“Don’t Make It Wrong”
I have this expectation that post-Passover/post-Easter we are all supposed to be wearing pastels and skipping through Spring. The birds are to chirp more loudly and crisply, the temperature is to become warmer and my limbs are to find the sun on them. I am supposed to be wearing shoes without socks. I am to be rejuvenated by my Spring vacation and the journey should be a downhill road straight to summer.
Instead I find myself on antibiotics for an infection, wearing a thick hunter green sweater that one waiter said looked so 'Fall,' and rain is in the forecast. I am working on a slower RPM. Not my speed. I am sluggish and grumpy. As Howard Thurman writes, "Little by little, there crept into my life the dust and grit of the journey... Details, lower-level demands, all kinds of cross-currents – nothing momentous, nothing overwhelming, nothing flagrant – just wear and tear." Yup. That's how I am feeling.
On Easter Sunday, I went out to brunch and it appeared that everyone else was in a J. Crew commercial – big sunglasses, capris and khakis, lavender and pink, having mimosas and smiling. Hmmm.... Extreme self-care alert.
I need a voice lesson. I spend my days working on the external voice; saying things aloud. This time it is my inner voice that needs some love.
My own internal spring cleaning begins. While I am crabby, bored and blocked, I gently offer myself some TLC. I am not going to be delighted, passionate, energetic and empowered by the time I go to bed. New plants take more than one minute in the mud and the muck before they sprout up. Patience.
I look to...
Poetry - Reading lines like this one from the poet, e.e. cummings, brings things into perspective. "i thank You God for most this amazing/day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees/and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything/which is natural which is infinite which is yes"
Glee – Watching Glee On Demand in the afternoons and dancing around my living room is good medicine for me, the Broadway musical star in apartment L. If music moves you, check out link to this video (http://youtu.be/fyZQf0p73QM) about how music can reconnect us to our true selves.
Time with plants on my balcony – Clipping off dead leaves, giving the plants a 'hair cut' so they look so much less shaggy. Feng shui! Spending time getting rid of the old allows for the new to emerge.
Meditation – I work on my current 'monkey mind' that as my friend, John, says, "Doesn't just let thoughts come through, but invites them to lunch." I am trying to breathe and let the thought come and go.
Knowing It Just Is – My friend, Carolyn, taught me to ask myself in moments of 'should' or blame, "What would it look like if you didn't make it wrong?" Ah...what would that look like?
As I finish this newsletter, the sun is out. I watch a video sent by my brother of my nephew, Evan, who at 6 months, is eating solid food for the first time. The family is cheering him on as the spoon goes into his mouth. He is applauded for each bite. Baby steps. Celebration.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at Jennifer@jenniferabrams.com. I look forward to hearing from you!
Two 'generational' resources, a new book on language and how it changes everything, AND a shout out to my friend, Denise Clark Pope, and her Challenge Success team.
Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom by Mary Catherine Bateson
"An inspiring exploration of a new life stage that she calls Adulthood II, a result of the longer life spans and greater resources we now enjoy. In Composing a Further Life, Bateson redefines old age as an opportunity to reinvent ourselves and challenges us to use it to pursue new sources of meaning and ways to contribute to society."
The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50 by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
"At a key moment in the twenty-first century, demographers are recognizing the significance of a distinct developmental phase: those years following early adulthood and middle age when we are "neither young nor old." Whether by choice or not, many in their "third chapters" are finding ways to adapt, explore, and channel their energies, skills, and passions in new ways and into new areas."
Opening Minds Using Language by Peter H. Johnston
"Sometimes a single word changes everything. In Opening Minds: Using Language to Change Lives, Peter shows how the words teachers choose affect the worlds students inhabit in the classroom, and ultimately their futures. He explains how to engage children with more productive talk and to create classrooms that support not only students' intellectual development, but their development as human beings."
Challenge Success Program
"The Challenge Success program addresses the concern that children and adolescents often compromise their mental and physical health, integrity, and engagement in learning as they contend with performance pressure in and out of school. We challenge the conventional, high-pressure, and narrow path to success and offer practical alternatives to pursue a broader definition of success."
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
ACSA Sponsored Session
Center for Professional Development
Stanford Hospitals and Clinics
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