You’re looking at f***ing determination and truth and creativity. You’re looking at loss and sorrow and the effort for a deeper perspective. You’re looking at satisfaction and happiness. You’re looking at a manifestation of a connection so deep and rooted that it’s more real than I am. You’re looking at my face.*
I was sitting outside with four of my 6th grade students – all girls. Tomorrow is Spring Picture Day and students don’t have to wear their uniform of red/white/blue polo shirt and tan pants. It’s a rare “Free Dress Day” for them.
“It’s Free Dress Day tomorrow!” One hollered.
“I’m not wearing a dress though, even though it’s picture day,” sighed another.
“Yeah, wearing a dress on Free Dress Day is a total waste!”
If we choose to continue believing our ego, we will spend our lives swinging up and down. The energy behind our compulsive thinking is the energy of fear. It keeps us looking outside ourselves for the next thing, person or project for fulfillment. However, there is a space between the up and down of our emotional seesaw, when we are equally balanced in the middle. The outer and inner noise disappears; this is where we are able to connect to the essence of our being. It is here, in the stillness, we connect to the energy of love, kindness, equality, a deep sense of worthiness and lasting inner peace. Accessible in every moment, it is within you and me, right here, Now. Our happiness and inner peace can’t be found in the past or the future, but only in the stillness and awareness of the present moment.
I have a desert garden in my backyard. A beloved neighbor gave us all of her potted plants when she moved out of state and the plants have thrived. This year, some new wildflowers grew next to the pots. They’re not related to any of the potted plants and they are not being irrigated. Yet, they continue to grow beautifully on the little rain they get.
People can be like wildflowers. They are transplanted from some other place and they just grow. They take advantage of the resources available. They don’t ask permission.They don’t shrink because the other plants were there first.
They are beautiful in their uniqueness, their peculiarity, and their originality.
We can all be like wildflowers: wild, courageous, strong and proud.
Be like a wildflower. Don’t look for approval or acceptance. Hold your head up high.
One of the questions on our last 5th grade social studies quiz was, “How can we, as Americans, ensure equal rights for everyone?” This was on the heels of learning about slavery and the Civil Rights Movement (literary study: The Watsons Go to Birmingham).
Most of my students answered, “Treat everyone like we’d like to be treated,” or “remind everyone about the Constitution.”
But one student wrote:
We could start an activity or sports program where EVERYONE was invited. People of all races would play together and while they played and made friends with each other, they would see we are all the same and racism would be gone.
If you’re feeling discouraged, by recent racist rhetoric from a small group of small-minded people, remember there are a lot of good people out there. Our children are wise.