Tag Archives: school

Winding Down

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I am sad to say that my summer break is almost over. This summer went by faster than any summer in my memory. It was good in many respects, but I am sad to say goodbye to the luxury of time. Recently, I went swimming and had the whole pool to myself. I floated for a long time, and then finished one of my favorite summer books in the sun. 

This summer was busier than I really wanted it to be, and I’m going to have to be cognizant of scheduling less next year. I taught and volunteered. I spent time with people I love. I got a new tattoo. I took lots of naps. I finalized two short stories and submitted them to contests. I ate good food and did a lot of dancing and yoga. I organized my bedroom and bathroom. I was able to slow down. 

I am excited to see students and staff I care about, but am sad to let go of the ease in my days. So often during the school year, I run too hard and over schedule and it leads me to exhaustion. I am hoping to be able to hold on to some of these summer practices, as I move into the coming months. 

There are things that I wanted to accomplish that didn’t happen too.  I wanted to write more and finish a novel this summer. I wanted to complete more short stories and re-organize my whole house. I wanted to find more freelance writing opportunities and make more money. It is easy to berate myself for the things I did not accomplish. Yet I’ve learned it doesn’t serve me to focus on those things. At one point, as I was complaining about not getting more writing finished, a close friend said, “You chose to work and volunteer this summer, so you didn’t have enough time to finish that. You’ll still get it done, just not before you head back to work. ” 

That should have been obvious to me, but it took someone else pointing out that certain choices, made other intentions difficult. And there wasn’t any reason to judge those choices or intentions. When I am honest, I didn’t finish the novel, but I did fix a lot of plot holes and I am in a better position to finish it now. 

I also have continued to build a yoga practice over the summer. I am coming to the mat for exercise, yes, but I also come to the mat to breathe and become more centered. The yoga challenges me and supports me mentally and physically. I still have a long way to go, but I am finding solace in the strength and flexibility I am building. I have come to crave the time spent there, to turn off my brain and slow down. Perhaps yoga is another way of bringing my slowness and intention of summer into my daily life during the busy school year. 

I often feel that my new years observation and reflection revolve around the school year beginning. I think a lot of teachers feel the same. I have been thinking in the past week of all the things I want to do during the year, but in the last couple of days, I have been rethinking building any more “shoulds” into my life. Yes, I want to write more and I am the kind of person who always is loooking for ways to learn and grow, however, this year I want to continue to cultivate a blend of presence and stillness. That means I want to write as often as possible because it’s a part of me and I feel better when I’m doing it. It means that I might also take a nap instead of writing one day because that’s what I need more. I am also going to try my best to continue to let go of my judgment as to what constitutes a good, productive day. 

My personal life is also changing and in anticipation of these changes, I am choosing to build more freedom into my life. A schedule is helpful, but sometimes I get too many things on the calendar and don’t have the freedom to just be spontaneous. I hope I can change that this year. 

Here’s to a beautiful summer that went by too fast. Here’s to a new school year and a continued commitment to whatever feels best to me in the moment. 

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Tears of a Clown

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Today has turned out to be one of those days when you wish you could just get a do-over and stay in bed. It started innocently enough, but soon began to spiral out of control. I’m a sensitive person. This is my truth. Most of the time, I think of it as an asset. It allows me the ability to connect quickly with others, especially babies and animals. I’m sure my sensitivity even makes me a better writer. But at the end of days like today, I wish I had a tough shell.

I’m stressed to the max with more things to accomplish daily than I have hours to do them. I also got a nasty bout of allergy related asthma this week and that slowed me down. More importantly and harder to admit is that it is less than a month until my 30th birthday and I’m increasingly sensitive about not having someone special in my life. I try very hard to remind myself that I am loved by some amazing people and I have accomplished a lot of my dreams already, which feels like success…yet.

My class had a disruptive afternoon and I had to take away Fun Friday which made me feel like a super villain I would write about and then I went to help homework club and was unable to assist a group of fourth graders in long division. For some reason my brain wouldn’t work and I had no ability to help them. It felt like their was absolutely nothing I was capable of doing right today and that hung like a chain around my heart.

I also got a big fat slap in the face of reality today spelling out so clearly that the man I’ve been wanting to connect with is in fact very unavailable and I’m so confused about why I’m attracting these incredible men that I can’t have. I also was very hurt by a person who I know is so ridiculously insensitive – I’m not sure what I expected, however it shook me nonetheless.

I spoke to two of my best friends who did their best to remind me that I’m a worthwhile person, who someone will love eventually and that I shouldn’t compare myself to others because it only leaves me disappointed. We even came up with a proactive action plan to get me out and about and meeting some new people. But as soon as we hung up the phone that dread crept back up again.

THEN… I got into a huge fight with my mom!

I’m telling you – it’s been quite a day. Now I feel like a noodle that’s been rinsed in cold water, sitting limp in the colander. I know I will feel better tomorrow or the next day and in truth, I’m excited to enter my thirties. The idea of having a new decade on the horizon is more uplifting and exciting than devastating. But I sure am happy to see this day drawing to a close. I know in my heart that I will find an amazing human being to share my life with. I also know that I must have some things to attend to if I haven’t met him yet. I need to focus on having fun in the meantime and stop being SO hard on myself. It really is okay that I’m not married or pregnant. It will be okay if I’m not those things by this time next year either. Because even after an agonizing day like today, I know that someday I will be those things and it will be the perfect timing. Just because there’s lack in my life right now doesn’t discount all the great things that are present.

My eyes are swollen, tired and sore. I have more work to do, but it will have to wait.

Good. Night.

P.S. On a lighter note – I’ve been writing and playing the guitar this week, in little bursts, but those little bursts still count. So there :-]

Walking the Tight Rope

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It’s snowing and I woke up with a cold. I have some much to do today and all I can seem to do is sit here and sniffle. School is still going well, but it is becoming all too clear that I bit off more than I could chew. There just isn’t enough hours in the day to get it all done. There are also many big decisions to be made and I have no idea what it the best thing to do. Faith being tested again, I should be used to this by now.

I’ve also been avoiding the writing. I don’t think I’m blocked because I think about the stories constantly, I’m plotting and working through characterization and timelines every other minute…but I’m not actually sitting down to write – which is a problem. Stories can’t come to life if I never let them out of my head.

Last week a disappointed chapter in my life came to an end. I still have some loose ends that need tending to, however it will all be over in a couple of months. I already feel lighter and more positive about the future. I am however still very aware of how many things still need to change in my life. Some areas feel right on track, while other areas are so upside down it’s hard to imagine where to begin to correct them. A lot of the confusion comes back to the fact that I haven’t been writing. I’ve heard/read so many writers talk about how their lives feel unmanageable if they stop writing, they no longer feel sane if the words aren’t getting written. I know what they mean in a sense. I don’t feel anymore insane or sane than normal, but I do feel like I’m going through the motions. When I’m writing everyday I’m able to do everything else in my life better. I’m better. All my parts come together with less effort, I feel at home in my own skin. My head and heart work in harmony instead of operating with different agendas.

Last week I felt compelled to re-read some essays from Natalie Goldberg’s classic Writing Down the Bones. I read about writing with new eyes and I heard Natalie’s wisdom with new ears and an open heart. She speaks of practice, of writing like a commitment to a spiritual practice like one’s committment to meditation. She also talks of the importance of turning off the inner critic and editor. I realized that I am stuck because I’m putting too much pressure on myself and I’ve reverted back into an old habit of paralysis. I had been scrutinizing every word and not allowing myself to just write.

Becoming a better writer is a lot like learning to teach. I had a lesson not go very well last week and I realized in the middle that all the planning in the world can’t prepare you for what will actually happen in the moment. The lesson was better served by listening to my instincts and changing my approach mid-flight. My writing needs the same approach. I have to plot and build three-dimensional characters who connect with readers. There will always be an element of preparation, but I can’t get lost in that anymore. I can’t get so lost that I can’t find my way back to the page.

In all honesty the writing is one of the only things in my life that I can control. I can sit down and write every day. I can make forward motion in my art, even if it is so slow and gradual that I am the only one who notices it. I can commit to my writing as if committing to a spiritual practice. I can do this one thing every day…somehow I know that doing this one thing will help everything else in my life fall into place as well.

It’s a Girl!

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My best friend had a baby girl last night and I’m still reveling in it and not fully prepared to put it all into words yet…

School is good, but still kicking my butt. I feel like my wheels are spinning all the time! My life is still in flux enough that I don’t quite feel settled and that is contributing to the chaos right now. This weekend I need to finish getting my environment in order, then I’ll be able to fully focus on some other things like writing!

I have to remind myself that this quiet time is still work, even when I don’t have pen to paper, my brain/heart/soul are still sorting things out and that will make the writing all the better. I also have a ten page deadline on March 5th that is looming in the distance so I have to get back on the horse soon.

Talk soon.

Breathe and Re-boot

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The beginning of 2010 has been one of the craziest that I can remember. Between graduate school and an internship, moving, coaching and attempting to work as a substitute teacher as often as I can – I’m exhausted.

I love the school that I’m interning at. Ironically, Goldrick is the elementary school I would have attended if we had stayed downtown. I’m in a wonderful third grade class. I’m learning so much from the teacher and the students, but it’s been hard to juggle everything and keep sane.

That said, I’m finally feeling a little more settled this week and will be working out a new schedule so that won’t have to neglect my other passions – writing and music. I can’t recall the last time I sat down to write and I’m definitely feeling it. It’s so important for my soul and peace of mind. Even if it’s only a sentence. I HAVE TO WRITE EVERYDAY!!! My poor abandoned guitar! I’m feeling that pull again and need to give it my attention. I also need to set a goal for performing. A deadline always helps to keep me in line.

I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster of sorts. A bi-polar trapeze act of great advancement in some life areas and extreme lows in others. I’m in it and I’m trying to stay present and positive. I think the daily writing will help. This is an opportunity to change this habit of setting myself on the back burner once and for all. I don’t want to struggle any longer. Establishing better boundaries and managing MY time needs to become a priority.

I’m up to the challenge and I will check back in again soon.

P.S. I’m still receiving amazing TCC feedback and I’m so grateful for all the comments!

Thank you again~!