We Are Teaching Peace

Yesterday was Scarlet’s 100th day of school, give or take.

I'm linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week's topic is

I say “give or take” because there were some sick days, some snow days, and certainly some days we were at Disney World instead! You get the point, though. Look at how far we’ve come! Scarlet had to collect 100 pieces of something to bring to school. Two years ago it was stickers. Last year it was LEGO pieces. This year? She counted out 100 Shopkins. Naturally.

Two years ago on the 100th day of school, the kindergarten classes marched around the school like a parade. Unlike with second grade, in kindergarten we were often invited to partake in the celebrations and festivities in the school.

“Scarlet’s school celebrated their 100th day of school earlier today with a parade. Scarlet celebrated her 100th day of kindergarten with a snazzy vest decorated with 100 stickers at home, and with a snazzy crown she made at school.”

The then and now contrast actually astounds me! It makes me grateful that Des is still a full year younger than that little glowing nugget I love so much in the above photos. If you really want to squeal? Her grandmother took this video two years ago. It’s been on my mind because I remembered it being around this time of year, and sure enough, it was exactly that.

I know it’s not the best quality, but LOOK AT HER FACE AT THE END.

I showed the video to Cassidy last night, after digging it up because it was on my mind, and we both knew I wasn’t going to rest until I found it. We were both stunned into silence and he rested his chin (or his hand?) on my head. We were gripped.

Yesterday she asked me, “Why don’t the other kids say thank you to the lunch ladies?” I had no immediate answer because I wanted to blame the parents, but sometimes we can all (definitely me included) be oblivious. There are so many things to juggle at once. She said she always does and it makes them so happy. I, of course, wanted to credit my own awesomeness, but she said it was her kindergarten teacher Mrs. L., who said to the kids, “They work SO HARD. Always thank them. Always.”

We are teaching peace by what we do and what we say.

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And boy, do I need reminders as much as anyone!

I feel peace from her pitch and her tone, from Des’ infectious smile, from Cassidy’s strong hands, from Juniper’s steady purr, and from following a confident Athena onto every path and into every forest. It’s all the places I’ve gone, and all the places I’ll go. It’s a voice on the phone, a finished batch of edited photos, a published blog post, my words forever entombed in a book, and photographs on the walls. It’s a milky bath, in between the pages of a book, a panic button, or just knowing you have the option to use one. Rarely, do you actually push the button. It’s nice to know it’s always there should you need it.

I'm linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week's topic is

I find peace when I truly let go – the difference between holding on too tightly, trying to control every twist and turn, and hating the whole thing until it’s over, or giving in to the almost-dizzying, almost-sickening, head-spinning, stomach-flipping MADNESS that is the roller coaster itself, and also the roller coaster metaphor for life. And then maybe going for round 2?

SPOILER. I did it! For real, and for metaphor. And yes, we are going to actually pay for these photos..

peace

I actually wrote this next bit for yet another FTSF prompt, at another time, but it rings true:

The thing is, if I could teach the world one thing, I’d be teaching it to myself too. Even more. Teachers aren’t just teaching – they’re learning as they go. We all teach each other, and we all learn. It never actually stops. Shouldn’t stop.

It gets both closer, and further away.

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teaching peace

ftsf

What I’d like to teach the world is hope. Finding your way out, up, safe. Sometimes things seem so murky but your brain and heart are always trying to find their way out, up, safe. We’re self-healing machines, inside and out. Remember that.

finish the sentence friday

The weather will get better. Winter ends, unless that’s your thing, in which case I’ll tell you that summer ends too. We are all pushing through the murky messes of personal, national, and global politics, traumas, and confusion. It’s overwhelming.

peace

If I could teach the world one more thing, it would be peace. Inner and outer. I would teach it to myself, to be able to teach it to others. I have in no way broken the mold on this. I can feel restlessness and irritation settling into my bones sometimes. And this is me. Mostly hopeful, sunshiney, cookies-eating, me. What’s it like for people being dealt harder blows, or with less mental equipment to find their ways out, up, safe? Maybe that where hope comes in. Hope for peace. Peace for hope.

peace on earth

I’d like to teach the world to let yourself get overcome. Don’t push it down, only to have it explode back up. Push it back, push it down, whatever you need to do in a world in which we’re sometimes screaming from the inside out, or outside in, and you can’t be as hungry, in love, roaring sad, sexual, strong, or whatever else it is that your true, wild, dream self is. Take it out and put it in your hands. Hold it in your arms. Honor it. Keep it alive, and send it spinning through our world. We need it.

What will you do and say?

teaching

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “I feel peace from…” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on the matter: HERE.

A Room of Balloons

Imagine the look on your face if you walked into a room full of balloons.

I would imagine feeling colorful and fanciful, and maybe even weightless, like I could float up to the ceiling like a balloon. Or that I’m completely cushioned on all sides – like the best kind of padded room I could imagine. I can imagine delight – and an inevitable desire to throw, kick, toss, and do anything to those balloons in a perpetual “game” of keeping them in the air.

That’s sort of a life theme, right? Keeping the aspects (balloons) of your life afloat at once?

I like that. Feeling safe and secure, and maybe a little in awe. We all just need our own room of balloons sometimes, don’t we? As long as I have a room I can go to, I am mostly always fine. It used to be more true than it is now. As I grew from childhood until adulthood, I had a personal journey of figuring out my personal space issues, and being assertively kind, or kindly assertive when I asked someone to back up. I don’t always react well when my space is threatened, with no backup.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment it started, if it didn’t start at birth. My guess is that after my father passed away, many people were in and out of my life and my space, and people were playing roles for me that my mother or father previously played. My mom met my now-dad who had three young children, and we bunked altogether in smaller rooms or in hotels while our house was being renovated to comfortably hold seven people. 5 still-grieving children and 2 still-grieving parents.

All I know is that when the house was finally finished, my parents hand-picked my childhood bedroom for me. A large room at the end of the house. A separate oasis to escape to whenever I needed. My room often full of balloons. Color and softness. Familiar noises. Safety, security, and maybe a bit of awe. For years, friends and family and even my siblings asked why I got that particular room. My parents always replied something to the effect of, “We knew this was what she needed. A dreamer, a reader and a sleeper needs her space.” I ad-libbed a bit, but that was what they decided for me and that is how I lived.

They hit the nail on the head with me. They knew what I most needed.

A place I could go to self-soothe, both in my immature grief, and many years after.

In this week’s Finish the Sentence Friday, Kristi asks the question of what you do when you’re upset, with a rhyme! Are you a pacer, a retreater, or a stress-eater? I don’t get upset often, but when I do, it’s often when my space is threatened – physically, emotionally, mentally, through work, through my kids, through my loved ones – whatever it is that makes me get into defend, defend, defend mode. Not always logical, and maybe logical less than half the time! It’s having different equipment for different reactions to different scenarios. We’re all equipped differently, and sometimes in contrast to how we were a year ago. Or maybe, a day ago? I always need my space, my place, my room full of balloons. For comfort, for safety..

..for a little bit of awe. And surprise!

It’s this balloon room I have constructed, that I can take anywhere I please. I only get upset when someone threatens it. When I have to step out of it to see what’s amiss – what is threatening this safe, comfortable, awe-inspiring room? It’s this cozy unit in this cozy life – with this cozy family and this cozy job – and this pretty, pretty room. When something threatens it? Well, good. That’s how we learn to adapt and stretch, but God, I fight it tooth and nail at first. This week I got upset:

When I had too much work to do and I didn’t know how to do it all

When I had not enough work to do and was worried it meant something

When I wanted to be alone too much

When I needed people around me too much

When I had a frustrating work situation that made me feel awful

When I felt like a washed up hack with no talent

When I couldn’t turn the radiance on and off, but mostly not ON

When there were six weeks left of winter, and four years left of us all fighting on Facebook

When I have FEELINGS

When I don’t

When someone did something extraordinary for me when I felt like a waste of life

When my IUD was an a-hole, but to remove it might get me more than I bargain for

When I couldn’t/can’t choose a direction with that (above) one!

When I get upset, and when I can’t find my room, I pace, retreat and NOT-stress-eat (seriously, I lose weight when I’m upset and it sucks). When I get upset, I claw my way back to my room, or I just go and make another. Taller. Roomier. Balloonier.

I wish you all a room of balloons – always there waiting for you should you need it – but always there to remind you what you can do when you have no balloons to keep you safe, comfortable, and in awe. You blow up some more, and make a new room.

And oh, what you can do there, and beyond!

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “When I’m upset, I…” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on the matter: HERE.