Here's a little affirmation for us today:
I embrace the paradox of resting in the midst of overwhelming tasks.
It's that time of year--report cards, holiday parties, and conferences. In a blink it will be Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas, and when we jump back into school we are at the midyear point. That's just at school, and it doesn't take into account family, personal lives, and other interests and responsibilities. It's easy to get overwhelmed.
I do find it such a paradox to embrace rest when the work seems overwhelming. I'm not talking about procrastinating with a guilty feeling in the pit of my stomach. I mean really resting--whatever that means for you--naps, walks in the woods, making art, meeting with friends. Interestingly, when I actually do this, time seems to expand on the other side, and I'm able to get so much more done quickly and clearly because of the rest.
How and when are you going to rest.
Changes are never easy. Even good changes can be tough to embrace. One area where I find myself especially challenged is by change in schedule--impromptu meetings, notes and phone calls that need returned, copy machines that don't work, etc. If I could just grade, plan and prep during the 45 minutes before and after school, I would be mostly caught up. That is almost never the case--maybe once a week that actually happens.
It could drive me a little insane, however, then I happened upon this little acronym--CARES: Changes Are Really Extraordinary Surprises. It makes me wonder about what I could be inviting into my life by opening up myself to those changes. What CARES can I let go of during times of change? What can I define as boundaries for myself and my time?
What are the gifts of change for you?
A beautiful affirmation for us today:
I have the resources to fill my inner emptiness,
to light up the darkness,
to turn from disappointment and despair
Isn't that just gorgeous?! I found it in a little notebook of affirmations that I made more than six years ago. It seems just as timely for today as it did then, and I think I'm able to rest into it more deeply today than I could back then!
Here is a self care tip for all of us, brave ones:
Go ahead. . .
Take a little time (or a lot--I give you permission!) and make something. Keep your inner critic at bay. It doesn't have to be fancy or perfect.
Some things that leap to mind for me that you might want to make are:
A loaf of bread, a magazine collage, a poem, a photograph, a single affirmation card, a vision board, or knit a scarf. Make a list of things that are wonderful about you or make you smile about your job.
Make a date with a friend. Share a simple meal. Make yourself a permission slip to take care of yourself.
Go ahead. . .Make something! I dare you!
If you're looking for some cool cards or a little gift, check out what we have on etsy.
Here is a blessing for you, brave heart:
May you remember you remember that the strength is in the struggle.
May you remember that it takes a lot of effort to put one foot in front of the other and continue the journey.
May you never undermine the truth in the two previous line.
There is so much to be said for just hearing a friendly reminder, soaking it in, and believing it. I think life is jam packed with opportunities to feel the pain, struggle through, and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. These are all actions that require and incredible amount of self determination.
I hope today you are able to dig deep and find just that. Sending you courage and strength and hope today. (And an extra dose of those to the brave hearts who are struggling today.)
P.S. Check out some new photo card sets I just put up on etsy. They are great cards, and they also make a great little pick me up gift.
I had a few conferences on Thursday evening. I do not enjoy conferences. I don't like saying things that no one wants to hear. It always feels like so much is at stake. It's very hard to not go into fix it mode or accept more responsibility than I should.
I had a first experience that I've never had in 12 plus years as a classroom teacher. I had a parent pop in for an impromptu conference. My first thought was, "What's wrong?" I was bracing myself to be caught off guard, and I was.
This parent really did just want to connect, asked for my opinion about something, and then said, "Thank you for teaching. We need more people like you teaching." (I get a little lump in my throat just typing that.) I was caught off guard.
As a couple of days have passed, I'm struck by how truly rare those words are for teachers to hear. I know there is plenty of gratitude and also plenty of ingratitude, but it's so rare, as a teacher, to be in a position to really be open to hearing thank you. It also reminds me that I want to say thank you more--not just that automatic response, but from my heart. I've also had a parent prepare a scrumptious and healthy lunch for me this year--another first! This is another thing that has never happened before. That one I want to tuck away for when my son goes to school. It was incredible.
In both situations I felt like a valued human being. My questions today for us, brave teachers, is what are we doing that gives other people--kids and adults--that they are valued human beings?
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I've been in a bit of a funk. (This may be an understatement.) That sometimes happens to me when I have really incredible stuff going on--great little retreats, products, ideas for school and Brave Teachers, cool kids to work with, a good attitude, and good tools. Does this ever happen to anyone else?
I've been waiting for about two weeks to come out of this uncomfortable space. And then it hit me last night. I had this great real life object lesson on a hike last night under an almost full moon.
I don't need to have full bright light around me--I just need some powerful illumination in the midst of the darkness!
I suspect this is huge. I like bright sunshine filled days. I actually have fear about being in the woods after dark. But what a difference that big gorgeous moon made last night on the hike. So now I'm thinking about what my sources of illumination are in the midst of the darkness. I'm also thinking about how to tap into those sources before I get swallowed up by fear or fatigue. I know this is a point of spiritual work for me.
What kind of illumination are you experiencing these days?
Dear Brave Beautiful Teacher,
May you be gentle with yourself today.
May you find hope for the future.
May you let your mind wander.
May you let yourself imagine your next electrifying move.
It's hard to believe with the cold rainy autumn weather that a week ago I was leaving the first ever Brave Teachers retreat, stopping to see Lake Erie and the Marblehead Lighthouse under the sunshine. The busy-ness and dismal weather are getting to me. So I started to think about the next moves that give my hope and a smiling heart:
For my family: I want a simple fall with lots of hikes and soups that lead into a simple holiday season--no drama!
For my students: Simple and creative and fun projects that they want to do and positive and affirming words so that they know I believe the best in them and for them!
For my business: Soon to be revealed coaching opportunities and more retreat type classes and getting marketed so that I have to turn down work!
Personally: Travel, travel, travel to places I've never seen before gets me soooo excited.
What is electrifying you today? What are you letting yourself imagine?
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