Parkland, Florida: A Teacher’s Perspective

sc

I wonder what this world is coming to.  While many people are waking up, others are still spiraling in chaos, greed, hate, and violence.

Our government embodies this chaos.

I substitute teach for a pretty rough school system here in the Boston area.  There are many less than fortunate situations, so it gives me a great sense of satisfaction to be able to make a difference in the lives of children who may not get attention at home.  I’ve heard stories of gun threats in the past, violence among the older students, and have even been hit in the face by a special needs 4-year-old.

However, I’ve never felt unsafe- ever.

My heart breaks for those at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and all of the other people who have suffered due to gun violence.  It’s time to do something- yet we have been saying this long before Sandy Hook.  WHEN will the government wake up?

Thoughts and prayers are nice, but they won’t change the fact our government is turning a blind eye to the violence and avoiding gun regulation due to monetary gain.

It’s disgusting.

I’m grateful to live in a state with an amazing Senator- Elizabeth Warren– who has a lot to say about the way our government is being run.  A former teacher herself, she’s been an important voice since Donald Trump became president of the United States.  Although I have always lived in blue states, my political views would be considered “independent;” I believe in the greatest good for all.  My religion is kindness and my political affiliation is fairness.

Nothing seems to be fair these days.  Our public schools have been put on the back burner, teachers are undervalued, gun violence is at an all-time high, and students can’t even go to school without worrying about their safety.  Although I also work from home writing and doing a little marketing work, I don’t want to feel like home is the only safe place to be.  It’s starting to feel that way.

Sure, schools may have security measures, visitors and substitutes are required to check in, but this doesn’t prevent a mentally ill person with a weapon.  Let’s come together and do what we can to push our government to take a closer look at gun control, make schools a safer place, and work together as a team- no matter what our political affiliation is.

We all deserve to be safe and breathe easy- so let’s do our part to make this happen.  It won’t happen overnight, but each day we can find a way to help.

For now, let’s continue to do what we can to make our little worlds around us a kinder place.  It all starts with us.

img_2793

Worry-free in the classroom- the way it should be.

Posted in mindfulness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Few Valentine’s Day Reflections

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope you’ve had a great day so far.  I treated myself to a heart-shaped Boston Creme donut (like a good Boston girl would), miraculously paid my rent early, picked up a Galentine’s Day present for a friend, and chatted with my mom on the phone as I opened my valentine from her.  Leave it to Mom to find me a chocolate man!

Valentine’s Day is cute, but not something I take very seriously.  I’d rather celebrate little things throughout the year than expect flowers, dinner, and chocolates on one specific day.  I’ve been sick a lot on February 14ths, too- two years ago I had the flu and could barely get out of bed, let alone go out or have the energy to talk to another human being.

I think my longest relationship lasted about a year.  On-and-off again relationships don’t count, and a few dozen short-lived boyfriends don’t really add up, either.  Although I’ve had some awesome Valentine’s Days in the past- two in Kauai (with two different guys, two years apart), friends visiting me in NYC from San Diego, and nights out with girl friends, I’m perfectly fine being on my own, too.

As many of you know, San Francisco has a special place in my heart.  It was the first “city” I moved to after 23 years of life in Michigan, the first sports team I ever followed, and the first place I started to learn who I truly was.

Five years ago I happened to be back in San Francisco for Valentine’s Day.  A few days beforehand I wrote a Broke Ass Stuart post about a food truck event a friend was promoting.  At the time she was going on 50 Food Truck Dates and writing about it, so I wanted to stop by, grab some food, and chat.  Funny enough, it’s the last piece I ever wrote for Stu’s website.  Since then, Stuart has run for Mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee has passed away, and Donald Trump has become our president.

Oh, the difference five years makes.

Five years ago today I also met some great people.  After the food truck event I headed over to a party at “The Villa,” a mansion in the city I had previously seen on the Bravo show Start-Ups: Silicon Valley.  I awkwardly walked into the techie party (imagine that) not knowing anyone, but a New Yorker named Brett came up to me and started to chat.  I was relieved he saved me from my social anxiety- I learned he also worked in social media and even wrote a book about Twitter marketing.

We’ve been friends ever since.  From both living in New York City (he definitely looked out for me) to now Boston and Denver, I’m looking forward to a trip out west in the next coming weeks.  I’ve never been to Colorado before, unless you count the bar during a five hour layover at the Denver airport.

As I reflect on past Valentine’s Days and my own day today- a peaceful one with plans to cook dinner with my friend Jess- I feel super grateful.  I’ve made so many amazing friends throughout the years and have learned so much from my erratic cross-country moves, turbulent relationships, job failures, and struggles.  Boston is finally starting to feel like home after 14 months, and I’m happy I pulled myself out of my antisocial, hermit phase.

Stepping out of the nest forced me to fly and fall a few times, only to learn to pick myself back up again (even when it feels impossible).  Although I’ve been through a lot this past decade, I’m glad to know I don’t have to pick myself up by myself- I have amazing people to fly with.

Posted in boston, lifestyle, love, mindfulness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Enjoying the Simple Things

Yesterday was a beautiful Boston afternoon, complete with sunshine and crisp winter air.  Although the groundhog said there will be six more weeks of winter, the ducklings were a bit more optimistic for an early spring.

I spent the afternoon snapping photos and enjoying the nature all around me.  I even recruited a few helpers to assist with my Mindful Messages!

It’s amazing what a difference a week can make.  Just last Monday I was a ball of nerves, worried about the future, worried about the day, worried about anything.  Perhaps I needed to release my dense energy before Thursday’s New Moon Solar Eclipse, or maybe I had set unrealistic expectations for the first few weeks of 2018.

Whatever the case, my sense of serenity has returned and I’ve gotten back to my energetic self.  My zest for life is back, my creative energy is flowing, and I’m finally feeling social again.

I’ve also returned to simplicity.

What does simplicity mean to me?  Well, it occurred to me how much I have been over-complicating my life.  I’ve been concerned with the past, tried to control the present, and had anxiety about the future.

Then, I grounded myself and got back to basics: all we have is right now.

Instead of trying to manipulate my schedule or micromanage my own life, I’ve taken a deep breath and started to listen to the Universe again.  My ego mind doesn’t know what direction to go; I have to listen to my intuition.

So, at golden hour, I strolled through Boston Common and the Public Garden, feeling joyful, content, and most of all, grateful.  I thought about my mom’s visit to Boston this past August, the day of the Eclipse.  I showed her the Public Garden for the first time, and as we walked across the bridge by the swan pond, she said to me, “wouldn’t it be nice if we had the eclipse glasses?’

Moments later, a woman walked up to us and handed us a pair of eclipse glasses.

That’s how my life works.

Coming full circle, I walked by the ducklings yesterday and thought about the awesome trip with my mom.  I sent her a few photos of the ducks, knowing they’d put a smile on her face.

It’s those simple things that mean the most in life.

Posted in boston, lifestyle, mindfulness, minimalism, spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment