Happy New Year!
It has been a while since my last newsletter. Rest assured, all is well here. Onward into the adventures of 2011!
Over the last few months I have been spending time reflecting on the ideas of risk, strength, and boldness. I have been asking myself where have I 'played small' and do I want to change up my approach to 'living large'? Mark Nepo in his work, The Book of Awakening, tells a story about fish in a bathtub. While cleaning a fish tank, the owner of the tank placed his fish in a bathtub. When he returned he noticed the fish had stayed huddled in a small area of the bathtub about the size of their fish tank. They never traveled the width or breadth of the whole of the tub. Mark Nepo asks us to consider, "In what ways do we shrink our world so as not to feel the press of our own self-imposed captivity?"
If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions, please feel free to email me at Jennifer@jenniferabrams.com. I look forward to hearing from you!
Swim the Whole of the Tub
My colleague, Elizabeth, and I were working with our colleague, Whitney, on how to make our new teacher meetings more supportive. We reviewed some tools we use in our sessions and were looking at one specific form when Whitney expressed her opinion that the questions posed at top of this particular sheet weren't helpful to her coachees, so she didn't ask the questions, nor did she fill in that part of the page. Surprised and quite 'stuck' in the rules of how we were to do the work, Elizabeth and I both asked, "What do you do? You just leave the top of the sheet blank?" Whitney said, "No, I just press 'delete row' and take it out." We howled at our own 'stuckness' and our limited thinking. We felt we had to do it 'right.' Fill in all the blanks. Be good. There is an alternative. If it doesn't work, 'delete row.' Go figure.
Again this winter, I went to Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico. It was another wonderful week of good food, good conversation and healthy living. Upon arrival there was a note in my kitchenette that stated fruit was in my refrigerator and that if I wanted more I could call the kitchen. One day I phoned for some fruit and raw sugar. The woman answering the phone said, "Would you like fruit everyday?" Everyday? I have to admit I said no. My tone implied, "That indulgence is too much. I don't need fruit everyday, thank you." In my world at that time, I didn't feel I could ask for it. Why is that? What stops me from saying, "YES!"? 'Yes' is coming out of my mouth with less hesitance lately. It is terribly exciting.
"The Scarlet A"
Leslie Bennett's article, "The Scarlet A," in December's Elle magazine discussed the idea of ambition in women's lives. She says she has interviewed "some of the world's most celebrated women...some were barracudas whose appetite for power would make Machiavelli look like a pushover, but only one ever owned up to being ambitious." She quotes, Gloria Feldt, author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Feldt says, "Women are more easily dissuaded. If a man sees one thing he can do, he applies for the job. If a woman sees one thing she can't do, she doesn't." Feldt says women need to reframe the concept of power from "'oppressive power-over'' to an "'expansive power-to.'" I like it.
To close...Phyllis Pilgrim, instructor at Rancho La Puerta, ends her meditation sessions with her participants in a circle taking one step inward while speaking aloud each sentence of this 'declaration' from the Ojibwa tribe.
"I step into the day."
"I step into my life."
"I step into the mystery."
Aho to moving into the whole bathtub of your life in 2011!
Rancho La Puerta has offered me two $250 gift certificates to give away to first time folks interested in visiting the Ranch. Check it out at www.rancholapuerta.com and if interested, email me (email@example.com) and I can get the gift certificate to you.
I have put A Year With Rumi: Daily Readings translated by Coleman Barks near my bed for nightly contemplation.
I found the radio broadcast of NPR's Being host Krista Tippett talking to Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., on "Listening Generously" to be inspirational. Check it out
Each month I will share with you information about a few of my upcoming trainings.
If I am going to be in your area, contact me so we can say hello, hopefully in person!
Having Hard Conversations
Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington
Catholic District School Board
Keene, Ontario, Canada
Being Generationally Savvy
New Teacher Center Annual Symposium
San Jose, CA
Equitable Teaching Practices and Identity Safe Classrooms
Beginning Teacher Support Provider Training
Monterey County Office of Education
Having Hard Conversations
Nurse Managers Retreat
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula
For additional upcoming events, please visit my Web site.
Until next time,
Feel free to forward this newsletter to friends and colleague. You may reprint this newsletter in whole or quote with attribution to Jennifer Abrams and a link to www.jenniferabrams.com