I’ve been noticing lately that the place we seem to most often look at our reflection to find our worth is in someone else’s eyes. It’s hard to strike a balance between loving and accepting yourself for who you are, and how you measure up with other people.
It’s funny, I always feel like other people should absolutely see their beauty and power, and wonder why it’s so hard for amazing people to see what I see. But when it comes to myself, I think I look at what’s reflected back to me from other people before I can decide for sure how fabulous-or lacking-I am. I see that this is not the way to go, but being human, it’s hard to stand up to someone else’s assessment of you and stand tall in what should be your own truth.
Love notes to myself-is that the answer?
I love Quinn McDonald’s blog. She writes pretty much every day, she’s straightforward, and has a lot of great things to say about art and creativity. Today I read this: “I believe you can make art without a lot of stuff. Art comes from within you, not through stencils, transparencies and puffy paints. I’m not saying they aren’t fun, or that creative play should be sparse. I am saying you don’t need to break the bank and become an art-product consumer to be an artist. It’s not what you own, it’s what you do with what you have.” I’m pretty sure she’s talking to me.
As I was reading an email about how to work online, and simultaneously listening to a recorded webinar, it hit me that I am continuing to be a person who collects, not a person that does things. I guess I think that if I keep searching, I will find the one right answer I’m looking for. But, I’m actually smarter than that, and I know there is never just one right answer. So, what’s up with me and my collecting? Knowledge, other people’s ideas, books, art supplies, how-to DVDs, the list goes on and on. Maybe I should start collecting books, ideas, blog posts and webinars about how to stop collecting and start using all that knowledge to create something.
That doesn’t seem like the right direction at all, does it?!
Today I’m participating in Tara Mohr’s Girl Effect Campaign.
I spent 32 years in education, the last 19 teaching the delightful people who populated my third grade classroom. I worked in a pretty affluent community, where most of the girls’ biggest worry was who to play with at recess, and if their clothes were “cool.” There were, of course, exceptions to this, but they were few and far between, and there were people with resources who could offer help. It’s so hard to imagine, in this safe place, that there are millions of girls in the world who aren’t safe, who don’t have the opportunities we have, and live lives that we can’t even begin to imagine.
But even from afar, we can make a difference. Go here to read more about the project, and get involved. Even a little help can make a difference when multiplied by great numbers of people with caring hearts. Check out the site, read about it, watch a movie. Do something in honor of the lovely girls in your life.
I’m reading The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, and came across something that was very interesting to me. She believes everyone has their own particular creative DNA; “All of us find comfort in seeing the world either from a great distance, at arm’s length, or in close-up.” I’ve never thought of it that way, although I often wonder why some people take such beautiful, panoramic photos of a scenic vista, and I bring home close ups of flowers, rocks and leaves. I love watching the waves for the moment with the water lifts up and then starts folding over to form a perfect wave. I bend over and look closely at the pattern of light and water on rocks. I see the panoramic vista, I really do. I appreciate wide expanses of sky, the color of the trees when I drive over a hill, a big sky full of clouds. But I can’t capture it with my camera or my brush. Now, thanks to Twyla, I can carry on with my closely cropped view of the world and let the people with the wide angel DNA show me their beautiful views. I wonder how many times the idea of people being different and still fantastic will have to hit me over the head before I get it?
Of course you can click these teeny images to see them in a larger format.
Today on Gwen Bell’s site, I discovered an article written just for me. It is well worth reading the entire article.
…the play of life unfolds in a graceful arc from birth to death, becoming more nuanced and rewarding as it moves toward the denouement—perfect fulfillment, not “mere oblivion.” Here we play four distinct roles as the drama of life unfolds: student, householder, forest dweller, and renunciate. The first two are self-explanatory and accord well with our modern view. During the student years—childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood—our primary task is acquiring the knowledge and skills we will need to make our way in the world. We draw on these attainments when we become householders, immersing ourselves in the rush and roar of life as we go about earning a living, raising a family, and doing our civic duty. But here the resemblance ends. In our modern script, the third act—retirement—defines us in terms of what we’ve left behind instead of what lies ahead. Up through our late 50s and into our 60s, our energy has been mainly focused on tangible achievements: earning a degree, building a career, raising children, acquiring property, perhaps making a name for ourselves. Now, as these familiar identities and activities fall away, we find ourselves without a clear, purposeful direction.
It goes on to explain that instead of trying to resist aging, and the changing stages of life, we should embrace this next stage as a time of turning inward, reflection and realization of what endures. I found it very comforting, and am putting it in the column labeled, “Why this is a great time in my life.”
Finding the article reinforces what Jenny, the wise one, said this weekend–that I should enjoy relaxing and having time to do what I want after working hard for so many years. She has a very wise perspective on life for being so young.
I made a big move today. I unsubscribed from all the educational newsletters and emails I used to get, and unfollowed all the educational technology leaders I’ve been following on Twitter.
It feels strange. It doesn’t make sense for me to follow the latest best practices in teaching, or the newest way to use technology in the classroom. In some ways it just seems logical and no big deal, but it feels like a huge change for me after so many years of trying to keep up with the fast paced world of ed tech.
Because I can’t put down my love of learning, I’m looking for other people to follow on Twitter and Google+, newsletters to subscribe to, and blogs to follow. I have found lots of great resources, and am having fun with the world of creativity. As a bonus, I get to spend a lot of time watching the hummingbirds and checking out the flowers blooming in the yard.
But, for now, it feels like there’s a bit of a hole where all that other stuff used to be.