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Teaching is a Work of Heart

My journey as a healer has evolved throughout the years. In many ways, we embody qualities we are unaware of until we are willing to step into the greatness within our hearts. The path of healing comes in many shapes and forms. One of these is through genuine, loving teaching. Teaching is truly a work of heart. I’ve decided to share what led to this revelation with the start of my career. In many ways, it has taken countless experiences to reveal layers of the truth within the “Eye Am”. It is an endless path of devotion and commitment. Deep understanding comes with awareness and willingness. This continuous evolution has been my saving grace.

I "established" my career in 2012, when I was granted a scholarship and an opportunity to become a teacher for children with disabilities. My heart knew before my mind that teaching was the key that would unlock the medicine needed to mend and heal the "collective heart" and bring forth "conscious hearts". Not only has this been rewarding to my soul but has also been such a blessing and gift. Earning the opportunity to achieve a master’s degree with scholarships was godsend as a young woman raised in low-social economic environments. Not only did this confirm my calling to work with children but it also brought me closer to the needs of the child within me.

Becoming a teacher has helped me work towards healing my inner child on so many levels. I wasn't aware of this at the time and it took great reflection to realize it. Teaching chose me. The Bronx chose me. Little did I know it would reveal how close to home I was in reality. Aside from feeling an immense joy and bursting of the heart working with kids at any capacity throughout my life, I knew that becoming a teacher would bring social justice and allow me to work within a broken system. I still feel a sincere contentment in my heart when I am able to provide love and support for the children placed upon my path.

This divine love and intervention is the kind that isn’t easy to find, the kind that was given to me unconditionally at a time I needed it most. It was the divine love and intervention I received from Ms. Roach my last few years in High School that allowed me to see the world differently and have faith. Her continuous support, encouragement and ability to get me “involved” in my life achievements pulled me out of a survival mode mindset. It was through her guidance that I was able to heal and rise above many injustices. When I was assigned to become a teacher for children with special needs in the South Bronx, one of the areas of greatest need in NYC, I knew this was my opportunity to give back to the universe on many levels.

I started my first year integrating poetry, art and music into my teaching to a class of 30, in an underserved school that did not have an assigned principal. Despite the pressure of the recently

released Common Core Standards during that first year, I chose to infuse the love of learning into each day with the help of my amazing co-teacher, Mr. Alden and other mentors along the way. The importance behind carving out time for creativity and expression continued throughout my career. The more I experience I gained, the more need there was to heal. Eventually, I found myself reassigned after a teacher quit mid-year, leaving a group of beautiful, yet wounded students. There has always been a need for me to nurture and heal children who are experiencing loss, grief, anger and pain on levels we wouldn’t believe.

Some of the ways that I created a healing environment during the first few years of teaching was by creating and holding space for an Art Club, Sports Club, Poetry and Song Club. I even promised Basketball Time to a group of boys, embarrassing myself while barely “shooting hoops” in public. Yikes! This all took place during recess time, at our free will, with my own materials and our collective passion. The more space I created for the children to grow, the more I realized how important it was to allow space for myself to grow. This newfound love for teaching rekindled my love for poetry and yoga. As my teaching career progressed, I began integrating brain breaks, mindfulness and yoga throughout our day. Together we found peace, we chose to go inward, rather than only seeing outer reflections and together we were able to bring justice from small to greater scales.

After unveiling the reality behind the wounds left by historical trauma, generational trauma and social injustice, I realized it was time to step into my role as a Spiritual Warrior. My love for poetry and yoga transformed into an integrated way of living. It was no longer a separate from my career, from my “lifestyle” or personality. I decided to pursue my yoga teacher training program in 2017 and the rest in history! I give thanks and honor the people and spaces that have given me the opportunity to serve. May we continue to uplift the youth in anyway we can.

I’ve decided to share my story, not only to speak my truth and pay homage to influences surrounding me, but also make it known, that we are ALL innate healers with the ability to nurture ourselves and others. I invite you to consider someways in which you’ve been a “healer” to yourself or others in one way or another. I invite you to stand in your power and shed light on the divine that flows within each of us. Consider ways in which your mere existence can be healing to yourself and others. What do support do you need? What routines can you establish? Which gifts can you expand on and share?

Peace & Love

Ivelise Namaste

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