I love being in a classroom of adult learners. I am grateful for the diversity of culture, ethnicity, ability, academic readiness and spend a significant amount of time managing my expectations and looking for opportunities to inspire compassion and connection, knowing that my students are destined to be helpers.
However, this political climate has left many of my students and myself emotionally exhausted, often defensive of our personal leanings, and starved for discourse.
So what do I do when I’m feeling “teachable moment fatigue”?
I stop teaching.
I start listening.
And I take space from the hustle and bustle of the 24 hour news cycle and biased op-Ed pieces and choose to sit in the silence, listen to an audiobook, or crochet until my hands hurt.
Because as Anne Lamott says, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
Summer class discussion topic of the day:
‘Destination addiction’ is the idea that happiness/fulfillment/success is held in some chosen person/place/thing/job that is coming, versus what IS.
Learning how to sit and reflect on your current experiences with gratitude and be present with all that you have is what can reframe your perception that contentment and success is ONLY ahead of you. If you keep those feelings with you, they are always within reach!
It is time to see what is in front of you, express appreciation for it, and hold space for what is coming without obsessing over the outcome.
What’s happening in this moment in your life that is going well??
Sit with it, thank it, and go about your day!
This human experience is all about connection. Yet, so many focus on the field of attention. Attention may get you noticed, but connection drives memory.
Connection (or lack thereof) has the power to build relationships, companies, brands, bridges (literal and figurative) while attention is a moment in time.
Connection will bring you back. How that “person, place, thing” made you FEEL, will bring about a physical response.
Attention is fleeting. Connection is a gift you get from the Universe to heighten the human experience.
Healing requires feeling.
If you are in the midst of healing, odds are that you are experiencing a range of moods—-motivation, frustration, resentment, sadness, grief, impatience, excitement, hope, hopelessness, etc.
What you may not realize is that healing requires feeling your way through whatever has impacted or affected you. All of those feelings serve a purpose, and often do not appear in a linear way.
Healing ebbs and flows, and has the power to surprise and disarm. The feelings may change, grow or pass without warning, and yet it is important to honor whatever feeling arises as a guest in your experience.
Let the feelings settle (briefly), with the awareness that all of them are there temporarily, and if you feel them, then allow them to leave, you can learn the lesson they are teaching you, which ushers in more peace and self-awareness.
That is the healing.
Today in class my group counseling students were doing a practice group session around the topic of ‘fear’.
Each student wrote down a few fears in their lives and added them to the pile.
Not surprisingly, the ‘fear of failure’ (stated in one way or another) kept coming up, so we paused and dissected this a bit more. With several students (who are also parents) noting their fear was often centered around fear of failing as a parent. (🙋🏼♀️hi, all of you fellow parents out there) The other students were able to see the connection to their own parents, or how they will parent if that is where their lives lead them.
As they went around sharing, it was my turn to offer feedback and this is what I shared…
”Wow. I really screwed that up. I’m so sorry that I did that. Next time I’ll do ———.”(I say this phrase a lot!)
What you give your loved ones when you apologize is the space and affirmation that they are worthy of an apology.
Think about how important this is for the children in your life to see. When you screw up—- acknowledge it, own it, and explain how you will change your behavior next time a similar situation presents itself.
Modeling this behavior is critical in building their emotional intelligence and fostering empathy.
When you are wrong, speak it out. Own it, and move along ❤️