Monday, December 31, 2012

Inspired New Years Resolutions

Here is the New Year, I am still unemployed, although attempting to start a business. I have been feeling like I need to be more, bigger, greater, be the light that I am...

I wanted my resolutions to be inspired, interesting, and different than ever before. I always have something about getting in shape, fixing my finances, or getting more organized. This year I need to be different. I need something much more, something epic.

I want to change my life in a BIG way. I want to live my life fully, be happier, and to make a difference in the world. I can’t do that by doing what I have always been doing, I can’t do that by playing small. I have to start thinking big.

These are my inspired resolutions:

1) Do what I LOVE to do. Write, teach, and work with horses.
2) Love myself so fully that I KNOW I am love. This means putting myself first.
3) Join a group and create a positive change in my community.
4) Fully move into my apartment and my life.
5) Create a profitable and sustainable business with a bottom line of People, Planet, and Profit.

I know it is time for me to think big. I started looking at my favorite book for creating change in my life, WishCraft by Barbara Sher. I love this book. I have accomplished big things in life because of the guidance in this book. I have some more big things to do and am ready to do this process. She is the first self help guide to say that you don’t have to be happy and positive, you just have to do it. So here is to me JUST DOING IT!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

finding peace for the Connecticut tragedy

I have been saddened deeply about the Connecticut tragedy; feeling helpless and fully believing in not giving more negative energy to this tragedy. It is not something you can send money to, and good thoughts and prayers seemed not enough. However Susan Piver of The Open Heart Project did come up with something that helped me. Here is the link to her blog about it.

It is a beautiful and loving actionable practice that comes from a truly open heart.
Here is an excerpt of the Practice:

"Nothing can make this okay. There is no explanation that helps. Blaming lack of gun control, insufficient guns, or inadequate mental health care may be entirely reasonable and valid, but it doesn’t matter. No matter how right you are (or aren’t), it doesn’t change the grief, rage, or numbness.
Using ideas to treat or metabolize feelings doesn’t work.
Then what? I’m afraid that there is not much we can do other than to be absolutely, irredeemably heartbroken. It turns out that this is helpful. Weep, sob, rage. Weep, sob, rage. Every time your mind tries to tell you, “this is because of poor gun control,” or “this world is rotten, terrible and I have to ignore it in order to survive,” and/or “if mental healthcare was better, we could help people before they explode into violence,” please ask it to wait. I’m not saying we shouldn’t act. WE SHOULD. But before we act, we should feel. Allow your heart to break. Let down your guard. There is strange redemption in heartbreak.
Then, in your own way, you could open your heart to the suffering of all who have been directly involved.
Relax your mind and then think:
For all of you children who lost your lives and may now be wandering bereft and confused, I share your suffering with you. In return I offer you my peace. 
Breathe in their suffering. Breathe out your peace.
For all of you parents who lost your children, I share your unspeakable suffering. May I take even the tiniest bit of your sorrow and rage into my own heart to relieve you of it. In return, I send you my strength. 
Breathe in their suffering. Breathe out your strength..."

There is more and I truly believe that doing this will help more right now than anything else. Please go to her blog and do this practice for it is beautiful, let your heart be broken.

From my saddened open heart to those families affected most closely by this tragedy, may my peace and bravery help you.

Blessings from the ashes

Friday, December 14, 2012

In honor of the release of The Hobbit

I love Fantasy! Imagination is one of the most important aspects of being human and as a teacher I fully believe that we need to allow this skill to flourish and be enhanced.

My father used to tell me bedtime stories and when I got old enough and read the Books by J. R. R. Tolkien I discovered that many of my Dad's stories were inspired by The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Growing up in the hills, wild and free to ride my pony through the hills and woods I often acted out the stories of the fellowship. :)


Monday, December 10, 2012

Social Justice

There are so many awesome resources and amazing programs on the internet. Here is something that I found when I was searching around for pictures and interesting things to write about.
From the Elementary Justice Campaign

This is from the  Elementary Justice Campaign.  Can you believe that parents of students attending the poorest schools in Chicago are fighting the schools because their children are getting expelled for talking at lunch or looking out of the window. Where students do not get ANY recess and kindergartners are seen as trailing behind already. Luckily there have been a lot of successes in Chicago!! Go to the COFI (Community Organizing and Family Issues) site to read about it! Many communities could learn from this organization. 

Many Blessings

Friday, December 7, 2012

Why not Ask an Expert?

Picture from the blog Life is unwritten 

I wonder sometimes about politics, governing boards and licensing rules. Why they don’t come to us experts? I have found that often teachers are the last to discover new laws, rules and mandates. Lately, and sadly often, these new rules and ideas are opposite to what children need most to learn. Take for example the idea of shortening recess, it seems to the uneducated person that recess is a waste of time, after all children can socialize outside of school. What that untrained person doesn’t understand is that children need the break, more importantly their brains need the break, the extra oxygen, the movement, the social skills, and the fresh air.

Our brains require us to stop the task and focus a different part of our brain, or our body. Ask any fitness trainer about a good fitness routine and they will tell you that you work out a muscle to fatigue and then move onto another, giving that one a break. Ask any Neuroscientist and they will tell you that our brain needs breaks too.

I was once on a flight from Phoenix Arizona to San Francisco, about a 2-hour flight, the man next to me started doing a Soduko puzzle. He began a new one as we sat down and finished shortly after we got into the air. He immediately turned to the next one and began it, working on it, scribbling, and erasing, About 15 to 20 minutes to landing he was still working on it but then the woman next to the window needed to get up so he stopped and we all had to move out of the way, a guy a few seats down started talking to him, When we finally regained our seats, about 10 minutes later, he began his Soduko puzzle again. He finished before we landed. I noticed this because it took him about 10 minutes to finish the first one and almost 1.5 hours to fiddle around with the second and after the “break” only a few minutes to finish. Why?  I theorize that it is because his brain was fatigued from the first puzzle, then he got a break talking to a friend and that refreshed his brain.
So why work our children so hard, when there is no gain. Why have them spend more and more time on focused work without any breaks? Of course the best teachers are the ones who offer more free time to their students despite the “Official” recess times. Their students will learn more, be better able to self regulate and focus better than students who are not allowed these extra breaks.

Most teachers, preschool, elementary, or others, know a lot about brain development and are so passionate about their work that they take the necessary steps to implement best practices in their own classrooms. They spend hours upon hours of their “free time” planning, discovering, learning, and buying things for the classroom that will help children learn best. We are extremely inspired and dedicated professionals. So why do “they” not ask us what works, what doesn’t. Why not trust us to know what we have spent years learning?


Monday, December 3, 2012

Love =Time and Time is all you Need

As we head into the Christmas season I try to remember that the most important thing that children want from us is our time. I have seen this as a parent, as a teacher and as an observer. Children crave our attention.

Sometimes I think that the time my children spend telling me what they want for Christmas is just time they get to spend with me, having my full attention on them. When we were all younger we would practice writing letters to Santa or making lists of presents wanted and then sit around talking about what we would do with all these gifts. This is no different from the time we spent throughout the year day dreaming about what we would do if we won the lottery (somewhat impossible since I don’t play it). We would dream about horses, motorbikes, mansions, trips to Europe and Australia, and other fanciful things.

I have never been one for consumerism. I prefer to make meaningful presents or buy one good thing that my children really want. I have also never had a ton of money to spend on presents but I have saved up to get them those things that they really dreamed about having, sometimes working with others to get them. The one thing I have always attempted to do was spend time WITH them. Talking, daydreaming, playing and even using the box children love more than the present to build really cool forts with. These things mean so much more than the latest toy craze.

I lost my father last year, I miss him dearly, and I have many memories of him to keep me smiling. One thing I remember is that he would do special crazy things with me. For a birthday one year he blew up (with his own breath) hundreds of balloons and hung them from the ceiling of our cabin to be let loose when I blew out the candles on my cake. He would always let me stay up to listen to the old time radio stories from a radio channel all the way from LA. Every year we would go hunt down our Christmas tree, usually very “Charlie Brownish” and decorate it together. He would build forts with me, make me cardboard castles, and tell me stories about Bongo and me each night. This time spent together means so much more to me than any object he ever got me.

This Christmas season spoil your children with time. Try a new kid friendly recipe to bake together, dream up a fun event, or build a fort with a box. These will be the memories that children hang onto the longest.