Reflections on Resilience

making hills out of hills

  Him:  “No wonder you’re tired. You worked much harder than I did.” Me (thinking): I did? How? We both biked about 30 km on a gorgeous fall day. So how was I working any harder than you? Me (speaking): “What do you mean?” Him: “Your bike is heavier than mine. You had a backpack on adding more weight. And the mental hurdles you have to overcome are just not part of my experience.”   He was right. I hate when he’s right. Right and insightful.  Even worse. My mental hurdle shows up as soon as I see a hill even ...
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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, right?   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 ...
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student, teacher, student

  A four-leaf clover.  In my front yard. On this day.  A day of no work.  A day of rest. The start of a sabbatical, of sorts. A day of sitting longer at the table after lunch and talking about everything and nothing. Laughing. Listening to the midday downpour through the screen door. A day made for a nap. A day of walking. A day of yoga. And red wine. But not at the same time! I have no need for luck, though. Gratitude about how much I have is as close as my next breath. Funny thing about this ...
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you are everyone

  You are every parent you will ever have. You are every child you will ever parent. You are every student you will ever teach. You are every teacher you will ever have. You are every brother, sister, friend, lover you will ever know. You are every person you will ever meet.   How does it change things to know that you are not separate from others? And that, in fact, there are no “others” because you are everyone. How does it feel knowing that, at any moment, you could react as they do, reflect their level of distorted thinking ...
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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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