Lately I’ve had a gigantic chocolate chip on my shoulder. All the sweetness has been sucked out of me and is sitting there taunting me as I scowl at it smuggly. I opened my eyes one morning and my world was dark. I don’t even know how I wandered into such a mentally draining place but I am standing knee deep and unsuccessfully trying to trudge my way out. I always say the way we act comes down to a choice. Am I seriously choosing to be this monster of negativity who has tainted my vision to see nothing but doom and gloom? I am so frustrated with everyone including myself. If I could crawl out of my skin and into a happier place, I would jump at the chance but the challenge is finding that happy place standing exactly where I am in this moment inside of myself. I have so much to be grateful for but my mind is defeated. Ebb and flow. The constant change that is continuously spinning all around us. Now to steady myself and find my balance. The mind can be a very dark place when we allow it to wander to a place we know we don’t belong. Time to turn these boots around and march back to a place that feels lighter and hopeful. I have the desire to get there, I have just lost my way. What do you do to find your way back when you slip into the negativity hole that swallows you up until you feel completely lost?
“and is NEVER a discipline problem in the classroom.”
“Also, he is no problem in class!”
These quotes were taken directly from emails between Chases teacher and myself. I was questioning some of her grading methods and one of the things I strongly disagreed about was a child’s behavior affecting his grade. I have always and will always believe a child’s grade should be based on his learning and his ability to express it through many forms of schoolwork such as tests, worksheets, projects, papers, etc. That being said, I was very surprised to see this grade come across the internet today. These emails took place earlier in the week so can someone attempt to make sense of this for me. Calling all teachers! Help me with this one. This is what I stumbled on today:
Score 85 (85%)
Name Europe- Classroom Behavior
Due Date 01/19/2015
Date Assigned 01/19/2015
Total Points 100
“To think negatively is like taking a weakening drug.”
I awoke to this quote today. I’m not sure who originally said it but I can testify that I am drinking the poison. I realized today how crucial it is to wake up on a positive note. Those first few hours of the day can make such a tremendous difference. My mother has been staying with me for a few weeks and today I realized something important. I always call her first thing in the morning after I drop my daughter off for school. I am usually not in the greatest of moods. Often, I am either complaining about someone’s bad attitude or talking about the things I am dreading that I have to do that day. I take my poison and literally pass it to her to drink. My venting is toxic. It is killing me and the people who take the time to listen to me. We all vent and slowly, one day at a time, we are killing the positive spirit that is fighting to live inside each and everyone of us.
Don’t we have a responsibility to ourselves and others to pass a different cup around? How about passing something like happiness or encouragement or even love around? I decided today to take a personal challenge. For three days, I will not complain. Even if I think a bad thought or stumble into a bad mood, I will not speak of it. I will give the mood/circumstance no words, no attention and I will not drag my garbage around and stuff it in someone else’s can. Three simple days. It sounds so easy but the truth is it will take some serious discipline and dedication. I will start small and hopefully grow this new practice big. Will you join me? Will you say no to dumping and complaining? Let’s give it a try.
All I’ve heard about for days was the impending doom and gloom over the blizzard heading for the east coast. Today, as I sit here on my pool deck in shorts and a tank top basking in the glorious rays of this warm, healing sun, I am filled with gratitude. I am fortunate to be here, right now in this wonderful spot feeling the heat shine down on my face. I am fortunate to be at peace enough to sit here awhile and bottle this up. It is nice to take a moment and be thankful for all I have. I haven’t done enough of this lately. What are you thankful for today?
Yesterday I wasn’t feeling well. I have this gnawing need to keep a clean house. If the house is dusted and vacuumed and everything is in it’s place, I am in a good place. It might seem irrational to some but the fact is, that is just part of who I am. It is necessary for my survival whether it makes sense or not. I tried really hard to conserve my energy. I knew being sick would take its toll so I tried my best to not notice the fingerprints on the counter and the cat litter on the floor. I even lit a candle to help me relax. Anyone who really knows me would understand the mental angst it would cause me to leave the house unattended. One thing I learned in life is that we all have things that make us tick. Our priorities and our needs are diverse to say the least but when we are in a relationship, we learn what is important to the people in our lives and we just don’t question it. We may think to ourself that Kim is a total nutcase with her constant need to have a tidy house but for whatever reason I love her and I will embrace this part of her. So, back to yesterday. Of all the things that would have been helpful to me yesterday, what does my husband choose to do? He blows the candle out, my candle out, that I lit. If I’m being honest, his choice of being helpful did not sit with me very well. I was furious. I realized as I calmed myself down that in my mind I was that candle and in a single moment, when I wasn’t looking, just like that, my light was blown out. Isn’t that how we all feel sometimes? We do our best to act out our roles and out of no where, when we least expect it, someone sucks the life right out of us? And why? We were just going about, minding our own business, doing the best we can and bam, undeservingly attacked. That is what our mind allows us to believe. The truth is, even if someone blows out our candle, we have the power to light it again. It’s as simple as that. We can pretend the action of another is the end of our world or we can simply make the choice to dust ourselves off and move in a different direction. We are not victims, not to others at least but we can certainly be a victim to our own thoughts. All I had to do was pull the lighter out of the drawer and re-light the flame. I could have saved myself the aggravation of the poor me saga and moved on to something more productive.
Remember, no one can permanently blow out your own flame. They can try and it might seem dark for awhile but the power to light it back up lies in power of your own two hands.
I have a distant memory of a time long ago when I was a young girl. The need and urgency to lay out the day did not exist back then. The hours and minutes would be welcome in their own time, one at a time, with no need to rush them along. These days, now that I am grown, I feel unsettled when the minutes lack any sense of structure. It is hard to comfortably sit back and just let it be. I feel uneasy not preparing for the details of the day. I guess that’s what adulthood does, makes us so responsible that we lose the ability to loosen our grip on the stifling reigns of responsibility even for a small snippet of time. Even as I sat eating my breakfast, I was already consumed by what we would be having for lunch and dinner. I spend so much time planning for every detail that I lose the ability to take a moment to relax. Time to make some big changes. I can’t go on living this way. Nobody should. The best moments of all are the ones we are truly present for, not the ones where we bring the past to the future or waste the one we are in thinking about what is yet to come. So, please join me in my new journey to finding a path that helps me let go of my need to control. Sit with me as a passenger where I willingly choose to take my hands off the wheel and sit back and enjoy the ride. Who knows what we may discover on the way.
I wrote a post yesterday titled Who Are You? I got a few responses that really started me thinking. Imagine if people could see our true selves. What if we had a flashing light on the back and front of our shirt that described how we were feeling at that moment in one word? Would we be more sensitive in our interactions? If I was standing in line for coffee and someone’s shirt read depressed, would I offer a hello and kind words? Better yet, what if someone’s shirt read aggressive and I could automatically choose to stay away from him or her altogether. Wouldn’t the avoidance of that interaction help me stay in a better place? What if I knew to be kind to that person and possibly soften his heart. Wouldn’t that be a beautiful gift?
The truth is, we have layers and boundaries that hide who we really are. We think we know someone but our behavior may portray the very opposite of who we are in our heart. What if we could put into words what we really need? One word, on our back that would make us vulnerable enough to ask for what we need. Words like space, love, compassion, attention? We are always interacting with the layers. My layers react to your layers and your layers respond to my layers. It’s exhausting really. When do we ever break through enough exterior to have a relationship based on the real truth of who we are…who others are? Many of us don’t have the time or patience to stick around long enough to even get a glimpse of the soul of another human being. We are so tangled up in our own web that we become stuck there and that’s all we see.
Why is it so easy to feel aggravated and frustrated with the people around us? Why couldn’t it be easier to see their gifts and positive attributes as it is to see their faults and flaws? If only we could tear down the walls and sit there naked in front of one another unclothed by what the ego has led us to become. If only we could be brave enough to drop the fear long enough to show someone the beauty of our heart. The sad truth is for most of us, that will never happen. We are all like soldiers with PTSD trained to protect ourselves at all costs. What happens though is the sudden onset of the imagined threat of danger sends us into a complete tailspin. We are at risk to hurt the very people we were meant to protect because the fear and conditioned response to save ourselves elicits an involuntary reaction to destroy the enemy or whoever our mind convinces us is an enemy in a moment of weakness. I want to put down my gun and run as fast as I can to join a mission with the sole cause to bring about peace but do we really ever have the discipline and trust to make a commitment to something like that? Don’t the words we feel we have the right to speak and our need to prove we are right destroy the very thought of an opportunity to keep and promote peace? Imagine how beautiful the world would be if there was no threat of pain and hurt and a desire of all to love and heal? Our intentions are there. Our hearts are in the right place. The real work is convincing the mind to allow the layers to fall away, one at a time, one day at a time.