Walking away from something you love dearly is hard. But when that something begins to consume you completely, think of putting some space between you and “it.” Detachment has been the lesson of the last two years for me in my relationship with Mensen Academy. And I have learned.
I learned that only then, when you detach a bit, you can save the relationship. Because only that way, can you continue to see things for what they are worth and you will continue to love those very things and cherish them even more, before they become the things you blame for your failed attempts at doing other things.
Walking away on time is an art though. Especially if your departure can affect others. So plan ahead and think of the consequences. Find the right people, tools and everything necessary to replace you while you are away looking in. And make sure, that your option to walk away, will leave you a door open to come back if necessary. Or… be ready to accept losing it all.
This is my first story of detachment. I know others will come.
Mensen Academy, the school for children ages 3-15 I started with my sister and husband about 9 years ago under a mango tree and in my kitchen in time became one of the best educational options in the entire Central North Coast region of the country.
It was a task that brought me lots of challenges and left me totally drain at times, but at the same time, it gave me lots of motivation, purpose and satisfaction when results showed to be positive. At the same time, such task proved to be the best thing I could ever do for my daughter, my little rural community and the memory I will leave behind after I am dead and gone.
When I decided to step away to make the school better with my absence, rather than with my demanding, assertive, but at the same time sweet and effective tone that some cruelly described as “Trujillo like style.” Some people asked me if I felt sad about it, or if I felt fears for giving it up. My answer: “Of course I don’t, I am ready to walk away.”
Perhaps it’s because I am not fully walking away. Like I said, you either make sure a door is open, or you have to be sure you are ready to loose it completely. And I am. I am sure there is a door open and I will always be there, even if I am not physically. That school is and will always be one of my “babies.” I am still engaged as an advisor and I teach yoga, swimming, ESL, and other things whenever I can. I just don’t want to do the boring Board of Ed meetings, the endless and redundant paperwork that in my opinion serves no real purpose, or putting up with the almost ridiculous requirements about the right or wrong chairs we are using, the amount of hours for math a child “should be subjected to” or the hand-writing style demanded by the so called education experts versus the real need. I actually believe education needs to be re-invented anyway.
And to answer better that question that people continue to ask me, I will try to do it the best way I can: by comparing it to one of the things I love doing the most, “a running experience.
Giving up the position of School Director felt as if I were in one of those distance relays I used to run during my university years. Those relays where I started really fast and gave my all until I reached my halfway point, only to take a deeper breath, and speed up even more. . . And, even though I felt as if my heart was coming out of my chest and my legs were breaking, my breath was pulling and pushing my lungs out of my nose and I started tasting sour metal in my mouth for a few seconds. Once I finished my part of the race, I was certain and confident that the person who I had just handed the baton, was the best person to take us to victory…
And it was always so…
…That sour metal taste in my mouth from running with no hesitation and no reservation to go, go, go, and reach the goal, would always turn into the sweetest taste ever when we received our winning teammate at the finish line… I was lucky that way. We never, ever lost. We always won or we always learned how to get better. Because we worked together till the end, till we were all done running. Then, we moved on to become even better.
So that is how I felt. Perhaps, I am done with the baton, but I handed it to someone who is capable of keeping up and I will continue to push and cheer from behind.
That little school that many judged as “not a real one.” A school that started with 2, then 7, then 20 students who came to us bare feet. A school that despite not being able to fulfill all state requirements to reach full accreditation yet, has already produced more national and internationally recognized athletes, mathematics olympians, fully literate, happy and well grounded children under 7 years old than many other schools have been able to accomplish with more resources and more years of experience. So, I am confident that, that little school will continue to be and will continue to grow with or without me as Director because I have left it well organized and in the best of hands.
Thanks to the brave ones taking on the “baton.” Thanks to the parents who trust in our mission and thanks to my husband who supports me in my choices all the way, all the time. Thanks to the children who continue to do their best and thanks to the Universe for the opportunity!
Grateful, I am. 100%!