This morning I'm thinking about:
1.The challenges of practicing forgiveness without becoming apathetic. And the importance of fighting without letting the fight turn you into a monster too. I have so few answers in this department but here's the quote that comes to mind.
2. Samskaras. These are the impressions left on our minds from past experiences. And they do the funniest things. I've been thinking a great deal about samskaras lately, about how in trying to protect us they often cut us off from what we need the most. Or, worse I think, how they keep us stuck in old habits and patterns that no longer serve us. Samskaras are something that can't be unseen once they are seen, and you'll look around you only to see people milling about, reacting to some past experience that is no longer real in the present.
I see samskaras play out a lot in education. First, I see teachers who react to a present student because of some experience with a student from their past. So a male student who wears a Red Sox hat is chronically late to class and now all male students you encounter who are wearing baseball hats are trouble. Our samskaras lead us to make judgments on people before we've ever really interacted with them. I see this in my students too. Many of them carry trauma from past negative educational experiences. I am saddened to recall how many of my past students have told me that I'm the first person to ever say they are smart. That scar comes along with them into my classroom, and it takes work to overcome those samskaras, even when I wasn't the one who created them.
The cure? Prayer, meditation, practice, patience. And a constant vigilance to return to the now instead of living in the past or projecting in the future. I'm a work in progress in this department. There's times when the desire to snap our fingers and get a blank slate might be all-consuming, but that's not an option, we have to do the work.
3. Teachers. There is so much negativity in the world about teachers, but it stands in stark contrast to our experience this week on my son's last day of school. I can honestly say that I can't imagine him having a better Kindergarten teacher than he had this year. His teacher loved to teach and loved kids. She had very high-expectations for the children and held them accountable but there was also a wonderful sense of play and fun in her classroom.
My son and I have this thing where I'll ask him if something is thumbs up, thumbs sideways, or thumbs down. On day one of our summer vacation yesterday, I asked him to rate Kindergarten. He thought about it for a few minutes and then he said, "Thumbs sideways."
I was shocked. "Why sideways?"
"Because I didn't want it to end."
Then I asked him if he'd rather stay in Kindergarten all summer or have summer vacation, and he picked school. And why wouldn't he? Learning, fun, friends, playing pretend, reading and writing, what's better than that? I know that once we get settled into our summer routine, he's going to have an amazing time with friends and family. But I am very grateful that he loves school and that he'll always have this positive foundation, thanks in large part to a wonderful teacher.
That's all I've got this morning and I have to say those three reflections just drained me. Was it just me or did Mercury linger in retrograde this week, just to show us who's boss?
In the coming couple of months, I'll still be blogging but slowing down a bit to make room for some new work responsibilities, an intuitive coaching training I'll be completing in August, and a ton of time with family and friends and sunshine.
Wishing you and yours peace and light, love and happiness. Have a great summer solstice everyone.
In honor of my little dude's last day of Kindergarten today, I thought it would be fun to share some of the books I've been reading with him. What a great stage this is! I love watching his face when he sounds out a new word or reads an old one seamlessly.
Here are a few books about Thoreau that I ordered from the library after our visit to Walden Pond.
I'm not a huge lake person but Walden is a special place. HDT really knew what he was talking about.
My son, his best friend, and his cousins loved hearing the stories about Henry and his cabin that day. There's some great messages in these books about loving nature and enjoying the simple things in life.
We've also started reading chapter books. Mostly, we are still reading these to Fred instead of vice versa, but I think it's a great step that he is able to focus on books with more words and less pictures. That strategy of learning to make pictures in your mind is so critical to long-term reading success.
For early readers, it is ALL about the Magic Tree House series. I have to give huge props to Fred's Kindergarten teacher for introducing the kids to the series this year. They've read about four in class which has gotten them hooked. When I was helping out with the library, the kids would flock to the MTH section and be on the verge of fighting over the ones they wanted. Seeing kids get excited about books gives me hope for our world.
Little does Fred know that he's getting numbers 5-8 as a special gift today after school. As a reader myself, I'm really excited to see him start to fall in love with books like I have.
That's what my family is reading this week. What about you? Any great recommendations for books for early readers?
I'm taking over the Monday Motivation Blog this morning to encourage all you last minute folks to get moving and sign up for Wednesday's Job Search Bootcamp for Liberal Arts Graduates. In the video below, you'll see why I'm so excited to host this bootcamp and you'll get a preview of the 5-step plan I'll be sharing with you on Wednesday that will transform your job search in 2-hours.
And as a reward to my loyal blog readers, I'm offering a coupon code for 10% off the cost of Wednesday's bootcamp.
Enter code "MONDAYMOTIVATION" at checkout to receive your 10% discount.
Register here: http://jobsearchbootcampforliberalarts.weebly.com
Remember, Bootcamp kicks off Wednesday, June 17th at 6pm EST but registration will close 24 hours before we start. So make sure to register by Tuesday, June 16th at 6pm to reserve your spot.
Have a great Monday!
This week, one of my daily meditations was focused on the energy of giving.
I think of my meditation as a time to quiet my mind so that I can hear the sounds of my soul. It's where I am working on shutting up, for lack of a better phrase. This space is often where I ask for guidance on important decisions. For someone who used to proudly declare, "But I can't sit still!" this is progress.
In the middle of this particular meditation, I heard a little shuffle outside of the library doors. I looked over to see this.
I smiled and finished my meditation, with thoughts about how the innocence and kindness of children can teach us adults more about life than we might ever be able to teach them.
At what age do we stop drawing rainbows and writing love notes to our mothers? Too soon I think. And the heart with wings...this is how hearts were meant to be drawn I think.
The message for me today is to think about the ways that the title of "grown-up" leads me to tighten, resist, and hold on to things instead of drawing, imagining, and sharing.
It's definitely a leap of faith. The prevailing messages around us are ones of scarcity and lack. We're taught to fight for the scraps, knocking our hungry neighbors out of the way if need be so that we can win and control. But for me, today, I'm thinking about how giving might lead to receiving even more in the long run.
What gifts do you have to share with the world today? Who can you draw a rainbow for? Who will receive a love note from you?
I've got two new books to share this week on the blog. First up, my fiction selection for this week is The Strangled Vine by M.J. Carter. This is one that I grabbed off the shelf at my local library on a whim. It's set in 19th-century India and the reviews promise a killer ending, probably literally. It's holding my interest with a sort-of unlikeable main character who I'm half rooting for and half rooting against.
My second book this week is Riane Eisler's The Chalice and the Blade. I found this at Barnes & Noble last week while I was looking for another book. I bought both. Oops!
I'm really excited about this book because I have a feeling it's going to change the way that I see the world. I'm only about a chapter in so far, but Eisler's argument is that the idea of society as inherently violent is bogus. She argues that we can and should return to (because we once lived like this) a more peaceful coexistence based on cooperation instead of violence. It sounds like a plan to me. I'm just starting to read and research for the next manuscript I plan to work on in the fall so if anyone has any recommendations for books that touch on the sociology of religion, freedom versus responsibility, or paradigms of connectivity and attachment, send them my way!
What are you reading this week? Send any great recs my way!
Happy hump day.
Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had an amazing weekend. We had some actual spring-like weather in New England and the pollen tsunami seems to have subsided so we could go outside a bit and enjoy it.
Just like Mondays offer us a chance to begin again, I believe that the change of seasons offers a powerful opportunity to shift our energies toward our highest intentions. As I sat down to consider my summer goals, I had to check back on my New Year's resolutions. Yes, I know it's June, but that's the thing: I keep my resolutions close by and reflect on them a little bit each day. How? This year, I made a vision board with some of my student advisees. And now, six months later, I have a visual reminder sitting next to our kitchen table. I see it at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
This year, my priorities are family, wellness, service, self-understanding, and writing. I'm happy to report that I am able to look at this vision board each day and feel a sense of accomplishment.
Yoga is still a part of my daily life and I have been making time to twist and smile almost every day. One of the many things that I love about my practice is how it ebbs and flows. There have been times this year when I felt the need to practice at home on my own. There have been a times when my mat felt like a life raft in a storm. Last week, my mat was a place for laughter and pride as I tried a new pose. What I've learned is that the lessons will come to me when I'm ready for them, but that it's not up to me to decide when I'm ready. My job is to show up.
I've also been reflecting daily on living within my truth and how this is naturally connected to being a force for good and creating a legacy that will help others.
I believe this with 100% of my being and it's something I'm trying to embody in my choices each day. I know so many people who seem disconnected from their vocational joy, and I feel so strongly that part of my path is to help people find that joy again.
As we prepare to shift into a new season, my intentions for this summer are to:
What are your summer intentions?
Have a great Monday!
Because I always blog with a very specific idea in mind, I thought that this Friday I would just riff and reflect for a change. If you can't riff and reflect on a blog, where can you?
This Friday I'm reflecting on...
What's on your mind this Friday?
I've been stumbling on some great reads lately. This week I finished two books and continued a third. First up, The Dinner by Herman Koch.
I've heard a lot about this book AND Gillian Flynn, the author of Gone Girl, wrote a blurb for it. This is definitely a page turner; I finished it in a couple of days. It's also unlike anything I've ever read before. What's really interesting is that the main story takes place over one dinner, which I thought was really clever.
I will warn you that I recognize this book as an acquired taste. A friend of mine (hi Sue) said this about The Dinner:
"I did NOT like that book."
I'm not sure like is the best word to describe how I feel about it either. I think I'll say that I appreciated it. You know when you read a book and it's so good that you can't put it down but at the same time, you don't want it to end? This book wasn't like that. I did want it to end because I wanted to find out what happened but I'm not sure how much I was enjoying the experience of reading it. There's a really dark, twisted story in these pages that is unsettling at best and completely disturbing at worst. If you read it, let me know your opinion. I'm curious.
I had better luck with Jennifer McMahon's The Winter People. This is a straight-up spooky ghost story. I'm glad I read this in the spring because if I'd read it in winter I think I would've been afraid to go outside. It's about how far we'd go to bring back a lost loved one. I finished it in a few days. Definite page-turner and very well-written. There was one plot point that bugged me so I couldn't give it five stars but it's a strong four.
Last but not least, I'm still reading Gabrielle Bernstein's Spirit Junkie. This week I'm reflecting on relationships. Gabby, and the Course in Miracles she teaches with, contend that all relationships are assignments. People arrive in our lives to teach us something we need to learn.
This is a tough one. I could feel my egoic mind pounce as soon as I read those words.
"THAT person wasn't sent to teach ME anything. They're just a jerk/moron/pain in the ***."
My reaction reminds me of this Pema Chodron quote:
So this week, I'm reflecting on the lessons that might have been put in my path through my relationships with others. Can I stay open to the lesson with passing judgment?
What do you think? Are relationships lessons or are they totally random?
Happy reading and Happy Hump Day!
I'm a huge believer in self-knowledge. My love of teen magazine quizzes transformed into more in-depth analysis as I got older. In the college success courses I teach, self-exploration is often one of the best parts of the class. I love going along for the ride as my students discover how they learn best and then create a study system based on their unique learning personality.
It's my belief that a lot of the pain and strife in the world comes from people who don't understand themselves so they try to fit their square peg self into a round hole life.
One of the biggest epiphanies of my life has been to recognize and accept my introversion. American culture is predominantly extroverted so introverts can often be made to feel weird or deficient. I've grown to accept my need to spend more time alone than with others. I know that it's okay to decline social invitations, even if I'm available, because I'd rather stay home. I've learned that being an introvert gives me a very unique view of the world that is positive and necessary.
Trying to be something we're not wastes precious energy that could be put toward more worthwhile endeavors. It's like writing your name with your non-dominant hand. Go ahead and try it. Notice how it feels, Then switch back to your other hand. See how easy that is? Knowing yourself leads to that kind of ease when you move through your world. It doesn't prevent pain, but it can prevent suffering.
Set aside some time on this Monday to learn about you. Here are two of my favorite self-assessments that you can complete in less than thirty minutes.
Click Here for Multiple Intelligences Self-Assessment
I'm a big fan of Howard Gardner. We could do the world a lot of good by expanding our definitions of intelligence. For the record, my two highest intelligences tend to be language and self.
Click Here for Human Metrics Jung Typology Test
This test will give you an idea of your Myers-Briggs type, which is based on Jungian theory. I am a proud INFJ which means that I am introverted, I prefer big pictures over details, I am led by my heart before my mind, and I like to complete things rather than leave them open to possibility. One of the things I like to remember is that these typologies are based on a spectrum. For example, the opposing preference across from the Feeling (F) is Thinking (T). I hover around 50/50 on this part of the typology, so I just barely prefer Feeling to Thinking. I probably use my Thinking preference quite a bit in my daily life. However, I'm more strongly Introverted (about 75%).
I'd love it if you report back. What are your highest forms of intelligence? What's your type?
This blog is focused on exploring ideas around yoga, career, intuition, purpose, and passion. Please leave a comment. Namaste.