Tag Archives: Work

Weekly Musings: Wisdom, Change, and What I’m Reading

Weekly Musings – A summary of the week’s highs, lows, and in betweens…

Wisdom

I subscribe to a gazillion sites and get the associated emails, which usually leads me to unsubscribing, because of the sheer volume of mail I get. But, one site I continue to subscribe to (after a few years, including paying for the electronic magazine subscription) is tricycle.org, which sends a Daily Dharma with a quote straight to my inbox. I like these daily messages, because I can quickly scan the quote (I mean it’s 1-2 sentences) and see if I want to read more (click on the link) or not. Yes, this is a Buddhist magazine/site, but you don’t have to be Buddhist (I’m not) to enjoy the words of wisdom and reflective essays on the site.

Here are some examples of Daily Dharmas:

“My practice is teaching me to embrace imperfection: to have compassion for all the ways things haven’t turned out as I’d planned, in my body and in my life; for the way things keep falling apart, and failing, and breaking down. It’s less about fixing things and more about learning to be present for exactly what is.” Anne Cushman, Living from the Inside Out

“When I walk into my fear, practice there, sit upright in the middle of it, completely open to the experience, with no expectation of the outcome, anything is possible.” Judith Randall, The Hidden Lamp

“On the spiritual path, there’s nothing to get, and everything to get rid of. . . . The first thing to let go of is trying to get love, and instead to give it. That’s the secret of the spiritual path.” Ayya Kemah, What is Love?

Change

My life is in the midst of enormous change. Big, old, scary, in your face change both in my work life and in my personal life.

On a lark, I sent a post to HealthyPlace.com, knowing that they are a mental health website with blogs, and they pay for blog posts. Well, they liked my post and they offered me a contract to write for their Living a Blissful Life blog. As you can probably guess from its title, the blog is aligned with my own message – connecting with others to share our common experience, in my case my struggle with depression and growth out of the darkness and into the light, and grow to our fullest potential. I’m psyched to get more practice writing, I’m challenged by having a hard deadline to meet, and I’m pleased to have someone else editing my work. Of course, this job is more work on top of the rest of my crazy, full life, but it’s moving me in the direction of my dreams, becoming a paid writer, so overall it’s a great thing.

Silke Morin Living a Blissful Life blog

Home: We are working on leaving Munich. Yes, you read that correctly. Can you just see me doing my happy dance? It’s been 5 years of living abroad and it’s time to move back to the States. In my opinion, it’s past due. So, we’re doing what we need to do to make an international move happen. This means lots of transition (my daughter’s school, my husband’s job) and a lot of unknowns (when? where? how?), which I’m not very good at dealing with. I’m trying to learning to live with the uncertainty, with not having a plan that goes on my timeline or in my way. Letting go of my need to control those aspects is hard for me. It’s anxiety provoking, but I’m getting there, even if at infinitesimally small steps.

What I’m Reading Right Now

I just finished reading It Ain’t so Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas (disclaimer: Firoozeh is a very good friend of mine and I love her and her work). The book shares the experience of a child who immigrates from Iran to California in the late 1970s. The main character is trying to fit in and be accepted in her new homeland, which is difficult enough by itself  given that she’s entering middle school, but is complicated by the Iran-US hostage crisis of 1979. Suddenly, Zomorod and her family, 7500 miles removed from Iran, are viewed through an anti-Iranian lens.

This book is classified as a children’s book,  but it contains an important message for everyone. It highlights the need for kindness and tolerance. We all need to be reminded to do this. Remember my recent post about choosing to practice love? Distrusting and hating entire groups of people because they are different from us or because of the actions of a few radicals in the group is the foundation of bigotry. Kindness, people, practice it. And read this book.

It Aint So Awful Falafel

Those are my musings. What about you?

What did you tell yourself this week to inspire you, motivate you, or help you on your path? What words of wisdom has someone else (through reading, a podcast, a talk) shared with you? What are you grateful for in your life? What are you struggling with? Feel free to share here.

 

Weekly Musings

I know it’s only Thursday, so the week’s not over yet, but I’ve been such a slacker wrt to posting  in August and September. Well, that’s what 4 weeks of vacation can do to you. Or that’s what it did to me. Luckily, I’ve been inspired by my friend Leah who posts on her blog very frequently (even on vacation!). Check out Leah’s blog about the fit life and hear her talk at the 2015 Listen To Your Mother Austin show. Leah is funny, smart, and fit. We should all be so blessed.

 

This week’s musings – A summary of the week’s highs, lows, and in betweens…

Mantras I spoke this week:

  • May peace begin with me, in my heart.
  • May I redeem myself and reclaim what is inherently good, those life values I want to make manifest.
  • May I be fully present in this moment, pausing to make sure I am giving my full attention to it.
  • May I greet each day as an opportunity to be my best self, a platform for beginning anew.

This week, I was focused on changing the things inside me that hold me back from being who I want to be. I know that all positive (or negative) change begins with me, and I need to use each moment of each day to remember that and act on it, to continually improve and grow myself.

 

Shindig on the Green in Asheville, these are some of my fab friends who visited.

Shindig on the Green in Asheville. These are some of my fab friends who visited. I LOVE girlfriend time!

 

Best podcasts I listened to this week:

  • On Being interview with Mike Rose, an education researcher at UCLA. He discusses school systems, vocational tracking, and meaningful work. Wow. I can’t say enough about how important it is to have school reform that helps every child reach his or her full potential, whatever that might be.
  • Ted Radio Hour show on Transformation. First of all, I just discovered that this was a podcast. I love it because it combines similar Ted Talks into 1 show and clips from the talks are interspersed with interviews with the speakers. Given all my mantras this week about using each moment to best your best, this show was particularly inspiring.

 

Best blog I just discovered:

Okay, I’m late to the game, but because I subscribe to Leo Babauta’s blog Zen Habits, I read about Scott Dinsmore (unfortunately what I read was that Scott died this week) and his blog Live Your Legend. So, I checked out the blog, and it’s awesome, all about discovering what you’re really passionate about turning that passion into your every day reality, in work and life.

 

From my hike to Skinny Dip Falls, Pisgah National Forest

Leaving Skinny Dip Falls, Pisgah National Forest. The Blue Ridge Mountains are purty.

 

Gratitude this week:

  • Vacation. I spent the past 4 weeks at my mom’s 2nd home in Asheville, North Carolina. I did lots of sleeping in, lots of eating out, and the perfect amount of laughing and shopping with girlfriends. I read a lot of books. I wrote (a little). I got to hear Old Time music (my mom plays fiddle and bass) and Honky Tonk music (my stepdad plays pedal steel guitar and banjo). I went on beautiful hikes, and I spent some quality time with my amazing mom. My heart is full. Truly.
  • Vacation is great, but being back home after 4 weeks of being gone is even better. Sometimes all you need to make everything okay in the world is to sleep in your own bed and snuggle with a child.
  • Work. My job is pretty great. I work from home, the hours are flexible, and the pay is good. I get to meet amazing scientists and read (and edit) lots of scientific papers that challenge me.
  • My husband. I got 9 days by myself in the States because my  husband came back to Germany with our daughter for the sole purpose of allowing me a much needed break from everything. I’m glad I get to share my life with him. He’s pretty awesome.

 

Me and my Amazing Mom.

Me and mom. Photo courtesy of my talented cousin Mario who now lives (and photographs) in Asheville.

 

Those are my musings. What about you?

  • What did you tell yourself this week to inspire you, motivate you, or help you on your path?
  • What words of wisdom has someone else (through reading, a podcast, a talk) shared with you?
  • What are you grateful for in your life?

 

 

There are no dumb questions, but there are really awkward ones

After last week’s heavy posts, here is something a little light-hearted from my past life as a teacher. Oh, the stories I could tell…

 

Despite being 23, I looked about 12 when I first started teaching high school. My classes were filled with Latina girls who outlined their lips in black and penciled their eyebrows into the thinnest possible lines. The boys sported homemade tattoos and wore colors, bandanas for the gang of which they were purportedly members. A few students were pregnant, some with their second child. In addition to these kids, the regular lot, my classes always included a large percentage of special needs students. I’d like to think it was my passion for teaching and skill with all learners that got these students into my room, but, honestly, it was because I was a first year teacher and too naïve to know better or demand something different from the administration.

“Today, we will discuss the parts and what they do – using strictly biological terms. Tomorrow, you can ask questions, but you must use the correct, biological terms,” I said as I introduced my first lesson on sex ed.

I was mostly saying this for my own reassurance. While I was fully prepared to answer questions like, “Can you get pregnant if you have sex for the first time?” or “Can you get pregnant if you have sex in a pool?” I thought the students should have some correct information about the parts and process before we engaged in the kinds of questions I anticipated their asking.

The students labeled a worksheet, male and female reproductive anatomy, while I stood at the board and talked. I sensed their growing disinterest. The drawings did not look like what they’d seen in movies, or in person, and the word ‘vagina’ was only funny the first few times I said it.

But I persevered, launching into the comparison of male and female gamete production, where and how eggs and sperm are made.

“In human males, sperm are produced continually from puberty until death. They are made in the seminiferous tubules of the testes and over the course of about 70 days they mature and travel to epididymis, where they are stored until they are ejaculated during orgasm. Males can ejaculate several times a day, each time producing about 150 million sperm.”

“On the other hand, human females are born with all the eggs they will ever have. Then for a defined period in life, typically around 30-40 years, the female body releases 1 egg a month, regardless of an orgasm, which is viable for 36 hours or so. If it isn’t fertilized, that’s the end, no continuation of life. When you think about these numbers, it’s a wonder anyone ever gets pregnant.”

I was feeling pretty confident. No one had interrupted me. However, it wasn’t because the lecture was so engaging. The silence was more likely due to the fact that many students were utterly bored. Some had their heads on their desks, sleeping through the lesson. Others stared at the windows, which looked, rather anti-climactically, onto the dumpsters and the teacher parking lot.

‘Really?’ I thought. ‘I just said the word ‘ejaculate,’ for crying out loud. That didn’t even register a snicker from the class?!’

Sighing silently, I was about to continue when a short, round girl in the 2nd row raised her hand. Apparently someone was paying attention! But before I could call on her, LaQueenta began to speak.

“Mizz Moe-reen,” she said, in her carefully articulated Southern drawl, “I know a man know when he’s havin’ an orgasm. But how do a woman know?”

What?! All those students who had been napping or writing notes to friends or staring off into space suddenly showed an interest in the lesson. Heads snapped to attention. Jaws hung agape, and every face, every eye, was looking to me, waiting for my answer.

Unfortunately, I was totally stymied. I needed to say something, but what? How does a woman know? Is this even appropriate for a group of 14 year olds? (Okay, many were repeat freshmen, so may have been 17, but still.)

As I was composing my thoughts, LaQueenta continued.

“My momma tole me,” she said.

‘Oh, sweet, baby Jesus,’ I thought. ‘Is she going to tell us how her mom knows she’s having an orgasm? Wait, would her mom tell her that? Oh, shit, please, don’t say anything, LaQueenta.’

While I was standing failing to send LaQueenta my telepathic message not to continue, she did just that.

“My momma tole me when she’s having an orgasm she get all cold and shivery. Is that true? And why is that?”

There was about 2 seconds of silence in which I stood dumbstruck, jaw agape like my students. Then their riotous laugher broke the spell. LaQueenta smiled when her classmates started to laugh, but she was earnest. She really wanted to know how a woman knows when she’s having an orgasm, and if her mom was correct in her assessment.

At that moment, every bit of knowledge left my head. I was utterly flustered by the thought of LaQueenta’s mother, a woman I had never even met since she didn’t bother to come to Back to School Night, having her cold and shivery orgasms and then sharing this experience with LaQueenta.

The laughter died down and the students sat silently. They looked at me. They expected an answer. I could read their minds. They were silently screaming, ‘Well, is that true?!’

In a clumsy and hurried voice I blurted out, “You just know, LaQueenta. Believe me, a woman knows when she’s having an orgasm.”

I sat down at my desk and contemplated my career choice.