Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"It's all a learning opportunity"

I regularly follow a weekly podcast of free "dharma talks" given by Insight Meditation Center called Zencasts. One of my favorite teachers to listen to is Gil Fronsdal and a few weeks ago he was speaking on the topic of equanimity. Aside from giving me something entertaining to listen to while I walk my dogs on this rock in the middle of the ocean, I usually find that much of the advice given is not only helpful for my life and meditation practice in general, but also directly applies to my work in the classroom.

The talk about equanimity couldn't have come at a more opportune time and couldn't have been more directly related. After hectic Thanksgiving travel and with preparations for the winter break looming I was feeling out of sorts and having trouble navigating the classroom waters steadily. When this happens, and I know that I am tired and probably not being my best self the words of a wise fellow blogger, Stacey Lewis from Sweet Sky, come to mind: "You are the weather." And if I'm in a particularly stormy mood, I know I'm a huge influence in the environment.

In the talk, Gil mentioned a visit to his son's preschool. After disrupting a perfectly calm classroom with his sudden presence, Gil apologized to the teacher. The teacher smilingly replied "It's all a learning opportunity."  He went on to talk about four qualities that he originally called "the grandmotherly attributes" but decided to rename "the preschool teacher qualities" after several anecdotes related to his experience at his son's school. He was referring to the Brahmaviharas, four central Buddhist virtues. I have read about these before, and loved so much to hear them described in the context of working with preschoolers.

The first of these four qualities is loving-kindness. In terms of working with children, to me this means a practice of seeing the best in the children and deeply wishing happiness for them. It has to do with hope and with acceptance, and with practicing the acknowledgement of what is positive in each of us. It also means directing that same kind of attitude towards myself. It also means to me that when I am feeling disconnected from a child, that I first have to work on my vision of that child so that I can see them lovingly and then be able to be of help.

The second is the idea that everyone is deserving of compassion. To me that means cultivating an attitude of helpfulness. It means working hard on overcoming the learned habit of wanting someone to experience pain in order to learn sometimes. It means being able to see clearly that when a child is acting out in the worst possible way, they are suffering and are in need of some smart kind of kindness.

The third quality is empathetic joy. This is sort of a new practice for me... I was brought up in a very competitive environment and my schooling and hobbies all reinforced the  idea that in order to succeed, someone else has to lose or do poorly. And that therefore, if someone else was doing well, I should feel threatened. The practice of empathetic joy means that I can rejoice in other peoples happiness. In the classroom that means that I can participate in all the successes that happen in the classroom. As a teacher, I can help children develop that feeling too- that when someone else does something great, we can all be a part of that celebration. (I love the idea of how this practice can really multiply the feeling of joy in one's life.)

And the last of the "preschool teacher virtues", and the one that Gil expanded on the most in the talk was the quality of equanimity. This is where he compared the preschool teacher to the grandmother. As educators we have seen our share of children and can have a much greater perspective on children's behavior than say, a first time parent. To me it meant that we can have days in the classroom that feel muddled and remain confident, knowing that it won't always be that way. The same way that we can have the most normalized week and meet the following Monday without the expectation that it will be just as orderly. Equanimity is a quality that I'm sure preschool teachers who have been at it for decades posses in excess.

Thinking about these four qualities after listening to that podcast was like putting a fresh wind in my sails and having a solid north to point to.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

How we spend our days

"Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity. Ours is a culture that measures our worth as human beings by our efficiency, our earnings, our ability to perform this or that. The cult of productivity has its place, but worshipping at its altar daily robs us of the very capacity for joy and wonder that makes life worth living — for, as Annie Dillard memorably put it, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
-Maria Popova

I read this inspiring post from the great blog "Brain Pickings" recently, and Annie Dillard's quote got me thinking. We spend 7 hours a day with the children at school. This means, I spend more waking hours with them in a week than I do with my own friends or family. The children spend more time with me at school in a day than they do with their own parents! It made it blatantly clear to me that our time together is a huge part of both their and my life. We are each other's company for a large part of that time right now. It made me consider Maria Montessori's quote about school being "a preparation for life". No, I'm thinking, the time we're at school is life itself! It is "how we spend our days."

Putting it in that kind of perspective made it imminent that care and thought be put into making that time be as enjoyable as possible for all of us involved. I wondered if I should bring my thoughts to the children and ask them- "How can we make the time we spend together be really nice for all of us?" I brought this up with my friend, who is an elementary teacher, and she said- "That's exactly what we do at the beginning of the year with the elementary students!" (This makes me secretly love the thought of taking elementary training more than I already do). Those old ones apparently have a meeting at the beginning of the year and discuss what are the agreements they will all make to ensure the environment is enjoyable for all of them. How to bring this to the mind of the Primary students?

All this once again reconfirmed what seems to be a recurring lesson for me- that HOW WE ARE ends up being more important that WHAT WE DO. Or at least, as important when it comes to how we are spending our life.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

"The things that matter most in our lives are not fantastic or grand. They are moments when we touch one another, when we are there in the most attentive or caring way. This simple and profound intimacy is the love that we all long for." -  

Jack Kornfield 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The teacher

"A teacher, out of compassion and love, seeing that somebody is suffering, gives a path. But each individual has to walk on the path. There is no magical miracle with the teacher. Totally out of the question. He only shows the path. That is the only role of the teacher, nothing else. "

- S. N. Goenka

My meditation teacher passed away a few months ago, and one of the quotes that surfaced in a website announcing his passing was the quote above. When I read it, I could relate to it not just as a student, but as a teacher of little children as well.

Sometimes I don't want to let a child make a mistake. Sometimes I want to sit right next to them after I present something, to help them get it all right on the first try. Sometimes I give them a choice that is not really a choice, it is a masked strong suggestion, or even a costumed threat.  Sometimes I want to choose for them, because it's so much easier."I know what's good for you", I think. Sometimes I want to act for them, and not see them say hurtful words or do hurtful things. Sometimes I want to MAKE them do things in a certain way. Sometimes I reject the way that they are being and want to change it, quickly, because I am uncomfortable with it.  I have all these urges, sometimes.  Sometimes I am the pickaxe that spoils the key.

I forget, sometimes, that my job is to show the path and then GET OUT OF THE WAY. That THAT is the only thing I can do. Only to try my best to show the way clearly, lovingly, with care and precision,  with joy and hope. I cannot walk it for them.  Ultimately, each one has to walk the path themselves.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Beginning again.

"Be patient with everyone, but above all, with yourself. I mean, do not be disheartened by your imperfections, but always rise up with fresh courage. I am glad you make a fresh beginning daily. There is no better means of attainment to the spiritual life than by continually beginning again, and never thinking we have done enough. How are we to be patient in dealing with another's faults if we are impatient in dealing with our own? He who is fretted by his own failings will not correct them. All profitable correction comes from a calm and peaceful mind. "

Joseph Goldstein "The Experience of Insight"

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Giving and Receiving

“Gracious acceptance is an art - an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving..”
-Alexander McCall Smith

Especially in the first weeks in the classroom, with new children, and children returning from weeks in a different kind of order, I find myself getting caught in a mode of giving. I am observing and responding, and most of the energy is going out in giving: instruction, hugs, reminders, non-verbal communication, in showing how, in connecting and helping. I sit back and observe, sure, but my interactions are focussed a lot on getting things headed in a certain direction. Influencing. Modelling.

I was thinking about the opposite of what I have been doing. I am spending so much time giving that I'm forgetting to take care to receive fully. In beginning again the balance should be tipped this way: to listening, and welcoming, and creating space, and being available in the moment to acknowledge what the children are sharing. I see that they have so much to give, so many ideas, and words, and silent successes, stories, questions, and love. Especially when we are meeting for the first time, or again after a long time of absence, I imagine how nice for them to find an adult that is ready to receive them. I remind myself to graciously wait, quietly, and receive what they are offering.

“Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart.”
Brené Brown

Thought for the week

Go out into the world today and love the people you meet. Let your presence light new light in the hearts of people. ~ Mother Teresa

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summer is for making things

 This summer was for making things. I reconnected with an old love (clay) in a most happy place (Tuscarora, Nevada) and made pots and whistles. Spent time in the woodshed with Yair and built a table, and a meditation stool, and a pasta drying rack. I made new friends. I pickled kelp with my grandmother. I made some jewelery. I folded paper. I cooked and read and had a good time.

And now the summer is over, and tomorrow the children come back to school.

Today I was wondering why I was feeling an absence of nerves. Usually there is a building wave of anxiety that begins to gather momentum before the new year begins... "Do I still know how to do this?" I wasn't feeling it this week, I'm not feeling it now while I write. I was curious enough that I almost summoned the tension by too much wondering.

Perhaps all the presence gathered up in the summer by working with my hands and being a beginner at so many things  is helping me learn that there doesn't need to be a dramatic crescendo of emotions. That tomorrow is not yet, and to trust that I'll know how to respond to whatever happens when the time comes.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


In the past two weeks, there have been some really valuable reminders for me that have come from the MTIPS Mentor Transcripts. The ones that have hit me really hard have had to do with repetition.

Here is what was most useful to me:
*Instead of giving a new lesson spend time with children with lessons they've had- so they don't equate time with you only with new lessons.
*Represent things that are not used properly.
*Extensions and sensorial games ARE repetition.
*When a child gives another child a lesson, that is repetition.
*Observation of another child working is repetition.
*Children observing you give a lesson is repetition. 

Especially the last three points have felt like a great reminder of the expansive definition of "repetition" that is happening all the time in the classroom. This vaster definition has really helped me have a better perspective of the learning that is constantly happening in the environment.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Montessori Assistant's Album

This year, our assistant who has been working in the kitchen and garden will be moving into the classroom since our current assistant will be starting her own elementary program. We have begun the training process for our new assistant and it has been going very well!

Our school has several factors which influence the roll of the assistant, and perhaps in small ways challenges the more mainstream AMI Montessori assistant role. The fact that we are a bilingal program, English and Dutch, and that most of our graduating children eventually go to Dutch programs puts a lot of pressure on the children to learn a conversational level of Dutch. Since I don't speak native Dutch (barely non-native Dutch) it is my assistant's responsibility to be the main model of Dutch language in our classroom. This means that the assistant in our room has to be putting a lot of language out there! The best way for this is not only through casual conversation, but through small group lessons and games.

To train our assistants, in the past I put together an Assistant's Album and have been tweaking and supplementing it through the years. I wrote about it some years ago here. One change this year has been that I asked my assistant to make her own write ups of the games and lessons that she can lead. I think it is important for those instructions to be in her own words, and asked her to write the exact Dutch phrases that she will be using with the children.

I was an assistant before I was a teacher and I remember having a very difficult time knowing exactly what exactly my role was. I think that approaching the assistant's role as a clear learning process from the get-go helps me to have a better assistant at my side, and helps my assistant see the importance of her presence in the room.

Here are all the files we put in the Assistant's Album this year for anyone who thinks they might be useful.  To cover everything in the document titled "Assistant's Training Points" took three sessions of two hours each. Every one of them very much worthwhile! Of course a disclaimer, I am not a trainer, and this was not taught to me in my training, but in my years of work in the classroom it has proved helpful to me and to all the (brave) women who have worked with me in my room.

Friday, April 5, 2013


A few weeks ago I was walking on the beach with a friend who is the Principal of a large school here in Aruba. She was telling me about how for the past weeks she had been doing assessment of the teachers at school by observing them and then writing a report on what she saw. Having had specific training, and having been a teacher herself I am sure her reports were very valuable to her teachers. She asked me, "Where do you get feedback from?"

I considered the question for a while, and have pondered it since. I read a very excellent chapter in the book "How Children Succeed" by Paul Tough about feedback and how it is used by a teacher in an inner city school somewhere in the US who is helping to develop some of the top junior chess players in the country. Most of her work centers around feedback- the children play their games, and then they very carefully review their decisions and the outcomes of these.

Clearly, feedback and reflection are paramount to the learning process.

I thought about our situation. Being a one room school, with a staff of exactly four people, and juggling the work of head teacher and administrator- this seems to leave little space for someone to come and let me know specifically how we are doing. However, the more I think about it, the more brilliant and complete Montessori appears to me to be. There are many feedback loops that are intrinsic within the structure of the environment and involve all of the members of the community.

In simplistic terms, the children experience feedback directly from the materials (built in control of error), from natural consequences from the environment including the social environment, and from shared reflection with the adults. Their parents experience feedback  from observing and interacting with their children, and from communication with the school (conversations, conferences, reports).

Teachers receive feedback directly from the children, first and foremost. By observing them we can tell a lot about if what we are doing is working and where changes need to be made. Communication with parents lets us know about how the time at school is influencing a child at home and vice versa. Visits from consultants, if you're lucky enough, are very great feedback. And finally, what has really helped me lately better understand the processes I'm going through, personal reflection. I've been keeping a journal of my own difficulties, successes, questions that has helped me see where I feel I am improving and areas where I need more help. I try to write especially when I have a deep emotion associated to something regarding the work. This process keeps me from acting impulsively on whatever the situation is, and also allows me to leave the open questions at school (instead of bringing them home to mull over 24/7).

As an administrator I get feedback from parents and other teachers. Among the staff, we are fortunate to give ourselves time to observe each other at work (although we could do it more often than we do). I invite parents to help with problem solving, planning, and evaluating where there is space for it.

It is amazing to me that in Montessori there can be so much going on even within a small school community.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Second Plane of Development

A parent from school sent me this blog link, that contained the video above. I've been thinking a lot lately about elementary age children, especially since a parent at school and my assistant are all taking AMI elementary training this summer. What I loved in the article, aside from everything, was this line:

"I knew more things in the first 10 years of my life than I believe I have known at any time since."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

More wonderful Pema.

Deepening rather than adding

I've been reflecting a lot lately on the depth of what is in my Montessori albums.  Having been teaching for some years now, I still sometimes go back to my albums and find something that I have never really incorporated into our classroom. Those books I made so long ago are full of extensions, variations, and following exercises that really encompass a world of activity. (I dream of the summer where I drop all of my renewing/goofing off activities and relearn everything that's in my albums.)

This year in particular I have maintained our shelves very minimal. It has come naturally and not necessarily as a resitance to adding "new" things, but more as an inclination to letting the children (and myself!) explore more deeply what is there already. Along with what my trainer mentioned should be done every day in the classroom like Grace and Courtesy, Walking on the Line, Language Exercises, Sound Game- it's challenging enough to get it all in there in six hours-  I trust more and more that there is enough there without having to reinvent the wheel with things "new".  The direction to go, I've felt, is deeper not broader.

I see it in my record keeping as well as in my planning, it is going inwards and deepening rather than piling on more. Last year the word that kept circulating was "simplify".This year, the word has been "deepen".  I still feel that I'm brushing the surface of what's there.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Anicca Anicca Anicca

Months after my first Vipassana course had ended, I still had the voice of the teacher in my ears saying "Anicca, anicca, anicca." He would often end his discourses  with these words reminding the listeners of the nature of impermanence that permeates everything.

This morning I was reading the Mentor Transcripts from MTIPS, by Wendy Calise- which through the year have been a wonderful resource for me. In the most recent transcript a teacher wrote a question about the "unnormalized" conditions in her classroom, and the lack of joy and cooperation she was seeing among her group. It was a vast question, and answered very practically by Wendy with many suggestions. What I loved about her answer though, was her wise words in closing:

"We have all been there, and we all know we will be there again. That is the nature of teaching."

After a lovely and peaceful week in the classroom where everthing felt in place, solid and joyful, I reflect back on prior weeks when I've felt I'm drowining in questions. There is a strength in knowing that it is all going in cycles, part of a larger law of life.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Singing Together

Our school celebrated it's 5th year with a Sing Along. Families arrived with babies and grandparents and goodies to eat. We all crammed together in our classroom to sing, and afterwards sat outside under the christmas lights to enjoy a light dinner together. My favorite things about this event are the simplicity of it, how our seating arrangement allows for a very relaxed atmosphere (children go to the bathroom, or get drinks of water when they need it, babies crawl around the floor and it doesn't interrupt the singing), everyone is actively participating the singing so it doesn't feel like a performance by the children, and ultimately- it's just plain fun. 


Monday, March 11, 2013

"As we learn to have compassion for ourselves, the circle of compassion for others - what and whom we can work with, and how - becomes wider."
Pema Chödrön
 A terrible flu kept me in bed a few weeks ago and caused a lot of unforseen changes in plans I'd made. While being sick, I thought about how taking care of myself is a skill that I shouldn't relegate only to times of sickness. "Health is wealth" was written on some product, I don't remember which, but after some visits to the doctor recently, it really dawned on me that healthy habits are sometimes hard to come by. Where do we learn to eat well, sleep deeply and enough, to balance work and home life, to stop and rest, to exercise and laugh, to find time to connect with each other? Where do we learn consistently do all those important things in life that keep us happy and in good condition physically and mentally?
 Taking good care of myself is not something that I remember learning at school, and for some reason I don't think I learned it at home either. As far as I can tell it's been a process that I've come about in adult life, slowly and with much repetition of mistakes. I often forget, and then either my body tells me in some painful way, or my mind becomes unbearable and I realize, hey! "slow down and pay attention." If it was a subject taught deliberately somewhere it would certainly be worth the tuition. It is indispensable to know how to care for ourselves especially when others are in our care.
In terms of our time in the classroom, how do we model this self care? Do we take enough breaks during the day? Drink enough water? Take time to sit back and just observe? Stay home when we are sick?

I am thinking about this as I get over the effects of a body meltdown and normalcy returns. I want to be mindful enough to create a normalcy that is sustainable and that will point my sails towards wellness.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Beyond Grace and Courtesy

"My hope and wish is that one day, formal education will pay attention to what I call education of the heart. Just as we take for granted the need to acquire proficiency in basic academic subjects, I am hopeful that a time will come when we can take it for granted that children will learn, as part of the curriculum, the indispensability of inner values: love, compassion, justice, and forgiveness. "
~ Dalai Lama
My hope and wish is that one day, formal education will pay attention to what I call education of the heart. Just as we take for granted the need to acquire proficiency in basic academic subjects, I am hopeful that a time will come when we can take it for granted that children will learn, as part of the curriculum, the indispensability of inner values: love, compassion, justice, and forgiveness. ~ Dalai Lama

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sensorial Games

‘Interrupt the deviation; and give them something interesting to do’
Rita Schaefer Zener – AMI Primary Teacher Training Course 1981-82

The refresher course in Tampa this year was hugely productive for me. Ginni Sackett, my trainer from MINW in Portland, was the presenter for the Primary level and she is very engaging and an excellent communicator. I often return from the refresher courses with an overwhelming feeling of needing to change things, but this year most of the urge had more to do with philosophical implications of our work as opposed to practical ones. (More on that to come later)

 There are many parts of Ginni's presentation that I am still processing, but one aspect of the course that had immediate applications to the classroom was a good old reminder of the importance (and existance!) of the sensorial memory games. I had a good look at our sensorial materials after returning. Some of our 5 year old materials have taken a little bit of a beating, and I spent some time giving them care and repair. (For any of you out there with leaky metal thermic bottles, for example, we solved the problem by pouring in about a 1/4 inch of liquid epoxy and let it cure for 24 hours. Problem solved!)

Ginni tied the importance of these games to the process of connecting children with sensorial reality, especially in the face of a popular culture "invasions." Because they respond to children's natural developmental needs and human tendencies, they are meant to be very attractive to the children. They are a great way to deepen a child's work with the sensorial materials once they have lost interest in the original presentation, or on the other hand, to extend the work of a child who is very interested.

To reignite interest in the games, I added a tray of new "sensorial markers" to the shelf (a quartz crystal, a cross section of a geode, and a smooth piece of galena), and bought two new blindfolds from Montessori Services.

I reviewed my albums and Ginni's handouts and made a list of the memory games:

*Games in 2 locations- This is a game for matching or grading at a distance. The child sets up the work on two rugs or two tables that are far apart from each other. With a marker, the child selects one of the items and then walks to the other set and finds the corresponding object (for pairing.) For grading, the child places one set of the materials at one table and brings them to order on another table (or rug) one at a time.

Ex. The geometry cabinet. I don't see very much repetition in my room of the orginal geometry cabinet presentation and this game helps keep children's interest. We use the cards a lot as well. I am interested in presenting this with grading a lot more than I have been for older children who still love to work with the pink tower, for example, but could use a bit more challenge.

*Games in scattered locations- One set of the materials is placed on a table or rug, and the other is scattered in different places around the room. Or the materials are brought to graded order at one table from mixed locations. (The group has to be prepared for this game so that a child's work that's spread out all over a room can be respected. )

*Matching materials to the environment- the isolated quality of the materials is matched to the environment by either bringing the matches to a table (like objects that match a particular color tablet), or taking the material to the environment (like laying a red rod across a shelf that has the same length).

Ex: Bells. I heard of people matching the bells to the environment and thought that was really fantastic. I haven't tried it yet, but am curious if we would have matches for all the bells within our classroom. More typically what I see in my room is matching the color tablets and a few times the red rods. I'm sure that with some presenting some of the children could enjoy matching dimensions of the pink tower, and the color box 3 tablets among other materials.

*Group games- Materials are shared among a small group and brought to order by either pairing or grading.

Ex. I've found that this game is a great way to bring attention back to the purpose of the material and reinforce its correct use. We play group games with the sound cylinders (why do children like to build with them so much?), color tablets (make such great small fences), and the pink tower.

*Memory game with language- This game is played with one child or a small group. The teacher says the name of the material or a quality of the material (for example, "The largest"), and the child brings it. We play this game a lot in small groups since most of the children in our environment are not native English speakers we rely a lot on language games as enrichment of vocabulary. It can also be played with writing for children who can read.

Friday, February 8, 2013

“The object is to keep busy being something...as opposed to doing something. We are all sent here to bring more gratitude, more kindness, more forgiveness and more love into this world. That is too big a job to be accomplished by just a few.”
― Richard Nelson Bolles

I was surprised when suddenly it was Friday this week. It was a very active time in the classroom. There were moments where I realized that what I'd been doing for the past bunch of minutes was reacting to things that were happening around me. Since things in a classroom really don't stop happening EVER, I was rushing from one thing to the next- helping, suggesting, mediating, preventing, presenting...  Time passes very quickly  when I'm putting out fires and jumping from lesson to lesson. I can't really distinguish if the reality of the room is being influenced by my mental experience, or if it is the other way around.

This morning I had a wonderful reminder of how the way I'm being is often more important than what I'm doing. It was the same feeling in the room as yesterday (of a LOT going on in loudness) but I didn't have the same feeling in me. This morning I had been contemplating trust: in the process, in the children, in learning and mistakes, in gentleness, in connection and listening, and most importantly in observing.

Every year the group of children is different and the flavor of the challenges is different. As much as the permutations of the environment change, I'm still there, as I've been for a lot of years now. Today I noticed that these kinds of days happen, it's inevitable, but I've changed in how I am during the day, and also in how I process the day when it's over. I mentioned it to my assistant, who'se been right there with me for three years plus, that gradually and slowly we've also changed. I remembered how I used to feel during these kinds of heavy days, how I would think, and how I would be.

This work is a marathon work, and you get better at it (better, meaning: a better observer, a lighter person, more patient and optimistic) very slowly. At least I do. I was happy today to remember how I was, and to notice in the midst of the small chaos, how I can now be.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Stages of development.

The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise. 
~ Alden Nowlan

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chosing what is

I vow to choose what is.
If there is cost, I choose to pay.
If there is need, I choose to give.
If there is pain, I choose to feel.
If there is sorrow, I choose to grieve.
When burning, I choose heat.
When calm, I choose peace.
When starving, I choose hunger.
When happy, I choose joy.
Whom I encounter I choose to meet.
What I shoulder I choose to bear.
When it is my death I choose to die.
Where this takes me, I choose to go.

Being with what is, I respond to what is.
by Hogen Bays

Presence, I've found, is the greatest gift I can give the children when I'm in the classroom. When I am fully present, I can respond more appropriately to what the needs of the group are. Often, a mental dialogue about how things "should" be, and how they "should" look, and how I "should" feel come up. I get really agitated because reality doesn't match what I think "should" be. Instead, when I let go of that thinking and observe, Really observe, without judging, without "should", then I can really see what the path is.

After a very present holiday, with so much play, walking, fun, swimming, and listening, because I think I'm really good at vacation, I try to bring that same quality of attention to school. Being with what "is".