Obedience is for children. Adults are sovereign. What are teachers expected to be obedient to? Does the structure of the education system infantilize teachers? I had a former principal who would say to the teachers: you’re like the parents to the kids and I’m like the parent to you. I couldn’t think of a worse concept for school structure. Teachers are independent beings. We aren’t in school to be schooled. We are classroom leaders and educational change agents. We should be imprinting on the system, not allowing the system to imprint on us.
We might not even be aware that we are being obedient to ideas that drive our stress. Obedience is based in fear.
Fear is not a virtue. We all have fears, but don’t coddle your fears. Understand them and heal them. Take control of your fears. When fears run your life your amygdala is hijacked and rationality is abandoned. You can feel fear – that’s normal, but examine and manage it. Knowledge and clear, independent thinking allows you to separate yourself from the feeling of fear and address the perceived threat. You may find there’s no threat at all. Where there is fear there is constant chronic stress.
Obedience breeds helplessness. Helplessness is powerlessness and that keeps you trapped in stress. The only obedience a sovereign being follows is its own conscience. Sound selfish? It’s not. It’s only through complete sovereignty, commitment to self that we can be there for anyone else effectively. We know this, but can find it hard to stick with it.
The idea that self-interest is selfish is also born out of obedience to an authority other than yourself.
Obedience doesn’t empower our sovereign nature. Obedience traps us in one of the most common structure of burnout for people in caretaking professions: the idea of sacrifice of the self as compassion.
Sacrifice is noble but misunderstood. Sacrifice means to make sacred. Burnout is not sacred, it’s abusive. We may choose to sacrifice something of ours to elevate others such as giving up some lunch hours to assist students. We may choose to sacrifice something to elevate ourselves such as sacrificing watching TV to have time to meditate. The concept of Sacrifice is polluted when it’s aligned with Martyrdom. Martyrdom is the opposite of sovereignty. When the sovereign being sacrifices it is strengthened. When the Martyr sacrifices it disappears. You can choose to sacrifice something, but what form is your embodied energy taking when you are making that choice?
When we choose ourselves and our needs, we step into powerful sovereign energy.
The sovereign is in command of their own energy. They choose what to do with their energy, where to give it, where to hold back, how much to give, how much to keep for themselves. It’s a learning process to come out of obedience to stress and into the energy of the sovereign mindset.
The journey out of burnout is one of awakening. It’s not about tips tools techniques or hacks. It’s about waking up from the conditioning that has normalized stress in your life. This waking is jarring. It will shatter your illusions, make you cut clear lines, you’ll dig deep, you’ll face yourself your choices, your relationships, and internally the wheat will be separated from the chaff. But also you will see your strengths, your ability to stretch to stand – and you’ll heal. That is the way. One moment of waking up to your patterns will do more than 1000 hours of relaxing meditation
Burnout recovery is not about trying to make yourself well in a system that drives your burnout. It is about freedom. The freedom from the constriction on your life that causes stress. Liberty of mind and soul. Burnout is heavy. Liberty is light. Liberating ourselves from the structures and choices that drive burnout is the best thing we can do for ourselves.