The Power of Our Stories

You are powerful. We are powerful. Most of all, together our collective voice screams our power and our courage. Where does this kind of powerful energy come from? And, where does it live and manifest itself? I get to see it manifest in the stories of our students from children to grown ups.  Who we are and who we are in a process of becoming is just as important as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

By telling our stories we create powerful connections.  How do you show and share your story? How is your voice heard? Where does your voice resonate the loudest? The softest? Seriously think and reflect on this. Is it through poetry? Spoken word? Is it in art? Is it found in a conversation? We recognize through our stories and our lives just how connected we are and that we are all in a process of becoming. None of us really know anything and when we think we do, change occurs and to grow we must grow and go with the change. This is how we grow and evolve. This is how we become. This is how we create our real and authentic identities. Tupac Shakur said, “I am coming out 100% real and I’m not compromising anything.”

We are found in a single sentence. We are found in a line drawn and extended magnified or minimized like an MC Escher sketch. “Every line means something,” said Basquait.  If every line means something in a drawing, then that also means every curve, every freckle each and every part of us means something too. Every “line” in this life means something.  Each action or inaction affects all of us even when we don’t think it does, it does.

What’s your story? Who are you? Why are you here? How do you want to make your vision a reality and your voice resonate and connect? What are you doing right now to make your vision come to fruition? Where are you? When will you share your story — your voice?

We’re all waiting for you to become you and even when you become you, you will still change and grow. You will get growing pains and experience hurts. What will you do with it all? You will change. You will evolve.  We are all in a never-ending process of becoming.  Over and over and over again.

Leveling up or leveling down and around like a run on sentence or drawn out lines. We never come to a complete end and when we think we have reached the end we are reminded again and again that we are only just beginning.

Read more here: https://worldforumfoundation.org/2019/09/17/the-power-of-storytelling-jill-telford-united-states/

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A Piece of Heart

I walked to my mailbox. I physically opened my quiet and subtle mailbox not my loud and pinging gmail inbox. No need to sign on or even click on anything. I opened my literal real 3D mailbox outside of my home and took out a piece of real mail. Real paper. Real ink. Real love. I am afraid of clowns but as I saw the clown nose with the stethoscope; my heart fluttered like a hummingbird and sang like one too! I screamed and danced love and gratitude. I opened the letter and read the words from none other than Patch Adams himself who deeply inspires and resonates like the same beating of a drum except its the same beating of a heart. I am grateful.

Don’t know who he is? Check out Robin Williams playing him in Patch Adams: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZqGA1ldvYE

I am deeply moved and inspired by his genius and caring way of being. His message was to catch the sunrises and sunsets. He told me to read poetry by Emily Dickinson. He told me to write and make art. He said many times when we feel low and down that something is missing. That something could be and is the creative arts for our soul.

He listened as he read my letter. He knew what I was deeply missing as I was in the midst and mixture of a rat race not life. When we feel lost or “off”, a feeling of not being ourselves, of not feeling the essence of our being, we miss our core human way of being…our art, our creation, our time, our love…the greatest gift that we give ourselves and emit to the world.

We are merely working to survive not working to thrive. I jumped off the rat wheel, stopped running and racing. Instead I walked into love.

I can’t merely live to work. I work to live. Connection. Love. Life-long learning. L-o-v-e. Real love. Jump, slow down and walk into it. How do you show love to yourself? How do you show love to those around you and your environment?

Pockets Full of Dreams

Where is your happy place? I hope you have a few of them. As a life-long learner and dreamer, I have the opportunity to travel and live out my dreams of connecting with people from all over the world.

I remember sitting in my Junior year Spanish class when our teacher asked us to draw and dream in Spanish. This was difficult for me to dream in another language but I finally did. My dream then and now was to travel all around the world and connect with people. Deep down, I recognized the important impact of connecting cross-culturally. My dream was and still is all about connection: relationships / community. Something that social media or the meta verse just can’t create in real time or in real life. It may socially influence relationships in both negative and positive ways but it could never replace them or even construct a deep rooted one in real life. Human touch, human feeling, and human thought. It is mere cookie cutter from us…it mirrors our universe but could never fully be us.

We all crave connection. Back then I drew my dream and wrote it out in Spanish, it was a vision that I have the rare opportunity of living out today in real life. I love meeting people and creating long lasting connections that challenge our ways of being, our very existence. There was a time I didn’t know what I knew today. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow never came and today is what we’re living the best way we know how with what we know today.

“Quiero viajar por todo el mundo y conectarme con la gente”. More deeply I realize my dream was and still is about loving each other no matter where we’re from as we all are in a process of becoming. We all have pockets full of dreams and are in the process of realizing them little by little. We’re all walking in the dark and in the light. We’re all here doing what we have to do to fulfill our mission.

We’re all connected as we’re crawling, walking, galloping, skipping, running and flying each other home.

What Had Happened Was…

It’s not about what’s wrong with you, it’s about what is hurting you. It’s all about what happened to you. I am in the middle of reading an amazing book entitled: What Happened to You? by Oprah and Dr. Perry You can find it here –> https://www.amazon.com/What-Happened-You-Understanding-Resilience/

The book that is changing and affirming lives especially mine 🙂

It is an affirmation that I am exactly where I need to be. Healing wounds not reopening them or simply covering them up with metaphorical bandaids and smiles. I am full of gratitude for giving the gift to myself and most of all giving myself the gift of healing.

As I am reading and reflecting about what had happened in my life as I read both Oprah and Dr. Perry also discuss a lot of what I learned and was gifted as a preschool teacher: the neuroscience behind trauma, it also reminds me a lot of Dr. Becky Bailey’s work with the brain stem, Conscious Discipline how at times we go into fight or flight mode. The Cortex is where we should be when making significant decisions. I love the brain and fell in love with it when I read Jill Bolte Taylor’s work: My Stroke of Insight.

What I am alluding to is the importance of the brain, how early childhood and early sensory experiences play into that and how they are the key to making imprints on us. A simple but not so simple scent can bring us back to remembering experiencing and even stepping through trauma. A mere scent can bring us back to the beautiful and ugly parts of our experiences. Embrace the beautiful, let go of the pain and h e a l. That’s how to help yourself. The early years are the most significant years aka the 0 to 8 years old milestones where a lot of our synapses are connected and made. As you continue to grow breathe, stretch and shake into your human way of being. And special shout out to our chakras! Intuition and Chakras are on fleek as we speak 🙂

Take a moment to think, reflect, draw: What happened to you? What hurt you and how are you healing?

Thank you at https://standwithtrans.org/product/intuitive-energy-healing-session/

Dogs and Roses

It was a cold evening in Arlington and I was walking around a few blocks during my 30 minute break. This happened pre-pandemic back when we were at school in person and not online.

I stopped at a corner, as light snow started falling, a rose blanket caught my eye. 

It was tan and worn out patterned all over with roses. It covered a man crouched and hunched over in the corner. 

I stood still in time watching the man under the blanket. Strangers on the street walked, kept walking by. They had places to go and people to see.

Two strangers were walking up opposite sides of the sidewalk. One stranger with a dog. The other stranger with a warm drink cusped in their hands, steam rising from it. Maybe a coffee or maybe a hot chocolate. Maybe, neither. They stopped in front of the man with the rose blanket. 

The person holding the warm cup asked about the dog and if she could pet her. The dog walker nodded, “Yea, go ahead she’s friendly”. 

The woman with the warm cup placed it on the ground, knelt down and pet the dog. She asked, “What’s her name?” The dog walker responded, “Rose.” 

No one asked the man with the rose blanket covering his shoulders like petals, what his name was. The strangers didn’t ask each other’s names either.

Why do we call humans homeless when we’ve in fact, made them strangers? We’ve turned them nameless.  We’ve turned each other into strangers.

The holidays. Depending on your perspective is a time for thankfulness and togetherness. 

What type of thankful and gratitude are you showing? What are you giving, what are you noticing…what are you asking?

I am asking for names.

This is What Happens While Wearing Two Different Shoes

You could tell a lot about a person by how they handle certain things in life like accidents, mistakes, rainy days, spilled milk and so on and so forth. The ultimate and most obvious timeless question to ask is could they laugh at themselves in moments like that?

Throughout the pandemic and especially during the height of it all, a student of mine has been working at McDonalds while also attending college and caring for her young son (who is also doing elementary virtual class).

No matter how tired and exhausted and scary the pandemic was and is — She still rises and goes to work.

Each and everyday she rose and (still rises) at 5:30 am, left and arrived to work at 7:00 am where her manager took her temperature, scanned and looked her over. On this particular morning worth mentioning, he glanced down and pointed at her shoes.

She looked down and when she looked down she saw two completely different colors!

She took another look. She went to work with mismatched shoes. One shoe was a jet matte metallic black and the other one, a silver neon gray slip on.

Her manager told her to go home and change them.

She went home, changed her shoes and went back to work. Again, her manager pointed down to her mismatched shoes. Feeling exhausted and defeated but with a second wind, she said, “I don’t care. I feel like wearing them just like this today. Take me as I am or let me go.”

She said, “I feel so small, I feel like a bug or an ant. Most times — I don’t even want to wake up but on this day I laughed until I cried myself and felt better.”

I told her 2 things. 1. Keep laughing and 2. Keep laughing.

You see, this life is too precious than to worry about matching socks or shoes plus it’s Halloween and second, ants have superhuman strength.

When you “feel” like no one and nobody notices, trust the process and know that you can and literally are carrying a weight 100 times your mass just like the ant. You are rare and your very purpose is to be here. We are somehow chosen and we don’t even know who, what, when, where, why and how our stones will ripple, wreck, melt, shift and shake up the world.

Time is too precious than to spend our precious energy on matching our socks or our shoes or our feelings to match what society thinks we should be or act or feel.

Just be yourself.

Who are you? Who are you in a process of becoming? What’s your reason? How are you getting there?

Walk in whatever fits you best. Walk in that.

Walk that well.

Black Velvet

My mother loved this song Black Velvet by Alanah Myles https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=l_7HTXkyTwQ

Last Fall, as I was driving into work I was thinking of my mom and then her song came on. When the ending of Black Velvet came on the radio, it was fused-staticky mixing with another station. Although it was not very clear and smooth, I smiled. I still hear you Mom.

Today the same song came on while I work from home. It’s clear. Smooth. Perfect timing as I hear the raspy voice of Alanah Myles. My mother had a raspy voice, too. Signs are everywhere when you pay attention. I still hear you Mom.

When we lose the ones we love, the pain stays for forever but what do you do with the pain that you feel?

Think about that.

Breathe on that.

Inhale and exhale.

A former family member of a former student taught me (without realizing that she was teaching me) to:

Smell the flowers.

Blowout the candles.

And, I’ll never forget it. 

If we don’t take care of ourselves like how we care for others and our environment then who will?

No one takes care of ourselves the way we will. That kind of light emanates outward from within to the world.

Remember breath work, stretch work and sense work.

Love and light. Most of all, calm and peace in the moments.

The Light and the Dark

Q: When will there be world peace?

A: When the world falls to pieces. -Tupac Shakur

Is anyone else seeing through the illusion we are living in? <o> am. I live by three basic principles: To care for myself, to care for humanity and to care for the environment. In a world full of loss and suffering, I hope that we get well soon. How do we move on from it all? How do we stay present and let our presence stand for something greater than ourselves? How do we just be at peace in the moment? How can we hold another accountable for capitalizing on human suffering and human healing?

Is it true that we will have world peace when we no longer exist? Tupac Shakur’s songs and timeless advice reverberate from the 90’s into this very moment right now proving that our nature is cyclical cycling around and around in patterns. He said it best when he said, “We need to change the way we eat, we need to change the way we live and we need to change the way we treat each other.”

I am tired not physically or emotionally. Just tired of the unjustified pain and suffering.

Is anyone else? And, what are you doing about it?

I wrote a letter to Patch Adams and he wrote me back. It gave me hope. It gave me life, again. I am thankful for it. In a nutshell, it affirmed that I am okay being exactly who I am.

He said, “The most radical and revolutionary act is to be happy.” I will stay and continue to smile and laugh in the face of unhappiness. I will continue to smile as the world takes itself a little bit too seriously. I will chuckle, I will laugh as though it is my last laugh. It just might be as we never know when our name is called to walk home. Isn’t that right? Aren’t we all here just walking each other home anyway?

By the way, Happy Birthday Mom. 8/26, 8:26am Forever young.

100 and Counting. We are ALWAYS Learning: Stay True to Who You Are and Who You are in a Process of Becoming

Speaking a 100 and more languages as we convey who we are. (Shout out to Loris Malaguzzi of Reggio Emilia)

We figuratively and literally have so many ways of learning which brings me to the questions:

How are we learning? 

How are we approaching teaching? 

What are the standards?

Where did they come from?

Who created the standards?

When were they created?

Why were they created?

How can we change and adapt to where we are now?

We need more than standard(s) ways of being when it comes to learning. 

We need connection, relationships and collaboration most. Most of all—keeping an authentic identity and not trying to sound like anyone else but ourselves.

When someone asks me where I’m from, I’m proud and I tell them. When someone asks you where you’re from—be proud of that and tell them.

Then build on from that.

This also brings up unlearning past habits.

Time to unravel and relinquish “standards”.

Time to be ourselves. Our best selves.
—whoever that may be and whoever you are in a process of becoming. We’re all waiting.

Show and Share: A Soul Story

Show me your friends and I’ll show you your soul. Who are you surrounded by? How are you feeling? Are you inspired? Are you drained? Are you anxious? Are people talking about ideas or about other people? That is the question. And, when people answer…when people show you who they are, believe them. No judgment. Accept it but don’t you ever settle.

Our life’s work is what and where we go each and every day. Most of all, it is who we spend the most time with. I am grateful to be an educator and life long learner. It is a major part of who I am. We are in a constant process of becoming. Constant change. Each morning is a new morning and a new day. I yawn. I wake up. I stretch. I meditate. I breathe. I remember who I was, who I am and who I am in a process of becoming. I get to see who children were, are and are in a process of becoming. I get to see who families were, are and in a process of becoming.

I learned a lesson, a major valuable lesson this year during the Coronavirus. If you don’t like something, say it even if your voice trembles. Speak up even as old trauma reopens because you’ve been triggered by someone’s behavior. Always stand up for those who are not present in the room even when you’re afraid to. Follow your gut. Your instinct. It will never ever steer you wrong. Ever. We are always in a process of becoming never reaching the final product. Movement is life.

I am thankful. I am grateful for all that I have experienced. I learned a lot and will continue to. I forgive but I don’t forget. I use it to propel even further holding hands of others on the same route.

Healing from Trauma:

  1. Time: Give yourself time and hugs
  2. Journal: Write a lot
  3. Journal: Create an art journal *Bonus: Paint some canvases/cardboard and give it away!
  4. Write a letter *your choice to send it or not*
  5. Reach out to those who care about you
  6. No need to respond to toxicity: Let it go, let it go, let it goooo!
  7. Cut out negative+toxic relationships
  8. Stop making excuses for people and hold them accountable. If they don’t change. You leave. Let it Burn as Usher would say lol