Abundance

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You don’t have to own anything material to feel life is abundant.

I walked my dog this afternoon. Cacti were blooming fire orange flowers. Wildflowers of purple and yellow were sprayed everywhere. Insects and birds were busy working.

If you can find joy in wildflowers and nature around you, then no one can take that feeling of abundance from you.

 

Self-Publishing Update

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Working through CreateSpace (Amazon’s answer to self-publishing) includes the following phases:

  1. Create
  2. Setup
  3. Review
  4. Distribution
  5. Sales & Marketing

Esther, Mia and The Stars is now in the Distribution phase. This is my first book, so I’m very excited! I’m enjoying the process immensely, even when things go wrong.

I’ve been meditating an extra minute every morning. This morning, I meditated for 11 minutes and tomorrow, I will meditate for 12. What I mean by meditating is concentrating on my breath and not thinking. Why is this important? Because the mind can work in overdrive and  interfere with inner peace. Meditation has (already) helped me keep calm during challenging moments. My sixth graders were very loud and obnoxious today, but I was fine. My illustrations scanned at a dpi that was too low and I had to re-scan and crop them all over again, but I just did it and didn’t feel anxious or upset at all.

I’ve written my book description:

Esther and Mia are best friends. Esther must come up with a creative solution when she discovers that Mia is being bullied. Together, they overcome this painful event and tell their story in English and Spanish.

My “About the Author” blurb:

Caroline Chung-Wipff delights in working with children who are often much wiser than adults. She lives in the desert with the love-of-her-life (Willey), her two amazing daughters and Opal the Dog Wonder.

Amazon tells me:

Your book files are still being reviewed. A final print ready cover file is needed to continue to KDP. You will be e-mailed when the review is complete.

So I wait.

Please ping me if you have any questions about the process thus far. It’s so fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tae Kwon Do

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When I was a teenager, my sister, brother and I studied Tae Kwon Do with the late, great Chung Kim. It was one of the most challenging endeavors I’ve ever done because the studio was very “old school.” Classes were not designed to entice kids to join and have a “good time.” It was all about self-discipline and focus. We had to do knuckle pushups if we made a mistake. We free sparred grown men. We practiced, breathed, and lived according to the tenets of CIPSI:

Courtesy (respect)

Integrity (ethics)

Perseverance

Self-Control

Indomitable (unconquerable) Spirit

I remember the physical pain of knuckle push-ups, sparring, and sit-ups. I remember silently crying because I failed a belt test or failed at something else. It was more painful than not. It was more frustrating and frightening than not. But in the end, my siblings and I earned our 1st degree black belts.

There was a hearing impaired couple – man and wife – who were practicing in the studio. I watched them, mesmerized. It was already so hard! How did they do it? People are amazing. If person set goals and believe 100% in themselves, they will accomplish their goal. I saw this first hand in the dojang and I see it every day in my students.

Every important lesson I’ve learned in life bloomed in that stinky studio. Focus on what you’re doing. Control your mind and your body. Visualize your goals. Work hard. Never quit.

Never quit!

Master Kim, thank you for leaving such a valuable legacy.

 

 

Unsolicited Advice

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I went rollerskating today. It’s one of my “flow” activities: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defined flow activity as being in the groove or “in the zone.” It’s when you’re so utterly absorbed in what you’re doing, that time passes without regard.

I’m skating and happy when an older gentleman gestures for me to come to him. I relent. I’ve seen this guy before, he’s a good skater. He looks like a slender Santa Claus – easily in his 70s. I’m curious.

“When you move forward, move your skates outward, not backward. Do you know why?”

I answer, “I’ll go faster?”

By now, I’m miffed that he’s telling me how to skate better when I’ve been skating for nearly 40 years. But I listen. I’m curious.

I consciously skate outward. It works!

“When you turn, bend your left leg. Lean into the turn. Don’t lift your right leg.”

This takes me a lot more focus. I realize I have a hard habit. But he’s right. My upper body is much more stable. It feels better.

My resentment is just a whisper now. But it’s there. He hangs back. I smile in appreciation.

He doesn’t try to talk to me for the duration of my skate. I focus on my newfound skills and realize…after 40 years of skating, I learned something new!

If I had gotten defensive and refused to listen, I would not have learned.

We need to be receptive in order to accept constructive criticism. And this receptivity is in our control.

 

 

 

Self-Publishing

 

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I am a HUGE fan of James Altucher. He’s creative, honest and authentic. I absolutely believe in his assertion that we must choose ourselves. He’s the reason I’m finally self-publishing my children’s book (which I’ve mentioned before).

If you’re interested in self-publishing, check out Amazon.com’s program CreateSpace.

 

Choose yourself!

Update: all the illustrations are done. Now, I’m working on the manuscript errors. I had 3. My laptop is super old, so it’s very slow in processing.

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Tonight is all about editing. I’m enjoying the process and I’m learning a lot. My daughters, ages 13 and 15, were the illustrators. I will cherish this book for the rest of my life.

Happy Saturday night!

 

 

 

 

 

Love in San Francisco

 

My husband emailed me this morning:

Baby:

It was 20 years ago that I said, “We should get married.” And you said, “Duh.”
Happy Anniversary.
 – Homer Simpson/Bill Chung/Willey

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I had my share of failed relationships before I met him. I shudder to think what would have happened if I had married any of the others I dated before he came along. It is not so much that those gentlemen were not “good enough,” but because I wasn’t evolved enough until I met William.

We met at a party. This is going to sound cheesy, but I promised myself – just hours before the party – that I would never put anyone before myself again.

Yes, this is intensely personal. But if my post can help just one person, then it’s worth it.

Our relationships with others can’t be good until we get straight with ourselves.

You should not seek a partner so that she or he can love you. You have to do that for yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Than One Way to Get There

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Naturally, clarity of your life’s ambition will help you get there. But lucidity of your vision will also foster creativity and cultivate resilience. For example, I want to help people (children and adults) feel empowered and be the best they can be through my writing and teaching. I applied for a job that would have helped me reach even more (students) than the 90 I help now. I received a letter of rejection and felt pretty awful. Until…

I realized there are many other ways to achieve my ultimate goal. I’m excited and energized all over again. “Failing” is just another way to readjust your road.

As Robert Frost infamously wrote:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.*
His point: know that there are more ways to get there and whatever you choose, you’ll be just fine.

 

*from Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Less Traveled”

 

Age is Just a Number

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Great achievements take time, energy, commitment and a positive attitude.

Chau Smith, at 70, decided to run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days.

On the same page is Harriette Thompson who, at 92, is the oldest person to complete a marathon.

Colonel Sanders, Founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, began peddling his recipe at 65.

At 73, he sold it for $2 million.

It’s never too late.

 

 

 

How to Make Marriage Work

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In three months, my husband and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage. We dated for 2 1/2 years before we tied the knot and I believe that is a factor for success: Don’t jump into a lifelong commitment!

But another key to making it work is translating what your spouse says. You see, we don’t always say what we actually mean.  There are more positive underlying meanings that we’re missing out on! I’ll give you an example:

My husband does not like going to the doctor. He does not get checkups, despite the fact that I – his wife – am a cancer survivor and that he has some serious cancer issues on his side of the family. Naturally, I look out for him.

Me: Honey, would you mind if I make a colonoscopy appointment for you, now that you’re 50? (Translation: I care about you and want you to be around for awhile).

Him: I guess there’s no stopping you. (Translation: Oh thank you so much! I really appreciate that you love me so much to do that).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No – Nix – Never

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There’s power in “no.” Saying no to boring parties, mindless gossip and other wasteful diversions will save you valuable time and energy. Just make sure that while you say “no,” you are saying “yes” to something constructive or restorative.

 

 

 

 

 

Hesitation

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It was a pitted day

where little was fit or fulfilled,

peace and calm rose as sunset

but not too rightly willed

a desire to escape (!)

from noise, doubt and sorrow

I began the screen event

with little thought to morrow

but conscience tugged at my brain

here sat the binder full of work

you promised me  – the voice said –

this endeavor you would not shirk

 

 

Can Work Be Joyful?

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“I don’t know what I’m passionate about! How do I find my passion?”

How about starting with a list of things you would do for free? Make a list. Don’t censor yourself.

You can also try to remember what you enjoyed doing when you were eight years old. Add those activities. Nothing is too silly.

I’d love to hear what you come up with. How can you incorporate this into your work?

Choose Yourself

One of my favorite books of all time is James Altucher’s Choose Yourself.

Hate your job? Create your own!

Want a house? Build your own.

Hate your boyfriend? Break up with him and make your own. 

Ok, maybe not that last one so much.

 

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The Compost in My Garden

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compost [kom-pohst]

1.a mixture of various decaying organic substances, as dead leaves or manure, used for fertilizing soil.*

Every green thumb gardener knows that her garden needs rich soil in order to grow bright, brilliant plants. Compost enriches soil but it is stinky and takes time to degrade and cultivate. The compost of my life’s garden (thus far) consists of (but is not limited to):
  • Kids taunting me with “chink” when I walked home from school
  • Every grade I ever received other than an “A”
  • my first heartbreak
  • the deaths of my grandparents, sister-in-law and friends
  • breast cancer and the six surgeries that followed
  • every awful job and boss I ever had
  • every workout that pushed me to the brink of insanity
  • the police officer at my high school football game who hatefully asked me if I speak English
  • scooter/car accident right before my wedding (I had to wear a leg brace under my wedding dress)
  • my mentor’s suicide

 

Let us not dwell on our past, but let us celebrate our survival. It is pain and loss that molds us into the strong people we are.

 

 

Resources:

*Dictionary.com

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Bank Your Account

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I’m a teacher with a limited income. (How’s that for redundant?)

I contribute to my retirement funds, pay my bills, pay for my daughters’ violins, symphony fees and lessons. After that, I don’t have much left. And I don’t feel like I can treat myself to a manicure or purse. I just put the little morsels in savings, paycheck after paycheck.

But I’ve been finding myself feeling a bit empty. Do you know how Stephen Covey says you need to be mindful of emotional bank accounts in your relationships? I believe this pertains to the relationship you have with yourself, as well.

I decided to invest in myself and I have not felt this good in a very long time. I’m taking a class. It’s not cheap. But I believe it will help me achieve a lot more than if I didn’t take it. I feel empowered. Invigorated. Optimistic.

It might take just a small visit to a cupcake shop. It might mean you check yourself into a local hotel for a night or two to have peace and quiet to work on your screenplay. Or maybe it’s time for you to pursue that degree you’ve always dreamed of. Only you know for sure what will make a deposit into your own emotional bank account. But do it. Do what it takes. It will not only raise your spirits, but it’ll raise the spirits of those you love and who love you.

Two days ago, a car was t-boned right in front of me. My daughter was with me, sitting in the front passenger seat. The car flipped and landed upside down just 8 feet from my car. When it was in the air, I thought it might land on us. It didn’t. I realized at that moment – life is really short and unpredictable. When you’re on your deathbed, will you have regrets? That would be the saddest thing of all. It’s up to you. What are you waiting for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terms and Conditions

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When you buy a new cell phone with service or sign up with WordPress, you have to sign a contract called “Terms and Conditions” regarding use. Basically, you agree to a set of rules and guidelines in order to use the app/website/service. What they don’t say is that they want to make clear the limits of your use. If you go over certain minutes, a fee is charged. If you call across state lines, another fee. If you don’t pay on time…you get the picture.

As you live your life, you have your own set of Terms and Conditions. There are things you won’t do (most of us won’t risk prison in order to steal groceries). And there are things you will do (work a steady 9 to 5 for a paycheck instead of pursuing your dream of entrepreneurship). You have set limits in how you live your life. Some are important, but others may require re-thinking.

Your life, as it is now, is what you’ve chosen.

It’s an amalgam of your life circumstances and your choices, certainly.  But your decisions have been the forks of your life which led you here.

You might argue. You may deny.

But it’s true. And the first step in making things better is to take responsibility for your actions. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

Secondly, be grateful. You are fortunate. If you’re reading this, you have access to the Internet. When you live in a state of gratitude, you’re more likely to attract positivity.

Thirdly, be aware that YOU set the Terms and Conditions of your life.

Don’t like your job? Leave. But, I have to pay the bills….I didn’t get a college degree.

Excuses.

Your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse is abusive? Leave. But I’m afraid…I don’t want to be alone.

Get over it. (And really, you’d rather be with someone who calls you names than be alone?)

What are the Terms and Conditions of your life? Are any of them limiting you?

 

 

 

Losing “Everything”

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Ellen DeGeneres decided to come out of the closet in 1997. She was at the top of her game at the time, starring in her popular “The Ellen Show.”

Why did she take the risk? Because she felt it was important -and healthier – than living in fear or denial of who she really was. The “secret” made her feel as if she was wrong and she knew she was right.

So she came out as the real Ellen and then had her character come out on the show.

What happened?

She lost her show. No one would call her. She got no gigs.

Three years.

For three years, she was stripped of all the external factors of identity: no career or the benefits that come with it. Not only that, some of her previous fans berated her and judged her. Christian groups picketed her studio and mentioned God while acting very un-Christian. Studios wouldn’t touch her.

You realize who you really are when you don’t have anything. – Ellen

And then “Finding Dory” came along. Ellen also got her own new talk show. She’s immensely popular all over again. Only now, she has no secrets.

Does she regret coming out?

NOT AT ALL.

“It’s the best -because I’m free.

I’m completely able to be exactly who I am.”*

 

*http://www.upi.com/Entertainment_News/TV/2011/10/04/DeGeneres-doesnt-regret-coming-out-as-gay/74651317701340/

 

You Be You

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It’s cliche – “Just be yourself.”

Most of us don’t really know what that means, or we believe that “being ourselves” isn’t good enough for xyz.

But if you focus on just being the best you that you can be, you’ll find that you naturally are more innovative, creative, original. Because you’re not expending any energy to fit a mold or be like someone else.

So, think outside the box. But look within.

Let ’em Go

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One day, a mother took her four year old and five year old daughters to their Montessori preschool. She apologized to the teacher for being late, and explained that it took some time to get her kids dressed.

“Why don’t you let them dress themselves?” The teacher asked.

“They’d look like disasters! Nothing would match.”

“So?”

The mother thought about it. She decided to let them dress themselves. Thegirls wore odd things: sweaters with light pants, short-sleeved shirts with boots…but eventually, each daughter forged her own style. The girls laughed loudly, and they walked proudly. It was clear that each girl was her own person.

It was challenging for the mom. She wanted to help them so many times. “Relax.They’re doing great!” The father said.

 

As the girls grew, their mother made mistakes. She got some things right, but she learned that “letting go” was her biggest challenge. She noticed that they learned lessons most effectively through mistakes: forgetting an instrument at home and having points deducted at school taught them to plan the night before. When they didn’t eat well, they felt sick and chose to eat better next time.

Everyone – the father, the mother and the kids – are still learning. And it’s all good.

 

 

 

Not Better, Just Different

 

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My husband, daughters and I frequent a gelato place called Dolce Vita. It’s owned and operated by an Italian immigrant and his wife. They sell authentic Italian groceries, and prepare food from scratch, including the BEST gelato you could ever eat. Walter is the quintessential snob. He’s not afraid to be snooty with you and if you complain too much, you’ll be kicked out of his shop for life.

He mocks some of his troublesome American customers:

“Hm, what does this pear gelato taste like?”

In his thick Italian accent, he answers snidely, “Vaneeela!”

Another stupid question: “Which one is better, the Nutella gelato or the pineapple gelato?”

“It’s no better, just diffeh-rant!”

This reminded me of so many times I hear parents compare their children. I was compared a lot, to my siblings. It never made any of us feel good.

How can you compare human beings? It’s like comparing Nutella to pineapple gelato!

We do this alot, don’t we? We compare ourselves to others. How’s this working for you? You’re comparing an apple to oranges! Suggestion: stop comparing. If you’re going to be in competition so that you can improve, compete against yourself. Be better tomorrow than you were today. Simple.

Stop the madness and be joyful.

 

 

First Things First

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Life happens. Your best laid plans can go awry. And that’s OK.

Make sure you schedule the most important thing for the first thing – so you increase the chances of getting it done.

It’s winter, so it’s dark and cold in the morning. But I force myself out of bed, don my workout clothes, and exercise before I face my students. Working out gets my endorphins going and I feel calm the rest of the day. Just about anything can happen and I’ll feel capable of handling it.

First things first,” is what Stephen Covey always espoused. It’s all about priorities.

What’s the most important thing for you to do tomorrow? How can you ensure that it happens?

 

 

Subtraction, Not Addition

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You’re bored. You’re anxious. You’re angry or you’re sad.

You think you’ll be happy if…you get that new job, a raise, new clothes, a new car…

But actually, you already have everything you need to be happy.

Any sign of discontent means you need to SUBTRACT something: stress, work load, self-expectations, junk food, social engagements…THOUGHTS. 

Thoughts can be our enemy. Thoughts can drive you crazy. As Mickey Singer (The Surrender Experiment) points out, “anyone who has ever committed suicide did so through thoughts.”

So if you’re anything less than happy right now, consider subtracting something in your life.

 

 

Right Action

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There is a lot of action being taken nowadays: marches, boycotts, and lawsuits. People are unhappy and want to take action. Action can be good. It sounds better than just sitting on your tush, complaining. Complaining is definitely not productive.

In your own life, you might be pondering an action to take: to breakup with a lover, to make a career change, or to move out of the country. You ask yourself, is it the right thing to do?

In Buddhism, there is a saying, “Make right action.” By “right,” it is meant ideal or wise. It is not meant to be taken as the opposite of the Western concept of “wrong.” It means your decision comes from a place of calm, peace and compassion. And by action, it is all action, not just major decisions.

When you make dinner, serve it lovingly. When you drive, do it compassionately. When you work, do it mindfully. This will add up to a good life for you.

A hint: your action does not have its roots in anger or sadness.

So. Think about your choices. Which action is right action?

 

Garbage In, Garbage Out

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I take walking breaks between teaching classes. I used to grab my little iPod mini (which replaced my Sony Walkman). I got tired of listening to my music. So I plugged my headphones into my cell phone and listened to TedTalks and informational videos on YouTube. The change has been tremendous!

I’ve learned about meditation, motivation, education, nutrition and much more. Because I learn during my walks, I have more to offer my students, my children, my spouse and friends. Now, my walks provide mental as well as physical energy.

What are you listening to? What are you reading? You’re in control of the input. Now – more than ever – there is “information” and “noise.” Be mindful about what goes through those ears of yours and into your beautiful mind.

 

 

Making Decisions

 

 

You’re going back and forth between two choices. Your head is swimming with thoughts, your heart is heavy with emotions. You don’t know what to do. How do you know what to do?

First, take a deep breath. Get in a quiet place and quiet your mind.

Think about Choice #1. Pretend you make it. How do you feel? Now do the same thing with Choice #2. Does either choice make you want to confer with friends? If so, that is not the right decision. You shouldn’t have to ask others. You know the answer.

When you make the “right” decision, you will feel at peace, because your decision sits with your life’s purpose*.

 

 

 

*Eckhart Tolle

A Good Time

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I hosted the 7th/8th grade winter dance at school tonight.

For two weeks, about 20 of them painted the stage and turned tissue paper into flowers. They taped paper vines to walls and duct taped strings of lights to the basketball hoops. They stayed for hours after school. They shopped for their outfits.

At last! The Dance. Watching the kids come in, shy at first -dressed in their finest-was humbling.

A group of 13 and 14 year old kids. They want to have a good time. They care about one another and just want to laugh and dance. Boys shyly ask girls to dance. They dance and girls sigh in relief. First slow dance. First picture with a crush.

They hold hands and run around in circles, laughing to their favorite songs.

They snack on chips and drink punch.

They dream of high school, college, falling in love, getting jobs.

I hope we don’t let them down.

 

 

The 24 Hours Test

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My students do a timed-writing exercise every day. Most of the time, the prompt is student generated. One of the prompts they came up with:

“If you had only 24 hours to live, what would you do?”

Every single student imagined a day full of fun; reckless abandonment of any homework, tests and responsibilities. I’m sure adults would come up with something similar. Each student had a different definition of fun: a day at the beach, a day at Grandpa’s, or even just staying at home with family and their pet.

Sometimes a sense of urgency brings things in focus. What would you do? Who would you spend it with? Are you taking anyone for granted? Is there something you’re yearning to do?

How can you bring some of that to your day/week/month?

Perhaps you go to bed each night, thoroughly satisfied with how you spent your day. That is the ultimate goal, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

Dear Ms.K., Thank You for Giving My Daughter Detention

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Dear Ms. K.,

I want to thank you for giving my daughter detention today. Per our previous email, you informed me that she has been late to your class every day for several days. This baffled me, as I drop her off an hour early and you are her first class of the day. After several warnings, you emailed me to let me know that should she be late again, she would get detention. I assured you she would not repeat that mistake.

But of course, I cannot guarantee the actions of anyone besides myself.

After confronting her, she hurriedly assured me she learned her lesson. She explained that she gets hungry and her friend meets her to bring her food. Her friend is not always so quick.

Oh, are we blaming our friend?

No, no. It’s not her fault. Mom, it won’t happen again!

I try to give my daughter freedom within strict guidelines. A  “C” in a class at any time means her cell phone gets confiscated until the grade goes up. How she operates within her hours and activities is up to her.

When I remind her to make time for breakfast in the mornings and to pack a snack, I am met with heavy sighs. She is too busy styling her hair and applying makeup to worry about breakfast.

So it happened again today. She didn’t eat breakfast. She got hungry and met her friend. She was late to your class. And, as you promised, she will now have to serve detention – one hour after school tomorrow.

In the car, she was shaken. She’s never had this kind of consequence from a teacher before.

“It’s my fault. I got hungry. I didn’t pack any snacks or eat breakfast. It’s my responsibility. I will pack food the night before.”

I wanted to lecture  her and reinforce the lesson. I wanted to voice my dismay and disappointment. Instead, I said, “I am very proud of you for taking responsibility for this and not blaming anyone.”

Thank you, Ms. K., for doing the right thing. You are helping my daughter develop character and responsibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Not Knowing” Is OK

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I gave my 5th graders a writing assignment today. I already knew what they’d say after our poetry lesson and the directions. “I don’t know what to write about!”

Literally, I had to turn away ten students from my desk. They are so frightened to face a blank piece of paper and not know “the answer” immediately. They wanted me to tell them what to write.

I found myself saying, “It’s OK to sit in anguish.” I was joking, of course, what I meant was,

“It’s OK to sit without knowing.”

You don’t know what will happen tomorrow.. You don’t know what you’ll be when you grown up. You don’t know who you will marry (or if you will)!

So sit with not knowing. Be quiet and still. Let it come to you.

 

 

 

 

How to Control Your Motivation

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When I was in 6th grade, I learned about the push and pull factors for migration. People who migrated because their country was in a war, for example, migrated for “push” reasons. They were pushed out: Food, jobs, and security were scarce.

Most people who came to America during the Gold Rush came for “pull” factors: the opportunity for wealth, better living conditions and greater security.

When it comes to your personal motivation, are you being driven from something or toward something? Being driven to eat better and exercise because you had a heart attack (push) is mighty powerful, but so is choosing a better lifestyle because you want more energy and you want to live longer.

If you want to be motivated to make a change, consider the possible push and pull factors. Make a list – make it specific – and exhaust the possibilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something to Say

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I was watching an old (actually, timeless) interview with Quentin Tarantino. He was talking about his life before becoming a film maker. Did you know he worked in a video store? He was a clerk! His old life was very comfortable and he admitted he was pretty happy.

And then he realized he had “something to say.”

He was better than his friends, which was not hard to do, since they were drug addicts with no ambition. He got real. He realized that he  could continue to live his life watching free movies behind a counter and be superior to all those around him OR…work towards his  dreams of being a filmmaker.

And the rest is history.

Do you have something to say? What one step could you take – NOW – towards your dream?

Do it!

The Paradox of People

Gun sales have dropped since we elected a President who supports gun rights.

When you’re always available to talk to your crush, he doesn’t really want to talk to you.

Telling people what to do often results in rebellion.

Trying hard to fit in will get you kicked out.

 

Not getting the results you want with people? Maybe you just need to relax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discipline + Solitude

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It’s a busy world. Now, more than ever, we have “noise”: news, videos, people in cafes talking, television, the Internet, etc.

I’m  a teacher and my work is noisy. When I visit my husband at his corporate job, I’m always struck by the quiet in his office. It’s so quiet! Sometimes, I am envious.

I love my job with children, my life as mother to two daughters and I love getting together with friends.

But I always crave solitude. I want to be alone to read, write and just feel calmness.

Fortunately, I am married to a man who will help me out. He will take the girls to violin lessons without me if I need some seclusion.

Seclusion. Solitude. Loneliness. Some people like to be alone. I do. I think this is a good thing. It means you like yourself!

Demand some privacy. Detach yourself from social media and people.  It’s OK. In fact, I’d argue that you NEED it, you need to know yourself, your self. Make it a priority.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endless Energy

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We have the capacity to feel energetic all the time. You don’t need chemicals or a special diet. We are naturally full of energy. The reason we lack energy is because we create blocks which stem from our ego.*

For example, let’s say you wake up in a great mood. You go to work, full of energy. You want to make this an outstanding day! You plan on getting a lot done. A client calls you, berates you and demands some of his money back. Now you feel indignant against this person. You take what he says personally and call him names (after you hang up the phone). How dare he demand things outside of the contract? How dare he accuse you of trying to pull a fast one?

You run your fingers through your hair. You don’t feel like moving forward because you’ve lost the energy to get a lot done today. You just want to fume and you walk to your boss’ office to complain and have someone agree with you.

There goes a day of productivity.

If you want to maintain your energy, you need to clear the blockages. Don’t take things personally, don’t feed your ego’s desire to vent and draw attention to itself. Let the drama go. You can choose to go with the problems, ego and power drain, or choose to remain energetic.

 

*Michael Singer, The Surrender Experiment

Wishes

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When I was very young (maybe five years old),  my mother made rings out of dandelions. She’d pluck the weed and create a knot with the stem and, smiling, put the ring on my finger. I felt special and lucky. Within hours, the dandelion wilted, the yellow flowers tinged with brown. It was my first lesson of impermanence.

We were poor and a part of me knew it, but mostly, I was blissfully ignorant. I reveled in the smell of burning wood in the Iowa autumn. I loved the dandelion rings my mother made and I loved watching “The Muppets” on TV. All of this was (relatively) free. I thought everyone had a father who came home exhausted and discouraged. I thought everyone shared one bathroom in their family. I thought everyone fought over money.

I’m a lot older now and I have learned this: wishing for “stuff” always leads to disappointment. Nothing you can buy will deliver anywhere near the satisfaction of smelling burning wood on a Midwest autumn evening, or watching the “Muppets” on a chilly Halloween night or wearing a dandelion ring your mother makes just for you.

Nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting

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You’re waiting in line at the (fill in the blank: post office, grocery store, gas station).

Do you grab your phone and surf the ‘net? Do you get on Facebook? Do you sigh and impatiently monitor the line, wishing you were somewhere else?

An alternative activity: sit with your eyes closed. Breathe in. Breathe out. Feel sensation in your hands, feet, stomach. Want a sample of nirvana? Ask yourself, “I wonder what my next thought will be?” And wait. The moment that follows, where you mind is completely blank, that is complete peace of mind.*

 

 

 

*Eckhart Tolle

 

 

Active or Passive?

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Everyone I know has an electronic device. Some use it for work only and they put it away so they can spend time with their families, exercise, and enjoy nature. Some are in front of their device all day and most of the night.

A good question to ask yourself (besides “Am I on my screen too much?“) is, “Am I changing because of my screen time, or am I making a change in the world using my screen time?”

Are you an active user or a passive user? Are you controlling it or is it controlling you?

 

 

 

Do the Math

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Pretty sure that every student here can do math better than me.

This morning, as Ava prepared to leave for her school math competition, she said, “It’s weird to go to a competition without my violin.”

I laughed.

But now I’m kicking myself. She has a violin lesson afterwards.

Heavy sigh.

#homedetour, #moremiles, #moretime, #losingmymind

 

 

 

Angels Do Exist

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Today, I attended a professional conference because someone believes in me and submitted my name. I felt fortunate all day.

While I was leaving the parking lot, one of the attendees knocked on my window.

“You have a flat tire. Do you want me to help you?”

I wish I could have waved him away, but I’ve never changed one.

“Yes, please. Oh thank you,” I was embarassed.

He took the tire off after much struggling.

Another attendee (who was fortunate enough to park right next to me), offered his assistance, as well.

Long story short, I made it to Discount Tire. They gave me a loaner while my new tire makes its way to me by Monday.

I was able to call my friend for help. She picked my daughters up from school and deposited them in time to the optometrist.

Angels. All four: the mentor, the two samaritans and my friend.

There is negativity in the air, no doubt. But there are good people everywhere. If those two gentlemen had not helped me, someone would have come by. I know it.We all have friends who will come to our aid in times of need.

Let’s be grateful. There are more good people than not.

 

 

 

 

Life is…

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What do you think life is? Your answer will tell alot about you and how you live your life.

Is life a game? Are there winners and losers? Are you trying to win? This philosophy always reminds me of the quote:

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, youre still a rat.” – Lily Tomlin

I consider life to be an adventure. You simply can’t predict what will happen, but you can go forth with an attitude of openness and wonder. Embrace what comes to you and know that everything (“good” or “bad”) is temporary.