kindness

 

Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 9.38.40 PMThe stone
you exported
from the far side
of the earth,
carrying the grace
of that sacred land
and the kindness
of your generous soul,
rests gratefully
in the hand
         and heart
 of your humbled friend.

 

 

My beautiful friend and yoga instructor, Kim, recently went on retreat to India. I asked if she found herself in a place where she was filled with awe, if she would reach down and gather a pebble to bring back a piece of that magic. Last night at yoga she gifted me a smooth brown stone from the other side of the world. She described the beautiful mountains and palm trees surrounding her where she gathered it. To remember me when she was immersed in such an experience was such a generous act of kindness. That stone (and my friend) will always have a special place in my heart!

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fox

Nearly unnoticed
clearly unfocused
scampering Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 12.38.24 PM
meandering
across the onding
my camera
responding
to the flash
of vermilion
an uncommon civilian
who pounces
on prey
or perhaps
just to play
cresting the edge
of the blanketed field
making her way                                                                             #micropoetry  #SOL18
to a den
unrevealed.

 

This fox is becoming less shy as each month goes by.  She leaves tracks that seem to randomly wander in circles, but when I spy her spring into the air and land with a fury, I am certain there is no randomness in her movements. Hoping to spy some kits this spring!

slice-of-life_individual

thirst

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 6.00.43 PMThere is a thirst
I cannot quench
and a hunger
not satiated.
To learn
to grow
to understand,
my soul is motivated

Sandwiched between snow days, district workshops, and parent teacher conferences I was invited to attend a conference on best practices in reading and writing instruction in Massachusetts. Though I have literally written a book focusing on best practice, I create space in my heart and mind -open to receiving new insights and learning each day. And so I leave my family, my schools, my cozy bed for two days (and two states away) to feed my soul and grow my mind so that I can better serve those children who may not even know how thirsty they are.

walking toward

 

 

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I am beginning to see

she’s not walking away

from the life we have built

but walking toward

the life she is building

for her future…

and she’s not walking alone.

 

 

My daughter headed back to college yesterday after her ‘spring’ break.  It is so hard to say goodbye but I am so proud of her. She knows what she wants and she is making it happen. I would not want anything different for her. And so my heart breaks at the same time that it soars.  This is what all those tough parenting moments bring us to…and it is so bittersweet!

breathe

 

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Breathe in.
       
Breathe out.

And in between

lies a peace

conceived of

promise

and surrender.

 

Continuing my mindful practice this year…

I found that I wanted to be more present and purposeful in my life (even though I thought I had always tried to do that) so I have added some practices to my life that are truly helping. I take a Yin Yoga class each week (mediation infused postures), I have added books to my library (Wherever You Go There You Are, Happy Teachers Change the World, Sitting Still Like a Frog, Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness, Mindfulness for Teachers, etc) and I use an app called Headspace every day for 3-15 minute meditations as well as one called Calm that also added a classroom app free for teachers this year.

What I am discovering…

No one can stop time, but we can extend each moment with mindful attention.  Each breath is we take is a conduit for life; taking in what we need and releasing what we don’t. With each breath we can invite peace in ,and expel distress. With awareness we can choose our response to each moment, but when we rush through our days focusing on the moments ahead rather than the one we are in, we relinquish that choice.
I hope you take some time today to slow down, breathe, and choose peace.

wait

You poured out your

gratitude and I drank  it inWAIT

like the goblet receives wine,

realizing the gift of

silent consideration

was all you asked of me. 

To talk would

break the spell that

held our hearts as one

in a space of compassion.

 

Once a year our school district has an amazing day of professional development with a slate of offering that teachers self-select. This year (yesterday)there were several focusing on self-care. I ended my day in a mindfulness session in which we partnered with someone we did not know well. Our task was for one to speak for several minutes on what they are grateful for and the other to listen silently-observing how we respond to their sharing. Many found it difficult not to respond with our “active listening” strategies, but to remain a silent observer. Our facilitator shared the acronym that has helped her be a more mindful listener-WAIT. She reminded us that responding has its place as long as we are aware of why we are talking. Are we truly receiving or making it about us?

Delicious food for thought!

 

last dance

 

Wind IMG_2186

makes

a poor

dance partner

for

trees.

 

 

 

#micropoetry    #SOL18

Maine endured a terrific wind storm last fall that left many without power for days on end. We could hear the wind through the forest and the crashing of timber. It wasn’t until this winter, when I could strap on snowshoes and scale the mounds of snow deep into the woods,  that I witnessed evidence of that destructive dance.

slice-of-life_individual

face of hope

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They rise from their desks
and take to the street
with cries of heartbreak
but not defeat.
With determined fire
they strive to cope
and rise from the ashes,
the face of hope.

 

#MicroPoetry

At a time when turning on the news generally causes me to cringe with despair, my heart soared at the sight of students across the country walking out of their classrooms yesterday. (My son would have been among them had we not had our millionth snow day).
I feel optimistic for our future watching these young men and women speak truth to power. I am grateful to each and every one of them! This is the face of hope!

snow haiku

snow falls- flake by flake

but rises fast- foot by foot

moves slow- scoop by scoop

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Here in Maine, we are in the middle of our third nor’easter in two weeks that has dumped at least a foot each time. This is our 8th snow day (2nd this week) and winter isn’t over.

Fortunately, we’ve had melting in between storms to keep the snow from burying us.
Unfortunately, the timing hasn’t been great for keeping school in session.
Fortunately, I love snow and it’s beauty.
Unfortunately, I also love summer and it’s beauty. I want to have some time away from the classroom to enjoy it before June ends! 

My Zen word for the day is acceptance.

hard

 

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We don’t need
to harden
our schools,
Our students’
lives
are hard enough.
They need
more
soft places
to pursue
their
happiness.

#MicroPoetry #SOL18

There is no Amendment more sacred than this declaration….”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I am sickened by the talk of “hardening our schools” It’s a ‘get tough’ soundbite that has disastrous implications for our nation’s public school children. Arming teachers will not deter a suicidal killer; they won’t be scared, but our children will be.  This vision of school looks more like prisons or warzones. Our children need books, not guns…calm, not violence…teachers, not body guards.  There is so much wrong with this thinking that I can barely breathe thinking about it. This Twitter Thread demonstrates how hard it is to put teachers in the position of killing one of their own.