Friday, September 20, 2013

Moment by Moment: On Encouraging Yourself While Encouraging Others

It was the end of class, and everyone was packing up and heading home.

Student: "Dr. TJ, do you mind if I talk to you for a few moments."

Me: (packing up to head home) "Sure. What's going on?"

Student: "I don't know if I'm cut out for this. Looking over all of the assignments for the semester is making me feel like maybe I shouldn't be doing this."

Wow.  I had had an identical conversation with myself that morning.  Feeling totally consumed by all of the work that was ahead of me - teaching, research, service, homelife, finances, health, etc., I just didn't know if I was prepared to take it all on.  I was feeling inadequate, and in the moment above, so was my student.  So there I was trying to encourage someone who was suffering from the same thing that I was.

So, I took a deep breath and reminded my student of a few things:

  • I wasn't asking my students to take on the whole semester at once.  We were going to tackle the semester week by week, task by task. 
  • They were capable of the work, especially because they were self aware and understood that there was so much to learn.  
  • I wanted them to hang in there for just a semester before they proclaimed that they weren't "cut out" to be a teacher.
  • I asked them to be kind to themselves.  Everything was new, so it was ok not to know things. 
They agreed to take the semester moment-by-moment and not allow personal commitments, issues, and insecurity to talk them out of what they believed they really wanted to do. 

As the student walked away, I realized that while I was talking to them, I was just as much talking to myself.  I believe things happen for a reason, and I know this moment happened because I needed to say these things aloud -- for ME.  The morning prior to this conversation had been tough; I had been having similar feelings as my student.  But I dug deep, pushed through, and had a great class.  

So like my student, I am figuring out how to be kind to myself. I'm new, so I won't have all of the answers.  I'm committed to hanging in there and having a great semester.  I will allow my self-awareness to help me make wise decisions as a professor and researcher. I will take the semester on class-by-class and task-by-task.  I have the syllabus as a roadmap, so no need to spin myself into a panic. 

I will conclude this post with an oldie-but-goodie gospel song: Encourage Yourself. Try it! 

Until next time . . . I'll be prepping for class next week and taking this new endeavor moment by moment. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

They Don't Go Unnoticed

Dear Husband,

I see all of the little things that you've been doing lately.

Being extra gentle with your words

Cooking dinner

Giving me extra words of encouragement

Doing the laundry

Bringing me gas when I'm stranded (It won't happen again!)

Picking up around the house.

And then you walked in today with my very favorite - coffee ice cream with almonds

I know I've said thank you for doing some of these things, and I wonder if you noticed that I noticed the others I may not have verbalized to you.

Well, I did and I'm so grateful to have a wonderful husband like you.

Your kind acts don't go unnoticed.

Thank you for being my soft place to fall.

Until next time . . . I'll be thinking about how much I love my husband.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Meditation

Happy Sunday, folks!

So there's a lot happening over here - personally, professionally, emotionally, and spiritually. Life is changing and moving.  While so many good things are happening, I'm feeling so overwhelmed that I'm afraid I sometimes can't keep up.

I decided to take a few moments away from working to do a little blog reading and came across this meditation on one of my favorite blogs, A Blog about Love. This blog is run by a husband and wife team whose mission, it seems, is to put lots of love, light and good energy into the air. I receive it, and I wanted to pass on a meditation that Mara (the wife) posted the other day.

Happy Sunday!

Until next time . . . I'll be meditating on the words below. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I declare my intention to heal in body, mind & spirit.

I invite assistance from friends and loved ones - past, present & future - to lend me their support and their strength. I request assistance from the invisible forces all around me. And welcome their love and support.

More and more, I understand that my healing will happen in it's own way, and it's own time.

I see myself surrounded by the love and caring of those who have come before me - whose banner I carry now.

I know I am better and better able to accept how I feel - as my inner truth of the moment.

I know that the more I can acknowledge and accept how I feel - without criticism or blame - the more I allow myself to heal.

I am better and better able to be kind, gentle and appreciative toward myself.

I welcome my increasing ability to sense the assistance around me - guiding me back to my own strength, courage, and resourcefulness.

I know my heart will heal with the energy of it's own life force.

More and more, I can see and feel my own beauty, value and worth.

I am better and better able to define myself and value myself independent of the behavior of others.

I see and feel radiant sunlight warming my body - sending comfort and solace deep into my heart.

I salute my ability to survive - and my courage to heal.

I know that when I appreciate my body, respect it, and take good care of it - I allow myself to heal.

I can feel a soft warm healing energy pulsing deep into my heart.

I can feel my heart filled with it's own healing energy.

I know that I am held and cradled and affirmed by the generations that have gone before me.

More and more, I understand that my value has never been defined by the behavior of others.

I know that torn places will repair, and my heart will be made whole.

I will find my center, heal my heart, and reclaim my strength.

I understand that beautiful and wise and worthy people know devastation and loss, just as I have.

I salute the generosity of my true nature.

More and more, I remember that I deserve to give love and receive love.

I am the exquisite result of the combined lifetimes of my ancestors.

I know that even great pain can be a valued teacher.

I will grow compassion, wisdom and kindness from the sorrow of my past.

I know there is a part of me deep inside that is sufficient and whole - and it can never be diminished or demeaned.

I know that beneath the darkness that sometimes overtakes me, there is a place where I am radiant with the beauty of my being.

I look to the time when I will reclaim my strength and express the full range of my gifts.

I know that my heart is large is enough to hold my suffering and strong enough to transform it.

More and more, I can see the beauty all around me, and draw nourishment from it.

I welcome my awareness of the peaceful power within my heart, the seed of my strength, the home of my spirit.

I know that I have things to do, gifts to give, purposes to accomplish.

I know that I am held in the hands of God and am perfectly, utterly safe.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Quotes to Keep You Fighting the Good Fight (Part 2)

Hi all!

I hope everyone had a great, long weekend.  I did! Here's a little little music to kick off my post.  Today's post is all about fighting words, meaning quotes that are meant to encourage us to keep fighting for the things we believe in.  Today's musical selection comes from a favorite group of the Hubs and me, Foreign Exchange.  The song is called Fight for Love.

I've been gone for a minute, but I'm back and I'm ready to blog again! These past few weeks have been a whirlwind, but a good one.  I've met my students, taught a couple of classes, and started to work toward my goals for the year.  I've been enjoying life post-dissertation.

I figured I'd work my way slowly back into the habit of blogging.  I have some posts in my cue that just aren't right, but I'll get them there.  So much has been happening - March on Washington (Hubs and I attended), MTV's Twerkgate, an awful Harriet Tubman spoof video, Syria, etc., and I have opinions about all of these things.  Some of them I'll share; I just want to let my thoughts cook a little while longer.

So instead of kicking off my re-entry to the blogosphere with a heavy post, I'd like to start with sharing some more of my favorite quotes.  Folks seemed to enjoy my quote post a few months ago, and I promised to share more of them, so here we go!  Here are some quotes to keep us fighting the good fight!

On academia, because I need to keep fighting to bring my ideas to the world: 

I pinned (on Pinterest) this the other day, and almost had a Holy Ghost moment! Whew, that set me free! Remember, perfect is the enemy of good.

". . . there's so much extraordinary, fascinating brilliant stuff going on in the academic world that never sees the light of day, that's reserved for this very small select audience, and I think that's a shame. In the process of doing that, do I have to simplify the ideas? Yes, I have to. That's how you bring it to a wider audience -- you have to make some sacrifices along the way." ~ Malcolm Gladwell

"Make it hot enough so they’ll want to taste the soup." ~ former professor, Dr. Hughes

On love & marriage, because love is ABSOLUTELY worth fighting for: 
Sometimes I break. He doesn’t try to put the pieces back together. He helps me find some glue. ~ Unknown

“The fact that someone else loves you doesn’t rescue you from the project of loving yourself.” ~ Sahaj Kohli 

The finality of marriage isn't about changing the relationship; it's about fulfilling it. Marriage is the ultimate realization of a relationship that constantly grows and evolves with the couple. ~Unknown

"You know, you can be an adult without being married, but you can't be married and not be an adult." ~ Unknown, but I sure wish I knew who said this! 

On wellness, because it's important to fight to be your best spiritually, mentally, and physically:
“Genetics loads the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger.” – Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD

"You can like the life you're living. You can live the life you like..." ~ Chicago

"We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest." ~ The Prayer of Oscar Romero

Until next time . . . fight for what you believe in!