Tag Archives: Zen

Superhero Training: Focus on the Good Things

Another teacher blogger recently described her ability to let chaos wash over her.  While my little “Relax” poster on my wall attempts to refocus my brain on this goal, I still feel like the young superhero unable to harness my powers.  There are moments when I shut off my frustration and just wait patiently for the storm to pass, feeling no stress, superhuman.  However, there are still plenty of other moments where I forget how to be calm, cool, detached, stuck in my wimpy humanity.

Instead of freezing time, my new favorite (and more attainable) superhero power is a zen-like readiness for everything life brings my way.  Yoga helps a little in this training.  I definitely leave class feeling like my car is floating home, my mind a million miles from whatever stresses emerged in my day.  The other training I too often forget, is stopping to consciously appreciate the good things.  So, a small list, of everything school-related that made me smile today:

1.  A student that moved over the summer sent us a postcard for our Husky Fan Club, so we wrote her back, making our own, hand-made postcards.  Reading the students’ responses reassured me we have truly bonded as a classroom family.

More than one student included the word family regarding our classroom.  Happy tear.

2.  This year I have taken more time to set students up for free-writing by telling them about my own writing process and desire to become published.  Never have I seen my students work so fervently, silently writing as quickly as their pencils will carry them in ten minutes.  When the timer goes off, they groan, wanting more time but excited to count their words.  A lifetime love for writing in the making for at least some, I’m sure.

3.  Brainstorming for their Hopes & Dreams project, students started a discussion about whether money buys happiness.  Of course, they disagreed, but we ended with one student explaining that money buys freedom, a potential source of happiness.  Sometimes they are wise beyond their years.

4.  Lunch with a student today, on a big blue picnic table underneath a gigantic pine tree left me feeling fulfilled.  Sometimes they just need to talk.  If only I could tell their fascinating secrets… Teacher first, writer second.

5.  One more day completed on this wild journey.

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The Zen of Cleaning

“A perfectly kept house is the sign of a misspent life.”

Saw that recently on Tumblr and agreed only because of the word perfectly.  I’m getting better at not being OCD about cleaning.  My husband helps with this by not sharing my compulsion for tidiness.

However, there is something about cleaning that is meditative for me.  The first day of a break, I always clean my house.  I throw out or give away everything superfluous, I make my home a place that I want to spend time.  I recently read that people with neat bedrooms sleep better and that people with neat living spaces are calmer, (at least those prone to anxiety, like little old me).  Not sure if any of that is true, but anecdotally, I feel much less stressed in an ordered environment.

I wouldn’t say that I like the actual act of cleaning, but I do like the quiet time to think.  I find that I have to carry around a notebook from room to room because writing ideas come to me while I work.  And, when it’s all done, I feel very visually satisfied with my surroundings.  I even make my husband come look at my new organization systems, much to his chagrin.

So, there you have it.  Today I enjoyed the zen of cleaning.  It’s one of my little life rituals for inner peace.

What are your secrets to consciously cultivating happiness?


Here was one of the bonuses of my compulsion to clean– found this note I didn’t take the time to fully enjoy from a student yesterday.  She pretty much captured me in a nutshell:  I care for them, I’m always watching, and my dream is for them to at least have the option to go college. Doesn’t hurt that she likes my glasses and my outfit either… Made me smile.                                                           


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