Thursday, April 16, 2020

We're all Connected

Peace & Love

 This morning, I successfully completed my own Yoga 

sequence in the comfort of my living room. I felt so proud 
of myself for consistently getting back on the mat. 

I used a sequence we created in my B4C sister circle. It was a great start to my day and I immediately thought of them and still felt connected even though we aren't seeing each other on a daily basis anymore :).

After, I made me a cup of tea and the quote resonated  so much with today's topic of Compassion & Connection.

Day 7 {God}-Compassion

I define compassion as seeing and/or feeling others emotions and trying to make it better by asking them what they need. Providing options that I believe will help. Supporting and being there with them in the moment. 

Compassion literally translates to "suffering together". As I prepare for another school year-I am reminded of the traumas my students face. I am reminded of the suffering of families in my city, parents and families of young kings and queens. Two years ago (Summer 2018), a 10 year old girl, was killed by gun violence. Last summer an 11 year old boy was killed by gun violence. Makiyah Wilson & Kavon Brown knew each other, many of my colleagues, former students, knew them as well. 

This year we are all facing some level of trauma as we live during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am grateful of the privilege and security that I have while #stayingsafe by #stayingathome. I am grateful to be able to work from home and still receive my income. I am grateful that my family is safe, near and that we are able to support each other. I am grateful that my husband and children are safe and happy. I am proud of my husband and sister -both- essential workers-are safe.

Yet I am aware that many of my students-past and current-are experiencing this. I am aware that I worry about the world and how the 'bounce back' will look. I allow myself to be sad, concerned and worried about how long this will last. I watch my children at home show stress if they miss an assignment. I am aware of how much we miss our Target & Rita's runs. I experience intense emotions when I watch the news, see a mask, hear social distancing, or even think about schools closed. 

We all are experience a change in our 'normal'lives.

We all suffer from the impacts of systemic oppression, white supremacy & institutionalized racism in our improvised communities. This is evident by the shifting to a more Trauma Informed Education lens, as well as incorporating Social & Emotional Learning in the classrooms. Allowing yourself to switch to the solutions rather than the problems-requires a critical , yet necessary, mindset shift. 

I am grateful I am able to observe and accept my reality. No longer do the problems out weigh the solutions. Rather, I am able to create my reality. Even though I still suffer, I no longer suffer alone. I connect to the suffering of the world-both mine and its entirety. We are all connected-and that reminder alone is the beginning to real compassion.

So-how in the world can I cultivate compassion? Besides, no one knows what I go through! They don't have it like me, if they could only walk a mile in my shoes....sound familiar? The 'critter in my upstairs house' used to echo those thoughts. Then I realized I've been stuck in my own head for too long. It was important to shift those thoughts into "It doesn't matter what it was, we all experience pain, my worst may be someone else's better or good, the things I see in others are a reflection of me....sound familiar? Allowing myself to shift my mindset-this is a continuing process-truly helped me reduce anxiety and stress. It has also allowed me respond much better to others instead of reacting impulsively!

One way to cultivate compassion is using the Love Kindness (Or Metta) Mediation. Research supports this type of mediation practice will cultivate connection to others, increase feelings of happiness and well being, as well as decrease anxiety, depression, negative thoughts/emotions, migraines, stress and other benefits.

I practice this mediation daily myself and with my girls at home. I have already noticed their daily affirmations/intentions have become more conscious and connected to say the least. It lasts about 12 minutes and can be listened to anywhere. Take a listen  to the Love & Kindness Meditation your self.

I challenge you to do this straight for 7 days either in the morning or right before bed! Share your thoughts with the hashtag #CompassionChallengeTDE and #TheDedicatedEducator for your chance to earn a 1-on-1 guided mediation with me!


Below is a story of a recent experience that served as confirmation and evidence of how daily compassion has done just that!

My husband and I were headed back home from NC. I'm driving on 95-N, through the Commonwealth of Virginia in the right lane. There was a white man driving a black vehicle in front of me, he was going at least 10 miles below the speed limit-the volume of traffic was moderate at best. I could not see another vehicle in front of him. Typically I drive in the left lane, yet here I was in the right so I can pass. Anyways, the black vehicle begins to brake-I respond okay-confused but whatever. The time comes for me to get back into the left lane and as I drive by, the man blows his horns, rolls down his window to flip me the bird with an angry face. Initially-that critter in my head wished for a way to hurt him, because I felt that was totally unnecessary and I did not deserve that. Then I shifted my mind and said the Love-Kindness mantra for that man silently in my head-May he be happy, May he be safe, May he be healthy , May he be at peace. I could literally feel my physical body changing from beings tight and clenched to being released and free. I confirmed my initial thought of knowing I did not deserve that-but I also responded (rather than react) in a compassionate way. I have no idea what that man goes through or he's experience, all I know is that I do not accept what I do not observe. I no longer allow anyone to control me-mind, body, emotions or soul.