Reflections on Resilience

words. create. reality.

I am a twin. Well, I guess it is more accurate to say that I was born with a twin. My womb-mate, although fraternal, seems identical to me in so many ways yet indescribably different at the same time. Some days it feels as if she’s from a different egg altogether!  Weird.   Being twins, there’s a slight chance that we were treated more similarly, more alike than just siblings, especially since we were only sold as a set. Two of everything for years on end. Side by side for the pureed peas, high-chair feedings and dressed in matching outfits ...
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to think or not to think

  After posing questions to the meditation session participants, inviting them to reflect on those questions, and then sharing in a silent group meditation practice, a participant asked,   “You give us lots to think about during the reflection time and then are we supposed to stop the thinking during meditation?  I’m so confused about  when I should be thinking or not thinking.”   Great observation. To think or not to think.  Is that the question? There’s nothing wrong with thinking or not thinking. The key is to have enough influence over your own mind so that your mind is ...
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check your bags

For almost two decades, students, parents and teachers at my school have annually collected thousands of cans and dried goods for a local Christmas food hamper program with hopes of making a real difference in our community. Student leaders orchestrate the event while teachers work with students to set class and personal contribution goals. It is incredibly inspiring to witness the generosity of students and parents as they arrive early, well before the school day starts, to drop off boxes or bags of food items. And, it is nothing to see a student reach in, pass over their pencil case, ...
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time for ‘out-waiting’

  During the most recent Olympic hockey game, the Canadian women’s hockey team was playing Switzerland and a commentator complimented the Swiss goalie for ‘out-waiting’ a lone Canadian shooter to prevent a goal in a game where the Swiss were already down 3 goals to 1.  What a great concept!  Out-waiting. Out-waiting: engaging in the essential pause.  A skill to practice.  A practice to repeat. Can you choose to out-wait this moment’s distraction?  The fear?  The rage?  The attachment?  The dullness?  The resentment?  The desire? The complaint-on-the-tip-of-your-tongue? Is there a lone attacker gliding toward you ready to take a shot? ...
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carved in stone

  “Believing that your qualities are carved in stone creates the urgency for you to prove yourself over and over” Carol S. Dweck, PhD, Mindset: A New Psychology of Success and Achievement     "bidden or not bidden, the god will be there" (carving over Jung's door at his home)   The image above is from a friend and gifted sculptor, Steve Fraser, who infuses life into stone with his work to the point that you can almost see the face he created in the stonework smiling, breathing comfortably, ever-growing in awareness and contributing to the world around him. The ...
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repetition – repeat after me

Real learning happens most often and effectively in light of: 1)  Danger 2)  Personal relevance 3)  Repetition I heard this years ago at a professional development day for teachers and it has helped me tremendously in supporting students with working memory challenges for whom repetition becomes a most dependable academic ally. I guess it makes sense, doesn’t it? A toddler who burns himself on something hot will most likely learn quickly not to touch. But what is learned in school is rarely dangerous enough to tattoo less-then-fascinating course content on even the most impressionable of minds.  Second only to that ...
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little discomforts

In three seasons out of four, I most often read and write under an espresso-brown fleece throw in my overstuffed living-room chair. Especially on the chilly days, I even have a space heater at my feet as the winter wind whips around the bare branches of the tree right outside my window.  Inside, my home is dressed in a warm palette, with textured and inviting fabrics, round edges, fresh flowers and candles waiting to be lit in most rooms. My place is a pillowed sanctuary from the occasionally-harsh conditions of the world for an introvert and one with more than ...
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not special

  he was not special I attended a workshop of the Psychology of Yoga and Mindfulness with Michael Stone, a psychotherapist, Buddhist teacher and social activist. Despite having read his books and listening to his podcasts for years, this was the first time I had studied with him, in person. I thought he was special. When he learned that I was there for some professional development as a high school guidance counsellor on the cusp of launching a mindfulness program at my school, he elegantly wove helpful suggestions like “this would be great to use with high school students” into ...
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time after time

“Don’t wish time away”   I heard this phrase many times growing up. But we do that very thing every time we unconsciously use languaging like “I can’t wait!”,  “I wish it was already the weekend.”, or  “Is it 5 o’clock yet?” More subtly, we do it whenever we rush.  We scurry from one activity to the other without lingering because we’ve got so much life to live and so little time in which to do it.  A full day of the flurry of hurry finds us slumping into our easy chair with an exhausted sigh at the end of ...
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preparing students for what?

In my role as a guide for students to help them navigate their academic, social and post-secondary potentialities, I am deeply saddened by the news of yet another first-year university student who sought a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The brief version of this recent news story reported that the deceased young man’s father believed his son to be fully equipped and prepared for the rigors of university.  As parents and educators, that is our fiercest hope for all our children who pack up their books, bags and emotional baggage for the sake of life experience and a higher ...
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