Posts tagged ‘appreciation’

Perfectionism, Softball, and Living Like You’re Dying

I had some thoughts today while I was meditating, and they were on these themes:

1) Perfectionism.  Perfectionism prevents me from acting.  I want things to be perfect, but I don’t even know what perfect is.  Sometimes I can tell that things will not be perfect, and so I don’t want to do them at all.  This stunts my growth.  Where did this come from?  Is this simply an over-active aspect of myself?  I’ve certainly received a lot from being perfectionistic: pride, accolades and awards, good grades, etc.  I need to see more value in infancy, in exploration and imperfection.

2) We need to approach life and others as if we are softball outfielders.  When I was first learning to play in the outfield, I used to immediately run in a few steps when the ball was hit, before knowing the trajectory of the ball.  Thus, the ball would sometimes soar over my head.  My dad had to teach me to force myself to be still when the ball was hit, to receive where the ball was headed, and then to act.  It occurred to me today that this is a great approach to people and to life.  Instead of being aggressive and barging ahead, it is good to be still for a while, to first receive input from the inner self or from whoever we are interacting with.  Then, we can have a better assessment of the situation and have more productive outcomes.

3) I’ve thought about this before: why do we have to wait to get a terminal illness before we can appreciate life?  Why do we have to feel like we don’t have much time left to be grateful for every moment that we have?  What if TODAY we were grateful for simply existing?  What if tomorrow we woke up, grateful for another day on this planet?  There is so much information about the benefits of present-moment-mindedness and gratitude.  We can start right here, right now.

Love and blessings to all of you.  I am grateful for each and every one of you and for today!

Beautiful Teacher

"Yellow Rose" courtesy of artur84 /

“Yellow Rose” courtesy of artur84 /

I would like to give a “shout out” to my beautiful, wonderful sister today.  She asked me to come visit her classroom for the last day of her school year to play some clarinet for the students and to bring the ice cream. 🙂

Being a teacher is a very difficult job, a job that is not for me.  But it is clearly for my sister.  The love and work she puts into her profession is clear if you visit her classroom or hear her talk about her day.  Her students really understand that her class is a “family”, and it was amazing to see many of the students crying today, even students that have been a challenge throughout the year.  Why are they crying?  Because they know they have experienced love.  To be in her classroom is to know love.  She loves them and shows them how to love each other. She is their protector, their comforter, their motivator, and their cheerleader.  Her students are blessed to have her.  Congratulations to my sister and her wonderful class.  I hope they continue to find happiness, success, and love for the rest of their lives.

To My Mom

"Mother And Daughter Hugging" courtesy of digitalart /

“Mother And Daughter Hugging” courtesy of digitalart /

WordPress community: As it is now sometime between my mom’s birthday and Mother’s Day, I dedicate this post to Mom.  (I have recently discovered that she found my blog and has been reading it!)

Mom: I hope this makes up for the card that I didn’t give you.  Think of it as a way of being green and also as me proclaiming my love for you to the universe. 😀

Ok, now the pressure is on. . .  Mom, writing this, I don’t know how to start.  I only know that I am glad you are my mother.  You have told me that you love me unconditionally, and I believe it.  You accept me for the way I am, the ways I’ve changed, and for what’s to come (and sometimes you’ve said you anticipated it before I did!)

Thank you for introducing me to rebelliousness 😉 (and not in a bad way!) and to organic foods and healthy ingredients (even though I didn’t appreciate it at the time!).  Thank you for my first experience of the healing power of white light on that day we prayed about our neighbor’s cancer.  Thank you for your appreciation of the blessed mother, a connection I still feel today, though I see her now in quite a new and special way.  Thank you for your appreciation of music.  For supporting me through all my events.

I love how calm and strong you are.  I love what a great listener you are.  I love how when I am with you, it feels like home.  I feel safe; I feel loved.  I love how excited you are about new ideas, and I love your ideas!  (Even if I don’t use them right away, I know they’re great!)  You are my master researcher and material-finder!

I love how beautiful you are, every part of you.  (And I meant it when I said you are gorgeous without makeup — you are my hero!)  I love how devoted you are to your family.  I love how open you are, how caring you are.

I know we’ve had our moments, Mom!  We’ve butted heads.  We didn’t understand each other.  I know there have been times I haven’t appreciated you as much as I should have.  But I know you’ve always loved me.  I know you’re thinking of me.  And I’m so glad you are my mom.   So, here’s a kiss :-* and a [[hug]] until I see you next.

I love you, Mom.

Shout Out to My Boss — You Made My Day!

"Blue Sky Sun Beam Over Sea" courtesy of khunaspix/

“Blue Sky Sun Beam Over Sea” courtesy of khunaspix/

Leaders, you make a difference!  I felt so much love for my principal today.  I talked over a challenge I was having with one of my classes and also talked about my resignation, and she encouraged me, advised me, and affirmed me (and all within 15 minutes!)  She gave me hope for the future and helped me not feel like such a lost loser:  “Do you know you’re a good teacher?”  I know I don’t want to be a classroom teacher anymore, but it means so much to me to know that my best effort has been noticed and appreciated by the school.  They say a teacher can make or break a child’s day — well, teachers need encouragement, too!  Thank you to my fantastic boss for clearing away my cloudy sky and letting the light shine through again.

A Few of My Favorite Things


I was blown away by the gifts I got from work this Christmas.  As a teacher who has worked with students who eat free and reduced lunch, I have been accustomed to not getting much.  And as someone who doesn’t go crazy for the holiday myself, I’ve figured it’s just as well.  As I’ve mentioned before, I hate getting things I can’t use, to the point that I’d rather get nothing at all.

But this past Christmas was amazing.  The school where I work gave me gift cards, cash, and checks, besides lots of yummy Christmas chocolates and other goodies.  And practical stuff, too!  Gas gift cards, gift cards for on-line shopping, and gift cards for all-purpose stores.  And the generosity was amazing!  I couldn’t believe it — I’m only the specials Spanish teacher!

But my absolute favorite gifts so far this school year are the two in the picture above.  The simple ornament makes my heart sing.  (I’m pretty sure my tutee’s parents are the ones who picked it out for me, but it still makes me feel awesome!)  And I just got the homemade poinsetta-looking flower from some of the girls in my sister’s class where I do writing worskhop twice a week.  They are a reminder that even the simplest things can be worth a million bucks to a person.

So, as I sit reflecting, I wonder: how can I make someone else feel like a million bucks today?

My Perfect Job — Revisited

"Target" courtesy of graur razvan ionut /

“Target” courtesy of graur razvan ionut /

Almost a year ago I wrote about my perfect job.  My situation has changed, and I’ve been wanting to go back and compare my current situation with my proposed ideal job situation. So, here we go:

I can walk or bike to work.  

Unfortunately, this is still not the case; I really wish it were.  I suppose working from home would count, too.

I do not need to wear dress clothes, shoes, or excessive make-up. I am comfy all of the time. 

This actually doesn’t bother me as much anymore, except on Tuesdays, which are my SUPER long day, in which I’m in those teacher clothes for 13-18 hours.

I work for 8 hours. Then, I am done. I do not need to take any work home, leaving me time to write, read, get outdoors, and whatever the heck else I feel like doing, without even thinking about work . . . unless I want to.

Ok, now I’m getting a bit depressed because, at this point, I’m 0-for-3.  But I have had more time to explore and relax.  And I am probably averaging 8 hours a-day overall.  But I definitely take my work home.  A lot of it.

I work a regular shift. (9-5 or close)

Nope!  My main part-time job is about a regular work day, but my tutoring and writing workshop, and random else is ALL over the place.  I’ve found the variety enjoyable, though.

I am given advanced notice of my schedule (not one week before).

Hmm. . .  that’s fairly accurate.  But sometimes it’s a week before.  The worst part is tutoring cancellations.  I’ve gotten some of those a few hours before I was supposed to have the appointment.

I do not need to stay late to help close up, nor take an extra shift.

Yes!  I got a sure one!

I work for something I believe in. I do not support a company or sell a product that I believe isn’t good for people.

This is true if you ignore the part where I’m at a Catholic school and not Catholic, or if you ignore that I have a problem with our current educational system.  Hmm . . . I don’t know if this counts as a win.  But, I have to say, that despite those issues, I am pretty happy with my work environment, and my work focuses on learning, which I love.

The people I work for seek out my input, fully listen to my ideas, and may implement them (immediately!)

Hmm. . .  I think this is a N/A right now.  No examples come to mind.

I am appreciated, needed, and recognized.

THIS is DEFINITELY true.  I’ve been truly touched by some of the feedback I’ve gotten from all of my jobs.

I am able to use my creativity.

Yes!  As much as I whine about lesson planning, it does allow me to use my creativity.

Someone shows me how to get started, but I do not have someone standing over my shoulder at all hours.

Also true.

I feel like my work is making the world a better place.


I am not pushing anyone to be or do anything they don’t want to be or do.

Eh.  I’m not sure about this one.  It’s school.  There’s a lot of pushing involved in a school.  And in tutoring, for that matter.  Not always, but often, unfortunately.

I am not telling people what to do.

Again, it’s kind of part of the job.  I do try to give my students some options, but a lot of the time I am in charge.

No one is ordering me what to do.

That is true.

I have a lunch break, and I actually get to each lunch.

Yes!  Amazingly I am still a teacher, and yet, I actually eat lunch!  With time left over!  (Crazily enough, it’s the days I’m not teaching when I sometimes miss lunch now.

I am able to perform/present.

Yep.  Teacher = me!  Although, I would love it if I could actually “perform” more in my job, to be more of my goofy self, be the crazy Spanish teacher.

I may do some speaking, writing, or editing.

Speaking?  Check.  Writing?  Check.  Editing?  Check.  Wow!

I sometimes work in a team and sometimes alone.

True.  I’m mostly alone now, but occasionally we Spanish teachers from the company will share ideas with each other, or I’ll get some ideas for tutoring from other tutors.

I do not need to attend meetings often, and if and when I do, they are short.

Well, I have more meetings than I’d like, and sometimes they go a little long, but it’s nothing compared to what I’ve experienced in the past.

I am able to move a lot, even if that means getting out of my chair frequently and walking around for a bit or stretching before I return to work.

Check!  I move a lot as a teacher.  I don’t move about quite as much as a tutor, but at least I know I’ll be moving after each hour.

I am not standing in one place the entire day.


I have variety in my work.  (I’m kept on my toes and not bored out of my mind!)


I have a good rapport with my boss(es) and coworkers.

Yes!  Super nice people!

I jump out of bed in the morning, eager to get to work.

Really?  Did I really put this?  Does anybody actually “jump out of bed”, “eager to get to work?”  I think I was getting delusional by this point.  But, I’d be happy to be wrong!  Are there jumper-out-of-bed-ers among you?  Hmm?  On the other hand, I do enjoy my morning routine: in the car, drinking my energy tea, eating breakfast, standing outside and greeting the parents and students in the drop-off lane.  Ok, now that I’m writing this, I feel like I look absolutely crazy, but I really, really do enjoy that part of my day.  Except it’s really hard to drink tea and eat cereal at the same time.  Gotta work on that.

I feel energized as I leave work.

Hmm. . . No.  I’m still exhausted by the time I leave.

I love my job.

“No” to this one, too.  There are points when I feel I love my job.  I definitely like my job, but I don’t see myself doing it for the rest of my life. But maybe some people aren’t meant to have just one job. I had one job.  Now I have some others jobs.  And this is where life is taking me right now.  And I am very content with where I am right now.

18-27  Not bad! Two-thirds?  Of course, I would love to get a perfect 100%, but then I’d have to be ready to “jump out of bed” every morning, and I just don’t jump out of bed any morning. . .




“Time And Now” by sheelamohan 

I get frustrated because I remember having moments of great peacefulness and great happiness, and I don’t feel like I have them in this present moment.  Something is off.

But I know things have changed for the better.  I’m aware of whether I’m present or not more often; this is a great thing.

And, anyway, why worry about the past?  The past is over!

All I can seem to think about is how much I want tomorrow to be done.  I want to concentrate on getting ready for this holiday weekend.  And tomorrow is going to be a LONG day.  And when I mean, long, I mean LOOOOOONG.  14 hours (or 13 hours, if I don’t include driving, but I do).

I will persevere!  I will focus on each moment.  I will appreciate the moments of silence and stillness throughout the day, because otherwise I know what will happen when I get to that day after tomorrow: I will already be looking ahead, focused on the next great thing.

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