Tuesday, July 22, 2014

summer reading and a big dose of introspection

As usual for summer, I have been doing a lot of reading.  Some fiction, lots of non-fiction--both for personal interest and personal development (as a part of my professional development).  Personal development is an area of interest, but is crucial as a part of my professional leadership development (I know, right?!  Makes you want to live my life...).  One of the quirky side effects of that much personal development reading (and watching TEDtalks) is an incredible amount of introspection.  Which has the potential to be a little..."crazy making".  I put that in quotation marks because I'm fairly certain that's not the clinical term :)

The introspection has led me to be currently rereading "Eat Pray Love".  And although I love it, I do think maybe Elizabeth Gilbert is a little nuts.  Or was.  And I totally mean that in a good way.  Next up on the list is to reread "The Happiness Project".  Gretchen Rubin is another woman who I think is slightly nuts.  In a totally good way.  Both books seem very much like very driven women have succumbed to their woo-woo side and embark on a journey to fix what's missing from their lives.  Or not missing.  Whatever.  Either way, both books are a personal journey of looking to improve their lives.  Or social-emotional state.  

Because I also love the work of Glennon Doyle Melton, which you can find at www.momastery.com and because she says she has been so influenced by Dr Brene´ Brown, I watched her TEDtalks this morning (give me a break, I'm kicking coffee and am too tender from my chiro appt yesterday to do any exercise, I needed to take my mind off of it).  You can find them here:

All I can say is wow.  Shame and vulnerability are really at the root of all of the stuff.  You know, the stuff that gets in the way.  Of everything.  Shame prohibits vulnerability.  Without vulnerability there is no compassion, empathy or joy.  Doesn't that really just sum it all up?  Without joy, how do you find happiness, or what I think people (women?!) are really searching for--contentment?  

But, how do you really let go of shame?  And I'm not talking about shame that you did something horrible and should be punished or anything, I'm talking about the shame that so many of us feel.  Which is maybe more aptly described as "should".  You know what I mean--I should exercise more, I should work longer hours, I should spend more time with my children, I should bake cookies and make jam, and grow my own organic veggies and have hens to lay eggs and volunteer and cook everyday and not watch tv and do yoga and not drink so much wine.  The shoulds.  The ones that I think in some part of her soul, every human with 2 X chromosomes feels every single fricking day of life on earth.  It occurs to me that those with XY chromosomes might too, but that's a little outside my area of expertise.

Glennon talks about the capes she would wear--addiction, bulimia, drug use.  BB (because we're so tight I have nicknamed her BB) talks about other "capes" (cloaks?  whatever) of perfectionism, judgement, overeating--whatever it is that you use to prevent you from being vulnerable, because of shame. Any of this sounding familiar to anyone?  It all hits a little too close to home for comfort.  

The unease, the discomfort.  The discontent.  It's all there.  The cloak of keeping the game face on so that it looks like I have my s*** together.  

It's raw, and it's uncomfortable.  But there it is.

And in that vein, I have added the words evolution and perspective to the name of my blog.  Because that's really what it is.  And it's really not about fitness or lack thereof anymore.  Because I'm not so sure that anyone really gives a rat's a** about whether I'm running or kickboxing or doing yoga.  But when I write about other stuff, people comment.  Which is really good for my dopamine and seratonin levels :)  More about that in Simon Sinek's book, "Start With Why".  There's a TEDtalk for that too.

And to link all of this back to professional development?!  Start with why (that's easy, the kids), think about what their biology dictates for success, help them move past the shame (yeah, we do it to them--report cards?!) and move into vulnerability so that they can learn.  I truly believe that without acceptance and an absence of shame, they won't learn.  Same with teachers (and admin!).  

And there you have it.  Full circle.  What BB calls a "spiritual awakening".  I'm not sure about that, but it's certainly fodder to ruminate upon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Ahhhhh, summer!  The long awaited, much needed break.  Week one as always catching up on a multitude of appointments.  Week two some more appointments and really trying to unwind.  The downside of having time to think, is that all the detritus of the mind that normally is shoved aside comes bubbling to the surface and insists on being tended to.....summer is a process :)

A colleague/friend invited me to do a gratitude challenge on Facebook.  3 things, 3 days, nominate 3 people everyday of the challenge.  It's inspiring to think of all the things for which I am grateful. Some are Facebook worthy, and some are better tucked away for personal contemplation only.  Not everyone needs to have the full experience of the recesses of my mind.  In that vein, the challenge has inspired me to actually write down 3 things a day for which I am grateful.  And since it's for my own benefit only, I won't need to hide the crazy!

Operation kick coffee is progressing.  Not always well, but it's progressing.  I'm almost ready for the next step--one cup in the morning.  *gulp*. It doesn't sound like much, but I am a coffee lover.  Through and through.  I'm working on convincing myself that I am actually a green tea lover.  As long as I can kick the habit before the return to school, I will be happy.  Baby steps.

Today is another rainy day, with some intermittent sunshine day.  Which is having a negative impact on my walking everyday with or without the dog.  I don't mind walking in a light rain (not so the dog), but the downpour we got caught in yesterday doesn't do much for me.  We sought refuge under a big leafy tree and waited for the rain to ease so we could return home.  But as we were standing under the tree, it occurred to me that if there was thunder, lightning follows.  And standing under a tree is something akin to standing on top of a hill with a metal rod extended above your head.  Maybe we'll just wait for a nicer day.  Luckily my lightning rod theory wasn't tested.  And my theory that someone would notice it was pouring and would come looking for us to rescue us from the weather was thoroughly disproven.  Honestly, what good is having kids with driver's licenses?!

So, looking for some sunshiny hot weather, so I can enjoy the beach and really get my mind and body in better shape for the upcoming school year.  Rain is good, but I'm ready for some sun.  Fingers crossed for beautiful weather the week we are renting the cottage, and for the rest of our vacation time.

The positive about rainy days, is that there is time for organizing and cleaning the clutter.  Clutter in my space causes anxiety, and I get nothing done.  Except temper tantrums.  Not exactly productive.  It maybe says something about me, the amount of satisfaction gained from organizing?  On today's list? Kid's coat closet.  God help me.

How are you spending your rainy days?