E.O. Green Incident

February 20, 2008

Although, I never met Larry, I know someone very close to me that did know him very well.  This person made a big difference in Larry’s short life.  He made it easier for Larry to be himself.  He made it easier for Larry to have friends and to feel comfortable for him to exist as he was, if only for a while.  Yes Larry was a bit different.  But only in a way that was obvious to most people.  In a way that made it easy for those kind of people who enjoy making people who are different to be miserable.  You know the kind, bullies.  Everyone has personality traits, characteristics that make them stand out in a crowd.  Well Larry just didn’t try to hide his.  I was reading an article this morning, in the local paper that the parents of his school were calling for metal detecters and curriculum that taught tolerance of difference.  I was excited by this.  I remember doing similar things at a school board meeting, after a school shooting when my daughter attended elementary school.  I was calling for teaching tolerance as part of the curriculum.  Not so much metal detecters.  But at this point in time it does seem like a good idea.  But what struck me was that one parent was calling for it to be against the rules for students of the male persuasion not to be able to wear jewelry or feminine assessories.  As if this would solve the problem in reference to what happened to Larry!!!  I was a little ok a lot sickened by this.  How out of touch can anyone be?!  Well, all I can try to do is put it out there in my little blog is please people, try to understand that we are all a little different in some way.  Some people have differences that are a little more obvious.  Tolerance is the key here.  Teaching children tolerance is our only hope.  I believe this is why these horrors are occurring at our schools.  We need to stop with “no child left behind’ mandating teachers to teach for the test and worrying about test scores and start humanizing our schools again.  Stop treating our teachers like they are monsters and responsible for every ill of our society and get behind them and be partners with them and find out that they are doing a great job and dealing with much more than you can imagine.  Go to the school board meetings more often then after a shooting and demand that tolerance become part of the curriculum!!!!!  And teach it at home.  Be partners with your teachers.

Substitute Teaching

February 19, 2008

joniteaching2.jpgI had my first opportunity to unofficially substitute teach a charming third grade class recently.  It was a lot of fun.  I got to flex my muscles that I forgot I had.  I used to pretend to teach with my stuffed animals a long time ago when I was a kid.  I have been working with kids for over fifteen years in educational, recreational and respite capacities.  I have been considering getting my Master’s Degree and teaching credential, lately.  My husband, who is a teacher gave me this opportunity.  It was exciting and rewarding and I did a great job.  I felt very natural being in front of the classroom holding discussions and answering and asking questions.  This experience pretty much cinched it for me and cemented my decision to follow my professional path.  It has been a long time coming and I am profoundly relieved to be coming into the light from the darkness of a mid-life crisis professionally speaking.  

When I know I am loved

February 18, 2008

When I know I am loved:  I am seen.  I am heard.  I am understood.  I am accepted.  I am considered.  I am supported.  I am comforted.  When my loved one sees that I am happy.  When he sees that I need a rest.  When he looks into my eyes and sees who I am.  When he hears that I am scared.  When he hears that I have something to say.  When he hears that I am quiet.When he understands that I just want to be held.  When he gets that I am hurt.  When he knows that I want more.  When he knows that I shouldn’t be doing something but he gets why I need to and is ok with it.  When I want to yell, cry, swear, run away or go within my sanctuary and allows it without any effort to stop me or control me.  When he sees that I am tired, or hungry or just need a cup of tea, without asking he provides for me.  And in doing so he feels good.  When my dreams, plans, wishes or desires may seem out of reach, he does all he can to help me in my own process to obtain these things.  When he respects my cycles, moods, time lines.  When I just need to be agreed with, validated, he does. 

February 10, 2008

I am officially out of the abyss!!!  It has been a slow climb but I did it.  I have been practicing some meditation.  I have been working the book the Artist’s Way.  I have been spending a lot of time with my supportive and loving family.  It all came together and I now have a few pearls of wisdom to share.  I realize that when I’m stuck in the muck and mire of negative feelings, or the darkness of the black abyss, I don’t have to just wait there until my eyes adjust to the darkness.  There actually is light.  I found it.  Once I just relaxed enough.  I realized that it is all just emotion and thought patterns.  These things I have control over.  The hallmark emotion was fear.  Not fear but a paralyzing fear that crept up over me and took control of my entire life.  I was unable to move in any direction.  The most amazing thing happened though, once I realized what it was, I was free.  I simply identified the emotion and I was free.  It all sounds so easy as I write this and it was easy once I was able to do it.  But when I was under fear’s spell I was it’s prisoner.  When you’re “in it” you have trouble just remembering to eat, let alone tracing thought patterns.  So to be able to identify emotions is a big step towards recovery.  The second step after identifying the emotion was to simply and I say simply with my tongue a little bit in my cheek, is to let it go.  Realize that right here and right now there is nothing to fear.  I checked in with myself at the present moment and saw that I was fine.  My life was actually very very good.  Letting go is probably the hardest thing to do.  If you can think of it in terms of holding onto something heavy and how all of your muscles are tight and once you drop the heavy object how relieved your body is, then you can see how that relates to letting go of an emotion or idea.  I find that writing a journal helps tremendously in letting things go.  It also helps in keeping you in the here and now.  Once I was able to let go.  I was able to logically examine what choices I’ve made that got me to this dark place that I’ve been in.  I did a timetable.  I went back to the last time I was feeling good to help me see when it was that I started to feel bad.  It helps tremendously to acknowledge responsibility in the choices you make.  There is power in that.  It was clear to me why I made the choices I made.  The benchmark choice that got things so mixed up, was for me, what they call empty nest syndrome.  I will save that entire experience for another post.  But just one very strong emotion triggered many many choices in my life that did not go so well.  But I now see the light and I thought I would share with you all the patterns of thinking that brought me to the light.  I am very hopeful that these bedrock thought patterns of right thinking will keep me in the light.  

Working Together

February 7, 2008

I have an idea how about all the women in the world wake up and smell the oppression?!!!  I will speak to my generation first, can you remember when your grandmothers talked about not being able to vote?!!!!  Do you remember when your mothers HAD to have dinner ready on the table for your father when he got home from work?!!!  Do you remember playing with dolls and not the cool matchbox cars that your brothers got for christmas?!!!  Do you remember HAVING to wear dresses to school?!!!  Can you believe that we now have a woman running for president of these United States?!!!!  Lets get out there and support this monumental occasion with some enthusiasm, shall we.  If we women could stop our infighting and support each other maybe we would find that we could pull this country together and go forward towards something positive.  Maybe we could go in a direction that we all want to go in.  The collision course that we are on now must be re-directed.  The white male dominated society has had long enough to show what they can do.  Let’s give a highly educated, intelligent, passionate about our country, and the people that live in it, woman an opportunity to steer our country back onto the course that it deserves to be on.  Women, we need to remember where we have been and the struggles we have overcome to just have a right to stand beside a man in most situations.  Many other countries, developing countries have women in the highest positions of power.  We, the United States, a super power, are barely progressed enough to even consider this as an option yet.  Women let’s get it together, stand together, remember our power, put it to good use.  We can make some positive changes.  

Getting My Hair Did

February 6, 2008

I’m getting my hair did today.  Finally!!!  I’m excited and afraid.   You know how it is when it has been a long time in between hair appointments and your hairdresser shames you into feeling like your hair is the most important thing in the world?  I am forced to go to a fancy high end salon.  See it’s so fancy I have to call it a salon.  The people there all wear black.  They all go to hair shows to get up on all the latest in hair and color trends.  Granted they are the best of the best.  And of course this leads to the highest of prices in town.  This begs the question as to why would I go to such a high priced salon?  Well, I have what you might call problem hair.  My friend who used to do my hair referred to it as “smack banana” hair.  I can only assume this is because my hair is so fine and curly that it puts him in mind of the fine tiny fibers of a banana.  You know the little strips you peel off of the banana that are kind of gross.  Well at any rate, my hair is difficult to say the least. And these people know what they are doing.  I walk in there with my fine, curly hair that is unmanageable at best and I walk out looking like a goddess.  I mean it.  I will pay any amount of money if I can just wake up in the morning and not have to fuss with my hair and walk out the door with the confidence that I won’t frighten people.  So today is the day.  With the help of my generous sister who gave me some money for my birthday I will not be spending inordinate amounts of time in front of the mirror just trying to look decent.  So I am looking forward to being pampered.

Food Patch

February 5, 2008

Is there anyone else out there like me who thinks we spend far too much time procuring food for ourselves?  Now I enjoy eating as much as the next person.  I love going out to lunch with my friends.  It is the social aspect of it that I love the most.  The choosing of the restaurant, the variety of foods, the sparkling conversation and the aspect of just getting out of the house is exciting.  It is the food shopping that I am referring to that I can do without.  But it doesn’t stop there.  It begins with the inevitable hunger pang, the unsatisfying search into the empty fridge, the hollow cupboards, that forces us out into the crowded grocery stores.  If you’re lucky enough to have enough money leftover from filling up your gas tank you forge ahead to the grocery store.  There you spend far too much time trying to psychically choose which cart will utilize all four wheels without too much effort.  Then you begin taking the food off of the shelves and putting it into your grocery cart, that always ends up having a mind of it’s own.  Then you take the food out of your cart and onto the moving table of the checkout line.  There they put the food into flimsy bags, which usually are overstuffed.  Then you lift the bags out of the rickety cart that you’ve been pushing all through the store, towards your car.  You fight your way to your car through the maze of crazy drivers and other dazed shoppers.  You lift your bags of food into your car.  You drive home.  You lift your bags of food out of your car and into your home.  There you put your food away.  Then throughout the week if you have the energy to cook, you prepare your food and eat it.  Then comes the clean up.  My answer to all of this energy output is the FOOD PATCH.  It is a radical idea but if we could all have a small patch much like a nicotine patch that delivers all the nutrients that we need throughout the day, then we could dispense with much of the time and energy that food robs us of every day!!!  It is my dream that the scientists can come up with this and we could all enjoy a lot more time to do what we please, we could create art, spend more time with our families doing what we want instead of what we have to do.  Just a thought.

The Measure of Me

February 3, 2008

 There is a measure like the one you learn in music class in middle school.  It consists of straight lines, ranging from dark to light.  If read correctly, the music is played and people’s lives can be enriched and spirits uplifted.  It all begins with these measures. They are what hold the notes together and in place.  They keep them in order.  When you look at a piece of sheet music, you will see rectangles along the entire page.

The measure of music is like the boundaries of emotions.  The notes of music are the emotions.  When the reader of the music plays the notes within the measure the music sounds good, uniform and correct.  It is pleasant to our ears.  There is logic and consistency to the fact that the notes make sense and belong to the exact right place on that measure.  When the notes bounce outside of that measure, it does not sound good to our ears.  It does not take a musician to hear that it does not make sense.  It is much the same with emotions, when they go outside the normal boundaries it does not make sense.  Most people know what it feels like to bounce around the measure of good feelings and bad feelings.  What lies inside the measure or boundaries are feelings that range from good to bad, sad to happy, or elated to extremely sad. There are some people who live outside this measure.  Where music is distorted always.  They can dip inside of the measure at times but this is rare, when they can hear the music that most other people can hear.  They count themselves lucky when they can hear what others hear.  When they can think like others think.  Feel what others feel.  It is not all bad for these people.  They just stand in and outside of the measure, but mostly outside of the measure.  I believe it is the constant bouncing in between that is the hardest though.  It is like sitting at a concert with your loved ones, listening to the same music, hearing most of the same music but these people hear something entirely different through most of the concert.  It is as if the notes bend for them outside the measure and play a separate concert that only they can hear.  These people have gotten used to being different.  They would so like to be seen, understood, heard and feel connected. Perhaps one day they can write a song and coax the notes to bend around the measure so that others can hear it, if even for a brief magical moment…