Showing posts with label Smiling at the Sky. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Smiling at the Sky. Show all posts

Happy First Day of December

 I have three days of work left, if talking about the Cold War and playing “Reacting to the Past” games counts as work.

Time to reflect on what worked (playing games in class!) and what didn’t (allowing students to earn points so quickly that some of my strongest students finished the class weeks before Halloween). 

The View from Here

 Everything that is alive is partially growing and partially dying, always changing.  

It is no secret and no surprise that I am going through some big things,  and as part of that I've been staying here and there and other places -- no easy feat in a pandemic. 

More than ever, I find solace in solitude, and savor the silence I am fighting hard to cultivate and live in. 

After years (decades?)  of swimming against a current, I surrender to the inevitable, to the peace I was seeking in the wrong places and the wrong way. 

This morning  -- like many mornings recently - I wake up before my alarm, before dawn, and stew in stolen hours. 

 I open the layers of my hotel curtains -- the thick one, the thin one, the sheer one -- revealing a mystically cloudy hazy yellow orange pink sky.

Fantastic. Everyday I do yoga sun salutations to nowhere,  usually not looking at the sky, habitually not seeking the sun. 

Today the sun finds me, glowing impossibly orange outside my window.  

 I welcome it and do my yoga poses, the first set, the second set, the third set.

The sun doesn't move, or at least it rises impossibly slowly.  

I am giddy with delight to get to savor the sunrise, entranced with the red orange glow against the periwinkle sky.  

I do a 4th set of poses,  then a 5th set.  

Sweat glows on my face, and I wonder if I have enough time to work on my lecture before class.

  I check my watch.  I have plenty of time to play with the lecture that goes from Treaty of Versailles to douching with Lysol.  Plenty of time.  

I do a 6th set of sun salutation poses,  reveling in the miracle that I get to watch such a beautiful sunrise. 

But it seems to me the sun is going nowhere, so I take a pause from my yoga and look harder and let go of what I think I am seeing so that I can see what is there.

It isn't the sun.  

It is the red-orange half-circle glow of the Outback Steakhouse sign, lighting up the sky around I-10.   

Of course it is.  I laugh at myself and the world and get into the shower,  wondering what else is in front of me that I can't quite see yet.

Nothing Matters. Let it Go.



For weeks – months, actually – the first thought that crosses my mind as soon as I wake up is “nothing matters.”

I say hello to the familiar thought, and  get out of bed.

The phrase “nothing matters”  used to give me comfort when I felt overwhelmed with anxiety. I was thinking a whole series of What if… What if…. questions and then a tranquil velvety part of my brain said don’t waste time on this.  Nothing matters. Let it go. 

  I liked it. I invited it to take front and center in my thoughts.

 Every time anxiety, doubt, fear rolled up in my brain I quelled it with those magic spell words.
 Nothing matters. Let it go.

 It’s my voice saying the words, it’s my thought in my head.
It’s just a thought and I’m not scared of it.

 I’m tired of it. 

Maybe ignoring it will make it finally go away.

In the shower, thinking about this and that and things I need to do, I hear it again. 
Nothing matters. 

While I’m driving to work on a rainy dark morning and let someone merge ahead of me the phrase pops back up.
Nothing matters. 

I head to Publix before school to buy bananas and Little Debbie’s for my students because I’ve decided to become someone who does that kind of thing.  
The voice comes with me, as present as an achy knee or a persistent cough. 
Nothing matters.

The more ignore it, the louder it gets. 
Insistent, actually.
This is a waste of time, a waste of energy.  No one can end poverty, hunger, homelessness or hate.  There’s no point. And you look stupid even trying.  Nothing you do matters.

I ignore the silly thoughts and choose to do what I can to be helpful and kind, whether it matters or not.

Veterans Village: "It even feels great to see yourself be useful and have an impact on someone’s life "


From MG

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
            -  Maya Angelou
At this veteran's village event, I returned for the dinner to help serve and clean up once again. As I was familiar a little more of the facility and how everything’s supposed to be organized, I was a little comfortable with my environment and opened myself to conversation with other students and veterans. One vet was willing to let me express myself to them and admire the attitude and physical approach to assisting in the event leaving me nothing to slack on. I also talked to one other student out of my class learning his opinion of Dr.Saldoni’s class and how she teaches.
Like the last veteran’s village meet up, comradery, humility and up close and personal presence shows true submission and preparation for task. This second run around assist my encouragement to get active closer to others around me but keep a balance of space amongst conversations and entertainment for both parties of students and veterans. Showing your actions amongst someone for first impressions and even seconds gives the expectation for the observer to be comfortable and respected when showing you’re applying yourself with the shared task that’s required of completion. Doing that showed appreciation from one of the vets and even embraced my character for how I approached the situation.
As the last veteran’s village assignment that I said, contribute to any cause that’s available when your free to act upon to embrace bridges that’ll help others comprehend struggle that's true and in need of assistance to help others elevate in their situation. It’s for us to get out of our comfort zone to help others with in need that gives the doubtful people in a pickle that there’s hope from other humans that will be an enormous benefit just as the detriment they had to face. It even feels great to see yourself be useful and have an impact on someone’s life that’ll help them make a change or a spark that causes a flame to move forward and think clearer for what’s next to come.

A graduation without a graduate is a bittersweet thing*


It was easier to stay silent than to write this, and I don’t know how far I’ll get.

I haven’t written many stories lately because I made it a rule way back in June that the next thing I wrote about would be to ask if TCC would consider awarding David Lowe his degree posthumously.  

David Lowe was my student at TCC in 2006 and again in 2009-10; he was a Vietnam Vet and an avid outdoorsman and disability activist, but the one thing he really wanted to accomplish in life was to complete his degree so that he could get a job helping other Veterans.  

I’ve done this before, and TCC said yes -- the story became Marvin’s Book: The Story of a Professor and a Promise.   The money from Marvin’s Book (at least $100 a month) was promised to TCC to create a scholarship – The Hero Scholarship -- for David Lowe to return to school. 


David’s chronic health issues kept him from completing a single semester back, but he was pleased that other student Veterans have received – and continue to receive - help in his name.

A graduation without a graduate is a bittersweet thing, almost overwhelming to imagine, but to let David’s story go untold would be sadder still.

(continued)





*********


RANSOMING DAVID (PICTURE FROM 2 OF THE 6 TRIPS)



COOL SHINY MAN


THE LAST TIME I SAW DAVID


MARVIN'S BOOK