Reflections on Resilience

an introverted student’s guide to living and learning

Schools who thrive on intentional community-building depend on the engaged participation of administration, teachers, students and parents but may occasionally forget that some of their introverted community members may need to express their involvement differently based on their temperament. For someone who regularly recharges their energetic batteries with solitude and quiet, restful activities, a full day of scheduled, often mandatory physical and social interaction can prove to be quite exhausting. Introverted students will generally need more space, more down time, less stimulation (noise, lights and conversation) and a slower pace just to take a deep breath. Since moments for these ...
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middle aged road trip

I’m not sure when it happened but it did. Only a moment ago, the three of us sisters were making the familiar trek back to the family homestead in a sputtering secondhand Datsun B-210, bantering back and forth in the way that only sisters or good friends do, with backpacks of clothes and books, snacking on potato chips, pop and Swedish Berries while harmonizing with James Taylor and Carole King to assure them that we, too, would be there if they ever needed a friend. And the next minute, three decades later, the banter is as lively as ever as ...
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behind the drama curtain

The pace was summer slow on this particular day when my sister and I wandered through the grocery store near her home. Once we agreed that we had all we came for, my sister indicated that she was going to go through the self-check lane with her items. Without even taking a breath, I scrunched up my nose and told her that I was going to go through the express lane where a tired-looking cashier was distractedly checking out a customer in front of me. “The self-check option is too stressful”. My sister lifted her eyebrows, twisted her face incredulously ...
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how to deal with negativity

  People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die. (Plato)   Not sure out of what side of the bed Plato rolled the morning he penned this little nugget of positivity but it seemed he was drawing his relational parameters with a heavy-tipped, black permanent marker and possibly hadn’t yet had his first cup of coffee. Reading this began a meandering line of thought about the people we encounter daily, occasionally or even just once. I would suggest there is ...
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goats and bitterness

How does the old saying go? They can’t ‘get your goat‘ if you don’t let them know where you’ve got it tied.  With the goat representing a state of calm centredness, I am clearly in favour of not handing control of that to anyone.  Yet I do, more than occasionally. Recently, my own ‘old goat’ started pulling reactively on its tether in response to an angry written communication I opened in my inbox one morning following my meditation and yoga routine.  The note was laced with distorted thinking, half-truths and inflammatory language crafted for the perceived self-preservation of the sender. Without ...
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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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