My Leap List

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The View from in Here

     All of us are prisoners of our own minds.  Every person we meet, every fact we learn, every dream we have filters through our minds.  Over the years, this reality becomes so ingrained in us, we forget that it is only one version of reality and that everyone else has a totally unique version of reality.
     Sometimes we judge everyone else by our own experiences.  We are proud of what we have accomplished, and think everyone else should follow the same path to success.  We forget that our reality is just that, "our" reality.  It is not "their" reality.
     Lately I am hearing many people repeating the words, "If I can do it, anyone can do it."  These words are generally meant to be kind.  They are supposed to be words of encouragement, words to motivate us to overcome the obstacles in our way, but they are harmful words.  It comes with a note of superiority.  If you do this, you, too, can be as great as I am.
      These words also assume you have the same reality as the person speaking.  This is never the case.  Even siblings come with a unique view of life, skills, interests, and abilities.  These words cause guilt and frustration because it is so easy for everyone else, but is not easy for us.
     Whether the words are used to explain why immigrants should only speak English, or why you shouldn't "allow" yourself to be sick, or explain why people are victims of abuse, or why depression is a guilty pleasure or any of the other millions of ways we use these words, they are hurtful.  Even when you say them with kindness.  The next time you hear yourself saying these words, stop.  Breathe for a moment.  Come to a place of empathy without judgement.  It will mean the world to them.  If you listen long enough to their reality, it may change your view from in here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Woman of Integrity - Day 12 Challenge

     Today I saw a woman treat someone with such subtle prejudice, you might have missed it, if you were a white woman like me.  Although I am in a situation where any wrong actions or reactions could affect my future career, I saw the prejudice and couldn't let it slide.  I stood up for the man and took a stand, knowing it was risky to do so.  It is not like my heroes who fought injustice in the Civil Rights Movement, but I am glad to know that I am a person who can stand up for what is right, even when there are personal risks involved.    
Day 12 of the challenge to find myself - you are a woman of integrity.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sending Compassion into the Universe

     He said she was difficult to work with, but I knew it would be a good experience for me.  After all, we have something in common.  We are both moms.  I could tell how much this cute boy loved and respected his mom when he teared up thinking about what she would say.
     I told her truthfully what a cute and polite boy he was, how he never planned to smoke, and teared up thinking about how disappointed she would be in him.  Then we talked about the reason I had to call her.  She wasn't difficult at all.
     You may be wondering what this has to do with August's Trying Something New for 30 Days Challenge.  My challenge is to find myself and learn to live in balance.  Today I honored myself by dealing with another mom with compassion and respect.  By sending compassion into the universe for others, I learn to have compassion for myself.  The negative voice in my head has been silent today.  (Day 8)

The Lesson of the Hummingbird

     Usually Sunday is a crazy day for me trying to do everything that I never have enough time to do.  Yesterday I decided to change that and spent time enjoying the August sunshine.  Random bees and insects kept flying around me, waiting for me to brush them aside.  A big shadow came up and startled me.  I wasn't looking forward to seeing that bug, but when I looked up, I saw a hummingbird.  It was only there for a moment and then flew away.  A beautiful symbol of what I miss when I act like a hummingbird in my own life.  (Day 7)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pretend I'm Amazing

     It is such a strange feeling to realize how much you you are loved.  This week my niece told me that I am her role model.  It's been hard to wrap my mind around this huge compliment.  I am so good at seeing all the weaknesses and flaws I have, I wonder why she would see me as her role model.  As I struggled with this amount of love, my daughter told me, "You know, she has always felt that way about you."  I am awed and humbled that she would feel that way about me.  
     I spent Thursday morning with a cute boy with autism.  Though we just met, he wrapped his hand in mine.  I was New Guy and we made paths in the wood chips and talked about dragonflies.  It wasn't until later I learned that this cute boy didn't like new people and rarely went over to strangers.  What trust to put your hand in the hand of a stranger and let them into your special world. 
      There are two reasons my life gets unbalanced.  The bright side of my motive is wanting to do anything for the people I love.  The dark side is trying to be worthy of being loved.  They look the same in my life, but they have very different effects.  When I am coming from a place of love, I feel alive and send bright energy into the universe.  When I come from the darkness, I resent the demands on my time and make people feel like they are burdens on me.  Balance also comes from my motives, not just my actions. I will choose to do things for the people I love and stop doing things from a need to be loved.  These two beautiful souls reminded me that I am worthy of love because of who I am, not what I do.   

Friday, August 5, 2011

Knock, Knock, New Guy

     Today I tried something new.  I spent an hour and a half with the autistic students attending summer school. It was their last day of summer school and they had earned a party for their hard work the past four weeks.  There was coloring and Wii games and flying stuffed monkeys and giant cardboard box houses and tornadoes in a bottle.  It was total chaos and total bliss.  The kids pretty much ignored me until we went to lunch.
     As I stood behind them in line, they began to realize I was there.  They started petting me and hugging me and touching my nose.  I sat by a boy who told me my name was "new guy."  When I told him my name was Tiffany, he said, "Okay, new guy."  Then he started to tell me a knock knock joke.  It made no sense, but I laughed anyway.  When the kids saw I laughed, they all started telling me knock knock jokes over the top of each other.  Then the first boy grabbed my face and turned it to look at him.  Then he told me the joke again.
     This little guy was suddenly my best friend.  He held my hand and held on to my arms the rest of lunch and recess.  We played in the wood chips and made paths, giant dragonflies, and letters.  It was a great day for new guy and her new friend.
     Being around kids who were so full of life, without the socialization most kids have, was refreshing.  Every emotion was felt honestly and fully.  They picked flowers that were off limits because they were so beautiful.  They ran with their faces smiling up at the sun.  They debated the way dragonflies talk, and they played together because they both wore green.  They welcomed me with hugs and kisses and held my hand the entire time.  In my world, it's rare to be loved so openly, and I fell in love with them just as fast.
     Today, these cute kids taught me how to embrace life, to live honestly, and to live in the moment.  That hour and a half gave me balance, love, and lots of joy.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Small Moments of Joy

     It's a crazy time to take on a new challenge.  I will spare you the details.  Don't you hate it when people complain about something when your life is so much worse than theirs?  Anyway, this has been a busy season and I knew there wouldn't be a lot of Tiff time, so I made a conscious effort to appreciate small moments of joy today.
     It started with finishing a book while I blow dried my hair this morning.  I am re-reading the Harry Potter series because I love the early books.  I had school books to read, but I gave myself permission to enjoy a novel.  After all, you can't blow dry and highlight a textbook at the same time.  (Don't tell me if this is untrue!)
     I thoroughly enjoyed calling and offering two people jobs today.  I loved hearing them yell the news to their families in excitement.  It is so rarely we get to make someone's day with good news.  It is too bad there isn't a job that requires continuously calling people with good news.
     Although I was busy today, I took the time to eat lunch with the secretary and her daughter.  By talking to them, I learned how others see me.  I also learned that HOW we treat people is way more important that what I do.  If you make someone feel special and appreciated, they will follow you to the ends of the Earth.
     I took time to read a chapter with Nick.  It was late and I was tired, but time passes so fast.  Every book we finish makes me wonder which will be our last.  When will he decide he doesn't want to cuddle up with me and read bedtime stories anymore?  These moments are precious and sleep can wait.  I was thrilled to hear him say, "So tomorrow we start book 3, huh, mom?"
     And now it's late enough to be a new day.  I am enjoying these last moments sharing my life with you, learning from my mistakes and practicing honoring my accomplishments.  Baby steps to joy today.  Cheers.  (Day 3)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Neither Do I

     Today I realized how unbalanced I am in my life.  I told John I was doing something because a co-worker didn't have anyone else.  He looked at me and said, "Neither do I."  It was one of those comments that stopped me and made me cold.  Ouch!  My wounded ego realized he was right.  Why do I keep talking about it and never actually DO anything about it?  (Day 2)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Try Something New for 30 Days

     Today is August 1st.  I live on school time.  Summer is my time of renewal and reflection.  A time of new beginnings with new students.  I rarely accomplish January resolutions, but I always accomplish the goals set in August.
     My friend Rich has an amazing mom with a wonderful idea - Try Something New for 30 Days .  The idea is to pick an area of your life that you struggle with most and do something large or small every day to work on this area of your life.  Baby steps to big changes in your life.
     I struggle with balance.  I overdo everything, and I make sure I never let anyone down.  I take care of everyone  - except me.
      Today my friend Patti Digh wrote, "August is a time of turning."  Her words have been whirling through my mind ever since.  August is now my time of turning, a time of turning to myself and honoring myself as much as I honor everyone else in my life.
     August's posts will share my baby steps to Tiffany and hopefully lead me to myself.