I don’t regret going to Alaska. It taught me so much about my intuition and those that suffer from mental illness. I feel this journey only made me a better writer exploring the human experience.
Signs Like a Totem Pole
The plane landed in Anchorage without delay. I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first views of Alaska after researching it for the past five months. Green, lush pine groves, tall snow laden mountains and large blue skies would be the backdrop to my first feature film.
Krystal had already grabbed her backpack and was bubbling over with anticipation and a little apprehension. Would this be the same Alaska she knew 25 years ago? I was to write her life story, a feature film about the events that led her back to the man who broke her heart so many years ago and the woman she had now become.
It was a story of survival and redemption. I was excited that this movie could launch her career as a Life Coach. Little did I know that this trip would be a shocking discovery of broken dreams, harsh realities and a tattered soul.
When I started teaching mindfulness based stress reduction with my 3rd graders, I worried there would be push-back from my parents thinking I would be teaching meditation, although the word was not used in the curriculum.
However, within the first week of practice, students would use the word meditation from their own background knowledge of the word.
Students practicing breathing techniques.
Knowing this could be cause for concern, I briefly taught the students the difference between practicing breathing techniques to calm the brain and Meditation. Since then, in the nine years of teaching Mindfulness, I’ve only had one incident where a parent discontinued their child in the activities, due to religious choice.
The program I implemented was called The MindUp Curriculum by the Hawn Foundation. I chose this program, because it is non-secular in its teaching of mindfulness using brain-based research in the 15 activities.
Students were taught in the first three lessons how their body responds to stress and how to regulate the stress through mindful breathing techniques called Core Practice. For the rest of the twelve lessons in the program, the students learned how to be Mindful, practice Empathy, and to self regulate during stressful or excitable situations.
Practicing the life of a writer is much more fun than the practicality of it. I could be bogged down with the fears of how was I going to make it, rather than the sheer joy of creating.
I am taking a leave of absence from teaching to heal myself from stress and begin my life as a writer. It took me several years to finally get myself to this point and start my dream.
Why did it take so long? Life got in the way. From being a mother and wife, then a divorce to freedom, I never found the inner strength I needed to believe in myself.
Then the pieces seemed to fall into place, once I allowed myself to see the signs. Continue reading
“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” ― Maya Angelou
It’s hard when you are in a budding relationship and those words are spoken. They were told to me early on in a previous relationship sending an early warning sign to my heart. Being told you are ‘too good to be true’ sends a message that your actions and intentions are being questioned. It took me a long time to realize it was actually their issue of trust and being vulnerable, though as the receiver it can still hurt… a lot.
I had always wondered about those characters in movies that could masterfully manipulate their victims or cleverly get out of impossible death-defying situations. I am not one of those people. Yes, I’ve been blessed in many ways that have provided me wonderful surprises and memorable events, however I don’t have a manipulative mind. To manipulate someone for your own intentions means you aren’t receiving their authentic actions, either.
My Parents … A Lesson in Understanding
It is interesting to flash back through your life and realize the beginning of a new shift of thought. I was a eight when I saw my parents as fallible for the first time. I was cognizant of it when it occurred, and I withdrew into my own inner space afterwards. They had made an erroneous, prejudice remark about a playmate of mine, and at that moment I realized they were human. Children aren’t born with prejudices, they are taught. I felt it in my ‘gut’ that they were wrong, a strong pang right under my belly button. It was the first time I stood up and told them that their thoughts about my friend were wrong. They changed their stance after my argument, but I’ll never forget looking at them in a different way after that. I realized it was a lesson for me to learn about empowerment, and it has stayed with me for over 38 years. From that point on, I was to see each individual in my life as someone that was to teach me something I needed to learn. But my ‘gut’ was telling me more. Continue reading