On Appreciation: Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Teacher Appreciation!

According to collinsdictionary.com when we ‘appreciate’ something, or someone, we 1. recognize its good qualities, 2. understand it and know what it involves, 3 are grateful for it, and 4. value it highly. And as Teacher Appreciation Week passes the baton to Mother’s Day, like gentle sunrise moving into the brightness of early morning, it is my hope that despite the stormy weather, that today we feel especially grateful for the people in our lives who give wholeheartedly in the spirit of love.

I am feeling especially grateful today,  as a Mom and as a teacher. First, because this was unexpectedly delivered to my classroom on Tuesday:

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“To my favorite teacher – who will surely leave the world a better place than when she found it. Happy National Teacher’s Day! From your former student of the Class of ’02.

And secondly, because these cards were lovingly handed to me yesterday:

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Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. And thanks for giving me such a good life!!!! 🙂

 

First, what’s the curious story of the long stem yellow roses? When reading the card, it’s clear that the former student is displaying an understanding of “recognizing good qualities” and “knowing” what teaching involves. But more importantly, and complimentary, is this individual chose to acknowledge me and my dedication to my profession, fifteen years after graduation.

Many colleagues probed deeper:

“Are you still in touch with the student?”

“No.”

“What kind of student was this Giver?”

“Kind. Intelligent. Introspective. Valedictorian.”

“Do you have any way to get back in touch?”

“No”

“Would you ever have expected such an outstanding gift? After all, it is a vase filled with one dozen long stemmed yellow roses – with glitter on the leaves…”

“No… Yes, yes – statement making, yes.”

All of my short replies, are simply short because many of own questions go unanswered.

But, here is what I do know: the Giver and I truly enjoyed our time learning together; the Giver and I composed, read, and explored the content of English and analyzed the deeper implications of the subject matter as a team; the Giver and I laughed a lot, spoke about life a lot, and mostly acknowledged one another’s humanness, daily.

Special, yes. Unique, no. It is what teachers DO. Everyday. Without any questions… with ALL of their students. It is special by nature of the honor to work with young, growing, trusting minds. Not unique. That is the standard. Period.

I think it is the Giver who is uniquely intelligent, here — who in the quiet introspective moments of the Giver’s life, and in the understanding of the value of the teaching profession, woke up on National Teacher Appreciation Day and said, “She has waited long enough to hear the words. She deserves to be told, today, of all days. And so, she shall be shown my full gratefulness. Because, she is my favorite.” The ultimate kindness.

Shown, felt, and fully appreciated by me! Thank you, kind Giver!

And the gesture is held in absolute AWE…

…because I feel respected and AMAZED. And because I GOT to be the FAVORITE! Lucky me!

And when I go into the quite introspective and intelligent moments of my life, AWE and respect is acknowledged, in each waking moment that I get to live out my “dream profession”. It’s just that some days, I get to live in the glow of AWE a bit more than others. And on Tuesday, AWE was served times one dozen roses, and fragrantly!

Now, what about my ‘giraffe’ Mother’s Day card? When reading the card, it’s clear that the Giver “highly values” her quality of life! Um, thank goodness! The “dream profession” of teaching is, along with me, her generous provider. How wonderful is that?!

Oh, and the giraffe — As a totem animal (which how I came to realize the giraffe is the perfect symbol for me is a different blog post – for another day…) the giraffe symbolizes, according to the linked site, that I have learned to make my words count and learned to share my awareness of my surroundings with others.

Is that me or what?? At least, me “in the making” 🙂

Thank you, Dear Daughter for knowing and acknowledging me!

The birds are starting to chirp… sunrise (even if it can’t be seen on this cloudy day) has moved into the brightness of early morning, Mother’s Day Morning.

My hope for you today is that you get to experience (and offer) the many definitions of appreciation. Whether you are a teacher or a mom, or serve both these roles in some capacity in your life, know that I “understand and know what it involves”.

And I appreciate you…

…that’s why I wanted to share my roses and my card with you.

You make “the world a better place”. You give someone a “good life.”

And I sincerely believe it. And wholeheartedly value it.

Happy Teacher’s Appreciation. Happy Mother’s Day.

Blessings and Peace,

Pamela Rae

 

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Real Love Arrived: And, I’m So Glad I Get to Tell You About It!

The clouds are clearing. The trees are greening up so nicely. The tulips have said their “hellos” and are moving into their “until we meet again” sentiments. And a new sense of hope is blooming in me, and maybe for you too, as the sun is shining today!!

I apologize for being absent for a while. The cold and rain of the unlike-spring weather pulled me down, and so did the murkiness of my life.

You see, I have been taking a writing and self-inquiry course with Martha Beck titled Write into Light: Be the Truth. In the course, participants have immersed in what Beck calls the “Archeology of the Self”. This is a process by which a writer stirs up a past trauma (like a loved one’s death or bad break-up — something BIG) by imagining going back to that moment of traumatic space and then free-writing about it for about 15 minutes. Next, the writer digs deeper into the BIG hurt by exploring a single line, in the finished free-write, that holds a resonating yet painful truth. Then the writer writes about that for a bit. Martha Beck calls this “the inhale”. It’s step one of the “writing into the light” procedure.

The second step, which she calls “the exhale” is where the writer — me and the other course participants — expose a positive truth learned from the trauma, in a less than 500 word composition. As class members, we writers, who now have anointed ourselves “Light Writers”, share our written insights on an online forum with our teacher, Martha Beck, and our fellow “Light Writing Tribe”. There is about a 1,000 of us. Yup, ONE THOUSAND fellow- self-archeologists are in my writing tribe!

One thousand Tribe Light Writers

to share my scars and revelations with.

This exposure, in this writing course, has been like total bare bones nudity! And, it’s been painful. Painful because I have stirred up the mud of events I  supposedly put behind me… So, in my other writing, I had to go quiet for a bit, to let all the muck settle…And it finally did.

And, I am ready to share with you my clarity:

There is so much good in the world to presently enjoy and to really love, especially now that the blooms of spring have arrived! They have arrived!

In Sharon Salzburg’s book titled Real Love she says, “The more we cultivate mindfulness, the more we clearly we see and appreciate what’s right in front of us, unclouded by judgement or expectation. And the more we cherish the life around us, the more we cherish ourselves. It’s a powerful equation.”

This is a bit cliché, but, while I was in that murky cloud of self-inquiry of what was supposed to be “Light Writing”, I was judging myself. And this ‘judging’ is the opposite of what Salzberg encourages, above. And of course, opposite to what Martha Beck’s objective was, too.

You see, Pamela’s ‘failures’ were exposed again.  And even when I was writing my ‘positive revelations’ (the exhale), I didn’t love, or even really like, anything I wrote.

“Why?” you ask.

“It’s not real enough or good enough” the writing critic within me scolded. And, for awhile, I believed her.

Struggles with self worth have always been a pattern for me. Like an endless winter, lack of self esteem makes me feel like spring will never come. And then, I get stuck.

And so, to overcome my insecurity, at the end of the “Be the Truth Light Writing” I had to give myself  some “Breathing Room”.

For me, “Breathing Room” looks like a combination of Martha Beck’s “inhale” and “exhale” exercise: it’s the time I give to myself to process the resurfacing of old pain. It’s a weighing of the good against the not so good… It’s meditation…It’s mindfulness…It’s taking as much time as I need… It’s rest…It’s the space to heal.

“Breathing Room” is like the promise held in the buds of spring.

And spring eventually does comes. And flowers do bloom.

And people do eventually heal.

Hating cold, like low self worth, for me is equal to “judgment”. “Expecting” life, or weather for that matter, to be consistently warm is an illusion. What is real is the second chance we all get when buds appear… or when forgiveness is offered. Or when self forgiveness is finally accepted. That’s the blossom.

Pain is a dark dictator. It’s true, I visit that country from time to time, but I don’t live there anymore. Judgement and expectation are not my “home”. Today, I choose to reside in what Salzberg refers to as real love: appreciating what is right in front of me, by refining by mindfulness practice with self compassion and by cherishing my present moment.  And all I have to do, is show up.

So, this morning, “showing up” is exactly what I did…

And this is what arrived:WIN_20170507_09_27_50_Pro_LI

When did they blossom? This morning? Two days ago? A week ago? I don’t know, because I was too busy looking at the clouds and hating the cold. But today I actually saw the flowers of spring, because today, I saw the sun, because today I was rested and healed. That’s when I decided to show up… and there you have it: I fell back in “real love” with my life.

Because Winter Is Over.

As Salzberg says, “The more we cherish the life around us, the more we cherish ourselves. It’s a powerful equation.”

So, this morning, with my self-and-sunshine-cherishing, I finished the equation that becoming a Light Writer Tribe member originally challenged me to become: I dug deep; I honored the pain that has made me “me”. Then, I cast aside judgement and expectation. And the bud of hope bloomed!

Spring HAS arrived!

Real Love is mine to have — and yours too.

And, I’m so glad I got to tell you about it!

Thanks for listening 🙂

Sending you many blessing and peace,

Pamela Rae