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Michele B. Roth Ms.I could not tolerate one more word, one more accusation or one more demeaning remark. I was done — emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually done. It was over. My love affair with teaching was over.

After putting myself through college as a single parent with two children, going on welfare, working two/three jobs and struggling, juggling and surviving each and every semester to get my bachelor’s degree, I was depleted.

A career that I knew I was going to be in since Catholic grade school and especially after watching the movie “Grease” at 16, I knew and loved the idea of teaching — inspiring, guiding and developing young minds. I felt it in my heart and soul that I was supposed to be a teacher.

I absolutely loved being in a school building, hearing the children's sounds, decorating the bulletin boards, making the kids laugh, getting an idea across, inspiring a philosophy, having students realize their potential, coaching basketball and volleyball, creating the community service club, being part of a community, knowing I am making a difference in a child's life. This was all who I was and am.

I finally left school for good that day in May after a parent had came in through the back door of school and claimed her son forgot something in my classroom. Then this parent proceeded to berate the administration, the Child Study Team and finally started degrading me. She angrily shouted and berated my teaching to my face and I had to do everything in my power to not to flip right out or break down in front of her. I had enough. This was a family that consistently monopolized my time all throughout the year, my energy and kindness was depleted. I finally, held up my hand and said, "I had enough of this shit!" walked away, cried into my classroom and hit a wall. I couldn't tolerate one more accusation. I was done.

I was numb. I continued even being numb during summer school where I only had 6 children in my class, but it felt like it was 150 kids. I was exasperated. By the end of summer, I realized I couldn't teach the next fall 2007 semester. I had to take a leave of absence.

What transpired in the next year seems like fiction now. It was all very surreal. What helped me to survive was my spirituality.

During the past ten years, I've been on a spiritual quest, reading many books pertaining to inner growth and spiritual insight. I went through many varying views on religion and spiritual beliefs, but, for whatever reason, what intrigued and resonated with me the most and stuck with me internally, was the Shamanic point of view.

My very first Shamanic book was "Entering the Circle" by Olga Kharitidi, which I read in 1996. I then attended several Shamanic Seminars by Alberto Villolodo and Hank Wesselman in New York City during the early 2000s, all the while looking for a Shamanic Practitioner in South Jersey, but to no avail.

After I took a medical leave of absence in teaching, I was totally lost and depressed, but still searching for something more. I was still on the Internet looking for a New Jersey Shamanic Practitioner and Adam Kane's name came up. I read Adam's biography, which really resonated with me and saw that he was taking applications for his 1st Shamanic class, starting in May 2008.

Even though, having never met Adam, I felt very drawn to submit an application for his 2008 Shamanic two-year class. I did and was accepted.

Before Shamanic class started in May, I travelled to Adam's store in Long Branch, N.J., an hour and half from my home to attend a Drum Circle. I walked into the store introduced myself to Adam, and the first thing Adam says to me was "We've met before right, you look familiar". "Nope never", was my response and I thought, "that's kinda cool, that he thought we've met before".

Because I took a medical leave from teaching, my world was in complete chaos. I wasn't receiving any income and although I applied for sick leave to my insurance company, I was denied, and applied for Workmen's Compensation - denied. I was depressed and anxious, my family was worried and confused. So was I.

In my head there was nothing . . . I exhausted easy, I agitated easy, I cried a lot and slept a lot.

Fortunately my son was already out, going to college and living on his own, but my daughter was still around going to college and watching her mom shrivel into a shell, a shadow of who she was . . . The teacher, the coach, the strong one, the determined one, the counselor, the resilient one and I was none of these, I was gone.

The only ounce of energy I had at all, was to go to Shamanic Class, which was an hour and a half away. Many long nights of class, I truly believed the spirits drove me home.

So, I entered Adam's Shamanic class, as a shadow of a person. Yet, some how, I knew I was where I should be, this new Shamanic World was my world. I truly was coming home, every fiber of my being started to reawaken and remember.

Throughout the two years of Adam's Shamanic class, I still was lost but anchored, I was humbled but enlightened, I was tormented, yet revived. I was opening to my old cellular history, my deep internal hearts calling, where I truly found my breath and light all in one philosophy, Shamanism.

I eventually, slowly emerged as a better being.

I retired from teaching in 2008. During my Shamanic awakening I realized that my teaching path was not finished, just veered onto another path. Now as a Shamanic Apprentice, I'm learning to unravel my Warrior defenses. Those defenses that I so gratefully used to survive a blue collar neighborhood, an angry alcoholic father and to survive many life situations in my younger years that would've diminished a lesser spirit.

Through Shamanism, I've began to learn to balance many aspects of all of my internal archetypes, not just living on one defensive level but by integrating all layers and dimensions, by being guided into seeing there was more to this world then reacting, being defensive and aggressively responding to each situation. Through learning to really dig deep into myself through journeys with my guides, teachers and animal spirits with insights and messages to help me to continue on this Shamanic path.

Today, I see Shamanism working in my everyday life because it has not only strengthened and renewed me, but has shined it's light on all that are close around me too. Even though my family, friends and acquaintances, who might not completely understand my Shamanic path, do see now, how it's beliefs and philosophies have changed and empowered me to become a better more empowered human being.