I finished a book today that had me pondering my growing up and the way I have defined myself over time.
Did I define myself by what I wasn’t? Comparing myself to my siblings, friends, my parents? Do I do the same thing now?
When I experiment with sentences that begin with “I am not..,” I feel confined by a sense of deficit or loss.
But when I use “I am” statements, I definitely sense more possibility born out of being a starting place rather than an ending.
The hard part is that it is easy for me to jump to the I-am-nots faster than the I-ams.
Try it out – what statements come to mind for you?
The book is The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown
I’ve been on my own the past few days; Mike has been out of town. Usually I’m the one who leaves him at home. The quiet of being home alone is what is most remarkable to me. I’ve listened to the radio and watched things on my IPAD but a lot of the time I’ve just been reading, puttering around cooking and cleaning or working on my computer. There are a lot of sounds I don’t get to notice when there is another occupant doing all of those things too. I’ve been more aware of outdoor sounds coming in my window and movement of our upstairs neighbor. Our cat is pretty sneaky but I seem to know when he enters and leaves the room.
I will be glad to see Mike when he returns tomorrow but it has been wonderful to be in so much silence.
We are an image saturated society and so when I am asked to design or choose an image to represent an idea or a narrative, I have countless resources at my fingertips. However, the most essential resource is my own mind’s eye. I try putting myself into the viewer’s place and “reading” the image as though I didn’t design or choose it. I pay attention to where my eyes go, what emotional response is initiated, what story or thoughts come to mind or begin to connect.
And then I go away from it and come back later and pay attention again.
At my regular cleaning a month ago, the dentist found one of my molars was cracked so I scheduled the series of appointments needed for getting a crown. Today was the day for the first part of this process. I’d forgotten how much numbing would be required but knew that having my face and tongue feel 4 times their normal size was a good thing in this case.
“So you realize you need a soft dinner tonight, right?” the dentist asked.
“Yup. Edaleen milkshake,” I slobbered with my clumsy mouth remembering the new ice cream shop I’d passed on my way in.
do you remember when you first learned about trust – learned the meaning of it, experienced it, exercised it?
I know I was trusting people long before I actually knew what it meant. I trusted my parents, my teachers, my Girl Scout leaders, my siblings, my friends.
And then there came a point in time when someone put their trust in me and the world flipped on its side and I finally really knew what trust meant! I was on the other side of the worm hole and trust was a real thing.
How often do you think about trust now – now that you are older and take so much trust for granted?
I love being made aware of trust – of the faith I really do have in others and in institutions and in myself.
I am holding space for you
truth be told,
and truth it is
you are already in this space with me
you just aren’t aware
and it doesn’t matter,
your awareness doesn’t matter.
to hold on
until you know too
in this space
I would not want to be a high school teacher working while this challenging political arena prevails. My hat goes off to Nick Gregory, a high school social studies teacher who posted this open letter and concluded with this statement:
“Mr. T………, you are a reminder that progress is not dependent on a specific political party or the ambitions of one man. Advancing American democracy demands a citizenry that is vigilant and informed.
You, Mr. T……., are the pathetic reminder that we needed a pathetic reminder.”
(You see I don’t even want his name to appear in my blog.)
Thank you Mr. Gregory for naming a nail and pounding it vigorously on the head.
Our school community is lifting up “sense of belonging” as a focus for the next few years. Some staff members questioned this as a need at our school because they feel their students already have this and they shared examples from their classrooms. I agree the actions and statements from their students express feelings of safety and acceptance but I think there is more to really knowing one belongs to a community.
I think the difference was expressed today by one of our church members who is serving as a mentor to a middle school boy going through confirmation class. This man shared that for him being in this community is being “in-family” with everyone in it and by this he means he was committed to offering, growing, supporting and sustaining whatever it took for anyone in that community to be loved and looked after.
My opinion about establishing a real “sense of belonging” is that for me to create it for someone else, I have to accept that I belong to that person – fully. So in the case of my students I can’t pass up or pass on opportunities to support them personally, their families, other teachers who work with them, other agencies who may come into contact with them, and future systems they may move on to. I need to commit to the well being of our community as a whole and belong to it as much as I want it to belong to me.
background: we had some extraordinarily hot days last week – 84 in April in the Pacific Northwest, record breaking temperatures. Tar on our new playground got sticky and our custodial team decided to put sand on it hoping it would lessen it’s tackiness. Of course my students found their way there….
what is it about sand that compels us:
and tarry in
this most essential creation
of our universe?
Tomorrow I will be teaching an after school art class. Teaching isn’t really the right word… “I will be hosting a workshop space and presenting materials and ideas for projects students can do with fabric, paint and other stuff.”
I’m excited to work with students older than the age of 5. I’m excited to have some time over the course of 4 weeks for creativity, experimentation and learning to take place.
I’m a little worried about how the time will go tomorrow but I know that after tomorrow I will have more information about the students, what they are looking forward to and how we can do that together.