Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash
To leave what’s dangled at your nose
Sundays are the days it seems
I need your hugs the most
It comes in like a haze it does
Under ‘sills and clothes it boasts
I try to brush it off
With sleep-ins, coffee, cleanse
But even though I’m wary
The beast has been let in
The sun might shine too bright
The schedule seem quite thin
But best you keep busy alright
For darkness finds a win
In thoughts that flash and pierce
Take back the breath with sin
‘Did I just think that? What?’
But know I not ‘tgive in
For I have come too far
To let the beast roam free
What once I knew no name
Was surely hid from me
To stare it in the eye
You know it’s lost somehow
To leave what’s dangled at your nose
Must surely be a vow
To move along, as best we can
Thought back and forth we roam
We have got further, since we left
We have made a new home
And as I grow, and as I share
What hides within our walls
I feel that I can slowly lessen
The burden and the fall
When Sundays come, they always do
And the beast begins to rise
I look for your arms, they are not far
I’ve found the best disguise
#hugs #ahugaday #keepsthedoctoraway #sunday #sundayblues #anxiety #fear #faceyourfear #giveitaname #family #friends #support #bolster #share #depend #love
‘The only constant is change’. Ask yourself, will this matter in one day? One week? One year?
When you are faced with a life changing event, inevitably you are faced with a deep-seated fear. These are the ones we don’t want to face, but are called to, because, life. As a species humans are often resilient in the face of fear, however somewhat governed by our impulsive ‘fight or flight’ response. Lately I have been thinking about fears - not necessarily the big life-changing fears - but the everyday fears. The fears we encounter and navigate constantly. We know that fear has helped us get where we are today, but is it slowly deteriorating us in our day-to-day life?
Rational, practical fears ask us to take precautions and be safe. Irrational fears cloud our judgement, immobilise us from living life fully, and keep our minds in the past or future - and they can really mess with how you feel in the present moment. I am far from perfect in this area, it is really something I’m working on. Having written some of this back on the 22nd of March and finishing this post now, I recognise the buoyancy of my words - so here I am writing, still wanting to write and believing these words, but in a very different frame of mind. We certainly all have our up and down days! In my heart I know and believe that if you can change your attitude, approach and attachment to fears, you’ll be able to have a healthier relationship with fear, and a healthier life.
Attitude ~ a choice.
Attitude is such a noticeable character trait, that when you meet someone new, it is easy to decide whether their general outlook is positive or negative. With everyday fears, when you keep asking ‘what ifs?’ in a negative way, you’ll keep finding negative outcomes to accompany them. Either change it to ‘What if it all goes smoothly’, ‘If I ace the test’. Or as I have started asking myself more and more ‘Why not?!’ #yolo! And also ‘If not now, when?’
Inevitably, there are times that can suck! And they remind you that you haven’t yet felt the whole gamut of feelings your body can feel. Good for you! You’re finding out more about yourself, and being reminded that you’re a beautiful, raw, feeling human being who loves and is loved. But remember: ‘this too shall pass’. I have always loved the quote by Kahil Gibran on joy and sorrow: ‘When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.’ How can we know the fullest of joys, when we haven’t felt the fullest of sorrow? I think the sorrow you feel is carving out more space in your heart for joy.
Approach ~ Just get in. Change what you can. And be flexible.
We all have a ‘default’, especially in stressful situations. Identify yours. Is your default helping you, or hurting you? Could you choose another way? As soon as you start noticing your default, this awareness helps you to create the change.
I’ll give you an example. For many teachers, there are many different ‘triggers’ for stress on any one day. A colleague just discussed one with me yesterday that I was able to empathise with: when technology doesn’t work. You have this amazing lesson planned, it will be engaging for the students because you’re going to show a YouTube clip, get them onto a website to share their feedback and… the sound isn’t working, the students can’t get onto the website… and there you are scrunching up your fists, sighing...
I’ve also noticed that for many of my creative friends, there are times when we are too precious about not releasing something into the world until it is ‘perfect’, ‘just right’. But what is ever perfect? People don’t generally like perfect, they like different… because fact: the way you present yourself, your style your brand is going to be different than everyone else out there, because you are you. What I’m saying is - try not to wait! Just jump in, learn as you go, make connections and the rest will flow. It’s kind of like me, jumping into the Yarra River as a kid. You DEFINITELY can’t see the bottom, you don’t know what creatures you’ll encounter, if your feet will stick in the mud, if you catch a snag, sink or swim. As scary and thrilling as it is, you take a leap, and you’re in! You can’t help but be beconned by the cool, refreshing flow of water, the flow of life. Once your in the water, you’ll float, you’ll be taken by the current and you’ve got a new perspective. Jump in!
Attachment ~ Create (and re-create) your own path: Non-attachment
‘The only constant is change’. Ask yourself, will this matter in one day? One week? One year? Many of our worries when shared become smaller. Call up a friend and try and get some perspective on your fear. In the last 24 hours I have been blessed with many conversations with friends and family that have helped me sort out lots of things. If we’re constantly hanging out in our fear brain, how can we be appreciating the now? Programs like the resilience project invite you to write down three things you’re grateful for each day. Research says that by making some time for this practice will increase your happiness and your quality of life - most probably making those fears smaller.
While goal setting is important, knowing that the road to achieving something is going to dip and turn can be helpful if we are going to bounce back from the difficulties that lie ahead. If you write your fears down and read them back a week later, are they really that scary? If you write your goals down and a week later they’ve changed, then so have you, and they surely will too.
Lastly, I have this quote on my wall - ‘Action conquers fear’ (Peter Nivio Zarlenga) - once you create awareness, you can create change and take action.
There is such a range of apps and sites we can tap into at the moment to help with this stuff. Some of them I know of are:
The Resilience Project
Reachout.com ‘s Worry Time and Breathe, among many others
1 Giant Mind
#fears #faceyourfears #theresilienceproject #awareness #mindfulness #attitude #approach #attachment #mindfulness
"...many people, once faced with this label, furiously start treading water in the game of life..."
If I am the longest relationship
Many people fear being \single\. This label. This label we give people who are not in an intimate relationship with another human being, at some stage in their life. This label, most people think, is a waiting stage, to when you’ll again be \in a relationship\. Yet there are many circumstances why we may not be in this relationship mode, living out our life in the truest, most fullest way, as a \single\ human being.
For some reason our society has conjured up that this
is lesser than \being in a relationship\
and for that reason,
once faced with this label,
furiously start treading water
in the game of life,
with fear in the driver seat,
whites of their eyes bulging,
hoping they won’t sink.
And this strikes me as one of the most unhealthy things we can do to ourselves. Yes, as humans, we long for shared intimacy - be that of familial love or romantic love - we are wired this way. But the fear that’s been generated about the time spent ‘alone’ I feel is unhealthy, and comes at the expense of really finding out and being comfortable with your own, true self.
Sometimes we learn this the hard way.
Some people, for whatever reason, grow up feeling relatively comfortable in their own skin: they back themselves, they know that though they may have doubts, but their true, inner self won’t be swayed by the world around them. In contrast, as is being seen more and more in our contemporary world, many people manifest underlying judgements of themselves, using constant comparisons, provoking fear of failure, anxiety… the list goes on… and this is weighing heavily in our social consciousness.
The wellness industry is one of the most profitable in the world to date, with a market of over 3 trillion US dollars worldwide in 2017 (2). We are scrambling to \fix\ ourselves, but where did the problems start?
can I ask,
really and truly,
And if you do, when did you start loving, or really appreciating yourself?
Has it always been this way?
I know for myself, that the biggest growth period for me in my life has been the three years plus I have been *shock, horror* \single\.
I have come to truly love myself.
These things I have found while I have been \single\: I have taken more risks, I have laughed more at myself, I have enjoyed time alone more, I have appreciated time with others more, I have done more for myself, I have created a vision for my life, I have challenged myself, I have allowed myself to grieve, I have found out how to best self-soothe, I have created clarity, I have aligned my life with purpose.
I believe loving yourself should not be something to squirm about.
It should be celebrated more.
As should our time we spend \single\.
I know that self-love is in front of you,
ready to be hugged,
especially while you are blessed with some time to be \single\.
I’m not saying this is not possible as part of a partnership,
I’m just saying you find this out when you stop treading water.
when you realise,
we were made
"Something that hasn’t changed in teaching is that great teachers can make a big difference.'
I have been musing on the education system and contemplating my role in it as a teacher. I mean, I have thought about it quite a bit of course (#mastersofteaching). Hard to believe I’m going into my fifth year of primary school teaching and seventh year of singing teaching in 2018. In this post I want to share what I believe are the most important elements of teaching - or training, or leading, as they are very similar roles which many of us engage in at some stage of our lives.
Building relationships - with students, staff, parents - is integral to being the best teacher you can be. My sister is also a teacher. Chatting the other day, she shook her head with disbelief of a teacher she knew who doesn’t make any extra time to just chat with their students or get to know them. Consequently my sister had noticed that the students didn’t really seem to connect with the teacher.
We are social beings. If we have a connection with someone, whatever that may be, we are more likely to be interested in them, listening to them, sharing with them and learning from them. Though it can happen effortlessly with people you naturally enjoy being around, sometimes you really have to work at this as a teacher. You know what I’m talking about! That particular student who is disengaged needs a strong relationship with their teacher in order to cajole them towards learning (even when sometimes they don’t want to learn or even be there). I have found that if I take just an extra two minutes in my day to spend some time with that student (or colleague, parent…), I have made time to build the relationship and often positive outcomes emerge.
There is always a kind way to go about something. A friend, before I was off to school one day, said ‘be kind to your students today’, and it really stuck with me. Just, kindness. I share this with my students: I am here to help you, never to hurt you. I believe that the most compassionate way is the best way. That there is a kind way to give feedback and a brash, hurtful way. Think of the most kind person you know. Why have they come to mind? You have probably noticed that whenever you’re around them, they’re attentive to you, receptive to your mood, wants or needs and even in difficult situations, will make an effort to keep their cool and offer a caring way out. A way to help us live this out in our lives could be to remember that for most of the people we meet, we don’t know their circumstances - the day, week, month, year they have had - and that, especially if they’re doing it tough, we can make a difference just by being kind. Kindness should abound between a student and teacher.
If our dynamic world requires us to be open, flexible and adaptable, then teaching too should have all of these qualities. ‘Critical and Creative’(1) thinkers, as described in the Australian and Victorian Curriculum, is what we want our students to be. If you walked into an Australian classroom today, you would see the many different contexts in which learning happens. Teachers still teach content, but now there’s much more students learning from and working with others, sharing ideas and engaging in self-driven projects. There is discussion, teacher voice, student voice, silent and shared reading and writing time, building, iMovies, coding… you name it. Yet… there is still something missing. I think that’s because the current Education System is still built on a business model. The Education System, designed in the Industrial Age (2), was formed for the purpose of spitting out perfect moulds of compliant citizens who would enter the workforce. As we all know, today’s global workplace is in a constant state of flux, and we are yet to find out what kinds of roles there will be in 5 years, let alone 10 or 20. Creative and critical thinking is paramount for our ever changing jobs and careers. If we don’t continue to change and allow more creativity in the classroom, the young people of today won’t be equipped for the inevitable changes to the workplace and society, which will surely take place in their lifetime.
Something that hasn’t changed in teaching is that great teachers can make a big difference (3). So, strong relationships, kindness and creativity: qualities each and every school class should have. Maybe not just schools, but also the many other avenues we learn in: our families, the workplace, community projects and in our everyday interactions. This way, lifelong learning would appeal to so many more people and more curious minds may accelerate towards being the ‘problem solvers’ we need in the world, with connection, strength, care, kindness and optimism.
#students #teachers #learning #growth #creativity #criticalthinking #kindness #relationships #lifelonglearning #education #educationsystem #educationAustralia #Victoriancurriculum #Australiancurriculum #flexibility #modelling #classrooms #Hattie
(1) Australian Curriculum - Capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking
(2) Factory Model Vs 21st Century Model of Education
(3) Visible Learning: Hattie’s Ranking for Effect Sizes
"...I knew the feedback would have been so much more impressionable and rewarding at the time, from audience member to performer."
In the last week of November 2017, I held my annual singing students Showcase at the wonderful Stones of the Yarra Valley Chapel. How lucky indeed we have been to have sung in this space over the last few years. Reflecting on the evening, I felt that it went exceptionally well. Not that it went exactly like clockwork and that there were no mistakes, but the feeling in the room was warm, brave and appreciative: qualities perfect for singing students releasing their voices into the night.
On the night I made a point of sharing with the audience that after last year’s performance, I was approached by students and audience members who wanted me to pass on their congratulations to particular performers. Of course I passed them on with enthusiasm, but in my mind I knew the feedback would have been so much more impressionable and rewarding at the time, from audience member to performer. So I let everyone know at the 2017 concert, that if they enjoyed a performance during the evening to make a point of sharing it with the performer, as I know what an impact this positive feedback would have.
Anyone who is sharing their voice should know, that just by getting up and having a go, they are successful. With couple of false starts, laughs and a page of sheet music missing (my fault!) there was a relaxed, welcoming feeling during the night and these inevitable live-music and fresh performer qualities added to the warm regard I could feel from a very kind and appreciative audience. At interval and at the end of the night, it was clear to me that audience members and performers alike were rewarded by sharing moments of feedback and encouragement.
So today I offer you a small proposition - to share your kind feedback in the moment. You may not get to share it again and what joy and encouragement it may bring.
#feedback #positivefeedback #encouragement #bolster #share #connect #inthemoment #ifnotnowwhen #performing #performerlife #teaching #timelyfeedback #stonesoftheyarravalley @stonesoftheyarravalley
'...While some of my ideas had changed...I was surprised to see that, by and large, the real me who hung in and around the pages was clear.'
I love to write.
Like so many of my other interests it gives me an outlet, a different way to express myself. I have often found myself musing upon the idea of sharing my ideas with the world. I mean, not just friends, but a wider audience. That’s what I aim to do with my performance work too. But writing…writing a blog? Here goes…!
Here I aim to delve into recounts and reflections on my professional and personal life and delve deeper into ideas that, I hope, will be interesting, amusing and may elicit a conversation - with yourself, with others, with the wider world.
Writing. A profound skill. One that honours an understanding of language, communication, intention, audience, meaning - so many things which we take as a given everyday.
A skill which as an everyday task (for most), is inevitably taken it for granted. Using today’s rose coloured lens, I am feeling ever grateful for the varied skills, knowledge and experience that allows me to write as I do. Even as I write now, I am letting thoughts initiate, then wander, then I allow my competent writing-self to edit those very ideas.
Writing has been a strong personal reflective tool: a way to understand many experiences and thoughts that may have made an impact.
Some areas where writing has featured in my life so far:
This is the one I want to talk about: my "journals"; though I don’t really call them journals. They’re more like notebooks. Random ones. Some fat with many pages. Some mini flip books. Some multicoloured old exercise books.
These notebooks - many of which I have still today - are evidence of much of my growth to date. Just yesterday I picked up notebook after notebook, looking for some lost song lyrics, and I was compelled to read snippets of the entries. I found notes, entries, reflections. Some neat, clear, orderly entries. Some hardly legible, scrawled sideways across the page, almost unrecognisable as language - electrically charged with emotion.
What I found so interesting while reading was that while some of my ideas had changed (I definitely did get over that guy, there were some great life rules in there that I haven’t fully lived by, and that was always going to be just a stage with my friends), I was surprised to see that, by and large, the real me who hung in and around the pages was clear. My ideas were clear. My values were clear. My hope was clear. Reading back over these pages showed me even though I thought I felt I wasn’t ‘getting it right’ a few years back, I was. I was learning, I had heartbreak, but underneath it all, I still believed that I would be OK and that I knew myself. And there on the paper, that stared right back at me. The true me. The truth in me.
I wanted to share this here because often at those times when we write, especially darker ones, you’re writing and so many things - especially your inner voice - are telling you that you are alone.
You’re not alone.
Your true self knows that too.
For me writing is such a great way to sort out your ideas, your voice, get things straight, vent, edit your ideas, forge your dreams, start again, plan, plan again and continue reflecting on your journey.
If you haven’t tried writing for a while, I highly recommend sitting down with a notebook and a pen. Who knows what your journey looks like on paper? Only you can find out.
Yours in writing,
#LoveWriting #AmEditing #AmWriting #journals #notebooks #writers #writingforlife #writing #reflections #musings #indieauthors #blog #WritersLife #WritingTherapy #writeforyou #readforyou #weekendreads #ordinarywriters #weareallauthors