Reflections on Resilience

breaking good

  The calendar, the empty hallways and the locked school doors all tell me its time to rest and to take a much-needed, week-long break from teaching, supporting student learning and taking care of all sorts of never-ending administrivia. Even though I’m not rushing through a regular work week, I’m becoming more aware of how deep rest is not the mere absence of work and imminent deadlines. And how its not that easy to cultivate simply because there is more time for it. Whether you find yourself catching warm rays on a beach this week, travelling with friends and family or ...
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exercise science (kinesiology) lesson

The Kinesiology class is also known as Grade 12 Exercise Science and my visit there was in the midst of their unit on the impact of stress and anxiety on athletic performance. I began by dividing the students into two groups. Each group elected one member to participate in a small performance task on behalf of the group. The task was to race against the other team’s elected student to the other end of the gym, step over a bench, grab a ball, step back over the bench and race back to the starting line. It was a simple task. ...
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when i grow up

When I was in Grade 1 or 2, our teacher had us lie down on paper that came in large rolls and take turns tracing each other. Once we had cut out along the penciled lines tracing of ourselves, we were asked to clothe it and colour it based on what we wanted to be when we grew up. The cut-out version of my 7 or 8 year-old self was crayoned to look like a nurse with a white uniform and yellow hair. At that point in my life, my career path was most likely chosen based on the kind ...
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nowhere to go. nothing to do. no one to be.

It’s hard to believe that it was seven years ago now when I crossed a line. It was the day I removed my shoes and socks and stepped my bare feet over the border of my comfort zone and joined a community yoga class. Once there, I was continually stretching and stretched in more ways than one. Before that fateful day, the only knowledge I’d had about yoga had come from the books and videos I’d borrowed from the public library. Confused hours were spent on the carpeted floor in front of my television wishing I could get a 360 ...
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effort and ease

“A” for Effort For almost two decades, I believed that I could outsmart the differences and disintegration. But when my crumbling marriage finally lay in heaps all around me, I heard a common sentiment from my friends and family. “No one could ever blame you for not trying”. In the devastating aftermath, I already had plenty of guilt, shame and fear of the future to juggle so there was some small comfort in being told that I could let go of some of the blame due to the fact that I had been “trying” so hard. But now, after almost ...
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convenient half-truths

I can create such incredible fiction when things go sideways. I can’t do anything Presumed powerlessness is occasionally still my small and misguided reaction to the prevailing winds of life. When I perceive that I’m trapped in a moment or in a life choice, I’m not. That is just a story. I can choose to take a deep breath and respond instead of choosing to simply react. I can choose to take responsibility for my response. And I can accept the outcome of the situation, no matter what. I have to do something Jigsaw puzzles, lateral thinking tests and crime ...
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death date not cut

I discovered the death date not cut phrase on a web site that acts as an online roll call of the sleepy inhabitants of a small country cemetery near the town where I was born. And in fact, this bracketed set of words sits ominously next to the name of my 101 year-old grandmother who has not yet shuffled off this mortal coil and who still eats, yawns, argues and wonders what it is all about. And, on this master list, her name sits under the name of her husband, my grandfather, who took up permanent residence in that cemetery ...
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how to stop looking for easy steps in three easy steps

I noticed a recent compulsion of mine to read blogs offering post after post after post of self-development strategies in the form of lists.  My noticing led to wondering. What is the draw? Why the need to find answers that are neatly tied up in formulas and acrostics? And what place do strategies have in a life lived consciously? When my noticing and questioning didn’t lead to any answers, I decided to join in the fray and make my own list. How to Stop Looking for Easy Steps to Ease in 3 Easy Steps 1. Remind myself that life is ...
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the power of attention

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.  (Albert Einstein) As a teacher, I am well-acquainted with the terms of attention. I am first a magician who must mesmerize students with something that will keep their attention long enough to relay some information that is on my agenda. Then a salesperson who must demonstrate the value of acquiring attention as a beneficial life-long skill.  And finally an educator whose aim is to share a strong, passionate belief in the amazing power of attention. But what can I ...
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the myth of ‘living in the moment’

There was time when I would easily fall into a stony-eyed stare around people who used the language of ‘living in the moment‘. Even as someone who had been meditating for many years, I would secretly rebel with thoughts like “if you only knew what I was going through right now” or “if you could just spend one day at my job and with all my responsibilities, you would see that I don’t have time to live in the moment". Eventually, the chronic irritability, stress-aches, frequent illnesses and general dis-ease of my life led to me to question whether or ...
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