Sunday, November 5, 2017

Dog eat Dog Teachers

It’s been two months at Rolling Hills Middle School, and already I’m in sadly familiar territory. It’s all about resources really. You know - too many people and not enough supplies. Let me explain.

The school is bursting at the seams. Rooms, chairs, space as well as time are scarce. I used to think teachers in general were mean and controlling. Actually, I still think so, but now I’m understanding why. By the way, as a career educator, I have not removed myself from the fray.

The scarcity of resources in the teaching profession creates a dog eat dog situation. For instance, one student may have to meet with several specialists in a week. Who ever gets there first snatches the student and lays claim to that time slot. In addition, new teachers are prime targets for being taken advantage of. They are given the scraps, and left to fend for themselves with the fewest resources. Supplies, desks, computers and scheduling needs are devoured before the newbie knew what hit them. Rather than negotiating the fairness of divvying up the bounty, it is consumed in a cruel and righteous gulp.

It’s criminal we have teachers who work with our children reduced to behaving like starving animals defending their place on the food chain. The obvious solution is to provide the right amount of resources. I’m talking about providing tools for us to simply perform our job successfully and humanely. That gesture alone would go a long way in promoting civility among educators. Still, public educators remain at the bottom of the career food chain with regards to proper resources (and may I add, pay and respect).

Of course, as in any profession, there will always be sharks and guppies. However, the remainder of civilized teachers will transcend survival status and perform their duties without turning into hungry animals.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Evolution Day

So many cloudy thoughts and answerless questions, pervasive worry and encapsulating fears. So, I confront myself, “Are these thoughts truly necessary? Is thinking this way helpful in any way?”

I say NO! I declare today Liberation Day. Today, I liberate myself from myself and the borage of mental and emotional bombs being dropped on my psyche from internal sources, from external sources, and from the vibe of helplessness and hopelessness that is permeating the consciousness of many of us through the highways and biways of news and social media. On this Liberation Day I have chosen to not buy into that deafening noise.

Today, I declare myself limitless. I am an unstoppable creative force in the world, and I will spread this message with my joy and compassion and love. I am a miracle, and I will share that with all the other miracles I engage with today. Together we claim this day to be Liberation Day!

So, tomorrow when we awake to an amazing new day, what shall we claim the day to be?

Contact me for support in declaring your message to the world.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

I Should Have Known

How may times have you said I should have known? With a universe as vast as our imaginings, there are endless opportunities for learning. There’s outer space to explore – inner space to discover. Is it possible to know everything?


Just yesterday I learned about quarks at a memoriam honoring the passing of a great man and mentor. A scientist spoke of his friendship with the deceased and threw in the word quark. Have any of you heard this word before? I never had. So, I googled the word and discovered it is a subatomic particle that has different flavors – the word physicists came up with to separate the different kinds of quarks. I still know extremely little about them with the exception the universe may end in 10 billion years because of them. AND, of course, wherever you have quarks, you have antiquarks.

Cartoon Quarks

The point isn't that I now know of the existence of quarks. It is that I learned something new. When I found out about quarks, I didn't tell myself I should have known. Why and how am I supposed to know about quarks? I've had no reason to seek out that knowledge. Now that I have it, I suppose I can always use it as an ice-breaker - How 'bout those quarks!

Stealing Student

More personally impactful knowledge is not so easy to google. The problem with learning is that it is a process. One thing builds on the next. It is pretty hard for us to be able to draw good conclusions if we don’t have all the facts, background knowledge or understanding.

One example happened to me while I was teaching a self-contained class of ESL students. One of the students was a notorious food thief. He would take apples, bananas and other food items from his classmate’s desks, stash them in his backpack which he would forget to close. The items sometimes spilled out. He wasn't a very good thief. It got so I would walk by his pack, retrieve the stolen items and return them without anyone being the wiser.

This student never stole anything other than food that I was aware of. In my learning process, I came to understand the motivation behind the stealing was hunger. The majority of my students lived in poverty. It was possible there were times this student's only meals were eaten at school. It took me a few months to pull all the information together accurately.

At first, I was appalled at the thefts. I thought that student was headed for certain jail time if this behavior wasn’t corrected. I mean, it’s a well known fact that a life of crime begins with the stealing of fruit, right?

After understanding his motivation better, I made a point of keeping food in the classroom and scheduling regular snack breaks. Having food available combined with other character enhancing strategies in and outside the classroom seemed to address the problem. 

Once I was able to connect all the dots, instead of celebrating, I told myself I should have known

Friday, June 10, 2016

My Answer

Self-help Thoughts

I stumbled upon a YouTube video of a business guru from the 1980’s which showcased his impressive rags to riches story. He was also building the necessary background knowledge in order to sell his business know-how in a Law-of-Attractionesque platform. His rise to fame and fortune pre-dated the principles in The Law of Attraction, but incorporated some of the principles. 

My first knee-jerk to feel like a failure for not having manifested the vast riches he said was my birthright. My second feeling was feeling silly for having the first feeling. I still learned from this man’s teachings.


When I reflected on my deeper values and beliefs this video confronted, I developed this response: I believe in the power of focused intention and positive thinking as a way to transform our lives and inspire others. Making and having money is also a worthy goal. Money as the ultimate goal, however, frequently falls short because money alone does not fill the voids we each have. Is it really money we crave or something else?

Believing we are failures because our thoughts haven’t produced the wealth or success we want materially is just not condusive well-being. It promotes self-blame. Therefore, instead of empowering us to attain our potential, we get stuck blaming ourselves for not attaining what the guru is telling we should have.

The dysfunctional side of capitalism is at work when the mentality of acquiring more, More, MORE! takes over our consciousness. This thinking has gobbled up and exploited people, countries, and most especially our beautiful planet along with precious resources and the many other amazing beings living here. 

Additionally, I gleaned from the video, to amass our fortunes, we must become businessmen and women. What is our talents lie elsewhere? What if our passions lead us to professions that are not high-paying? Then we are squandering resources of a diffferent kind. We are using people's gifts and passions to the fullest.

I did agree with the man's work ethic, however. He worked hard. He encouraged his audience to put in a six-day work week and allow the seventh day for reflection on correction or improvement of the past week. The emphasis was on dedication. Although I don’t think it’s ever necessary to work yourself to the point of burn-out and exhaustion in the name of dedication. That is neither productive nor very kind to yourself. Still, it is dedication that spurs us from thought to action. 

Spiritual Currents meet Capitalism

Today’s ideas state that if you are in alignment, the universe resonates to that vibration, and you attract more of what you desire to you. The converse is also said to be true. For example, if your mind is a cluttered mess of unproductive, low-vibrational thinking, you will draw that to you as well.

Although I strongly agree with the benefits of focused intention and directing our thoughts to a higher level, I wish to add is a different emphasis. This current thinking is primarily on getting, but what about giving? And what about the blame aspect if changing our thoughts isn’t bringing us what we thought we wanted? I believe a truly expanded consciousness is about giving in equal measure to getting if not more when possible. Our earth gives us so much. We keep taking, yet the empty space inside us remains unfilled. Then my question is - How can we fill those spaces without exploiting everything around us?

My answer is with compassion. (more to come)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Shift

The drama occurring in the world is abounding, but that neither explains or excuses today’s inhumanity. I am not turning a blind eye to the wide scale happenings on our planet now. I, instead, am hoping to promote another way of thinking in the face of it.

Highest Denominator

Sharing compassion and encouraging the highest human common denominator is the most powerful force for change. I believe this change in consciousness can be the only viable and lasting solution. 

Humans are hard-wired to resist and distrust change. A change in consciousness is by far the most threatening action we can take as it requires an unprecedented shift in perspective that challenges our very nature, but we can do it. In fact, it is a responsibility we each must rise to.


When we look to an outward source for change, we are vulnerable to the abuses and misuses of power, and we remain powerless. Then we blame this outside force by pointing our fingers like children saying, “He did it,” or “She did it!”.

This will not get us far. The act of blaming is in itself angry and aggressive. Just pointing your finger at someone in anger causes both the recipient and the pointer to decay in spirit. Negativity is perpetuated. Worse even, while we are blaming, the important tasks of healing ourselves and our planet go by the wayside.

We can't change the world this way.


What we do individually is at the heart of change. We choose within each moment to transcend unhealthy patterns in order to minimize the harm to ourselves and the world around us. The responsibility for a better world is made by shifting our awareness back to ourselves. It takes a combination of courage and gentleness to accomplish this, but this is how we change the world. 

Each of us is under attack daily by society, our families and especially ourselves telling us we are not good enough. We are harmed by individuals who are wounded and often too entrenched in their own suffering to have an awareness of the pain they are inflicting. The greatest brutality, however, is that which we cause ourselves.

We can start the shift in consciousness by paying attention to our thoughts, and noticing how cruel they can be. When we walk by a mirror, we might tell ourselves we are too fat, too short, too this and not enough that. We do this so frequently, we have become numb to the assault. Next time you find yourself in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eye tell yourself with kindness just how wonderful you truly are.

Around You

Find a moment to share a kindness with someone else. You might surprise them as you pause from your routine to extend a hand, or a positive word. What a special surprise! It may be exactly what someone needed to help get them through the day.

There’s an unhealthy notion in society stemming from not feeling good enough. Perhaps we fear by lifting up another, they might become too confident, too successful or rise too far above us. This plays out in situations of envy and control, but let's challenge this notion. It’s not necessary to knock anyone down. That strategy never works to anyone’s true benefit anyway.

I am excited about tomorrow to try more kindness and compassion, and the opportunity to add to the meaning and health of the world one small action after another. I realize the more kindness we give out, more gets created...

And, this is how we change the world.