On pressure

In thinking about enjoying a moment, I often think about how the pressure I place on myself can often rob me of the joy to be had in these moments.

It’s at work. On the days when I feel like I’ve lost my temper and failed to plan well, that I can’t stop and see the beauty of the tiny human souls in front of me. The giant grins on the children’s faces when I unknowingly make a joke, and the unsaid appreciation that occurs.

It’s in marriage. When conflict with Josh arises and I wish we didn’t have to argue, that I can’t see past the imperfections of our relationship aka our human nature. The understanding that is being built and the humor that always seems to pop up after the fact.

It’s in my time alone. When I wanted to clean that closet, but ended up not getting around to it or feeling up to it and just choosing to read a book or watch TV. Recognizing that what’s good for my soul is good enough for my time.

I don’t know about you, but there’s so many more places where I put pressure on myself to achieve, check off boxes, dream bigger, and “make the most of my time.”

Yet, in releasing that pressure, maybe I find more of where my heart truly is at and the ways that I need to rest, embrace imperfection, release unrealistic expectations, and take hold of the reality that is in front of me.

 

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On taking things one step at a time

Some days, I think that I just take everything way too seriously.

Being a dreamer, idealist, and perfectionist all wrapped into one human can do that to you.

I of all people think that planning and dreaming and aiming higher and wider is so important. Yet, when I see people who I deem to be taking life “too seriously,” I just wonder.

How much more would I take in the beauty of life and people if I didn’t take them all so seriously?

How much more could I accomplish if I simply took things one step at a time? There’s such pressure to have your 5 year plan, or your 10 year plan. But, can any of us really predict where we will be, what could have changed, and what we’ll experience in the course of those years?

We can’t.

We can’t predict or prevent things that will happen to us and control all that we will become. Obviously, as with most things, there is an important balance.

Yet, in this first year teaching at a new school, I am beginning to see the importance of living in the moment. Of taking things one step at a time. And not always being pulled into the lure that is “planning ahead.”

On valuing questions

Do I have any questions?

Or do I just want to have all the answers?

Is our conversing, writing, and living more about what answers we can give, or about what questions that we have?

Can we begin to value the process over the product?

Or, do we have to know the end goal and the action items needed to get us there before we begin to live?

Is it okay to sit in the questions that wander through your mind?

Or, should we always be pressing forward with answers? And, when we get the answers, will they even be enough for us?

Who knows? Do you know?

 

On being confident

Confidence is a scary thing for me.

If I’m too confident, I run the risk of being “found out” or embarrassed.

If I’m not confident enough, I run the risk of being trampled over, overlooked, and dismissed.

Or, so I think.

I’ve always found confidence to be much of a paradox. Both high & low confidence in extremes are annoying to me when I experience them in other people.

I’m nervous about fully engaging with the confidence that I hold because I fear what it could do to me. I want to always be a learner, somebody who is humble enough to always recognize the opportunity to learn from each person around them.

As my confidence develops, I find myself backing down from it. It’s as if my fear of failure keeps me always on guard. And, it’s as if my self-doubt will guard me from falling into a place of complacency.

I can be confident in where I’m at and who I am because I’m doing the best that I can with what I have.

I can be confident in the decisions that I make once I’ve made them because there’s no way to control others’ responses …and that’s not my responsibility to do so, anyway.

Confidence doesn’t mean that I drop my role and identity as a learner. But, it does mean that I embrace where I am at a specific moment in time, knowing that my best is good enough.

On neighborhood kids

It was a bright and shiny summer day, a mere 100 degrees at just 9:30 in the morning. I’m minding my own business just taking in the moments of a morning dog walking session, when out of nowhere runs a kid across the lawn.

Franklin the dog, of course, goes wild. He’s screaming and barking and yearning to get to the kid. The kid has that gleeful expression of a child who is both fearful and intrigued. A paradox of wanting to play and wanting to run.

I, of course, being the great school teacher that I am, have to engage in conversation with this kid and give him an opportunity to grow in courage and new experiences — that’s what anybody would naturally be thinking about, right?

I ask, “Do you want to meet him? He’s really nice.” Meanwhile, my rabid dog screams out viscous words in his own dog language.

The child jumps up onto an electrical box trying to get out of paw’s reach from my ever so intimidating 16 pound poodle.

“Please, please just get him away from me!” shouts the child in a both amused and excited, yet not fearful voice.

As we walk away, of course Franklin instantly turns into the most adorable dog ever with no trace of the vicious creature to be seen.

“Wait, wait! Can I pet him?? Please!!!”

We turn around and Frankin trots up and puts on his most civil dog face.

This child and I proceed to have a pleasant conversation about Franklin. As we walk away, I realize, “Hey, wait…where are you supposed to be right now?”

“At my Granny’s…but I live right here,” as he points to the door, “I’m just getting something then going back.”