The dreadful evening news is filled with ills
Her gleaming eyes of planes that never land
The talking heads fill space ‘tween selling pills
And finish with cute puppies in the sand
Analysis is often hard to find
The whys and wherefores hidden in a cloud
But Sunday’s sales will mollify the mind
The deals! They’ll make a killing, feeling proud
Though sometimes there’s a tone that resonates
I take a breath and turn attentive ears
A problem I can tackle for me waits
Solutions not in months but many years
One more starfish thrown into the sea
The journey matters both for them and me
In her poem, The Summer Day, Mary Oliver asks,
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Are you one of the mindful people? I am. Well, I try to be. I love the ideas of presence and breathing and noticing and all those mindful things. I know the best relaxation techniques; I use them personally and with my students. I take time to notice those around me and the sensations within me. Breathe. Be present.
But what about the rest of the day? If we can take 10 minutes to be mindful on purpose that is good. How, though, can we keep mindfulness going as a way of life?
To begin with let’s stop being busy. Some folks wear busyness as a badge of honor. They don’t have time and can’t make time. They fill their schedules and their children’s schedules with so much to do that there is no time to be bored. I loved being bored as a kid- that’s when I was at my most creative, much to the chagrin of my parents. We dug holes and drilled holes and played Evel Kenievel. “Go outside and play” was never a punishment but a liberation: discover, wonder, create, and sometimes get in trouble. How often do you go out and play, whatever that means for you now, with no plan nor agenda?
Then, let’s be aware of our screens. How many screens do you have that keep you busy? Computer? Tablet? Phone? Kindle? Which Joneses do you feel a need to keep up with? The news? A TV show? Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? How much time does that leave for friends and family face-to-face? In my case, not enough. So, I am mindful of my screen time and am trying to reduce it. It is hard, though, when the emails come at all hours and a friend is posting photos on Instagram of his new house in a new country. With email at work I try not to send email from home or on weekends. I cannot be present nor help others be present when I interrupt them with things that can wait. Perhaps we can agree to fewer emails after hours and more face-to-face during hours.
Finally, let’s focus. We know that multi-tasking is a myth yet we still try to do too much (if you are always busy you might be trying to do too much). A Jack of all trades is a master of none. Businesses speak of core competencies: what are the main products and services of your business? If you try to do too many things you may do none well. The core competency of schools is education. Is your school doing too many other activities? How many of them can be done by parents and members of the community so that teachers can focus on the education of the students? Bringing in the wider community brings people together and actually builds community because it does take a village.
Let’s be mindful of how we live life: We only get one chance at today. Name your priorities and live them knowing it is okay to say no. Build community and make time. Me? I’m gonna go out and play and breathe and notice.
Question. Not the
I got you
Question nor the
I’m smarter than you
Question. Ask the
Tell me who you are today?
Question. Ask the
What’s the best, most interesting?
What’s surprised you?
Question. Ask the
Tell me more about…
Question. Not the judge, jury nor executioner
Question but the
___build community and understanding
Answers are not lions (but may be thorns).
Answers are doors.
Answers. Then ask another
She was love
and she was loved.
Some people represent home
that feeling of welcome
the warm embrace
She was one of those people who
don’t have to do or
or… or… or
Just be love
Share the stories
Call you out
In all of your OK-ness
just as you are
as she is
So it is
So she will be missed
As we work to systematize the writing work we do in Middle School, we decided to start a new website: Middle School Writing Lab. It will be a constant work in progress (and it was only started last Thursday so, keep that in mind). I hope to include in each section:
- How-To/ Explanation
- Word Bank
I am looking for that sweet spot between “formula” and “stream of consciousness.” I want writers to use their personal voice while accomplishing the task at hand. If you have any amazing resources please send them my way. Let’s Write!
A broken skateboard on the ground
was days-old trash until I found
some greased ball bearings deep within.
Thought I’d take ‘em for a spin.
I grabbed a vice grip and a pliers
and pulled apart the useless tires.
When I got the needed part
was when my project I could start.
My sister drinks a lot of juice-
her bottle caps I put to use.
In three red caps I placed a dime
and filled with clay to save some time.
The fourth red cap- I had to cut
away the top and leave a rut
around the middle without tearing
the place I’d put the greased ball bearing.
But still my project wasn’t done
I went to get my grandma’s gun
(a gun for glue, so don’t you worry).
I pegged the pieces without hurry.
So now the part I really hate
the glue sets slow so I must wait.
My patience pays off in the end.
Participating in the trend
I rush to show it to a friend.
He laughs and asks what did I spend?
“Designed and built with nothing new!”
He pauses, asks, “Can I …
… build one too?”