What’s in a New Year?

It’s just a day.  New Year’s Eve…Like a birthday, it only has meaning that we humans assign to it.  I just turned 54 a couple of weeks ago, and that didn’t seem old at all until my mom told me this weekend that she was 57 when she and my dad began their retirement.  And I remember that she was OLD when that happened.  So, I guess I like being old.  I KNOW I like being old. I have time to sit and think and ponder and breathe and wonder and love.  Which brings me to the point of this post.  My word of the year.

It is stillness.  STILLNESS.  

Last year’s word was adventure.  After a year of adventure, one appreciates some stillness.

Facebook friends add much to my life, and it is on Facebook that I learned about Word of the Year.  From a “friend” named Molly, who I do not know in any way know outside of Facebook – it was just some little twist that occurred because we had the same name.  I can’t remember the details and am not in the mood to make them up.  I have met flesh and bone friends in similar ways.

I like words.  So much so that the Online Etymology Dictionary was the first bookmark on my iPad.  So I was immediately attracted to the idea of Word or the Year.  It’s something of an alternative to the dreaded New Year’s Resolutions.  Which are useful only as a boost to the revenues of 24-hour Fitness, Weight Watchers,  Nicorette gum and Kale farmers.  Word of the Year works like this.   Before the end of December, you begin to ponder your word.  You do not try, or struggle or effort.  You allow the word to find you.  After it finds you, it is recommended that you learn more about your word, including the origins.  Personally, I start the process by reflecting on the current word.  Oh, yeah, post your word on Facebook or somewhere else to help you remember it, if you are old like me.  At some point around March, I usually forget my word, but by then it doesn’t matter because it’s become part of my thinking

Adventure – I remember choosing it because I wanted to allow myself to experience newly.  And I did.  Beginning 2014 with the experience of the Landmark Forum, I created possibilities and enrolled others.  My adventures have been close to home – more adventures of the spirit than of activity.  The result has been confidence and courage that was previously hidden.  And a willingness to feel deeper connection to others.

So, now, stillness.  

I considered other words.  Stillness came out on top – and here’s why.  In my research, I found out that the phrase “still, small voice” is from the Bible.  Yeah, I’m sure most of you already knew that.  It is from Kings.  It talks about the lord being not in the mighty wind, or the fierce fire, or the earthquake – but in a still small voice.  And I will spend time in 2015 listening to that still, small voice.  It comes from stillness.  Not necessarily of body, or even mind, but stillness of spirit.  Holding a place where intuition can sneak in around, over or through the noise.  Ahhhhh.

I will let you know how it’s going.

Puff the Magic Dragon

Time to start up the blog again.  I grew up listening to my parent’s music, and Peter, Paul and Mary were some of my favorites.  I recently bought a Peter, Paul and Mary album on iTunes, and it’s wonderful.  For many years, I have had a pretty strong emotional reaction to “Puff the Magic Dragon”.  It’s the line “a dragon lives forever, but not so little boys…”  Today, it struck me, that I can feel around here a bit and probably uncover something.  Quite obviously it has something to do with fear of growing up.  That is not a new concept for me, but there is more to it.  It’s a separation thing.  “Without his lifelong friend, Puff could not be brave.”  I never believed in lifelong friends.  I could do it myself, and I could do it better.  That belief does not serve me.  Can’t beat it away with a hammer.  Can’t use dynamite.  Gotta let is slide off like a rotten mushroom.  Like water off a duck’s back.  Like hot fudge on mint chip ice cream.  Easy.

5 days a week my body is a temple. The other two  it's an amusement park._1314001101155

IN other news, I’ve recently been advised to treat my body as a temple.  Which I am enjoying playing with.   Hot baths and candles and broccoli and mac and cheese.  My body loves me.  I love it.  And with a little intention and focus, it’s fun to treat myself. Hot stone massage tomorrow!

Oh, and I think there’s another thing about Puff.  Part of my not growing up.  It’s because it says “not so little boys”.  I lived as a boy in my head for the first few years of my life.  I remember the day my mom told me I had to wear a shirt to go outside, and my brother didn’t have to.  And I decided that my life was now limited.  I really was a girl, and that sucked.

Here’s to the beliefs that are floating away today…that my life is limited…that I can do it better by myself…that my body is a garbage pail.

Hello abundance!  Hello cooperative creation!  Hello temple of myself.  Feels good.

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A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days – a sobering lesson learned

This is so helpful. It keeps me strong in my desire to get kids up and talking.

Granted, and...

The following account comes from a veteran HS teacher who just became a Coach in her building. Because her experience is so vivid and sobering I have kept her identity anonymous. But nothing she describes is any different than my own experience in sitting in HS classes for long periods of time. And this report of course accords fully with the results of our student surveys. 

I have made a terrible mistake.

I waited fourteen years to do something that I should have done my first year of teaching: shadow a student for a day. It was so eye-opening that I wish I could go back to every class of students I ever had right now and change a minimum of ten things – the layout, the lesson plan, the checks for understanding. Most of it!

This is the first year I am working in a school but not teaching…

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Wow, it’s day 25

I love my job because I love the people.  I love the kids.  I love the parents. I love the teachers. I love the custodians. School is the best place to be. Well, for a workplace it’s one of the best, anyway. One reason is hope. When surrounded by youngin’s  every day, hope is usually easy to find. They want stuff.  All kinds of stuff. They see stuff. They expect a good life. And that makes me know that life is good.

Oh, it can get crazy and feel hard and I cry sometimes.  But that’s life. I feel my emotions now. I don’t hide them nearly as much as in the past. And it balances to more good than bad. More great than rotten. More hope and joy than despair. I love it.

Day 16 of loving my job

Thanks to a good friend at work, I’m back to sharing my love with whomever decides to read this.  I am pleased as punch that I decided to love my job, because it is really loving me back.  It’s fun staying in the same job and watching it transform.  One of the things I like about teaching is that it constantly changes, one 50 minute period at a time.  The rituals are there, and are comforting to all of us – teachers and students alike.  And also, we are free to think and grow and try new things and grow and fail and try again.  Our school has a new principal who is encouraging me to mix things up and try new things and I am taking her at her word and doing that.  We have people at the district office who are encouraging us to spend more time building community, and encouraging human interaction, and are introducing us to some tools to do that.  And I am embracing it as it feels right to me, and it’s new and it feels good.  A whole bunch of kids today were clamoring for me to show them how to convert a mixed number to an improper fraction.  That is good.  And I got to say a whole bunch of times – ” see, this would be so much easier if you knew your times tables.”  And I have a way for them to learn it.  And so it goes.

Day 4 – Lovin’ my body AND my job

I appreciate my growing ability to connect with others. Each day unfolds with such perfection, sometimes peaceful, then exhilarating, then interesting. On other days it’s ferocious, then hilarious and then sad.  Love my job-best first week ever. I love cycles. I love repetition. I love randomness. I love Middle School. I fit. 

I also want to remember that I still love my body. Thinking and loving in new ways is comfortable. It’s like becoming a ” bootiful butterfly”,

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Day 3 – still loving it

Here’s the deal  Everybody should do a 30 day love blog.  Or journal, whatever.  It is so darn awesome.  I’m not serious, because I know that each individual has their own path, and this is simply mine – the right path for Molly.  And I do very much love my path.  But your path is cool too.  But not quite as cool as mine.  I’ll shut up now.  About that.  

I love my job because I get to connect.  With the funnest people on the planet – 7th graders.  Yes, I know funnest isn’t a word.  I don’t care and neither do they.  I am contented and peaceful.  We are going to learn so much this year, and with so little effort.  We will “fun” our way through.  What’s not to love?

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Day 2 of loving my job

I want to start by loving my friend for a moment.  I have awesome friends, and last night I got to hang out with one of them, and he listened to me go on and on about so many things.  And I listened to him.  We laughed and cried and pushed the reset button on our friendship.  I mention it because it is another result of the new mind paths that I am creating with my loving blog.

Now, my job.  I loved it a lot today.  I talked with a boy about some behavior, and he told me he has anger problems.  We did not solve the anger problems today.  But we also did not make them worse.  And I think he believed that I am on his side.  Then, in 6th period, a discussion began comparing the attractiveness of Dora and Barbie.  My heart sang because Dora was the clear favorite.  It came up because of a question on a “getting to know you” worksheet asking about favorite comic strip.  Well, it’s 2014 and kids don’t read comic strips much.  Who even reads the newspaper any more?  It was like talking about listening to radio shows back when I was in 7th grade.  I knew people had done it, but I certainly hadn’t.  I just love traveling the leading edge with them each year.  

Staying in the moment, listening with both ears and staying open, loving and compassionate was today.  And, my plan for tomorrow.  

 

Day 2 of loving my job

I want to start by loving my friend for a moment.  I have awesome friends, and last night I got to hang out with one of them, and he listened to me go on and on about so many things.  And I listened to him.  We laughed and cried and pushed the reset button on our friendship.  I mention it because it is another result of the new mind paths that I am creating with my loving blog.

Now, my job.  I loved it a lot today.  I talked with a boy about some behavior, and he told me he has anger problems.  We did not solve the anger problems today.  But we also did not make them worse.  And I think he believed that I am on his side.  Then, in 6th period, a discussion began comparing the attractiveness of Dora and Barbie.  My heart sang because Dora was the clear favorite.  It came up because of a question on a “getting to know you” worksheet asking about favorite comic strip.  Well, it’s 2014 and kids don’t read comic strips much.  Who even reads the newspaper any more?  It was like talking about listening to radio shows back when I was in 7th grade.  I knew people had done it, but I certainly hadn’t.  I just love traveling the leading edge with them each year.  

Staying in the moment, listening with both ears and staying open, loving and compassionate was today.  And, my plan for tomorrow.  IMG_0543