oh, how you shine!

As the fuss and fluster of the season settles, a calmness that comes from being back in the quiet space of my own making moves through me, like a welcome summer breeze.

The rare treat of a second, unhurried cup of morning coffee is accompanied by reading a new-to-me piece of fiction while snugly wrapped in a cotton blanket recently gifted to me by my sister because it looked like a blanket that belongs to a writer.

Warmed by the coffee and my new blanket, I also spend time engaging in backwards and forwards reflection that has been my lifelong habit as a new year begins. While I have no regrets or resolutions, I am keenly aware of how many people inspire and encourage me.

As it turns out, that person is you. You inspire me!

I appreciate how you create and nurture breathing space into your days and your life. How you work to make your days rush-free by reducing unnecessary obligations and the soul-numbing tech distractions that can fill a day to a chaotic overflowing.  You balance the unavoidable busy times with extra doses of nourishing down time. You leave spaces in your day to putter, to notice and challenge your thoughts, to breathe deeply and slowly to re-centre yourself.

I am inspired by how you observe happiness that already exists in your life when it would be so easy to dwell on what is not working so well or focus on the tiresome weight of being conscious. When you see the simple joy of the bubbles that are rinsed off your drinking glasses while washing the dishes.  How you mindfully sweep the dust and crumbs into the dustpan with your broom. How you notice the seasonal quality of the light coming through the window.  And how you regularly express gratitude for others in your life with a lightness of one who is free.

And I am awed by your radical kindness, toward yourself and others. How you balance thoughtful, self-discipline with bouts of guilt-free indulgence. And how you intentionally forge your ungracious, judgemental, unspoken thoughts into kind words and supportive actions. How you give your undivided, accepting attention to the one who is standing right in front of you allowing them to feel treasured and heard.

With each step you take, you are ordinarily bold and fearlessly average every single day.  And I thank you.

Please press on, all you shining stars!  You are a true light in my life and are making a genuine difference to me.

 

walking wounded

They sling uninformed arrows from empty quivers.

They find fault in everyone else but themselves.

They sting others quickly to prevent themselves from being stung.

They tend to see themselves repeatedly as the victim of someone else’s crime.

They fail to see kindness, compassion or joy. Or if they do see something even lightly tinged with grace, it is quickly taken over by a heavy grievance against someone or something.

So they walk and they wound. They tend to endlessly pick at and pester others, they control, complain, argue and hurt those around them.

 

Hurt people hurt people.

 

The walking wounded don’t want your pity. But they can’t stop others from empathizing with them and meeting them where they’re at.

When you encounter a walking wounded…

 

1. Don’t take it personally. It really is them and not you.

2. Have empathy because they are simply a result of their set of conditions.         They have been wounded.

3. As a form of self-care, distance yourself from their judgment.

4. Then, when you lash out to hurt someone, look, and notice the seed of your      own hurt.

5. Be grateful for the beauty and grace that is around you. 

6. And, when things get a little dark, light a candle and read some poetry…

 

Everything is Waiting for You

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the
conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

Everything is waiting for you.

By David Whyte

expect less

Chances are, I would make an awful self-help guru. Tony Robbins and his contemporaries will likely hold a public shunning upon reading my new mantra for this upcoming school year.

My mantra is:

 

        ~ expect less ~

 

Brutal

Where’s the set-the-bar-high pep talk?

Where’s the you-can-do-anything-you-set-your-mind-to encouragement to help others over the 8 months of hump-days?

Where’s the return-on-investment for my employer?

What kind of educator are you?

Step to the back of the queue, Negative Ned’s and Nellie’s!   I have set my mind to ‘expecting less’ and it is my intention to experience more peace this year by doing just that.

Read on, MacDuff!  Just getting to the good part.

 

autumngarden2

 

Imagine it

What would it look like if I went through my work day of supporting students, collaborating with colleagues, problem-solving with parents and facilitating meditation classes all while ‘expecting less’?

 

I imagine it would look something like this…

 

Less wishful thinking that others can read my mind’s manifesto on how things ‘should’ be done.

More clear, direct requests for what I want.

 

Less personalizing when situations still don’t go my way even with clear, direct requests.

More acceptance of all outcomes whether or not they fall within my way of doing things.

 

Less soul-sucking over-efforting to drive up my number-of-people-pleased stats.

More doing the task in front of me with integrity and authentic presence regardless of who is watching.

 

Less compulsion to efficient task completion as if someone is literally waiting at my door for results.

More doing the task in front of me with integrity and authentic presence regardless of who is waiting.

 

Less obsession with results. And even less obsession with the mythical, perfect results.

More focus on making eye contact, taking a breath before speaking and listening, listening, listening. (Then way more self-care for balance!)

 

Less complaining.

More expecting less!

 

Less frantic, externally-driven movement.

More internally-driven, deep-breathed pacing.

 

Less reaction.

More response.

 

Less performing.

More presence.

 

autumngarden1
By the way, I will also be expecting less from you. Great news for you.

Bring on the busyness of a new year.  My mantra and I are ready for you!