Teaching Us How to Love
“If you have true inner peace, nothing will rattle you. Your most prevalent growth occurs in the darkest moments. We grow in the dark. The dark is where the most beautiful creations begin.”
Natasha Botkin, the mother of two autistic sons, was a successful entrepreneur of a rental management company when she chose to enroll her youngest son in school (versus homeschooling). Her son has the IQ level of a genius, however his social skills and emotional level are on the spectrum with a developmental disability. Natasha had no idea this single decision would ultimately change her life.
Natasha volunteered in her youngest son’s classroom. The encouragement she received from the school principal and fellow staff members was motivation for her becoming a ParaProfessional. Her passion led her to teach reading and writing to students in Title I (students needing assistance in learning reading, writing and math).
Natasha said, “I am very different than most educators in the sense that I don’t look at kids as just students. They are more than a student. They are a whole person. They are a son, a daughter, a cousin, brother, sister, baseball player, video gamer, artist …”
Her business and personal circumstances underwent a drastic change. Through this period of transition, she found her strength in helping her students and became an autism specialist. “The technical term is emotionally disturbed. Out of respect for them, I always say ‘at risk’.”
The opportunity arose for Natasha to teach ‘at risk’ students in a virtual classroom, and she took it. Natasha currently works with 13-16 year olds. She shared, “This is an age when the brainwave turns from delta into alfa. For example, have you ever looked at a teenager and felt that you didn’t recognize them any longer? The truth is that they are literally changing their brainwaves.”
“This is just a snapshot in their lives,” Natasha stated. “The biggest thing is, they need respect and love. When you give them respect and love, they’re amazing.” Allowing the students to value themselves, to be okay with who they are, is a very strong element of self love.
“I keep using a certain word with a lot of parents. Their ‘at risk’ children are successful with me as their educator is because I give them the allowance to be themselves. They don’t think like other people, I want them to think outside of the box, and I want them to be empowered to be the strong person that they are.”
Natasha has discovered through her experiences as a teacher and mother of two autistic sons, who she is, which has allowed the acceptance of what is. Natasha has a natural gift of teaching people of all ages how to accept and allow, and that it’s okay to be your own unique self. “I always say, ‘not everyone learns the same ways on the same day and that’s okay.’ One moment at a time, and all I ask for is your personal best.”
She’s found social media can have an adverse affect on her student’s self confidence. “These kids are crumbling because they believe what they see.” She explains to them that what they are reading is not always true. People are not as perfect as they portray. Natasha boldly states to them on a regular basis, “That’s not real life.”
Natasha is a woman of many talents. She is the author of 21 Days of Writing from the Heart Meditations (Dec 6, 2015), Start in the Dark: When Egos Feed Workbook (Nov 26, 2016), When Egos Feed (Dec 8, 2016) and has participated in several collaborative book projects.
She writes in her books about unraveling and unlearning old beliefs and letting go. “We are taught, in order for us to behave, to be the good girl (or boy). From the time we are born we are taught by the ones who love us it’s my way or because I said so. If you stop and think about it, those who taught us those familiar phrases really didn’t have control of themselves. Yet kids don’t see it that way, they often interpret it as ‘something must be wrong with me’.”
“I teach people to use their senses.” Natasha teaches teenagers and adults how to sense their own heart (at the soul level) by utilizing a technique she developed called Sacred Soul Psychology. “I am teaching people to travel back to their true heart, to sense it, whether sensing is through visual or audio. Feeling; giving them permission to feel, and to be that sensitive person they discover. This is a baseline of the services she offers beyond her classroom.
When Natasha and I spoke of her Magical Blessing Healing Center and the Shiny Gold Star Quest programs, she shared, “I’m a spiritual guide that will not lie to you. You are going to have dark moments. I go into those dark spaces that no one wants to go into, with you. In those dark spaces or shadowy spaces, where the darkness attempts to overtake and the ego goes bonkers, I help you to shine light [love] on how beautiful, loving, worthy and valuable you are.”
“One of the first steps that I take is to get to know the person. I want to know what they like, love, don’t like, don’t love. I want to know who they are.” By creating a safe space for her clients, they are able to shed their mask (the version of self that they may portray to others in an effort to hide who they are from what they believe society expects of them).
“Another step I teach is that it’s okay to think for themselves, to have their own opinion, and perspective. People are constantly told what to do, and how to do it. It’s a power struggle. What I do is cut the cord to the control, disempowering it which allows individuals to source their own power – enabling people to tap into their own beautiful souls to let them shine.”
In Start in the Dark, she starts the reader in the dark. Literally. Natasha begins her book by telling the reader to turn off the lights. For many lightworkers, that’s a very uncomfortable situation to be in because they were taught to ‘shine the light’ on the darkness. “A true lightworker knows to start in the dark and then you shine into the light,” Natasha said.
I agreed, and said, “That’s how a person finds their light.”
Natasha replied, “How can you find your light when you’re always in the light?”
“We’ve been taught …” I paused, and changed the direction of my reply, “People go into spirituality thinking it’s all going to be rose and pink rose petals and they’re never going to have a bad day because I’m spiritual now, and I’m guided and protected. But, that’s the illusion. We are taught that spiritual people have the most blessed lives. In reality, as the true spiritual individual (the shaman, lightworker, healer) we are the teacher. We walk the path that can sometimes be hellish in effort to pave a less-hellish path for others.
Natasha shared, “If you have true inner peace, nothing will rattle you. Your most prevalent growth occurs in the darkest moments. We grow in the dark. The dark is where the most beautiful creations begin. You’re a miracle and you were created in the darkness of the womb.”
Whether through stillness or meditation, the intent is to strip away the old patterns of belief and the triggers, and to do so in a way that honors you. “I honor and respect my clients and students. I meet them where they’re at. That’s how they begin to dismantle and release what they’ve been taught, and are able to begin a new path. A path to their heart; ‘their soul’. This work can foster opportunities for forgiveness.
Forgiveness of others, as well as of ourselves. Allowing our true self to know they are going to be okay. “You made a mistake, it’s not the end of the world,” Natasha said. As Natasha reminds her students, the proverbial slate is clean each morning. “It’s a beginning. It’s a journey. It’s not an ending.”
At the conclusion of our conversation, Natasha stated something that resonated deeply for me. “It’s not easy to be who you’re not meant to be; or allowing yourself that ability. Most people resist being who they are at their core.”
Think about that for a moment. “It’s not easy to be who you are meant to be – or allowing yourself the ability to become that person – most people resist being who they are at their core.”
About the Author
Cindy (C.K.) Kochis is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who transformed her coaching practice as the foundation of Elements For A Healthier Life. She is providing a community space for people to share their personal stories, professional knowledge and healthy eating options. Cindy is a coach, virtual assistant, author, grandmother and sassy redhead. She self-published “Get A Compass Not A Clock” and “Unleash Your Inner Story”. For more information about Cindy’s services, please visit ckkochis.com.