Slowing Down and Savoring the Season

Slowing Down and Savoring the Season

It may seem rather counter-intuitive to propose that we all make an effort to slow down this month because, of course, it is December.

Assuming you’re reading this the first week or so of the month, take a moment to think about all the events you’re scheduled to attend, the holiday preparations you need to make, and the extra errands you’ll need to run.

Add to that the unique challenges we as teachers face at this time of year:  preparing end of semester assessments, grading cumulative projects, having one more administrative observation squeezed in, and the last-minute calls of parents hoping their child can submit makeup work.
 
Maybe you’re feeling like you’ve got a handle on all of it, which is fantastic.  If you’re like me though, thinking about this makes me feel a bit anxious and overwhelmed before even getting started. 

Letting Go of Your Upper Limit Problem

Letting Go of Your Upper Limit Problem

How Self-Awareness Can Help You Overcome the One Thing that is Holding You Back

You know how it is when you’re so excited about something you can’t stop talking about it?  That’s how it’s been for me these past few weeks after reading The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.

 If someone mentions a worry, BOOM – I bring up how worrying is a strategy employed by our upper limit problem.  If I notice someone deflecting a compliment, ZIP – I swoop in and explain how our inability to maintain positive emotions is tied to our perceived self-worth.  
It feels particularly serendipitous that I stumbled across this book and its description of the upper limit problem this month, because it perfectly aligns with our current theme of letting things go.

Stop Beating Yourself Up

Stop Beating Yourself Up

“It’s time to stop beating yourself up.” 

When I speak to groups of students or educators, I make sure to touch on self-compassion as an important part of mindfulness practice.  Typically, I begin with the statement above, shortly followed by, “…it’s not working, nor is it doing what you think it is.” 

I start my overview of self-compassion with this because the experience of mentally beating oneself up is rather universal in our culture.  Just about everyone does it, and I would guess that you do, too.  

Negative self-talk and the inner critic are so pervasive because many people see it as useful.  Some people even resist being gentler with themselves because they think self-flagellation is how they “hold themselves accountable” or “stay in line” or “teach themselves a lesson” when they mess up. 

How are you?

How are you?

You might feel that you are too busy to stop and consider this question.  I understand.  You might not actually want to know the truth of your experience right now.  I get that, and I realize it can be uncomfortable and perhaps even scary to find out what the answer to the question might be.  

In spite of all this, I'm inviting you to check in with yourself and see what comes up when you ask, "how are you?" in earnest.

Making it to Practice: How to Cultivate Self-Awareness for the Big Game of Everyday Life

Making it to Practice:  How to Cultivate Self-Awareness for the Big Game of Everyday Life

Just yesterday I was sitting on a metal stool, eating my lunch at a counter.  Everything was fine, and then I got a sharp pain in my left leg that felt like a bug bite.  That was manageable, but the pain caused my leg to jerk to the side, thereby whacking it on the stool leg and creating way more pain than the original sensation. 

I swore like a sailor (because profanity is one of my guilty pleasures), rubbing my leg until the pain lessened adequately, and continued eating my lunch.  Then, as I was finishing up, I took a swig of my seltzer and some of it went down the wrong tube, resulting in that kind of coughing that is more reminiscent of eye-watering and gagging noises than anything else.

Then the burst of rage came. 

Take Care of Your Body & Mind: How Teachers Can Ease Their Transition Back to School

Take Care of Your Body & Mind:  How Teachers Can Ease Their Transition Back to School

Since it’s late August, it’s time for us to get back into the swing of things at school.  As I mentioned in my post earlier this month, transitions are hard, and we as educators need to be intentional about doing (or not doing) whatever is necessary to ease this transition.  Here are two important areas of focus to consider.

Back to School Meditation for Teachers

Back to School Meditation for Teachers

It's that time of year again. 

For all who are getting ready to go back to school, (or are already back) I created a "very special" Back to School Meditation for Teachers.

Transitions Are Hard - Be Gentle With Yourself

Transitions Are Hard - Be Gentle With Yourself

This week is teacher work week.

As I write this, I am now at home after an all-day, off site professional development training with all the certified staff at my school.  The details of the training itself aren’t particularly important.  What is important is how I felt by the end of the day: really, really tired. 
 

Why Your Back-to-School "Dream" is a Good Sign and Could Inspire Your Best Year Yet

Why Your Back-to-School "Dream" is a Good Sign and Could Inspire Your Best Year Yet

Have you had the dream yet? 

You know the one.  It happens in the final weeks of summer, before teachers have to report back to school.  For some reason, they come sooner and sooner for me every year.  I haven’t had it yet, but I can sense it in the distance, like the faint, high minor chord of a horror movie soundtrack.