Teacher shows how Simple ‘common sense’ Tools can support Staff and Students

by Rachel Murtagh, UK

I live in the UK, and over the last seven years have attended numerous Universal Medicine workshops and presentations. I work as a regular mainstream primary school teacher, and I see Universal Medicine’s ethics, integrity and teachings to be what is so very needed in society today.

From experience I have applied some of the simple tools presented by Serge and it has made a huge difference between feeling the ability to cope or not cope with the demands of my job. With an increased feeling of steadiness, vitality and generally feeling better in myself, I now have a renewed commitment to my chosen profession when once I felt like giving up and handing in the towel! I still work as hard as ever, but with far less exhaustion.

By the end of term I see exhausted teachers running themselves ragged to perform for children, parents, governors and OFSTED inspectors. Children push themselves to achieve for mums, dads and teachers. Parents are in the same state of being, trying to be the best they can be for their children. We are all on the same wavelength, all limping towards the finishing line of the school holidays to catch our breath and have a bit of respite. Would it be correct to say that other professions feel the same way about their working week and, “Thank God it’s Friday” rings true?

What if Universal Medicine’s teachings can really support ordinary people in their day-to-day lives and help them with daily pressures and stress? I can say whole-heartedly that learning to look after myself by eating, exercising and sleeping well in a way that works for me can’t be knocked. Through Serge’s presentations I have learned a simple five minute gentle breath meditation, used daily, that supports me to stay calm and connected to myself. In this way I can watch my emotions with greater awareness and take greater responsibility for how I express. Let’s be honest…..how many of us were hurt by a frustrated, angry teacher who yelled? I don’t want to be that type of teacher.

I have shown children in my class the meditation technique. When coming off the playground all het up with either frustration, hyperactivity and generally being upset due to the nature of the usual arguing, children have often asked me if they can take five minutes to focus on the quality of their breathing to calm down. Those five minutes make a huge difference to the resulting level of focus, quality of work, and wellbeing for those who choose it.

Surely taking care of ourselves in this way should be normal? Before I went to a Universal Medicine presentation no one ever said to me, “Before you can take care of others take care of yourself”. This is just plain common sense, but was never self-applied. I learnt from a young age that you put others first. Again, another “what if ?” question arises. What if teachers, parents and children learned to consistently self-care before carrying out any task? Would our day and term feel different? For my money I would guarantee it!

216 thoughts on “Teacher shows how Simple ‘common sense’ Tools can support Staff and Students

  1. Two statements stood out to me, ‘Those five minutes make a huge difference to the resulting level of focus, quality of work, and wellbeing for those who choose it’ and “Before you can take care of others take care of yourself”. Both are saying that you are important first and foremost, otherwise we might as well remain in the current exhausted state the world is in.

    Rachel what an offering the children are receiving from a teacher who cares about bringing them back to themselves, and the fact they are asking for it themselves, is another added bonus. They will be equiped with a lifetime/s of a tool that allows them to bring themselves back to them. I wish I had a teacher like you, when I was attending school…

  2. To take a few gentle breaths to stop and connect if you have been feeling distracted, agitated, excited etc is a very simple yet powerful tool to assist you to come back to yourself and bring that much more of who you are to your day. I have found this to be uber powerful!

    1. The simplicity of reconnecting sits at the tip of our nose, and it takes very little time, space and all of that to bring oneself back to oneself. And for others to do the same so we can be one too.

  3. ““Before you can take care of others take care of yourself”. This is just plain common sense, but was never self-applied. I learnt from a young age that you put others first. ” – Part of our basic foundations as children and adults, and yet this is once again one of those things that we don’t really learn to do from a young age. Looking after yourself sets you up to be there for others, and so it feels like a super supportive thing all around, and yes it makes sense. And yet this is what gets neglected very quickly and falls away fast if it is not what we have made our foundation to be.

  4. A great sharing Rachel, for there is so much that we can lay as a foundation and really could already have as our standard, but as a society we shy away from this responsibility and wait till we are forced to take it. And then we take it begrudgingly not appreciating how much it actually supports us! Funny that how most of us initially resist the very things that help us (and I know I can speak here from experience too).

  5. That same mentality is also in business, everyone doing their best for the boss, the customers, for the company to make profit, etc, and everyone is exhausted because they aren’t factoring themselves into the equation. Self care is truly the only way forward.

  6. It would be amazing to have The Gentle Breath Meditation incorporated into the curriculum so it became a daily part of every child’s day, ‘Those five minutes make a huge difference to the resulting level of focus, quality of work, and wellbeing for those who choose it.’

    1. It’s interesting that we don’t see self care as essential to learning, if the 5 minute Gentle Breath Meditation can make such a difference to a child’s focus, then how could a whole day attending to our own self care impact on learning?

  7. Limping towards the finishing line – that is exactly it, Rachel, and we even try running with that limp before we can walk with our both feet on the ground. And many of us seem to have forgotten how unnatural that is. Like, can we stop just for once and establish what it is like to actually simply walk?

  8. The question asked here is so pertinent to us all, how can we take care of another if we do not self-care? Yet we live this daily putting others first, driving ourselves until the next thing and then looking for respite or rewarding ourselves for having gotten through that, but what is the quality in and for us and how healthy is this? If we look at our societies, we can’t in honesty say they work well for increasingly we are more and more unhealthy, so what if we took self care not as a mantra or something to do, but something we truly live and applied to all of our lives, I agree with Rachel here, it would change everything and given where we are right now, that change is needed.

  9. ‘Thank God it’s Friday’ is a statement that says much regarding our patterns of movement. It is about a way of moving that does everything it has to do for us and, at the same time, that works against us

  10. There are so many for whom this comment makes sense “Let’s be honest…..how many of us were hurt by a frustrated, angry teacher who yelled? I don’t want to be that type of teacher.” There are many teachers who do not know how to control a class without yelling and therefore we have so many people walking around with that version of ‘normal’ in their bodies. It doesn’t need to be that way.

    1. Well said Lucy – and I also will never forget those teachers that took the time to connect and truly be with us. Those moments, those teachers were GOLD and are treasured for many many years afterwards – a gift to any child and adult alike.

  11. “Before you can take care of others take care of yourself”. I agree Michelle this is just plain common sense and yet it does not seem to be taken up as a normal consideration. Well done for applying this to your life as your contribution to the children is now priceless.

    1. It is common sense, but rarely put into action, ‘Surely taking care of ourselves in this way should be normal? Before I went to a Universal Medicine presentation no one ever said to me, “Before you can take care of others take care of yourself”. This is just plain common sense, but was never self-applied. I learnt from a young age that you put others first.’

  12. It would be a game changer if teachers and parents knew to care for themselves first, before caring for others, what an amazing inspiration that would be for all our children.

  13. How supportive for children to know how to connect to their gentle breath in order to reconnect with themselves an amazing opportunity to know to bring yourself to a stop to reconnect, and what a great foundation for life.

  14. Wow. Imagine going to school where the teachers and staff actually love working and are not stressed and hence vital and loving life. That would be true education! Education of a living way. We don’t often realise just how much we teach and show just by how we are.

    1. Gosh, wow indeed Joshua. The children would get such a different type of roll modelling. I would say its true that through us as teachers, currently children get to see that its normal to be stressed, frustrated and or angry and exhausted. Imagine if we went to work and loved every second what that would communicate to the kids?

  15. When you experience something and you can truly feel that it is gold in terms of wellbeing enhancement, you can keep it for yourself or you can also share it with others. If the positive gets confirmed, there is nothing much to argue about.

    1. Eduardo, you are spot on – what is gold in terms of wellbeing enhancement does need to be out there for others to access as they choose to. To reach out for it as a choice amongst all the harming things that are being shared and used as coping mechanisms means a person is truly looking for change and then at least has that option to seek something that is true and supports them in the true sense of support.

  16. That children ask for the 5 minutes breathing techniques is such a confirmation of the innate wisdom that children (and we all) have. They know exactly what supports them to come back to themselves in a world that doesn’t encourage that at all. The allowance to stop and be with yourself for a couple of minutes, breath your own breath, feel where your body is at and what your feelings are should be taught to everyone in our world. I bet our world would look different if this was the case.

  17. “Before you can take care of others take care of yourself” that should be our normal way of living as it seems that most of us are not living like this as our illness and disease rates are showing so clearly. Therefore just very simple give it a go and find out for yourself what will change if you live like this!

    1. I was speaking with some teachers in a staff meeting recently about well-being, as I know and have experienced too, we feel guilty for taking time out for ourselves because of the demands of work and family. But what is the quality we are offering our family and work colleagues if we are so exhausted and resentful when we are with them? Like the airplane rule, fit your own oxygen mask before helping another, should be applied to life, that way those we support get all of us, not a reduced version!

      1. So true, so actually we have to take a step back and address the fact that we have a belief system living within us that says we should support another before we support ourselves.

  18. The labileness of our emotions not only can take our own bodies on a wild ride of highs and lows but the ripple effect of them can also be very destructive when directed at or felt by another. As you have shared Rachel by being aware of this fact and taking responsibility for how we express our interactions become more purposeful and practical.

    1. This is where I have found Universal Medicine to be such a great support in the understanding of how my emotions affect me and others. In this awareness, it becomes easier to build greater responsibility for my own health and well-being knowing that as I work on my ‘stuff’, I am less imposing on others.

  19. I love how the children have learnt to ask for 5 minutes to focus on the quality of their breathing. Amazing how they are learning to take responsibility by taking care of themselves. I so agree anyone in any profession anywhere in the world would benefit much from simple techniques such as this taught by Universal Medicine.

  20. We are missing huge things in how we educate and live life right now, such as self care before any care for another. It makes complete sense, and when you say it to people, many would agree, but when it comes down to it, even those who agree struggle to implement it; it’s easy to get caught in the moment and it’s only after the fact that many can consider that there could have been another way. That’s the amazing thing about the Gentle Breath Meditation, it’s 5 minutes of less and it allows space to consider where we are and to feel how we are before we approach anything out there … it’s an amazing tool of self care.

    1. I agree, Monica. The Gentle Breath Meditation is an amazing tool of self-care. I would go as far to say that for me it has been life changing to apply it. It has allowed me to feel my natural state of being which is strongly felt and marked in my body…. so much so, that when I am working or active in daily life I can feel when I have left this quality or remain in steady connection to it. The steadiness felt allows a deeper observation of life rather than getting so emotionally caught by it.

  21. The Monday to Friday build up that then is released on the weekend, only to build the week after and so it goes on. We can apply this to the months, the terms etc etc. I remember riding the weeks to make it to the weekend and riding work to get to the holidays and so the chase went on. I knew something wasn’t right because the chase for a break or to get away never ended. I thought this was how life just was, how it was going to be and I resigned to doing my best in it. Universal Medicine supported me to truly see the bit that I had already felt wasn’t right. I was supported and given space to take a look at why things felt like they did in place of just doing them because that’s all there is. I opened up more to the already glaring fact that I didn’t feel that great in all that I was doing and this allowed me to be more honest and make another choice. It’s not that on the face of it my life has changed dramatically but it’s more that I am more settled with what I am feeling, things that were there all along but I had chosen to walk past them. It’s like the saying and I think it’s a song as well, “picking up the pieces of life”. Now I just stop and put the pieces together and don’t just keep walking past them.

  22. I’m not a Teacher but I know that if I have pushed myself, not rested, stressed about work during the day, took issues on at work, got frustrated etc. then I am pretty well going to be the same by the time I see my family when I get home… unless, I stop and change it. We so often use how our day was at work as an excuse to be rude, impatient and ‘over it’ outside of work. Coming back to simple self-care and connecting tools like the gentle breath meditation is our responsibility to our selves and those we interact with.

    1. Such an accurate comment: how we use the things from our day as an excuse to be rude, impatient, not interested ect. But as a wise man once shared with me: there is never an excuse to be non loving. No excuse what so-ever, it is our responsibility to come back to ourselves and express from there. Without perfection of course and it doesn’t mean that everything is always ‘fine’ with us.

  23. Some of the basic principles of Universal Medicine presentations are about self-love and self-care. I have been inspired to apply some of these principles to my life, which as a result has supported me greatly in many ways, one being the way I work. Not only do I have much more vitality, can sustain a steadiness throughout my day and can work longer hours, but with this I bring a greater presence and quality to the work I do. Taking care of our bodies, being more loving and honoring with ourselves and aware of the choices we are making, I now realise is actually very natural and should be part of our everyday lives and our education. If this natural way of being with ourselves was restored in society we would see the return of a foundation that supports us to live our true potential, re-establish a real ‘normal’, and witness a major shift and turn around in our current state of deteriorating health and well-being.

  24. I agree Rachel, it is the simple ‘common sense’ tools that support us to be ourselves in full wherever we work. It is particularly important in the classroom as the student to teacher ratio is so low and the expectations placed on the teachers are so high that teachers need all the support that they can get.

  25. I love the message in your blog Rachel. It is so important that we take care of ourselves as a priority. I work in a school and the depression and self harm rates are going up amongst students. The retention rate for teachers is low, so there is something about our education system that is really not serving us.

    1. ‘ I work in a school and the depression and self harm rates are going up amongst students.’ I also work at a school and sadly I witness the same reality, Debra. As Rachel shares in this blog, the Gentle Breath meditation has been very supportive for me to deal with those increasingly situations we find at school. Connecting to myself first is the best way to help children to connect to themselves. This meditation can be then a great support we can offer to them, not only for them to be open to learn but also to cope with life.

    2. It is hard to see this reality in our next generation, our more vulnerable community and yet this is their reality. Somehow, if we can foster self care within the staff, it may have a knock on effect to student wellbeing because there would be respite from the barrage of tension they feel elsewhere.

  26. These common sense tools have been a life saver for many, like you share Rachel it changed your life and are there for the students you teach. It has also changed my life and many people I interact with on a daily basis. I am still working hard and long hours, but the difference is I take care of myself first and the others, I am no longer exhausted and tired and don’t get angry and annoyed the way I use too.

  27. When teachers are constantly stressed, exhausted, frustrated and about to throw in the towel what are they teaching their pupils about life?

  28. There is no doubt that my renewed commitment to my work on the farm has stemmed from the support from Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine inspiring me to change my ways through listening and making choices that support me and my body. It is through developing the relationship to self that is building a foundation so that I can go out into the world and commit to all areas of my life including my work on the farm.

  29. I think it is lovely and so needed that you give the children five minutes to re focus on the quality of their breathing, ‘Those five minutes make a huge difference to the resulting level of focus, quality of work, and wellbeing for those who choose it.’ Absolutely agree.

  30. A teacher who enjoys the company of children while sharing with them how to live in the world is worth their weight in gold.

  31. “Before you can take care of others take care of yourself” – Should be humanity’s rallying call in this time of ever-increasing illness and disease.

  32. What Universal Medicine presents is a living way of life that simply works. It has hugely supported me in every aspect of my life including my work, health, relationship – everything. It is something that is available for everyone equally if they truly want to heal and be responsible and joyful.

  33. Universal Medicine teachings are truly life changing and yet very simple tools that make perfect sense to anyone who applies them. I have worked shift work for over 25 years now and I cope better in my job now than I did when I was in my 20’s all due to the choices I have made that are loving and supportive to all areas of my life.

  34. Rachel, you are giving those children the greatest lesson they could learn at school (or anywhere) – that simple self-care is the way to living life to it’s fullest potential.

  35. I don’t think we can ever underestimate the power of self-care to turn our lives around. It really is life changing and life saving. It’s only when you begin to appreciate those small baby steps that you realise how this affects how you care for others. This is in every area and moment of life and that it is way beyond the function that we think is caring for others is.

  36. Thanks Rachel for sharing how your life is a lot simpler through applying techniques that improve the quality of your life and work. They do work instantly as shown by you. We have something special before us.

    1. Ha – love it! There is a far greater quality that we can be living with in every moment, available with our every breath. Through our connection to our essence, the love we hold for ourselves, we will discover how every day is enriched with countless fulfilling moments to be thankful for.

  37. When we are tired we are more likely to be cranky and reactive to others and the world around us and thus cause others unnecessary hurt. Quality sleep that allows our body to regenerate and let go of our previous day and start our new day afresh is definitely an antidote to this.

  38. It would make so much sense to have self care as part of the curriculum. Sadly it has not been part of what we can pass down from generation to generation, but we can be that generational change. When we look at the inordinate rise of lifestyle illnesses your comment “I can say whole-heartedly that learning to look after myself by eating, exercising and sleeping well in a way that works for me can’t be knocked”, can’t be knocked it must be promoted.

  39. The fact that the children themselves are asking for what they know supports them is a testament to how much it is needed… what a gift you are to be able to offer them this. It is such a shame that it is not done in every classroom.

  40. Those teachers that truly care have an monumental impact that they will probably never even see. I had more than my fair share of caring teachers during my time in education and can honestly say it was such a blessing to have. I have told each and every one what a massive difference they have made to mine and fellow peers lives. Only to read the replies come in that in all their teaching time (ranging 10-30 years) they had NEVER had a student thank them for their time and appreciate what they have brought.

  41. As I read your blog Rachel i realized that the image of a teacher who does truly self-care is strange for me – like hard to imagine. That alone tells a lot about our education system. Great you are one of those who start to bring a difference here.

  42. I once thought that putting others people’s needs before my self was being loving, I was told that putting yourself first was a very selfish way of being I have since come to understand the words ” love your neighbour as you love yourself” this became clear to me, that if I don’t love myself first then how can I truly love my neighbour.

  43. It’s interesting the consciousness of placing others before ourselves when we all know in our hearts that this is not our true way of being. After living most of my life placing others before me and getting exhausted I have found that the only way I can truly love and support another is to love and adore me for who I am and not for what I do. This way of being energises me; it is a commitment and a responsibility to live in this way.

  44. Rachel for me this would change the world: ” What if teachers, parents and children learned to consistently self-care before carrying out any task?” Imagine we all would do it – we all would consistently care more for ourselves – I am sure we would not be so loveless to ourselves and others anymore.

  45. It is so easy to loose ourselves in the world and its demands and what we need to do and what is expected of us – we end up like a rat in its wheel and wonder when we will get a break. Truth is unless we make a different choice this approach will ran us ragged and leave us utterly exhausted, empty and devastated. The Gentle Breath Meditation as taught by Serge Benhayon is such a tool for a different choice that can be applied any time during the day and helps us to claim ourselves back and get a feel for ourselves first, which then gives us a solid foundation to face the world on our terms.

  46. Rachel, what you have shared is truly vital for everyone because we spend such a large proportion of our day at work. No one wants to feel exhausted, frustrated, grumpy or unhappy at work, so the basics you have outlined could easily change many people’s lives, and it’s simple and easy to apply.

  47. There is so much we can do through the simple notion of starting to take care of ourselves, which allows us to step back from the rush of life to breathe and to settle in our bodies.

    1. Exactly Esther! As the kids from Rachel learned to ask for the 5 Minute Gentle Breath-Meditation after they had made themselves ‘out’ in the break. They already learned to care for themselves, to take responsibility. This is so beautiful!

  48. Universal Medicine is all about ‘common sense’ like take care for yourself first otherwise you are not able to care for others; eat when your body is telling you to eat, the same with drink when you feel you are thirsty; if you eat a lot and your body feels bloated you know you should eat less; go to bed when you feel you need to sleep etc. It is all simple and practical and it has changed my life. And the start of it all was to breath gently through my nose in and out.

  49. Rachel you share with us how big the difference is in your life from using the simple ‘common sense’ tools. We tend to make life so complicated and cannot see our way out of the woods through the trees and yet the way out is as simple as taking the next step in awareness. It is this awareness that is on offer though the teachings of Serge Benhayon.

  50. Being aware of ourselves and our basic needs and paying attention to them builds a level of self love that we then bring to any job we do. Working with children though shows an instant reflection how this is something we all know innately and crave in your lives for they respond and align with ease. This level of self-care that brings self-love is the key to opening the door to the pure divine love we are.

  51. Basic self-care lies at the basis of how we are in our every day lives. There simply is no way we can deal with life if we do not have a foundation within ourselves. Self-care gives us back the steering wheel of the boat and with it we are left to the waves to push us from left to right until we are literally sick of it.

  52. It is actually common sense to take care of ourselves first and then naturally from that we can take that same care to others as well. Otherwise we would bring the quality of putting others first in the caring we bring to others. That will truly not bring us anywhere near to ourselves, it’s where we have to start in each and everyone of us in order to restore true wellbeing, not only for ourselves but for our societies as a whole.

  53. Such simple common sense tools have been offered to us by Serge,and these simple tools when applied have been life changing to so many people. Lifting the lid on exhaustion, a world wide condition, giving people back their lives, now living with much more awareness and self care than ever before.

  54. “Surely taking care of ourselves in this way should be normal? Before I went to a Universal Medicine presentation no one ever said to me, “Before you can take care of others take care of yourself”. This is just plain common sense, but was never self-applied. I learnt from a young age that you put others first.” Rachel I can totally relate to your ‘before and after Universal Medicine experience’ – it is life changing in the best possible way. Nothing compares – Universal Medicine rocks!

    1. I agree Tamara! Universal Medicine rocks! It brings such a common sense approach to life that to not listen and apply its principle teachings doesn’t make common sense.

  55. When you ask “Would it be correct to say that other professions feel the same way about their working week and, “Thank God it’s Friday” rings true?” After the Easter break when back at work on Tuesday morning I asked one of my hard-working colleagues how she was and did she enjoy the break – she replied “Yes but I wish it was Friday”. She then quickly added with a beaming smile “Well at least I’m being honest”. Many truths are said in jest.

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