When I was a teenager, there was too much going on in my head for me to be able to be focused at all on the concept of education. I was simply unable to grasp how important it would later turn out to be in my life, and I admit to being guilty of the "it's just a piece of paper" mentality.
I was also a mother by seventeen ... striving to deal with a husband who had some serious mental and emotional issues. I spent 10 years with that man; an individual who's mental imbalances and internal insecurities and selfishness resulted in physical and emotional abuse to my children and mental/emotional/sexual abuse of myself. The vast majority of those 10 years were spent within the walls of my house, as to go out (to look for work or friends) usually resulted in some serious accusations of infidelity and such behaviour on his part as it quickly became (early on) easier to acquiesce that argue.
All in all, I consider myself the poster child for how NOT to do things if you want to be successful. And, before anyone decides they need to chide me for being too harsh on myself, I assure you that I am not ... I am pragmatic about my own failings, particularly where my early years are concerned. I did the very best I could, considering my situation and the internal deamons I had to contend with BUT, the fact remains, I was young and stupid and I made some blindingly bad choices that took decades to dig myself out from under. It is by going through everything I went through (unpleasant tho it often was) is what has gone into making me the person I am today ... and I quite like myself now.
I am, primarily, a Healer ... I always have been as illustrated by family stories told by my mother of my tending to my father 's ills using massage as early as 3-4 years old. My need to render aid to those who are hurting, likely motivated largely by my empathic abilities, should allow it to come as no surprise that -- when I finally did decide that I needed to expand my education if I wished to have prospects for a future beyond minimum-wage and retail/warehouse work -- I acted to formalize my Healer's education first. I had been pursuing my spiritual growth informally (solitaire via trial and error and lots of independent reading and study) since I was around 13 years old, I saw no reason at that point why I ought to change that pattern.
I gained my levels in Reiki first, 1st through the Master/Teacher, in 2000-2001. In 2004, I enrolled in a 3 year Massage Therapy program and then, in 2005, enrolled at an Aromatherapy school nearby to the MT college ... so that I was taking both courses concurrently. I received my AT certificates with honours in 2006 and graduated from the MT program in 2007. I then moved to Calgary to work and got caught up in the eat/sleep/work routine to the point where my only social contacts were with the patients ... the disastrous series of choices and events that caused a cessation of my spiritual endeavours and my eventual descent into full blown depression.
Upon my return home to the Greater Vancouver Regional District, I have done all I can to counter the damage I did myself in Calgary. From enrolling in Dominion Herbal College's Chartered Herbalist Diploma Program, to getting myself onto a regimen of anti-depressants, to making an unusual effort to be social and go out of the house and talk to people ... I have taken a systematic approach to getting myself and my life back onto the track that I believe it needs to be.
This also means that I have finally taken steps to formalize my spiritual education .Wicca and covens are just not for me; though I do identify as a witch, I am most definitely not of the "an it harm none" crowd. I have, instead, investigated a number of Druidic orders and managed to whittle them down to the American based ADF and the British based OBOD.
Each order has a very different approach to their dedicants:
- the ADF has the majority of its focus upon academic style scholarship dealing only with historically "accurate" information (at least as accurate as the best theories of the current archaeological and anthropological experts)
- while the OBOD takes the position that there is much information concerning Druidic teachings and lore through the exploration of the mythologies and legends that remain to us from the pre-christian days.
As a result, an in a manner that should prove no surprise to those who know me personally, I have undertaken to spend one year exploring what each has to offer me as I work my way through the OBOD Bardic grade and the ADF dedicant program ... and all the while preparing to sit my final exam and certification for the Herbalist program in October.
With plans for further Herbal studies and a foray into Psychology and Counselling still to come ... I am, in all likely hood, one of those people who is destined to always be a student. No matter how much I add to my personal store of understanding and knowledge, there will always be more still to learn. It has become equally important to me that my spiritual education should match my progress in my mundane educational pursuits.
At very least, this ought not be boring.