Coming out of hiding

When looking back on my life, it wasn’t obvious that I was in hiding for much of it. I was never a recluse, although I felt uncomfortable when being with lots of people and avoided crowds. I wasn’t massively shy either.

However, when I compare how I was then to how I am now, I can definitely see that I have lived a life in hiding – hiding from my true potential and hiding from any responsibility that comes with that. I was very comfortable living life so that I wouldn’t be accountable for anything of much importance, mostly trying to avoid responsibility and cringing at the thought of long-term commitment.

My attitude to work was a clear example of that. For so much of my life, work was just something that I had to do if I wanted to earn enough money to survive. When I left University I went straight into teaching English as a Foreign Language in Barcelona. I had always been drawn to being a teacher but hadn’t wanted to work in the normal State systems as that looked far too demanding and stressful to me. The great thing about this kind of teaching was that it allowed me to live in Spain where I could pretty much live the good life without earning a huge amount of money, because the cost of living in Spain is much cheaper than in the UK. It was a great place where I could live in hiding.

In some respects I was living the dream. Sun, sand, fiesta and siesta! Moreover, during most of my time I had either no work, or very little work on a Friday, therefore having three-day weekends. This meant more time for hanging out and partying with friends. There would also be long periods during the summer where there would be no work because for those three months there is almost no call for classes in Spain as a lot of people (I taught adults) were on holiday. Plus, the hotter it was, the less people wanted to be in a classroom. There was the option of doing summer camps for kids, which didn’t really appeal to me as I had heard how full on they could be.

I have been a teacher now for almost 20 years and looking back on most of this career, I was rarely fully committed to it. For most of that time I was often planning on other things I could study on the side to get out of teaching and have a career change. There was a constant feeling that this wasn’t ‘it’ and my career would move on to something else. Another pattern I can see in my past is that I never wanted much responsibility in my work. I used to be very adamant that I would never want to have any kind of managerial role, as I didn’t want any extra stress to my life. Also, I always saw the role of managing people as something that other people did and it felt easier to be a ‘follower’ as opposed to a ‘leader’. And if I am completely honest with myself, I recoiled at the thought of having more responsibility than was absolutely necessary, feeling that the pressure would be too much.

In a way, this non-committed, comfortably at the bottom of the ranks attitude fed a feeling I had that I was not a proper grown-up, almost like I was still living a bit like a typical student at university. When I saw people who had salaries, mortgages and a car, I would compare myself to them thinking that they were the real adults but would cringe at the amount of commitment needed to have those things. And there was me, comfortably in my 30s, proud of the fact that I was still able to defer payment on my student loan every year as I never earned more than was necessary to be obliged to start paying it off.

My underlying anxiety

Since quite a young age I had always had high levels of anxiety. I started getting panic attacks at 16 and was even prescribed anti-depressants to get me through that period in my life when I felt a bit like I was going mad, fearful of losing control of myself and letting the panic attacks take over. Although I never took the anti-depressants, I used many other things to manage the anxiety such as beta-blockers, various meditations, numerous herbal and alternative remedies and therapies, as well as my good ol’ buddies back then, alcohol and cigarettes. Not to mention the therapy of spending hours in front of the telly, and always eating to not feel what was simmering underneath.

As well as anxiety, I also had a lot of issues with my periods, PMT, insomnia, headaches, fatigue, and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). I never actually had anything seriously wrong with me but was always dealing with these various chronic health problems, which was quite exhausting in itself. It actually felt like life revolved around managing them. Because I was constantly dealing with these various physical symptoms, I didn’t feel I had the energy to commit to anything as I would, in all honesty, spend a lot of time resting. So, whilst avoiding the commitment and responsibility, I also felt that physically I wasn’t up for much more than I was doing, hence I had the perfect justification for not fully committing to work and doing the minimum to get by.

Coming out of hiding

Now I am approaching my 40s, things have changed dramatically. I have finally come out of hiding. I have a full-time job, a regular salary, more responsibility than ever and recently applied for a managerial position in the company I work for. Even though I didn’t get the position, the fact is that I applied, knowing that I am now able and willing to take on that kind of role and responsibility.

I leave the house early in the morning and get home in time to make myself some dinner. I am working the 9-5 dream, which for many people is normal and not a dream at all, but after having often had a schedule most of my life that either allowed me to go home for a nap before going on to do more classes, or a schedule that finished around lunch time or mid-afternoon, this is quite a drastic change. No time for my usual daily nap!

Not only am I ‘9-to-5-ing’ it, I also work voluntarily on a couple of projects and therefore have more commitments beyond my paid job. I sometimes do a bit of work in the morning before going to work and am often doing more at the weekend. In fact, most Saturdays I do voluntary teaching with a group of migrant women. Another amazing thing is that I no longer stay in bed until the last possible moment, only giving myself just enough time to get ready in a hurry… I now love getting up early and having enough space in the morning to do whatever needs doing.

I make regular monthly payments on my student loan. I have re-learnt to drive and have a car on a hire-purchase plan. I feel super committed to my job, and dare I say it... I actually feel like a proper grown up person. Not in the arduous way of feeling like I have to do all these things, but in a joyful committed way of being an active person in society instead of trying to cruise through life without being noticed. I actually love my job and no longer is it a necessary burden that pays the bills. Nor is it a job that I am half-hearted about whilst trying to plan my way into a different career. Obviously, the job itself is not perfect and I still have my frustrations to deal with, but I no longer focus on the negatives, or let them get to me as much.

So how did this change come around? What was it that made me actually want extra responsibility, as opposed to avoiding it all costs?

The changes started happening when I started having Sacred Esoteric Healing sessions with a practitioner in London. During these sessions, and through making different choices in my day-to-day life, a lot of my health issues started to improve. I was also inspired to start living in a way that supported my body more. From then I also became interested in Universal Medicine and the teachings of Serge Benhayon. I started attending some of the courses on offer and read some of his books. I remember the first time I heard him talk at a retreat in the UK, and even though some of the stuff he said was pretty full on and made me feel somewhat uncomfortable, at the same time everything that was presented made absolute sense to me. Not only that, it supported me to understand the crazy world we live in, and not just want to hide away from it as I had been trying to do one way or another up until that point.

From Serge’s teachings and the support of the various Esoteric practitioners I have had sessions with, I have learnt more about how to make choices in life so as to support my body and have actually been inspired to do the same for myself. Things like: the time I go to bed, the food I eat, how I express, and the quality in which I go about doing my normal day-to-day things. I also have a much stronger connection to my body now and listen to it more and more each day as to what it needs and how it can be supported. As well as that, I have a truer confidence than before. Because of my previous lack of self-worth and often feeling less than others, I would go into drive and harden myself in life as a form of protection and to give me confidence, which in actual fact was exhausting me.

Additionally, I have found that having committed to me and my body, I am able to connect to the joy of working and am able to spend more time giving back to community: not as a relief to feel better or cure any guilt I may have, but because I love people and feel a sense of responsibility to the people around me. Work is no longer a means to an end that I may dread in the morning, it is simply a joyful part of my renewed commitment to life.


  • being open to the teachings of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine

  • the support of various Esoteric Healing practitioners

  • taking responsibility for myself and making different choices in my day-to-day life

  • being able to be more honest with myself and others

I have been able to peel back many layers as I surrender more and more to who I truly am in essence. And the amazing thing about this is that it is a never-ending process and a path that will continue to unfold.

I can feel how the way I was living was very much in reaction to life, and the hurts I had around that. I had created behaviours and patterns to protect myself, which I am still in the process of letting go. I was managing life, not living life.

Even though life is still far from perfect – not that perfection is the goal, and I still have many old hurts and patterns of behaviour to deal with – I now embrace life and see each challenge or reaction that I do have as an opportunity to expand and peel back another layer of protection, each time revealing more of the real me.

I no longer recoil at the thought of being a fully committed adult with all that that may entail because I now have a foundation in my body and my livingness that allows me to take on what is needed. Also, I have learnt and continue to learn more and more each day that who I am and what I bring actually counts and now there are no more excuses to hide this from the world, ever again.

Filed under

AnxietyMoneySelf-worthTeachersWork life balanceUniversal Medicine

  • By Eleanor Cooper, BA (Hons), PGDip teaching English language, English Co-ordinator and Tutor

    As a teacher of English as a foreign language, I love connecting to people from around the world. I’m also interested in education and well-being, and enjoy writing, cooking and socialising.