What’s in an orange?

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“What comes out of an orange when you squeeze it? Orange juice. Why? Because that is what is inside. When you get squeezed – that is, when someone applies pressure on you – what comes out? Stress? Anger? Hatred? Fear? Frustration? Is it because of your boss? Never. Is it because of your mother? Your children? What comes out of you is always what is inside.  It has nothing to do with the rest of the world. How does it get there? Only as you think.”

Wayne Dyer

 

Red4Ed Update 5/2/18 5:15pm MST

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Just now, I received this:

#RedForEd must act now. Call, text, or email your legislators. The Governor seems close to passing his partisan budget that we oppose. The House of Representatives is now on the floor with all sixty members taking the first official vote on the budget and debating the budget bills and amendments. The bill is expected to be heard in the Senate soon.

#RedForEd has friendly legislators who will be introducing amendments to the budget that support the #RedForEd demands. This is our chance, and you need to contact legislators now with a simple message. Tell them to support the four #RedForEd amendments:

  1. Cap class size at 25 students per classroom
  2. Defines “Teacher” as: any non-administrative personnel who teaches students or supports student academic achievement as defined by the school district governing board or charter school governing body including, but not limited to nurses, counselors, social workers, psychologists, speech pathologists, librarians and academic interventionists.
  3. Cap student-to-counselor ratio at 250:1
  4. Student support services personnel should receive a 10% increase equal to the teacher pay proposal, go into base level and be paid for by tax conformity.

Contact your legislators NOW to ask them to the #RedforEd amendments.

C’est La Vie

Student Council member: “We didn’t get out Student Council t-shirts in time for Club Picture Day?”

Me: “No, they haven’t arrived.”

StuCo member: “Wow. That’s a problem. That’s a real issue.”

Me: “No, it’s not. We’ll get them when we get them. We will take our pictures wearing what we’re wearing and smile. It is what it is.”

At first blush, this sounds like a negative and cold response. But diving deeper, you can see that “It is what it is” is actually a great way to deflect negativity. Why stew about something that we cannot help? Why feel bad and see “no t-shirts” as a problem? There is no solution except to accept it, happily.

This doesn’t apply to areas where there might be a solution of course. I am a proponent of seeking creative solutions to any and all problems. But in cases where there is nothing to be done, why fret?

 

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Drawing #4 – “A Few Look Like Otters”

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Choosing Accountability is Empowering

 

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Photo by Jack Kaminski

 

“The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.”

R.D. Laing

Wave Your White Flag

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Photo by Levi Bare

Acceptance of what is real is one of the main precepts of freedom, according to the great spiritual thinkers. Most of us have not met complete inner peace because we resist reality. Our egos take over and react: We complain about things that “happen to us.”

Practicing full surrender to reality means accepting (completely) the fact that you have to take your car into the garage for the second time in two weeks (this time, to fix the tail lights).

It means that you are not disappointed or frustrated when technology fails, when your plane gets delayed or when you realize you sent the wrong email to the wrong person.

Full surrender means you accept that you just got canned and you’re now unemployed….you accept the sudden death of a loved one or that you lost your (fill-in-the-blank) competition.

If you can accept all that life brings you, then you are well on your way to true happiness.

 

 

 

Podcasts & Productivity

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Photo by Jonathan Velasquez

A year ago,  I read the book “The $100 Startup.”

I hardly remembered what I read, but I recently listened to a podcast (Optimal Living Daily) where the podcaster reviewed this book. The big takeaway (among many) is that people spend an awful lot of time trying to blaze their own trails to success when they can simply follow someone who has already achieved what they want.

The reasoning, Justin (podcast host) believes, is because it feels good to try to create our own means and methods. But if you really want to achieve your goal(s), the most efficient way is to simply follow what someone already did.

This makes sense! Why reinvent the wheel?

We feel good and effective as we blaze our own trail, because we feel so busy.

But do not confuse “busy” with “productive.”

Check the podcast out, he covers many great writers and entrepreneurs. Justin’s voice is very even and mellow. It was easy to listen to as I walked my dog.

 

 

Uncommon Courage & Commitment

Strong. Empowered. Free.

 

They pushed the boundaries within their respective genres.

Bowie created music (and himself) in ways that the world had never seen before. The same could be said of Prince. Muhammad Ali is arguably the greatest athlete ever.

But something else separated them from others. Bowie was said to be down-to-earth to the very end. Prince loved his hometown Minneapolis and stayed loyal, building his empire there. And Ali was sentenced to five years in jail (which became a three year abstinence from his work) for refusing to be drafted for the Vietnam War. He famously declared, “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong.”  Bowie, Prince and Ali lived in accordance to their values, while disregarding any possible financial or career damage.

Perhaps, instead of simply working, we can work simply: with our values as our guides.

It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. It could be as simple as refusing to wear makeup to work.

“I swear it is the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt,” she said of the experience. (Alicia Keys, Huffington Post)

 

 

 

Letter to the Doctor

Dear Friends and Family,

I just wanted to share a letter I sent to my first oncology surgeon with you. The most empowering, important lesson I have learned on this journey thus far is to take control of your medical records and your health! As most of you know, I was given my diagnosis in a very cold manner: “You have Stage I breast cancer.” That was it. He immediately recommended a mastectomy with reconstruction. I wrote him a letter weeks later, because that day will forever haunt me. Not simply because of the content of the news, but especially due to the delivery. Here is my letter:

Dear Dr. ________:

Although I am sure you have to impart bad news of cancer to many people in your week, each person you inform is hearing it for the first time (unless it’s a recurrence, which I’m sure does not make it easier). You are telling people (as a medical professional) their chances of survival. I want to help you be better at this. When you deliver the news, it is good to be factual, which you were. However, it would not hurt to be sensitive: offer tissues immediately as tears are sprung and look the patient in the eye during the conversation, not her partner.  I left your office feeling as if I was handed a death sentence.

I received a second opinion from another surgeon this week. His approach was different, although the end data was the same. He went over my pathology report line by line (it’s six pages)! He made sure I knew what “in situ” and “invasive” meant. He stressed the very good fortune that I discovered this as early as I did and told me I have time to make an informed decision. He did not press the surgery option at all. He gave me several choices: chemo, radiation, and surgery. He did tell me I need to do something: I cannot and should not let it be.  I felt empowered and hopeful when I left his office. Do not get me wrong, I know I face some serious hurdles in my future.

You strike me as a competent surgeon. However, I do not feel comfortable with you. There is absolutely no lightheartedness, no warmth or levity in our dialogue. I am blessed with an incredibly strong network of support and love within my family and friends. I am seeking the same in my medical team.

My best to you,

Caroline Chung-Wipff