Trick of the Light

One thing I will say about being a teacher: time is slipping away even more than it used to. I can’t believe it’s November. I’m not sure where the days go.

Things are good. I know I am in the right place because today was a long, super busy day with an intense IEP meeting and a three-hour training after school and somehow I am still happier and more content than I have ever been. I feel very lucky that I get to work with one of my best friend (even though I don’t see her as often as you’d expect) and a handful of awesome teachers that make me laugh until I cry everyday. Especially, the other special ed teacher, I think I can handle the pressure of the job so much better because we don’t take ourselves or each other too seriously. It makes all the difference.

I am torn because I feel like I have been slacking for this project. I’m still working on myself and staying present, but haven’t had much time to work on any specific projects lately. That said, I’m still progressing in big ways.  I haven’t been this comfortable in my own skin in close to ten years. I am accepting myself and taking better care of myself than I have in a long time. I am being honest and presenting my authentic self in all situations and not censoring or hiding anymore. Again, it makes all the difference.

At the beginning of this project, I felt like I was pretending. Trying to trick myself into believing that I mattered or using all the tools in the box to keep myself in the present, but I can honestly say that now the tricks are unnecessary. I have changed. I have grown. I still daydream and think about the future or the past, but I am in the moment so much more than I ever thought possible. I am living in my body again, not just in terms of exercising more, but really living centered in my body – my bones.

Since I am less in my head and more balanced in my body, soul, heart and spirit – I am also losing weight. I haven’t been weighing myself much but my clothes are fitting looser and the people around me are noticing a difference. I know I have lost at least 15 pounds. It isn’t a ton, but it is a big step in the right direction. I am also not feeling compelled to over eat, which is such a gift. I was concerned about living alone again because this was such a big issue in the past. However, I am not finding it an issue at all. I am not eating perfect all the time, but most of the time I am making my own meals and eating healthy. I am paying attention to my actual hunger signals and not just eating out of boredom or loneliness.

I am going to brainstorm a couple of things I want to tackle before the end of the year to make sure this project ends on a successful note. I will let you know what I come up with.

Thanks for listening and following me on this journey.

Good night.

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Season Change

Sorry about last week. I had parent/teacher conferences and crashed when I got home. This was the view from my front door last Monday. Things changed quickly and now most of the leaves are now fallen.  We have had some nice weather for a couple of days and then cold temps and yucky snowy roads. It was miserable getting to work today, but my ride home was just wet. I wish we could have kept the beautiful fall for a bit longer, but it was lovely while it lasted.

Here is the view from the lake in my apartment complex. I have been enjoying walking here. I am sad to have the colder weather make it harder to be outside. It has been very good for me to have such a wonderful place to live and be active. I have also been cooking well for myself. This was not the case when I lived alone before. I’ll close the blog with some pictures of my most recent culinary masterpieces!

I haven’t had much time for present project…it is still a major focus, but a lot of other stuff has come into my view again as well. I have been working hard to get my book ready to print again and figure out what promotion elements need to be put in place. I have been making things much harder on myself than need be…as I discovered a template file of the book tonight and I have spent over a week reformatting it in another file. Oh well – sometimes I get the cart in front of the horse!

I might have some more present project insight on Saturday, but for now I’ll say goodnight.

The Sausage King of Chicago

I normally want to begin with one of my own images, but since Abe Froman was the inspiration for our winning night at Trivia last night, I thought this was appropriate.

It’s been a pretty good week so far. School hasn’t been quite as crazy as last week. I have been exercising almost everyday. There is a beautiful lake at my apartment complex and I’ve enjoyed walking around it, looking at the beautiful leaves and enjoying the crisp air.

The last couple of days have been some of my best teaching days as well. I think I am feeling a greater sense of confidence in so many areas of my life. One of the many blessings of this project has been learning how to be present in my own skin. There are still things that bother me about myself, but the scale is tipping more toward acceptance these days. I know I still have a ways to go, but I feel closer to being whole than I have in many, many years.

Tonight, I came home from my walk and made a pretty snazzy dinner for myself. I had leeks that needed cooked and I found a new recipe online. It didn’t turn out to be super tasty, but I tried something new. At least I’m cooking for myself. I was really bad about cooking when I lived alone before. I would mainly eat microwave dinners or fast food – lots of junk.

Eating pretty healthy most of the time is helping my energy level and body. I am noticing that I am getting smaller as well. Not anything to big, but my clothes are fitting looser. I wore a leather jacket last weekend that wouldn’t zip last fall. I also have more work to do with my body image issues, yet I know that I couldn’t have put myself out there like I did on Saturday night without all this work. That wouldn’t have been a reality even a couple of months ago.

I am going to continue to be open to all of this. All the changes, all the shifting – literally and figuratively.

I am also going to continue having fun, being silly, laughing and being authentic.

Danke Schoen and goodnight.

Finding My Way Home

Hello blog!

I have had so much to write about and just haven’t found a free minute to get it down. I don’t think I will get it all down in this one post, but it was time to jump back in.

I am loving my new job and my new home. I feel like my whole life has turned upside down, in a wonderful way. I haven’t been this much at peace in a long time. I am still a bit nervous about money, but I know that fear is connected to old days. I think I need a couple more months of success under my belt and that should help show me that those days are over.

This has been a stressful week, but just in the sense that I have had so much to do at school. The pace has definitely picked up and there is no stopping this train. I am grateful to be on the ride.

I am enjoying being on my own again. I love my mom and dad and I am thankful that I had a place to land, but it is SO wonderful to be in my own spot.  I have felt stuck and slipping like I was living in quicksand for  years. It feels good to have seen some reward from the hard work these last two years.

Moving was more emotional than I expected it to be. I think seeing all the mess from my old life was too much. At first, I wasn’t sure I would be strong enough to go through all of it again, but I realized quickly just how much I had changed since January. I was able to easily let go of all sorts of stuff – clothes, books, shoes, kitchen stuff. Anything that didn’t suit me anymore had to go. I had an easy time letting that old me go. Like shedding my skin, it didn’t fit anymore and it all fell away. I am the changing leaves of fall, I am letting the past die to make way for new buds of hope.

This last weekend I was able to go to Buena Vista. I wanted to catch some of the autumn leaves, but we had a cold snap on Saturday. It was still beautiful and made for some interesting pictures. It was unbelievable to experience multiple seasons at once. I also got some good rest. That mountain house is like a sedative. I think my soul just recognizes that I can unwind when I walk through the doors.

I have been making good decisions about my own care. I have been eating well, exercising and getting at least 7 hours of rest most nights. I will say that this is happening more often than not. I also am being super brave this weekend. I will be attending my first singles event here in Denver. A lock and key party. It is very Freud and I hope it will be very fun. I will post all about it this weekend.

I’m going to wait to post until Sunday this week because of the event. I will be posting regular again starting now. I have missed documenting my journey here. I know I have been missing in action, but I have still been evolving!

Talk soon.

The Rain is Gone

My parents have been up on the western slope for a week and I’m super jealous. I was only able to go up for two days this summer. I think I am going to go up for Labor day which will be nice.

I thought about posting on Saturday and never did get on the computer to do so. I ran a bunch of errands and went shopping. I took myself to a movie.

It was a nice weekend, but I’m sorry I forgot to post. I need to get back to my grid in September. I kinda let some things fall away in late July/early August  but now that I am settling into my new teacher life, I think I can get back to some of the things I was tackling with this project.

I can say that I have been making healthier choices for myself and that feels good. The fridge is stocked with fresh fruits and veggies and I have been sleeping better.

Right now I am driving about an hour both ways so I am hoping to find a place much closer to school and move in September. A friend lives in a great apartment complex not to far away from work and I’m going to go check it out this week.

It’s an amazing peaceful feeling to have things in my life falling into place. I am much more at ease these days then I have been in a long time. I’m also having an easier time setting boundaries with people in my life. I still care and love them, but I am not running in to put out their fires any more. The part of me that used to be is not quite gone – I still feel a bit of guilt about not rushing to the rescue, but that part of me is getting smaller and smaller.

I am still dealing with the disappointments of another unrequited love, but it is so much more complicated and simple than what the stereotype of unrequited love implies. There are moments when we are together when I know without a shadow of a doubt that someone even better is headed my way, but there are also other moments when I am shaken by how much I care for him and I am floored by our connection. The beauty of it is that we found each other this time around and I believe with all my being that we will make our way back to each other again.

In the Book of Awakening, Mark Nepo talks about getting bogged down in disappointment of any kind – Sometimes we can’t get what we want. While this can be disappointing and painful, it is only devastating if we stop there. The world thrives on endless possibilities. In contradiction to the endless number of eggs that spawn a fish and the endless number of cells that blossom to heal a wound, we can hold out the one thing we want as the only food. From here, crisis and desperation are a short step. It becomes a sorry occupation, beating oneself up for the one seed that didn’t take. For once we pour ourselves into loving another person, it seems as if they take who we are with them when they go. In truth, they take a deep part of us, but what feeds the heart from within is endless, and everything that is living heals.

It is a prophetic truth that even the most broken eventually heals. I am healing in deeper ways than I expected.

Presto Chango

This picture doesn’t connect to this post much, but I took it about a month ago and hadn’t had a moment to use it in a post yet.

A lot has changed since I last posted. Not my M.I.A post from this weekend, but a real post. I was getting pretty down and slumpy, not knowing why things had just stalled out. I have worked super hard during this masters program and had felt that I made good impressions, but nothing seemed to be happening in the job market for me. I was applying and applying, but not getting calls. I knew that the teaching market was competitive, but every time I heard that someone had been hired, I was happy for them but I seemed to sink a little deeper into despair.

And then…

Everything changed. There was one excruciating week when I didn’t know anything, but my life literally changed last Tuesday afternoon. I am officially a teacher. A special education teacher to be exact and it is perhaps the most exciting thing to happen this century. That might be an exaggeration, but I doubt it 🙂

It has been a bit overwhelming because I reported to school the morning after I received the life changing phone call and as a new special ed teacher I have had to be in a bunch of training, but I am not complaining at all!

I know people complain about teaching salaries, but it might as well be a million dollars to me. It will more than afford me a secure living and I have access to amazing insurance benefits, not to mention getting the honor to work with incredible kids everyday.

These last two weeks have been a testament to my personal growth this year. I have always been determined and persistent, I have never been very skilled at sharing and being honest with my struggles. It is incredibly difficult for me to lean on anyone. In my excitement, I posted on Facebook and asked for good vibes to be sent my way. As the week progressed without any word, I almost kicked myself for spouting my mouth at all because then I would have all those people to answer to if I didn’t get it. However, I tried and succeeded to push those thoughts away most of the time.

I also received an immeasurable amount of support from people because I reached out and I honestly believe that it made a big difference. In many ways the process was spiritual and faith affirming. And I was welcomed at my new school with open arms. It felt comfortable from the first day and that is a blessing too.

Even as my frustration was on the rise and I was questioning why things were shaking out the way they were, I knew that I can’t always know what is happening behind the scenes for my greater good. Yesterday, my dad reminded me of how miserable I was before I took this teaching journey. He reminded me about an awful tragedy that seem insurmountable at the time, but that moment when it seemed like my life was crashing down around me, actually was the catalyst I needed to guide me to my true path.

I know there will be challenges, but I could not be happier to have the opportunity to take this job!

Presto Chango – brand new day!

Who’s Exhausted?

I have so much to write and every day I think that I will get too it, but it just hasn’t happened yet.

I owe an explanation and I have a really good excuse…really, I do.

However, I can’t do it right now. I am so tired that I need to pin back my eyelids in order to continue.

So – I will do all my catch up this Wednesday.

Sorry I was M.I.A. for a bit.

Talk soon.

Fire and Rain

I had the chance to go to the mountains for a couple of days this week which was bliss. It wasn’t enough time, but at least I got a couple of days. It rained hard every day, but I was able to go soak in the hot springs and spend some time in Salida. I even found a pair of peacock rain boots at a 2nd hand shop.

I’ve been out of the loop for over a week. Mainly because I’ve been working and in spots without internet. I’ve been kind of inside a shell anyway.

I interviewed for a special education job last Monday. I thought the interview went pretty well and they said they would be trying to make a decision that day or the next. I went home and packed for the mountains full of hope and excitement.

I had a great and relaxing time in Buena Vista with my mom, but never heard anything back about the job. I came home and went to pugsit for my aunt and a couple more days passed with no word. I finally texted my friend who works at the school. She found out that they narrowed it down to four candidates, including me. Two first year teachers and two veterans. They told her that they wanted someone with more experience, but if I made the cut, they had to think I had something special to offer.

That was Thursday.

I still haven’t heard. I hope I’ll know something this week. Part of me feels like I’ve already lost it, but I’ve been trying to squash those thoughts whenever they crop up. I know that I would do a good job. I felt a rapport with the other special ed teacher and I felt I was genuine.

As a friend of mine said in a voice message tonight, if it doesn’t work out it’s only because there is something better waiting for me.

Even though it rained most of the time I was away, I saw little glimmers of light – like this wet flower. It had been weathered a bit, yet it was still a bright spot to remind me that something better is always waiting when the clouds clear out.

I’ll be better about posting this week. I’ll keep you posted about the job.

Cherry On Top

Today has been a wacky day.

I haven’t slept the last two nights. At 6 am this morning, I finally went downstairs and turned on a movie. This afternoon, I thought I might be able to snooze, but no dice. I am in a fog. I hope things change tonight.

I had a wonderful conversation with my friend Warren this afternoon. It was awful and upsetting subject matter, but I am grateful to have a friend who can have these tough conversations. It is real life. It isn’t a sitcom where every issue is neatly tied up at the thirty minute mark as the theme song swells in the background. It helps to be vulnerable and know that the person on the other end loves you enough to listen and offer you support.

One of the biggest gifts of this journey, has been the opportunity to be open and vulnerable. It has been extremely difficult for be to be vulnerable in the past, even with my closest friends. Even though I haven’t made huge gains in all areas of my life, this is one element that I have had success in. I have learned that the world won’t self-destruct if I am vulnerable. I can be broken and survive. I can let people see that.

Sometimes, embracing that honest frustration and sense of brokenness that we feel helps usher in a new feeling. Warren asked me gentle questions and I had to admit that I’m doing all that I can. All of these areas of my life can not be controlled, not by me at least. I expressed that the only thing I can control is my attitude. I can think positive as opposed to negative. I can believe in my own worth and find a way to believe that other people will see that too. I have been worrying and stressing with all my might, but what I really need to do is focus on what I want to happen, not what I don’t. Like the Indigo Girls sing, ” The hardest to learn was the least complicated.”

Even on a day like this, when I think I can possibly have a happy ending, a little ray of light shines through and a prayer seems to be answered. As I was working on dinner I noticed a special ed job at an elementary school where another good friend of mine works. Obviously, nothing to report yet, but it can’t hurt to have someone who loves and supports me in the trenches to vouch for me to the principal. I got what I asked for, with such desperation as I tossed and turned last night – hope.

Now I plan to get a good night’s sleep and have a better attitude tomorrow. There just might be something sweet in it for me after all.

The End of the War

Norbert Rosing – National Geographic

I’ve been nudged toward teaching for a long time now. For years, I skirted the issue, thinking that I could never be happy in a classroom when I was told what and how to teach. I’m still don’t like the idea of being told how or what to teach, but I’ve learned that teaching is what I’ve been put on this earth to do. I love writing books and songs, and I feel I was put here to do that too. But my storytelling is really another form of teaching.

As I write this, it seems egotistical, like Look at me, I’m so smart, but that’s not it at all. I learn just as much, if not more from the students. I am a lifelong student. The world is my classroom. This blog is a class.  My life is one long (I hope) journey of discovery and as I learned today, there is grace and divinity even in the times when I am the most frustrated and confused.

This man I mentioned, who told me I should teach said that I had a natural, nurturing side that wants to help others, but my brand of helping is to teach people how to do for themselves. I thought that was true and wondered how he could possibly know so much about me.

One of my best friends was at a coaching workshop this last week, and he brought this up to me as well. He said, “I want to fix it, you want to help people see it and fix it on their own.” I thought about life coaching about five years ago when I still believed I wouldn’t be happy in a classroom, but I backed away from that idea too because I felt I had no right coaching people when my own life was such a mess.

I’m learning that I end up being a teacher or a coach, even when I don’t mean to. Despite myself.

This summer has been difficult. Not letting myself go to a negative place about the possibility of not getting a job. I try to turn it around, but in so many quiet moments, I know I’m making myself feel miserable and trying to pin it back on me. Your resume isn’t good enough, you don’t have enough connections…The irony of it all is that I ran away from my path for so many years and now I want it more than anything and it’s just outside of my grasp.

However, I was the student today. I learned that I am a teacher, whether I get a job or not. I learn as much as I can everyday and try to make sense of it. Even as I struggle to make sense of it, someone else is learning from my experience and finding peace with themselves. Then I learn an even bigger lesson. That’s the beauty of teaching. The brilliance of being present and aware.

This peace may be fleeting, but I have a feeling that things will work out. I may not get a job in August or I might have so many offers that I won’t know how to pick. I might finish my degree and then try to teach internationally. I do know without a shadow of a doubt that I am doing what I’m here to do and I have one very special person to thank for that today.

Thank you for reminding me that the war can be over, if I want it to be.

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