Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Dancing in the Rain, Jumping in the Puddles

My daughter's delight showed on her face as she shared her recent experience with me. She was running on a local path and could see an elderly woman making her way towards her. The woman slowed down as she approached a puddle, left-over from an overnight rainstorm, on the otherwise dry path.

As this woman reached the puddle, she tested the edge of it with the toe of her sturdy shoe. And then to my daughter's amazement, the old soul walked right through the puddle with a gleeful grin. My daughter smiled as she told me this story, I think she would have jumped in it if she could have, she said.

Today, I went out on my route as part of the training for the next race at the end of the month. No sooner had I left home, I was grateful for the baseball cap on my head, as the rain started to come down. It will let up, I thought to myself, as I continued on my way.

As I rounded the corner at the 4km mark, I saw a dad and a little girl walking hand in hand. She was carrying an umbrella with flowers on it, her raincoat was pink, and her rainboots had polka-dots. Dad was encouraging her to pick up the pace, but the little one was dawdling and stopping to look upwards at the raindrops.

She danced in the rain.

She stopped and admired some worms and obviously had a discussion with her Dad about them. I think now he had given up on trying to hasten this inquisitive child. Then she put down her umbrella and started to count the hundreds of dandelions beside the walking path.

I had to wonder why somewhere in time between the elderly woman who would have jumped in the puddle if she could have and the worm loving little girl, we start to lose our way.

We look for the safest, straightest path.
We stay out of the rainy weather.
We stop wearing flowers and polka-dots at the same time.
We don't notice the worms.
We end the lives of dandelions.

Why are we in such a rush to get somewhere we don't know? (Click to Tweet)

Would you jump in the puddle if you could? (Click to Tweet)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Again and Again, 3 Ways for Compassion and Wisdom

Again and Again, 3 Ways for Compassion and Wisdom

In a conversation with a woman 20 years my junior, I learned something again.

I remembered being her age and feeling that I was quite wise, just as she shared with me. She explained how she grew up in a family where she felt she had been misunderstood. Where her brothers were the focus and as the youngest and... a girl, not much was expected of her.

As her story was told, her brothers grew to adulthood being spoiled by doting parents while she buried herself in her books. She eventually outgrew her brothers and became a physician. And yet, she had no voice. The confident, smart person who could teach others could not find her voice in the company of her family.

She told me that she had been working on her personal growth for awhile now and felt that now that she was forty she was "pretty well okay".

Ah, I thought to myself. How do I tell her? Would I have listened in my younger years to anyone who told me that personal growth goes on forever. That each day, turns into a string of weeks and given the gift of time, we have the chance to keep learning about human behaviour.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Living in Hope

Each day we need to choose consciously who gets the privilege of knowing us! We get to question who would we like to have in our lives, and who is best served by someone else.

Sometimes magically, we come across someone who ‘gets” us. Someone who doesn’t only say that they are into well-being, the creative arts or learning to play tennis, but actually shows us these parts of themselves in a sustained way. You can tell by the way they move through life that they have something to teach us.

Have you seen the writing walls cropping up where people can share their thoughts. You might have one in your workplace or I’ve heard of them in shopping malls and at street intersections. It allows someone to dig deep and do something meaningful. It gives the opportunity to lighten someone’s day, share a chuckle, spend your wisdom.
Living in Hope

Mixed in with the wisdom, you will see bits of pleading and anger too. Many struggling for a voice to unburden but not quite sure how to reach out with an open hand to receive. How difficult it must be to have so little hope and not know how to claim it. (Just perhaps this is where you step in.)

Among the drawings, the excellent chocolate chip recipe, the jokes and the I love you’s, I am sharing the words I read, here with you.

We sit in faith on this floating orb we call earth. Suspended among a zillion twinkling stars. 

We carry on each day believing that our world will not crash or explode and yet with so little hope for ourselves. Giving no benefit to our neighbour that they too will choose to do the right thing.

Why is that do you think?

See the previous post, Stop Living in Fear.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Stop Living in Fear (easier said than done)

Of course we are fearful. All of us, yes every last one of us. We’re afraid of a multitude of past sins, and fearful of our financial futures. We’re afraid that we won't be able to give our children the advantages we want for them, and we worry that we are not doing enough for our aging parents.

Most of all however, we are afraid of being found out. Of being recognized for what someone else thinks is not enough and that we’ve been faking it all along.

We’re fearful of people knowing that we are a fraud.

Oh, there are all kinds of frauds, many of which are ultimately harmless and that just remind us that we are human. No, I didn’t really run the last half-marathon in under 2 hours, turns out it was 2:01. No, I didn’t finish the challenge for 60 days straight yoga. I woke up on day 51 with a migraine, but I did do it the other 59 days, doesn’t that count, it does? Doesn’t it?

We tell our children to be respectful of their teachers, but we don’t tell them what we say about all authority under our breath.

We say we are mindful and live in the moment and trust the Universe. But there are mornings at 2a.m., when we are truly afraid.

We keep our cool and display temperance in public around the staff room table, but still we raise our middle finger at the jerk who cut in front of us on the drive home.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Caretaker Educator

The Grade 1 class stood on the stage, their parents lining up or holding their phones up high to get the best photo. Some of the children grinned and giggled, most have grown up with someone’s phone held up to their face to capture the moment. They know what to do.

The Caretaker Educator Pixabay - Wokandapix
There were some kids though, who shifted from one foot to the other, they looked uncomfortable. They stood more solemnly, they stood erect and only casually glanced at the rows of parents and family members sitting in the gymnasium.

Some parents were teary seeing their babies finishing their first official year of school. How had that happened so fast? Some family members sneaked in late weaving between the rows after the start of the event. Some kept an eye on their phones or casually glanced at their watches “would this end in time for the second period of the playoff game?”

Grandparents’ faces shone with pride, a tattoo armed Dad sat at the back alone. Teachers struggled to keep their class in line, frustration held at bay. One boy just plain laid down on the floor, it had been a long day. Another wore a white shirt but looking at his face, he’d obviously found the chocolate. The girls sat and showed each other their sparkly shoes, as girls often do.

And then each grade made it to the stage. Each with a crew of characters in the making.

He waved to a short boy. Curtis and Michael had been best friends since grade 1, and then 'Mike' grew six inches this last year. The caretaker had watched and told the short boy not to worry. Mike was a good boy, he'd figure it out.

He saw the little sweetie who used to bring him cupcakes that she'd made all by herself. Now she was so grown up and soon would say goodbye.

Someone sitting near the back smelled of an after-work drink. He'd seen this before and stood ready in case he had to escort someone out.

Then at the end of the evening, the children went back to their classroom to pick up their belongings and everyone trailed out of the building.

The school caretaker picked up the bits and pieces left behind, some things don't change, he shook his head and began putting away the chairs. The other hallways had been swept for tomorrow, he turned off the remaining lights and closed the double doors.

Each year he said that it would be his last. He’d seen so many Grade 1s pass through these halls and just as many leave this school for bigger buildings.

One day soon though, he knew his cleaning days would come to an end. But he also knew that his days of educating others would go on forever.