Sunday, April 25, 2010


There is a great deal of research that claims "savoring" as a key to well-being. From diet experts to positive psychologists I often hear the word tossed around. "Take time to savor." "While eating, just eat." "Don't do too many things at once. Savor each moment." And though I find myself enjoying the rich aroma and flavor of my morning coffee, I am a bit distracted by reading and writing. I stop to take a sip and mindfully experience the brilliant dance of complementary tastes of my nutella smeared bagel and coffee.  I remind myself, once again, that I need to eat slowly and enjoy each bite.
I wonder how many moments in my day when I miss the opportunity to savor.  Today I will make a more conscious effort to immerse myself in my encounters with friends and loved ones. I will listen to the beautiful harmony of the birds outside my window. And later as I run down to the beach to work this tired body I will savor the roar of the ocean and its reliable calming effect on my soul.
What will you savor today?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Listen to your dreams..

I've been dreaming a lot. I suppose I dream much more than I realize, but lately I have been remembering more of my nightly journeys.  Last week I had a dream that my Grandpa, or "Gramps" as we lovingly called him, was standing across the kitchen getting ready to rinse off a knife as he was cooking. Now Gramps was always the baker, not really the cook, but in my dream there he was, as vibrant as he was in his earlier days, talking to me about how one day he had said I wouldn't have to worry about having enough money. I asked him, "Hey Gramps, what about me winning the lottery?" "Didn't you tell me I should be playing?" He looked at me, smiled and replied, "Yeah, I need to look into that." He said it with such certainty, and I somehow believed that he had the power to make it happen. The next thing I knew my alarm was going off and I was jolted out of my dream and out of my warm cozy bed.   I wanted so badly to go back to my dream; I wanted to ask Gramps what he meant and tell him how much I missed him. As I got up and made my coffee, I felt a calm presence... I felt him looking down at me and somehow felt the reassurance that everything in my life is going to be alright.  I am not completely certain that I understand the full meaning of my dream. I do know that I felt a calming sense of assurance about my life as I encountered Gramps through my dream world.  I also know that my life is filled with rich, deep meaning and Gramps would be proud if he were here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Power of Gratitude

Here I am on a rainy day, the first day of my spring break. While tempted to complain and moan about the weather and how I spent time today in the doctor's office and not basking on the beach, I find myself overcome with a sense of gratitude. As Edequity consultant, Dr. Edwin Javius, who spoke at our district's Equity Training recently said, "Your worst day is someone's best day."
I think of this quote often, especially when I succumb to a bout of frustration or negativity as I navigate the politics of the education system.  As I sat waiting for my doctor's appointment, I jotted a list of reasons to be thankful:
  • I have medical insurance. As much as it's not the preferable experience to be sitting in pain in the doctor's office on the first day of spring break, I could be unemployed and without any insurance, forced to sit and remain in pain and worry.
  • It's me, not my kids. As a mother I can handle my own illness and/or pain of any kind much better than that of my kids or other loved ones.
  • I am loved. My husband, though I don't write about him much out of pure respect for him and the privacy of our marriage, is a loving and devoted partner.  My kids are wonderful and my family a true gift in my life.
  • I have meaning. Though I have daily frustrations with a multitude of flaws of our education system,  I am fortunate to have the opportunity to change lives each and every day. 
  • I have expression. I love to write, create, sing, and explore new frontiers of creative expression.
  • I am learning balance. Definitely an area that still needs much more work, I am learning how to let myself relax and "do nothing." "Nothing" simply means any activity not on my to-do list!
  • I have a curious mind that never stops. Sometimes it's a curse, but mostly I love exploring new ways to bring excitement into kids' lives.  
And with that I will end this rainy day ramble. Perhaps I have inspired you to stop and ponder the power of gratitude.  If so, please share! If not here, with a totally exposed audience ( and I can understand why not!) then with a loved one. Let them know you appreciate the joy they bring to your life.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Don't Stop Questioning

When we stop questioning
We might as well die
Trading in our freedom
for all the big news lies
Use the Mind you're given
focus on what's real
Test those ideas
Ask deep questions
Build on the positive
Spend time with those
who light your fire
not put it out
We've got more choices than we think
We limit ourselves by following blindly along
If we stop, think, look, listen
before we act
we save ourselves from unnecessary mistakes
Take a walk
Have a talk
draw, paint, read, sing
Find what you love
what's interesting?
Do something fun,
Do anything!
Don't dwell on the small stuff
Sometimes you just gotta be tough
Life isn't easy
But it's beautiful
In it's complexities
It takes the darkness
To feel the power of the Light

Random Poetry From a Wannabe Lyricist

 Embracing Uncertainty

Ask questions
Fuel your curious mind
Walk in the face of fear
Stand up and be proud
of who you are
Accept the gray
Dabble in it
There is beauty
in the diversity of the spectrum
Search for the truth
don't be burdened by the outcome
What you find might not be
what you expected
Life is a beautiful journey
Not a series of endpoint certainties

Written by Joan Young  February, 2010