awareness, mental health

Universe Whispers

There are days when I feel the universe is whispering to me. Subtle little hints that I’m in the right place, at the right time with people who are meant to be in my path.

The path could be a connection at the grocery store. A person I meet through work. An interaction with a stranger. The person next to me on a plane ride. An attendee at an event I am hosting. The list goes on.

I spoke to a woman recently about an encounter with her child. A chance encounter at that. In my path for no other reason than chance. I knew neither mom nor daughter before this date. No common denominators. The paths crossed unexpectedly. The timing was right. Crisis averted.

Our chance meeting led to outcomes. Outcomes led to more interactions. Actions, smiles, cheerleading of sorts. The relationship may not blossom past this point but that is okay. The universe wanted a chance encounter at that moment. The rest will fall into place as it should be. Below is a message I received weeks later to confirm my universe whisper:

The impact made shows the importance of my timing. My active listening to know there was a need at the moment to be present for somebody aside from me. The importance is I was there when needed. A universe whisper of sorts. There are many examples I can think of yet this one rings true today. In the now. Everyone needs a pick me up from time to time and kindness matters. How you treat others will come back to you in time. Some call it karma. I call it fate.

I hope my post makes you think about how you treat others and how a chance meeting may be olive branch of life or even hope to get through tomorrow.

mental health, perspective

Whispers

There were whispers amongst the group. Who will go? Who will stay? Where is so and so going? When will this shift happen? Why?

The Who. The What. The Where. The Why. The story of the W’s. The story isn’t really just about those W’s. It’s about the whispers. The W word most don’t fess up to. And while we mention whispers, it’s really not nice to whisper (period).

Why do people whisper? Why does another’s choice matter? In a recent conversation with my teen, the sexual choice of a young adult came up. Two sisters, twins by birth. One openly gay. One not. The openly gay announcement was recent. The backlash from parents and community was negative and far reaching. Why? The whispers. 

Does that young adult’s choice impact me directly? No. Why do I hear the whispers? It’s society. Preconceived values and expectations. Religious beliefs also play a role. So overwhelming for a young adult to process let alone live through it. Why would one stay and suffer? 

Then there is the sports field. The girl whose parents think she is a star but grossly overlooked. The parents complain. Again and again. The coach gives in. Play time is awarded to offer peace. The team suffers. Did this really just happen? Another child earned their spot. Their parent doesn’t complain. There are whispers. One leaves. One stays. Why? The whispers again. 

The shift in social setting. The friend that moves out of the circle. Just for space or personal growth. Is it a bad thing to focus on one’s growth? Of course not but the circle may take it personal and then whispers begin. Awkward to some. Stressful to others. Whispers are not nice I tell you.

Is it not obvious?  The whisperers can’t see that decisions are made because of actions made by others in most cases. Solo trips in any of the situations above may seem scary but yet they are the best option. If one stays in any situations noted above, the individual(s) will suffer. Taking a stand silently or through some form action shows strength. Inner peace. Confidence. The strength of flying solo and not caring what others whisper about.

For those who whisper, think about it. How would like to be on the other side of the whispers? 
Are you the whispering type of person or the one who steps out and flies solo when the need arises?

mental health

Unplugged

I recently took three days and unplugged a bit. I put up the three laptops I use and let them go. Microsoft could go do their updates and it wouldn’t halt my productivity. 

Unless a building was burning down, anything on those computers could wait a few days. I am happy to report no fires arose and I was able to minimize my technical needs.

The good news is I survived. I didn’t have any visible scratches or lost revenue when I unplugged. I delegated a bit and I enjoyed a different view of my surroundings. I engaged with new faces. I opted outside even if the weather was not cooperating. I just enjoyed the limited technology.

I didn’t actually put up my phone which means I was still some what connected but that’s a next step and the first step is always the hardest. I did need my phone for purposes such as maps, tickets, touchless payments and so on but that only confirmed how much society revolves around technology. 

Our eyes need a break now and again. On the flip side of the break I am glad I had my phone to capture memories and photos of the beautiful scenery I was in the midst of.

For this unplugged episode I focused on limiting the distractions on the work front. Minimizing the stress. Putting off til tomorrow. Others may choose to be plugged in 24/7 but that doesn’t mean I need to be on always. I can break away. I have a choice.

I got into a few books during this time as well. I gathered thoughts. I generally learned a few new tidbits. I enjoyed a walk or two. I even got swarmed/serenaded by cicadas. The cicadas I could do without though!

Just out there living my life and telling everyone about it. Cheers to all of you near and far.
Today’s post is a virtual shout out to those who read our blog from the great state of Maryland. I enjoyed my taste of the area while passing through.

mental health, perspective

Dust in the Wind

This past 15 months has been a train wreck on so many levels relating to school work for one of my kids. The train wreck has left carnage of a new kind spewed in or around my vicinity. My home. My email. My car. My inner circle. Just in abundance in my life.

When did it all begin.

Out of school without notice last year. The unknown. That’s when it started. 60 days. We got this. No it’s 90 days really. Or maybe 120 days but who’s counting. Not me because it’s temporary. Pain is temporary, right?

Into a summer semester for two classes to get ahead. Sounded simple pre-pandemic when it was arranged. Of course, in ordinary times taking extra classes is no big deal. Add a pandemic and your world is shaken to the core. Isolation. Digital learning when you need human interaction. Anti-glare glasses are now needed due to extended learning time online.

Back to school in fall of 2020. Out of school again after a few weeks. Rules change. Deal with it! You pull yourself together to get through that semester. Back to school again in the new year. Fresh start you think. Fear, anxiety and so much more as kids drop like flies in your class for being contact traced. A ruler is now a measuring stick. If the ruler says you are quarantined, off you go. No questions asked.

Fear. Shock. Isolation. Anxiety. Back online you go. What other choice do you have. More self-learning. More self-discipline. Is that too much to expect at my age? 

Shut out again. No people. Lack of purpose. Why do I need to do work. Digital sucks the life out of me. Kids are mean on Zooms. I can’t ask questions. Learning is hard. I’m depressed. Learning math remotely. Learning an advanced foreign language online. I feel alone. Lost. Depressed. Anxious. Scared. Failure is not an option. Or is it? Who cares. Who really cares. I was put in this box. This virtual box.

My parents hound me. My teachers hound me. It’s never ending. The counselors are over burdened. Expectations are still high. Everyone cheats. What is right? What is wrong? Is it over yet? Did I even pass? This year really sucked. It sucked for my kid and it sucked for my family.

Summer break. A reset button of sorts. Travel. Fun. No have tos. That’s what the doctor ordered. That’s what mom needs. That’s what I need. 

I need my friends. I need my social connections. I just want to hang out at the mall again. Maybe go to a movie. Maybe just not being trapped in the pandemic bubble. The virtual bubble.

College is in sight. My gpa needs an inflation pump. I need my sanity. I’m not alone. Many have side effects from the pandemic. Everyone has their own story.

Cheers to summer vacation and the shit that is in rear view. All of it. Good riddance. All I see is dust in the wind.

A special shout out to those of our readers from Singapore. We appreciate you visiting.

Bye Felicia!

mental health, perspective

The Ugly Return to Accountability

Although they say we are not out of the woods yet, it seems like we are on the downslope of the pandemic here in the US. Infections are trending downward. Restrictions about masks and movements are loosening. We are seeing more and more people out and about. Although once in a while crowds make me a little nervous, for the most part it’s exciting to see these changes.

At my job in an elementary school, this excitement is definitely there in the students. Spring fever happens every year, regardless. They can feel that summer is coming. The weather improves. There’s a restlessness that starts to permeate the building. The noises change. This has happened this year right on cue, even with continued mask requirements and social distancing. We are holding limited versions of field day in the coming week. Students will have a graduation celebration. Family picnics will be held. Although the extra precautions make these events more challenging than usual, there is still an excitement that we are doing them. Normal is peeping around the corner.

Also lurking in the elementary school hallways is quite a bit of tension. Modified state testing. Meetings about how to handle learning losses. Inventories. Meetings about teacher evaluations. Drafts of calendars to maximize learning minutes. Plans for robust multilevel testing next year starting right off the bat. Accountability. Accountability. Accountability.

These other things bubbling up are harder to handle. They suck the life out of us. Not only are we trying to just make it to summer, there are nearly constant reminders that some of the things that were most challenging about school life pre-pandemic will be the things that rise to the top of the priority list next year. You can see the weariness in my colleagues’ faces when the accountability rhetoric resurfaces. These are not the things that bring joy into our schools. I can already sense the feeling of needing to fix everything, all at once, as fast as possible come next school year. Can we focus on a return to joy first?

Pretty early in the pandemic, this quote, posted by many, stuck with me: “in the rush to return to normal, consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to” (Dave Hollis). The work ahead to rebuild is large and urgent. We will have to prioritize. I hope my school leaders take this to heart. For kids and colleagues, I think our mental health takes precedent. Making us all feel safe and included, happy to learn and come to school as part of a community. So much of our community ties have been weakened by masks, distance, and even the political climate in this country (which does play out in our children). I need to keep these priorities top of mind as I plan the days and years ahead.