#34 The Best Thing About the Last Day of Summer…

….is that you get to look forward to the first day coming again!  In between now and then, we get to enjoy the blessings of many holidays that bring so much love and joy.  

No matter what your age or what you do for a living, there is nothing like the first day of school. You’ve experienced it, and whether you’ve enjoyed it or not, there is nothing like it.  IT’S THE FIRST DAY! Now you get to watch your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors, or family friends experience it.  Personally speaking, I think it’s the best!

The first day of school brings with it such a mix of emotions.  For children and adults alike, it can usher in excitement, apprehension, anxiety, and fear of the unknown.  Some wait all summer for the first day of school, while others hide under their covers begging for the summer to never end.

Either way, the start of the new school year brings a host of heart-warming holidays I look forward to celebrating with family and friends: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year.  Before you know it, the snow has arrived and we’re honoring those we love on Valentine’s Day, coloring our beer green on St. Patrick’s Day, and waiting patiently for the crocuses to peek their heads out of the ground to prove to us spring is on its way.

Before we know it, spring has sprung, and we’re making plans for the Memorial Day weekend.  See how quickly the year goes? It’s like twenty minutes. In all seriousness, we all know how important it is to savor each moment;  to live each day to its fullest and to be as present as we can in each situation.  It’s a practice and shifting your mindset to one that is more lighthearted and fun can really alter your world and change the way you look at things; even the end of summer.

back to school

For those of you that are dreading the start of the school year, think about all the great things that happen in your world as a result of the new flow.  For those of you who are welcoming it, run straight toward it embracing it for all it has to offer.  Either way, it’s temporary. Summer will come around again, we just need to be patient, bless it as it goes, and bless the new school year as it arrives. The things we don’t welcome into our lives happen to teach us how to look at things in a whole new light.

I hope you’re looking at the end of summer with a warm, sparkly glow, and see the new fall season with peace in your heart. Love <3

40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club – Angela Watson

#33 A Handful of Quiet

 

I bought this lovely book a few years ago when I began teaching fifth grade.  It was my intention to kick the year off with it, but it never happened.  Being new to the elementary school environment, I was barely able to keep my head above water.  As a matter of fact, my head was never above water.  My lips were really, really close to the top. I could see the light, and was begging for air like a goldfish swimming around in murky water needing the water is his bowl changed.

The water in my bowl needed to be changed big time.  Never have I ever had to work so hard to implement every single bit of energy work I had in my back pocket.  Whew…. I’m glad it’s over! I’m beginning my twentieth year in education (woo-hoo!) and my third year with the fifth graders. I’m still in the water, but now I’m wading through it and enjoying the coolness of the water’s edge.  It’s very refreshing as I twirl my arms and allow my fingertips to skim the ripples that surround me.

The anxiety and stress levels of the kids in my classroom are just some of the ripples that desperately need to be managed all throughout the day. This year, the kids are getting Mindfulness notebooks to decorate and make their own.  I know they’re going to have a good time with the drawing exercises this book offers and they’ll absolutely LOVE going outside to hunt for four pebbles to represent a flower for freshness and beauty, a mountain for feeling solid, water for reflecting and stillness, and space for the feeling of freedom. I can’ wait to get started!

Resources for Family Practice: Related books

Mindfulness Retreat Communities for families: I’ve never visited any of the locations below, but if you’re curious…

Blue Cliff Monastery

Friends have visited Blue Cliff Monastery and very much enjoyed the experience.  I hope to head there this fall.

Deer Park Monastery

Magnolia Grove Monastery

Plum Village

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Overcoming Cancer

OvercomingCancer-07a1660f

A woman (me!) recalls how a positive attitude—and top-quality treatment—helped make a scary diagnosis just a memory.

While having fun redesigning the SHIFT site, I stumbled across this article last night.  It’s certainly an act of Devine timing that it presents itself to me, so here it is for you!  I hope it brings you some comfort today <3. All my Love.

(Photo credit: Kim Robinson Juhlin)

 

#32 How To Let Go of What No Longer Serves You

Burning paper

The transits we’ve been experiencing these past few weeks are great for burning rituals that help to let go of what isn’t serving you any longer. This eclipse, according to Tosha Silver, is the ending of a major life cycle and the beginning of something much greater.

I just got to sit with my thoughts and things to burn while sitting under the butterfly tree in my side yard. The first thing I noticed was how much more I need to be sitting outside among the butterflies and bumblebees. They brought such good energy to me; I didn’t want to leave. I’m noticing I’m spending much too much time in the house.

Three things to release immediately came to mind: Stomach/digestive issues, other people’s opinions of me, and any fear that is holding me back from being the best version of myself.

I wrote all three down, crumbled the paper into a ball, and moved to the patio where I sat my butt in front of the chiminea with the wad of paper and lighter on my lap. After I meditated for a bit, I burned the hell out of that paper and while doing so I witnessed an interesting metaphor unfold right in front of me :

Crumbled paper does not burn as easily as if the paper were flat. It took many, many tries with the lighter from all different angles to get the paper to catch. Once caught, the wadded mass opened only slightly, bit by bit with each continued spark of the lighter. Like an onion, the ball burned layer by layer indicating to me these issues are deeply imprinted. Watching this process allowed me to give myself permission to let go, to be easy with myself, and to be present with everything right where it is. Letting go is a practice, as is being easy with oneself.  God, I love a metaphor.

Let Go of What No Longer Serves You Ritual Worksheet

#31 How to Trust Your Inner Wisdom & Watch the Energy of Others

Energy vampires

A few years back I was having a wisdom tooth pulled. I had no qualms about it. I never had a tooth pulled before, but something inside made me know it would be easy. I saw myself in and out of the dentist’s office and in good health afterward. I had meditated on it and felt really confident about the procedure.

When a friend found out what I was getting ready to do, she laughed at me for taking it in stride and even called to her husband, “Hey, Jenn’s going to get a tooth pulled and she thinks she’s going to be ok!” They both laughed. 

I was now a bit confused and cautious of what was to happen, and on her suggestion, I asked my daughter to come with me so she could drive me home afterward. After all, my friend assured me I would be in no shape to drive home myself.

My dentist, whom I’ve been going to since I was about 9, allowed my daughter to watch the whole procedure since she was going into the healthcare profession and was considering dentistry. It was a great experience for her. My dentist walked me through every step, joking during the whole procedure as usual, and ten minutes later with no swelling, I popped out of the chair and headed for home without any discomfort whatsoever.

I didn’t need my daughter to drive me home, although I let her.  Better still, she got a free lesson in a surgical procedure that would have cost a fortune in dental school. So all in all, no harm done.  I know my friend was coming from a place of personal experience and only had my best interest at heart.  But I allowed her to challenge what I already knew for sure.  I allowed her energy, her personal experiences to challenge my balance and second guess what my gut already told me was certain.  Rather than being angry with her or myself for distrusting my own inner wisdom, I learned the greater lesson of keeping the energy of others out of my space and trusting the messages my body sends me.

I’ve gotten a whole lot better at not allowing other people’s experiences and energies to affect my world, but they certainly do come fast and furious at us if we’re not paying attention.  So do yourself a favor, and set yourself up for wellness by protecting your space before you leave the house. Depending on your situation, you may even want to protect your space while you’re in your own house.  Teenage daughters and cranky husbands are quick to drain us of our energy.

Protect your own personal energy by creating an imaginary ring around yourself.  An imaginary circle that is large enough for you to spin around in with your arms out. The Flowercircle can be made up of large lovely flowers that will absorb the energy of others and keep that energy out of your space.

You can create a ring of mirrors to reflect the energy of others right back at them.  Perhaps you are getting ready to enter a difficult situation that you are not looking forward to, or you will be in the company of a strong energy force. Mirror 3

 

Surround yourself with Centurian guards dressed in heavy armor with large metal shields to protect your space.  Whatever is it, make it fun and save all your energy for yourself so only can honor and control it.

Guard

#30 Self-Talk

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Our self-talk is the creator of our universe.  It is the voice of our heart, mind, and soul, and reflects our perceptions of the world, of others, and of ourselves.  It guides us, criticizes us, supports us, and impacts our decisions. Our “inner voice” often influences our moods and determines if we are happy, sad, relaxed, worried, optimistic, or helpless. Because self-talk is the “voice” we hear most, it has more influence on us and can impact our future more than anything else.

It’s estimated that 80% of what the average person says to him/herself is harmful, pessimistic, and undermining.

Ask yourself and consider:

  • Are you willing to easily accept less than perfection from yourself?
    • Do you give yourself permission to do less than 100%?
  • What do you say to yourself when you make a mistake? Do you give yourself a hard time?
    • How can you be more compassionate with yourself?
  • Is “should” one of the most prominent words in your vocabulary? Do you hear yourself often saying, “I should be working”, “I should go on a diet”, “I should get that done”, etc.  
    • Stop shoulding on yourself!
  • Do you compliment yourself when you look in the mirror?
    • What are some lovely things you can say to yourself, even on your worst day?
  • Do you give yourself praise for your accomplishments?
    • Don’t wait for someone else to pat you on the back.  Know you are already enough. Go out and buy yourself flowers.  Don’t wait for someone to do it for you.  Show yourself that YOU love YOU!
  • Are you uncomfortable accepting compliments? Do you brush off the compliment and say something negative about yourself or give the credit to someone else?
    • Just smile and say, ‘Thank you.”
  • Do you ever say things to yourself that you would never say to a friend because it would hurt his/her feelings?
    • Speak to yourself the same way you speak to those whom you hold very near and dear to your heart.  You deserve nothing less.
  • Do you ever hear words of a critical parent, family member, teacher, or boss come out of your mouth- directed to yourself?
    • Don’t beat yourself up.  Start again.  Apologize to yourself and take a moment to think of something kind and loving to say.

Self-Talk Strategies

  1. Before reacting to the ONE thing you did not do correctly, remember the times you have been stellar today.
  2. If you “hear” a negative internal message about yourself, stop and provide a positive statement.
  3. Dropped the ball?  Let it go. Remind yourself of your true value and potential and move on.
  4. Every time you give someone a compliment, give yourself one too!
  5. Be patient.  You’re reprogramming your mind.  It takes time, but if you persist, you will be living in a new reality.  A truer reality that is not made for you but by you.

Shift work….

Choose an affirmation or two that works for you and write or type it up on beautiful pieces of paper.  Place the affirmations in areas around your home and/or workspace to act as constant reminders for you.  

I type mine up and trifold the paper into a tent and then place the tent on my bathroom sink and look at it every morning while getting ready.

I’ve even gone so far as to laminate some and hang them in the shower for my kids if I felt they needed a little help. Of course, they thought I was nuts, but it never too soon to teach your kids how to help themselves.

Weekly Self-Talk Planner Worksheet

 

#28 How the Subconscious Helps with Physical Aliments

Heal

I awoke this Sunday morning to a personal vow of not allowing work to be all-encompassing in the practice to continue to live a more balanced life.  Breakfast is finished and I’m feeling encouraged. I pull out the computer and sit in my favorite spot at the end of the dining room table. The energy is good here and I enjoy the brain breaks the wide window to the neighborhood provides.  As I acknowledge the want to write more and allow my creativity to flow, my fingers go to work on the keyboard as my right arm begins to break out into hives.

Convinced the breakout is in direct correlation with the swirling thoughts I’m suppressing about Monday approaching, lessons that need attention, and papers that need grading, I pretend I’m not stressed by the idea of it all.  My body continues to react and denial allows the hives to hop over to my left arm.  My breathing gets shallower.

I remove myself from the table and walk over to the bookshelf to look for my thin, little book of sanity written by Louis Hay, which I share in my last post, published in 1998, the very year I began teaching. What irony.  I do a quick flip through the pages of Heal Your Body A – Z  in search of “H” . I skim passed Hip Problems and Hirsutism until I land on Hives (Urticaria).

Hives:

Probable Cause: Small, hidden fears, mountains out of molehills.

New Thought Pattern (affirmation): I bring peace to every corner of my life

For lots of reasons, it makes perfect sense to me. I’ve switched roles at work and I’m not being as patient with myself as I need to be. The book then directs me to see: Rash to go deeper into the root cause of the occurrence of these hives. Now I’m curious about what message  Rash has to offer. I continue to flip through the pages to the beginning of the R’s pass Rabies at the top of the list, and follow my finger down the page until it lands on Rash.  This is what I find:

Probable Cause: Irritation over delays. Babyish way to get attention

New Thought Pattern: I love and approve of myself. I am at peace with the process of life.

Irritation over delays I get.  My world of work is not where I’d like it to be and I’m working really hard to honor all those things that are not where I’d like them to be like: this week’s lessons, the class blog, filing, the dinners I’m not cooking at night because I’m too tired, and the yoga classes I’m not attending any longer for the same reason.

Babyish way of getting attention, I didn’t get. I sat with this probable cause for a bit. I am not one to dismiss anything.  I embrace all feedback, criticism, advice that is given to me.  I am not a “no, not me” person.  I’m more of a “Oh Jeez! I never thought of that” person. So as I sat with the probable cause, it didn’t take me long to figure out it is meant to tell me to buck up and get over it.  Snap out of it. I was adjusting to something new.  Deal with it.  It’s temporary.  This too shall pass.  Get over yourself and chill the ego. You’re still learning.

I’m learning to give myself permission to feel the feelings that arise and not to judge. I’ve also learned to offer these moments up and allow my Inner Wisdom or higher power to take over.  This is the best treat of all.  Remembering that I am not in this alone makes everything so much more light and airy.  It’s time to sit, breathe, and be thankful I have a job to be anxious over 😉

#27 Affirmations

Heal

Many people have scripted our self-talk, and the good news is we can re-script it. An affirmation is a statement of fact or belief (positive or negative) that will lead toward the end result you expect.  

When feeding our minds positive affirmations the programming in our minds changes. Michael Phelps talks of this when he “goes to the video” each morning as he prepares to train.  Professional athletes and business people have used the technique of affirmations for years to increase their performance and success.

Here are some examples of affirmations created by Robert Egby, as well as some I’ve created myself.  Have fun creating some of your own.  These will get you started.  In the meantime, good luck and remember, think well and be well. I’m curious to see which one you will you choose for yourself today.   Tomorrow, expect it to be different. (HINT:  Jump to the bottom of the list for a great book tip that will help you to go even deeper with affirmations.)

  • I am positive, confident and radiate good things
  • I have energy, enthusiasm, and vitality
  • I am totally relaxed and confident. When I am relaxed I achieve more.
  • I realize that time is my most valuable resource, so I carefully use it on only what is important to me.
  • I am a professional, respected person, fully capable of earning a professional, respected income.
  • I attract success into my life.  I deserve everything that success brings.
  • I really am very special.  I like who I am and I feel good about myself.
  • I was designed and created, in body and mind, to achieve.
  • I am a person of quality and strength.  I deserve success.
  • I always look for ways I can get something done instead of finding reasons why I cannot.
  • I always listen to those around me and work to understand their needs.
  • I enjoy showing others the best of themselves.  I always accept them at their best.
  • I have strength, absolute determination, and limitless endurance in the pursuit of my goals.
  • Things for me are calm, cool, smooth, and easy.
  • Every day, in every way, I feel better and better.
  • I need to recover and rest.  Everything else can wait.
  • I am calm and confident.  I have the quiet self-assurance of winning in my life.
  • I have inner peace.  I am living my life in a positive and worthwhile way.
  • I have purpose and value in my life. I love who I am and I enjoy being me.
  • I stand in my own truth.
  • I love and accept myself completely as I am.
  • I fully love, trust, and accept myself.
  • I plan for the possibilities.
  • I am intelligent.  My mind is quick and alert and clever and fun.
  • I am strong, healthy, and full of energy.
  • I am not alone.  I have supports all around when I open my eyes and just take a look.
  • I think good thoughts, and my mind makes things work right for me.
  • I am able to see a precise picture of exactly what my goals are in everything I do and what I must do to achieve each of them.
  • Make it fun gets it done.  – Jon Acuff
  • When I am pleasing everyone, I am not honoring my truths.
  • I breathe in life and love and exhale all that no longer serves me.
  • Because winning takes energy, good health, and a strong, positive attitude, I make sure that I keep myself fit both mentally and physically.
  • I speak, think, and act from a place of grace and gratitude.
  • I take full responsibility for everything about me, even the thoughts I think.
  • I always visualize myself being at my absolute best in every part o my personal/professional life.
  • I accept where I am and all thing that brought me to this moment.
  • I learn from everything I do and everyone I meet.
  • I am filled with divine confidence to act.
  • I listen and pay attention to the signs and symbols around me.
  • My mind is clear and alert.  It is capable of meeting any challenge I place before it.
  • I have excellent powers of concentration.  I attune all my senses to the subject at hand, and I am able to focus my attention more and more easily each day.
  • My body, heart, and mind speak to me.  I listen with trust and a deep sense of knowing.
  • I have more money than I will ever need.
  • I allow the highest to occur in my life and I embrace it.
  • I am creative.  I like to find new and interesting ways to do things in my life.
  • Every day, something new and interesting happens in my life.
  • I like myself and I like my goals.  I am moving forward in my life.

TIPS:

  • You may want to get yourself a copy of Louise Hay’s book, Heal Your Body A-Z.  In addition to having beautiful artwork, each page is structured with three columns:
    • Ailments which are listed from A-Z
    • An explanation of what’s happening in your subconscious as a result of your ailment
    • An Affirmation that aids in creating a Shift in your mindset set, which will aid to rid the body of the ailment.

#26 21 Days of Gratitude… Completed

Necklace gratitude

So, I’ll begin by saying my dates are off.  When I began my gratitude journey for 2017, it was Wednesday, the 4th of January, not the 5th as previously posted. Gratitude is gratitude and the dates are really irrelevant.

Day 12 – Sunday 1/15/17…Taking Risks/Trusting

  • Apprehensively, I signed up for yoga teacher training for the next six months. Everything in my logical mind screamed, “Are you crazy?!”, while my intuitive Self told me to trust and move forward.  Being only three days into the training, so many ideas and opportunities have already presented themselves to me.  I’ve been convincing myself year after year that it’s not the right time to get certified and deepen my yoga practice.  I’m so glad I followed my heart and honored my inner voice. Who I am to get in the way of a higher sense of being?

Day 13 – Monday 1/16/17…Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • I spent today quietly watching and listening to the speeches of Dr. King on YouTube. I found myself filled with such gratitude for all of his efforts in the name of peace.  I kept wondering, Who is the MLK of our time? Who do you think it would be?

Day 14 – Tuesday 1/17/17…Discipline

  • I don’t want to double dip and list my yoga practice a second time as one of the many things I’m grateful for. So instead, I’ll acknowledge the discipline it took for me to get to the 6:00 pm yoga class after work today; knowing everything I had to do to prepare for school tomorrow. Yoga is always worth it and discipline is a good thing.

Day 15 – Wednesday 1/18/17 …New Teachers

  • Today in Room 37, our class was introduced to a student teacher who will be with us until May. We couldn’t be more excited!  She is passionate about the field of education and I’m looking forward to all I’ll be learning from her; even though her placement in Room 37 is to learn from us.

Day 16 – Thursday 1/19/17…Acupuncture and babysitting (Is that two?)

  • My friend Terri is a quite a gifted acupuncturist. I have a standing appointment with her every Thursday evening, and on some days after my appointment, my niece schedules one for herself, which allows me to look after my great-nephew. I don’t know which is better,  the release, relaxation, and balance these treatments provide allow me to get through my week more clearly and calmly or the cuddles and the giggles that last until I see my nephew’s cute face again.

Day 17 – Friday 1/20/17… Flexible, Healthy Students

  • Today we started the school day with half the class absent. Before the day was out, we lost five more to fevers and strep throat.  There was no way I was going to teach my planned lessons only to have to teach them again on Monday. So, with best-laid plans put aside, the students pulled together and sterilized the classroom, inside and out, with Seventh Generation wipes.  I’ve never seen kids so happy to clean before. They really had a ball!

Day 18 – Saturday 1/21/17…Throat Drops

  • My need for throat drops in the middle of the night proved that I had not escaped the sickness spreading throughout our classroom. An uncontrollable cough woke me from a sound sleep and nothing, but the natural soothing relief of the drops allowed me a few more hours of sleep.

Day 19 – Sunday 1/22/17…Hot Water & Dr. Teal’s

  • I woke this morning with every muscle in my body aching. I have no doubt now that the bug of Room 37 has made its way inside of me. With every fiber of my being, I threw off the covers, shuffled to the bathroom, and drew a bath of hot water and Dr. Teal’s.  I could think of nothing better to sooth the aching muscles of my body. It was no easy task to ease myself down into the tub, but the glory of the hot water made all the difference.

Day 20 – Monday 1/23/17…Steve

  • Husbands come no better than Steve. I have to just put it out there.  And yes, we’ve had lots to overcome, but he is there for me always, unconditionally, and often with a little smirk on his face giggling at me for something or other. When women start hating on their spouses, I just can’t go there. Steve does nothing selfishly and considers the kids and me in every single decision he makes.  I love him and I am very grateful for him today and forever.

Day 21 – Tuesday 1/24/17…Brady and Drew

  • My babies! Who are no longer babies… They’re funky young adults who are doing their best at finding their way in the world.  The two are the best of friends and I enjoy their company immensely.  The notion that our children select us and come into our lives to teach us lessons is such a romantic belief.  My kids continue to teach me lessons every day without having any idea they are doing so.  I’m still learning lessons from memories that pop up from their childhood.  Parenting is one wild and crazy ride that has me most grateful for their selection of me.

The 21 Day Gratitude Challenge was a joy to participate in.  I don’t want to wait until 2018 to do it again. We should start a movement to roll right into another 21 days, and just keep it going over and over and over.

Wouldn’t it be lovely for everyone who posts on social media, to first post what they are grateful for before posting anything else?  There’s an idea.

#25 21 Days of Gratitude Continued…

Gratitude

Admittedly, posting daily will be the biggest challenge of my 21 Days of Gratitude. Making daily notes and transferring them to a weekly post seems to work best for me. Have you decided to make a list? If so, how is your list coming along?

Day 6– Monday 1/9/17…Fresh New Lipstick

Nothing gives me a rush straight back to the comforts of my childhood than cranking up a fresh, new L’Oreal lipstick. The creamy smell of…lipstick. I have no other words to describe it.  I’m hypnotized by the perfect stamp of its very name embossed at the base of the stick. I can feel mom’s kisses so gentle on my cheek as I get ready to run out the door for school.  I LOVE it!

Day 7 – Tuesday 1/10/17…Supportive Bosses

I am blessed to work for and with a supportive administrative team, whose ideals for the education of children are realistic, proactive, and progressive. This is very rare when speaking with others in the field of education.  If I didn’t work with these people, there is no way I could remain in education.

Day 8 – Wednesday 1/11/17…A Bath

What else really needs to be said?

Day 9 – Thursday 1/12/17…My Siblings

Today is my sister’s birthday and that reminds me of all the fun and fights we had growing up. I’m blessed to be the baby of two older sisters and an older brother.  I love and honor them with all my heart.  I treasure the lessons they have taught me over the years, and look forward to growing old with them by my side.  With age, we grow even closer.

Day 10 – Friday 1/14/17…Technology

Today I had a very special surprise video chat from my son and his Navy buddy from Japan. He was feeling bad about not being able to visit with my class during his trip home over the holidays.  The kids in Room 37 were so excited to meet them both, and they had a blast asking questions and hearing stories about what their teacher is like as a mom.

Day 11 – Saturday 1/15/17…Ice Cream

It has become a steady practice for me to have a very small dish of chocolate ice cream at night just before the clock strikes 8:00.  It’s recommended not to eat after 8:00 p.m., so I do my best not to.  I drizzle my two small scoops with a bit of Hershey’s chocolate syrup and rainbow sprinkles.  And I know, it’s said that there is no difference in the flavor of sprinkles from one color to the next, but I like rainbow. It’s small. It’s simple. It’s delicious.

Stay tuned for Day 12!