Ins and Outs

I have always been fascinated with doors and windows. I perpetually take pictures of them. I love them. I want to know what is hiding inside.

My friend pointed out that we are naturally drawn to ins and outs. I think he is right.

I am learning the ins and outs of being honest about my needs this week. I think I have a couple of potentially tough conversations headed my way, but I think I am finally ready to have them – no matter what the outcome may be.

I have no way of knowing what is on the other side until I walk through…

Authentic Allowing

This has been a trying couple of weeks. Lots of stress and moments where I just wanted to throw in the towel. However, good things have happened too. I have seen in my professional and personal life that hard work does elicit results and progress, if you hang in there and wait it out.

I started back to school this week with a class on Tuesday evening and a class today. Both turned out to be good, but it did add to my stress level. Today in class we did a color personality test and it was reaffirming of who I really am as a person. I am a bright blue, with secondary green. Which means that I am relationship based, feeling, honest, compassionate and creative. I also crave authenticity and see the potential in people and help to cultivate it.

I have been trying to cultivate my own authenticity for a long time, but I wasn’t really owning up to who I am. Instead of cultivating my authenticity, I became very skilled at perceiving what others needed or wanted me to be and building what I presented to the world based on that design – all the while becoming disconnected from who I really am.

I worked hard to heal some of that last year and I have been tested with maintaining those healthy changes in the last couple of weeks. Last weekend, I had a tough conversation with one of my best friends. Over the course of the day we both laid our deepest fears on the table and I think we were able to help each other through the process of fighting our dragons and seeing the shadow sides of ourselves.

Today, I was feeling uneasy about the state of one of my relationships. Again, I was not honoring what I was feeling inside and experiencing, but instead taking other well-meaning perspectives as truth about the situation. One of my other best friends was able to reconnect me to my honest, authentic feelings about the way this relationship is progressing and that gave me peace.

I am learning a lot about myself in this relationship and when I am honest, it is developing exactly the way it should. I am being present and I will have to make changes if it starts to progress in a way that is not healthy for me, but for right now it is what I need and I am embracing the not knowing for now.

I am skilled at designing and orchestrating how I think things should go in my relationships and in my life. I occurred to me this last week that I have exerted control over all my relationships for almost ten years. I have designed a life of little risk and minimal involvement in situations that would lead to rejection or success.

Now, I am in a dance of getting to know someone for who they are by what I experience and what they tell/show me instead of deciding who they are based on my own agenda. It is still scary and a large part of me wants to run again, but I am choosing to remain in the fire of my fear and allow the relationship to grow without my design. I am not a bystander, since I am participating, but I am surrendering to the process this time around.

This relationship might not look just right to someone from the outside, yet I know in my heart that it is what we both need right now. I am also understanding that those needs change and so will we. Whether we change and evolve within the walls of this relationship or go our separate ways is not really a concern in this moment. I am enjoying the time we spend together and learning about myself and him as we go.

I also spent three hours revising a short story last night. I wrote it three years ago and even though I liked it, I knew it needed a lot of work. I was looking for another document last night when I ran across it. I decided to re-read it and suddenly I was reworking sentences and tightening things up. It felt wonderful to be shaping a story again and getting each word right. It energized me and inspired me to write more.

That is my authentic self – a bright blue with green undertones who is a storyteller, teacher and healer. I need to be seen and heard, I need to be touched and my spirit embraced. I need to laugh and learn and grow.

Tears and Truth

Today has been a lovely, but difficult day. I had a wonderful time with one of my best friends and her daughter. Amidst the fun, I also had a difficult conversation. There were tears and truth. It was hard to talk about, but I’m glad we did.

I am a beautiful mess and I have lots more to write about but I need to process it a little bit more first.

I will check back in tomorrow.

Get a Do Over

Today was just one of those days where you wish there was a “Do Over” button.

I was super sick yesterday with an awful stomach bug. I was up all night on Monday and sick most of Tuesday. This morning, I woke up to bad winds, 20 degree temperatures and horrible roads. We had a staff meeting at 7:30 am, so I left at 6:35. The roads were terrible. Tons of accidents and bad visibility. I pulled into the school parking lot at 7:30 (my usual commute is 20 minutes) and I was the only car. A couple of minutes later, a few other teachers arrived, but many teachers were in accidents and didn’t arrive until 9:00 am. Needless to say, we did not have our meeting this morning.

I had my work computer and personal computer in my backpack, so I put some of my other important things in a separate bag to take to school. Of course in my rush to get out the door, I left the bag in the entry way. This normally wouldn’t be a huge deal, but today I was observed and my lesson plans were sitting at home in the entry way. I also had to scrap the lesson I had planed because students were missing due to the weather. The actual lesson wasn’t bad, but some of the students have slipped into old behavior issues and there was a lot of back and forth with one student in particular.

It was frustrating to be observed on a day when I was off my game. I felt horrible and the observation just made me feel worse. I know it is hard to impress this observer, but I am so hard on myself and hate disappointing anyone. I felt disappointed in myself. I am writing about it and getting it out, then I’ll need to try to move on.

On a happier note, the afternoon turned around when I had a great science lesson with a student. He worked hard and our experiment was a success. It helped to see his joy.

The roads home were not nearly as bad as they were this morning, thank goodness.

I want to thank my co-workers for doing their best to point out my strengths and make me feel better. It was a crappy day to be observed, but I have to suck it up and move on. I was still a good teacher today, even if it wasn’t evident to the observer.

Now I’m going to sit with my heater and try to get my mind onto something else.We don’t have special “Do Over” buttons at our disposal, but we can keep our ego in check, be kind to ourselves and try again to do better tomorrow.

Back in the Saddle Again

Today was the first day back from break with students. It was a long day because I had so much to do since I really went on a vacation over break and did not do any work. I’m also dragging because I could not sleep last night. It was kind of like when I was a student in elementary school and it was the first day back to school. I finally got up after rolling around for an hour and did stuff around my house at 12:30 am. I got about four hours of sleep.

I am definitely going to bed soon! The kids were super sleepy today and I was yawning right along with them.

I have been working on my house a lot and it is looking like it’s an extension of myself. It has been homey ever since I moved in, but it felt kind of empty when I took down my Christmas decorations.  I hung a bunch of artwork last night and I am really enjoying seeing it up on the walls again.

I am still reading Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening as a daily meditation. Today’s entry was very profound to me and reflective of my 2011 journey. The essay talks about a woman who found a hardened sponge and walked out into the ocean. She let the sponge soak up the salt water and watched as the sponge unfolded and a fish came alive and swam out to sea. The secret of life, as Mark Nepo writes, is to awaken and free what has been asleep. It really is too beautiful to summarize so here goes:

Everything remains hard and compressed and illegible until, like this woman, waist deep in the ocean, we take our sleeping heart in our hands and plunge it tenderly into the life we are living – Mark Nepo

A big focus for 2012 is to keep finding ways to open my heart and  be aware and present everyday. I want my heart to soften like the sponge in the salt water. I want the peace and joy of a soul unencumbered by anything hard or compressed.

Goodnight 🙂

Hello 2012! Nice to Meet You

Happy New Year! The smiling pig says it all, I think.

2011 went out with a bang and I was happy to ring in 2012 with Prince singing in my ear, dancing with some friends. I was happy to be out on the town, living it up in the present moment.

I am a bit sad that this is my last free night of Winter Break. I have a lot to get done tonight to get ready for school on Tuesday. I’ll be in meetings half the day and in my classroom the other half. It will be good to get me back into the swing a bit before we get students back. Winter Break was amazing. I needed it. I am gearing up for a busy spring semester and these two weeks have been bliss – staying up late, sleeping in, seeing friends and family and getting some quiet time to just be with myself and check in.

Today, I really slept in since I didn’t get home until 3:30 am. I made a good breakfast, ran some errands and had a nice afternoon with some friends. Tonight I think I’m going to journal and watch a movie.

I’m excited to see what 2012 has in store. 2011 was full of surprises and even though it was sad to say goodbye, I am grateful for all the opportunities that it offered me. I can only hope and intend that 2012 has more pleasant surprises, opportunities and dreams come true.

I hope 2012 brings all of you lucky endeavours and beautiful days.

Cheers!

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