Since leaving “school” in August 2011, Thanksgiving has always been a marker of one more “school”-free holiday season, for which I can be grateful. No more secret, cult-contrived, demands sucking me away from friends and family. No more fighting with my husband as I try to convince him that — as Robert once said to me — “the Christmas Party is when you benefit the most from ‘school’. “
For between the years of 2006-2011, I let “school” hijack my holiday season with it’s infamous Christmas Party … (well, infamous to those of us whose lives have been plowed through by the illustrious “school of higher consciousness” … a.k.a “study of higher consciousness”) That particular year, Robert was “helping” me “school”-style; he looked baffled that my husband would have any complaints about the institution’s annual usurpation of all time between “class” and day job to plan and implement the required “gift to your teachers”.
The truth is that “school” doobies who have un-“schooled” spouses argue with them annually, from roughly mid-November through mid-December about the group’s ridiculous holiday demands. For one of the first lessons “school” imparts is this idea that humans have a skewed relationship to time and to never say “I don’t have time to do x, y, or z”. I remember early in my tenure hearing Robert say, “If you tell me you don’t have time to [FILL IN BLANK WITH “SCHOOL” DEMAND] I won’t believe you.” The “teaching” (cough) is that your time now belongs to “school”. And “school’s” winter tradition is pretty much designed to drive couples apart and destroy families as it steals away the time that should be dedicated to family and friends.
So speaking of time, even after being out of the institution for almost five years, and I still experience my life in terms of before I left and after I left. That comparison never ceases to yield gratitude from me — for having had the experience of allowing a group manipulate five years and $20,000 from me, and recognizing how I gave these alleged “teachers” so much power during that time, I know that, when I left, I crossed a threshold and will never go back; I won’t be vulnerable to that kind of manipulation again.
Time is precious, every breath a gift. I now recognize how my fears made me vulnerable to time thieves and energy vampires. Now that I’m free from them, I want to drink in and squeeze the most out of every moment. Tonight I will celebrate my small, ragtag family with our imperfect, sometimes bumbling, holiday feast. Three souls who’ve come together through some trial and a lot of error — with (oddly) “school” being the central error, and most life-altering mistake, from which I did, indeed, glean the most benefit. And, despite the disparate meanderings, seemingly random circumstances that brought three humans together as a family today, we are sharing a Thanksgiving meal and doing the best we can to enjoy this time, which no longer includes a nefarious outside influence with selfish intentions.
Thus, I can honestly thank “school” for a strength I dredged up from the inside out, when I walked away. Knowing now that I prefer to bumble through life, following my inner compass, taking risks and responsibility for them and that I am no longer searching and vulnerable to cults like “school”.
For when I left “school” I gleaned the most benefit from its lessons (cough). And that, my friends, is something to be grateful for!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours — I raise a glass to your “school”-free holiday season!