Wow. The last week and a bit has proven to be very life changing for me. Last week my blog talked about my trip to New York City and finding myself empowered by my adventures. I'm still very heavily weighing my options about spending more time there. Do I invest in some much needed weekend trips? Do I spend some of the summer there? Do I just pack up and move? Time to meditate? lol
Simply Blessed. The title of my blog today is referring to a trip I literally just took to Buffalo. My Principal invited myself and a few other amazing teachers to partake in a Symposium called 'The Leader in Me'. This Symposium is inspired through the great work of Stephen Covey's '7 Habits of Highly Effective People' and implementing the habits within a school culture. The 2 day experience was very transforming and empowering. This system basically gives us a toolbox to teach children and people to be GOOD people. Naturally I use a lot of the principles already in my own daily life and so you can imagine that it trickles down to my students. The part I love about implementing the 7 Habits in the school system though is that it gives educators and students the language to then take action to become good people.
The closing keynote speaker at the Symposium had the entire auditorium in tears (okay - maybe I'm exaggerating...but my table group was in tears). Muriel Summers is the lady responsible for making this possible in schools and she was incredibly warm and loving.
The habits are;
1. Be Proactive
2. Begin with the end in mind
3. Put first things first
4. Think win-win
5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
6. Synergize (collaborate)
7. Sharpen the Saw (take care of you)
(from Stephen Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
I have only recently started to become fully aware of the 7 Habits and how effective they are in practice. I've been listening to the audio tape on my drive to work. Like I said, most of them are already a part of ME - but the one that I have committed to work on for myself that I don't otherwise do is Habit #4 Think Win-Win...here's the thing about me, too often I think Lose-Win...me being the lose...and not because I want to lose, but because for some reason I think other people need the win more than I do...and actually...it kind of breaks my heart a little that I've felt that way in the past. I've literally compromised my well-being, my intelligence, my needs - all in the name of making someone else feel good, 'win' or shine. When in actuality I should have been thinking 'win-win'...somewhere where both people walk away feeling happy and content...I have a lot of things to be proud of that deserve equal light and there is absolutely no reason for me to compromise to the point where my needs are not being met...so my personal goal for the next however long it takes...until it's embedded in my DNA is to improve my 'think win-win' mentality.
Okay, back to Muriel...this woman took these ideals and used them in her school to build a culture of students who respect one another as people...and she extended it so much as taking care of the lives of her staff also. When she spoke I felt a really warm feeling of love and care in my heart.... for me, it was like everything that I love about teaching children came flooding back into my heart. For the last 10-15 years I have felt that the education system was truly failing to meet the needs of the HUMAN beings passing through. I felt like the heart and compassion needed to educate young people was missing. Everything about the 7 Habits puts becoming good, loving people first...get it...first things first...you can't learn until your soul and being feels loved and safe. Gosh I'm incredibly lucky for having participated in such an inspirational event. lol
So much of what Muriel said resonated with me and one of them was this quote;
"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why."
- Mark Twain
Amazing. Celebrate life people!!! Your presence on this earth is on purpose and likely for a pretty stinking cool reason...but...as much as I loved what she said, I don't think I have entirely realized my purpose. I know a lot of what my purpose is...but there is so much of the 'why' that hasn't presented itself yet. I've had many traumatizing experiences, uplifting experiences and inspirational ones...and really everything in between also...but there is something that just hasn't clicked...but in hearing Muriel speak about motivating children to be their best person as they find their why, I felt a huge sense of hopefulness shoot up and down my spine, that I, like her, will eventually find my 'why' and change people's lives...
I would absolutely love to hear from you about your 'why' ... Have you found it? What's it feel like? How did you notice it? If you haven't found it...what are you feeling? What are signs that are showing up for you?
So it has been a couple of weeks since my last post...life consumes us sometimes...in good ways and in bad. Luckily over the last couple of weeks I've been consumed in the good. Between a couple of meetings with my editor, writing a little more...oh and an amazing trip to New York City - and let me tell you this place has the capacity to tell many stories. It inspired me to write more...right from the moment I arrived at the airport in Canada to wait for my flight until the moment I boarded to come home this morning. This place really has you explore your power.
On the evening that I flew in, my friend was at an event so I found my way from New Jersery to the Village...I contemplate this trek being one of the sketchiest moments of my life...my flight had been delayed a couple hours, so what was meant to be a 9pm subway ride turned into a 12am subway ride. I met an incredibly nice couple that were on my flight and they brought me to Penn station (my first NYC heroes) lol...they got me on the right track to the Village...after saying our goodbyes, I got on the Subway train and immediately realized I was either incredibly brave or wildly dumb. Who takes the subway in an unfamiliar place, with basically no idea where you are going at midnight??? With luggage??? Why didn't I just go onto the street and take a cab???
As much as my heart was beating with all of the bizarre stares I was getting, I felt slightly empowered that I was actually navigating the City semi-independently...then the train stopped and it was time to get off...I needed a big gulp of strength, because as soon as I stepped onto the plat form, people disappeared (except for a few scary stragglers) and I started to panic...which stairs to take?! So, I befriend this man (hero #2) passing by and ask him kindly to get me to the street...he laughed and agreed...FINALLY I'm in the lively streets of NYC...I call my friend, who has started to panic because she hadn't heard from me in a bit, luckily she was just arriving home from the event and races down to meet me...I've never been so happy to see a familiar face as I was at that moment....this might not be the most sketchiest moment in another person's life...however, it did a number on me.
I'm curious...was it incredibly brave or just wildly dumb of me?! Luckily I was accompanied the rest of the weekend...I had a total BLAST!!! I can't quite figure out my favourite part - exploring the streets and passing through Little Italy, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square fun, Broadway, Piano Bar, and much more!!!
Since my blog's purpose is to appreciate the beauty in life, I must touch on my entire trip being fruitful and inspirational...when I landed in Toronto this morning I immediately wanted to return to NYC...this city is incredible, the way of life is chic, inspiring, a ton of fun, and just simply AWESOME. I've met some really great people...it was really neat to learn about the people I met and realize that 'everybody has their story'....the subway story is only the start of my weekend's adventures and a small story in the grand scheme of my life...lol
Do I see myself living there at some point???...quite possibly...soon.
This past weekend has been filled with complete abundance for me, and likely for more than a handful of women I consider my closest friends. These women are angels in my life. They have taught me so many things and loved me unconditionally. More than just listening and sharing their feelings, they honour my being and path. They truly seek the best for me and I for them. They are so safe, caring, kind, beautiful and compassionate - I really can't imagine life without them. From an a great dinner catching up with an old friend, to celebrating 30 years of another, and having a slumber party with my angels...my heart is overflowing with love as I write this post...
What I would like to focus on and share with you all today is how to truly nurture the 'girl friends' that you have in life. Far too often we have made excuses not to acknowledge what our friends truly need from us (we are all busy with work, children, boyfriends, husbands - these all fall under the category of excuses...) The truth is, in order to show up for the 'excuses in your life' - which also happen to be beauty in your life, at your best, you need to replenish yourself with the women (or men - actually...I'm not sure men have as much difficulty allowing guy time as women do) who feed your soul. These are the people you can trust...but in order to be a good friend effectively you have to show up on the in between...it includes the big ways too like; investing in some quality time, sleepovers, chats, dinners, etc...but also - but be there in between also...the world has made it way too easy to check in with your family and friends - a simple/quick phone call or message/email to let your friends know you care is the best way - you never know - your friend might be needing exactly the message you decide to send...and then setting dates to meet in bigger ways through events, dinners, etc.
I invite you to think about all of the amazing friends that you have surrounding you..and ask yourself:
Are you present enough in their life?...
Have you connected with them to know enough to know what is going on in their lives?
Have you honoured their path as much as they have honoured yours?
How could you make the friendship richer?
We are all at different stages, and I feel truly blessed to have a group of women who are at different stages than I - but - fully support and understand where I am at - AND - they show up for me. The feeling is mutual - I show up for them in the way they need also. What truly makes a friendship stronger and fills it with love and support is the ability to acknowledge where you are in your life, where your friend is in life, and meet somewhere in the middle so that both friends needs are met...
I care deeply about my friends and it is extremely important for me to be there for each one of them and so this topic is incredibly important and sacred to me...know that your friends need you just as much as you need them and sometimes that means stepping outside of the 'grown up world' and being that silly playful friend, like you are 8 years old all over again...it's incredibly empowering, fulfilling and FUN!
I hope in someway today's post inspires you to invest some time with your friends honestly, in a way that honours both you and them...to keep your connection to life and friendship as strong as possible.
And...so I will leave you with this quote...
"Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity."