20s, and we typically lost a student a year. Majority of the time the student that has crossed over was one from my classroom. There is something amazing in learning how to communicate just through a person’s eyes and making sure that everyday is filled with joy, because we didn’t know which day was their last.
I was just awarded Teacher of the Year in 2020 and I was riding the highs of that honor and simultaneously navigating the treacherous bumps of the first covid shutdown. I was one of the few teachers who taught fully in person because of the severity of my students’ needs and their inability to work on their assignments independently through digital interfaces.
And that’s when everything changed.
I thought I would retire as a teacher.
While at my job, I was assaulted and lost the function of my left arm. And then two weeks after, I was driving my son to daycare when suddenly I was hit by another car.
I was a healthy 30 year old who suddenly needed to go to four to five doctor appointments a week. I needed help getting dressed, cleaning the house, bathing and I needed someone to drive me everywhere.
I lost my independence, and my mental and physical health were severely affected.
So I resigned from my passion of being a special education teacher. I could no longer physically or mentally care for my precious kids. If someone stopped breathing, I would not be able to perform CPR. They deserved a fully functioning adult who could save their life if needed.
I asked God to give me six months to take care of myself for once. If I lived to 80 years old, would six months of my life to take care of my mental and physical needs really be that much of a sacrifice? I asked for six months to either return to teaching, or to help me find a new career path that filled me with equal or greater passion in helping others.
In those six months, I explored different career paths. I looked into nursing, to become an animal rehabilitator, getting my Phd in Psychology and soap making. Yes, I did explore soap making. It was a new hobby and it made me happy. But so far, none of those paths filled me with joy the same way that teaching did.
I also decided to do some of my bucket list items. Why not, right?
My husband took me to a drive-in movie theater, I sewed an entire outfit and did a photoshoot, I planted a tree and I ate a philly cheesesteak in Philadelphia…I still dream about those delicious flavors in my mouth and belly.
And lastly, I tried Past Life Regression with hypnosis. I saw it on a Pinterest board while I was creating my bucket list and said to myself, “why not?”
Using the amazing power of Google, I found this lady in the middle of nowhere. Now I live in a place called Waldo, Fl, like in “Where’s Waldo?” However, this lady lives in true cow country, nothing around her, and the farms report UFO sightings!
But my gut and soul told me to take a leap of faith. Which is a hard thing to do for me. My whole family is made of military and police. Going to a stranger’s house is a No-No.
I had no expectation of what Past Life Regression Hypnotherapy would be like. I just wanted to experience it.
From that one session, I received so much closure and healing. It was the catalyst for my TRUE self-care journey.
A few days after that session, mulling over all the information I had received and discovered, I knew that I found my passion. It was almost exactly six months after I set that intention into the Universe, and it led me to applying to an accredited college for Hypnotherapy called the Hypnosis Motivation Institute.