Trina's Story: Sweet Surrender

Photo courtesy Trina Markusson

Photo courtesy Trina Markusson

For me, living a HEARTRAGEOUS Life means honouring and listening to my heart’s path.  

Last spring, I made a big decision to leave my 20-year teaching career to follow my passion sharing mindfulness with students, parents, teachers, businesses and organizations. I had already been sharing these life wellness/tools for almost 11 years, but with teaching half-time and speaking half-time, I got to the point where I was too busy to do both well. I felt the “busy-ness” in my mind and body and I didn’t like it. I began to feel off-balance trying to do both roles 100%, plus be available for my family.

Soon after that, I began to feel a gentle nudge, a feeling that I needed to give one of them up. I shared my idea with a couple of my closest family members. They weren’t surprised and knew it was time as the concept of mindfulness was now gaining momentum in the mainstream. Soon after, a quote came across my computer screen that read:

“Is what you are doing every day taking you to your higher purpose?”

That was such an easy question to answer. I heard softly, but clearly “No.” I loved being with my students in the classroom and was proud of the connections and growth we made academically and emotionally, but correcting math books for hours in the evening was not taking me to my full purpose. I wanted to be doing something else with those hours that was really making a difference. I knew there was something more I needed to do, for me to reach more people with my message. Leaving the classroom would give me that opportunity. I had a decision to make.   

I feel the hardest part about that decision was that it was solely my choice, an internal decision. I wasn’t being forced to change my career. There wasn’t an illness that pushed me out, a loss of a relationship or job loss that forced me to move in another direction. I had to decide: Should I stay in the safety of the classroom with a regular paycheck or should I just risk it all?? I think it would’ve been easier if the decision was made for me and I was forced to switch directions, but I didn’t want to live with regrets. I knew if I suddenly received a terminal diagnosis, my biggest regret would be that I did not honour my path and I wanted no regrets.

I took some time to explore this decision and connected with my heart to listen deeply. One of the biggest signs that I knew I needed to honour this path and message that I share, was because of the book that I wrote, “Good Morning, Sunshine! – A Story of Mindfulness.” This was not a book that I sat down to write. This book was a gift that came through me at a time of connection and pure alignment. I knew I had to honour that and to be used in service to help others.

Book cover image courtesy Trina Markusson

Book cover image courtesy Trina Markusson

Throughout this process, I used my own life practices and resilience tools to support me with my decision. I practiced mindfulness of my thoughts/feelings and meditated daily. I spent time asking for guidance to the higher powers that be, by asking “How can I best serve?” Then I took the time to listen for the answer. I became still. I also used EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or “Tapping.” I am a certified EFT Practitioner, so that is always one of my go-to tools to identify and take care of doubts and limiting beliefs. I went deep into those beliefs about what I thought about myself. I want to be the speaker who walks their own talk.

I also checked into the motivation and what was driving me to do this.  Was the motivation coming from my head through the ego, which would involve more attention, more money, etc? I didn’t want this to be what was fuelling my passion. I wanted to make sure this path was being motivated from my heart, my true self, my soul. Only then could I feel good about myself, trust in the path and feed my soul. I checked in with the motivation often and still do. I know that if I follow my heart, I will always find peace and happiness in what I am doing.  

I also spent time forgiving those who may have appeared as a barrier to my initial plan of what my life would be like. In hindsight, I feel gratitude for the role they played in appearing difficult for me. I believe those that come across our path to challenge us are there for a reason and when they pull us down, they also make us spring further up when we soar. I remember them with gratitude and know that they served their purpose, that they were all part of the plan.

After making the choice to devote myself fully to my new path, I began to notice moments of fear or resistance – which was all about fear of failure. I love the work of Steven Pressfield and often thought of his quote: “The more important an activity is to your soul’s evolution, the more resistance you will feel.” I knew this work was important to my soul’s evolution, so I expected some fear and resistance. But those difficult emotions didn’t last very long. I didn’t fight against those emotions; I took care of them by noticing them with non-judgement, whispering “there you are” and just letting them be there. I “tapped” down the intensity of the fear and replaced it with a trust that I would be taken care of. I knew that when I am in a state of alignment, those doubts and fears wouldn’t pop up and I am in a state of ease. Because of this, the word “ease” resonates with me. If I am not in a state of ease, then it’s a sure sign that it’s not the right thing for me to do.

Most importantly, I decided to surrender to my purpose instead of trying to “find” it. I really felt my purpose was there all along, I just needed to get rid of everything that was blocking me from seeing that.  That’s when I felt 100% trust. We hear a lot about the importance of “striving” and I tend to feel a negative tone to this word. Striving sounds like exerting lots of effort and hard work. If I feel like anything is coming from a “striving motivation,” I back off. I would rather be in the state of “inspired action,” feeling joy and being in the flow. I can easily access that through sitting back and trusting in the moments of stillness and silence.

I turned to my family to support me through this, especially when I was feeling any doubt or fear. They were always there to reassure me, even my three sons who believe in all I do and continue to encourage me. It’s important for me to have my people around me, those who I trust and who want me to succeed, those who feel joy for me as I share my message. One day, my administrator called me into his office. He shared with me that he had recently heard a speaker who was “telling” an audience about mindfulness and he told me that it was just information being directed their way. He said, “Trina, when you are sharing the message of mindfulness, you are not just talking about it -- you ARE mindfulness. Get out there and do what you’re supposed to be doing!” 

I literally broke down and cried when he said that to me. There was more validation that I was on the right path. I appreciated these kind moments of encouragement.

One of the biggest things that I had to give up was my personal connection with the students in my classroom. Since I shared a classroom with a colleague, I had the opportunity to teach and practice mindfulness together every second day with the same group of children. When the children left the classroom in June, they didn’t have to “remember” mindfulness, they “were mindful.” Each year, I witnessed the shift in the children as their awareness and resilience grew. Presence became who they were and it appeared to make a difference in their life.  

With my new path, I am still teaching and connecting with others, just on a larger scale, and the little moments we share together in the precious present moment have the ability to ripple out into the world. I have already seen evidence of this and nothing could make my heart happier. I also believe when doors close, new doors open with powerful connections and new people to learn from.

Deciding to listen to my heart has impacted my life and who I have become in my soul’s development. As a woman, I have become more confident and independent, as I trust this is the right path for my heart.  The doubts are gone and I’ve settled in for the ride. In fact, I feel like I am putting my hands up, letting the wind take me where I am supposed to go. I feel more open-hearted and balanced with my family as I now have time to spend with them which in turn, nourishes me. I gained freedom and time. I used to find myself saying “I don’t have time…” Now, I believe I have plenty of time to do everything I need to do in my life. I’ve gained the freedom to take my message further distances and to share it with more people. I feel I have found a sweet spot.

My words of wisdom?

The best advice I could give when following our heart and passion is to surrender to our life’s purpose. When I take the time to listen, to connect in silence and find alignment, my higher purpose shows up. Sit back and trust that the messages that we need to hear will come to us.

The more I listen and surrender to what life has to tell me, the happier I become.

Learn more about Trina’s work at: