mindful

Dreams Are Unfair

Lake Tahoe is my favorite place to go when I need a little break from the Bay Area landscape. Sometimes I just need a bit more of a majestic mountain summit and a beautiful blue lake in my direct view for a mental reset. This is a First World problem, I know. I grew up skiing and snowboarding in Tahoe during the winter, and in the summer, lake time is still my favorite. I just recently discovered the enjoyment and relaxation element of stand up paddleboarding, or SUPing as the cool outdoorsy people would say.

However, due to my brain being on overload lately, and summer coming to a close, my subconscious mind decided to give me the gift of a dreamy blue nightmare. The setting? Just a short 3 mile drive up north to my most happy place.  

The  SUP rental was paid for and ready to go. In a matter of minutes, Lake Tahoe turned into a treacherous, swelling ocean with 100 foot tsunami-grade waves reaching up over everyone. What I was most concerned about wasn’t saving my own life or helping those around me. My daughter was tucked away and safe with someone else. My son was a stuffed animal. I think he was a Tsum Tsum, swaddled and sleeping. My husband? Accounted for, I think.

The waves reached up. Way up. My only concern was being totally bummed out about wasting money on the board rental. I continued watching the Mavericks-style waves, in horror and amazement. Someone, (maybe it was my dad?) suggested that I wear a life vest when I finally decide to go out there on the SUP. Good advice. I never went out on the board though. My hard earned make-believe money was wasted.

I don’t recall much more, but when I woke up, I instantly identified the scene as a stress induced dream. It was kind of cool to watch those waves though.

So what did I learn?

The mind works in ridiculous ways, especially when you’re stressed. It can take you for a ride. It’s beautiful. It’s strange. It’s weird. When you stand up against the 100 foot wave, and you’re not sure what to do, you learn that you are human. You are small in comparison to the rest of the world.

The nerves will bubble up on Monday on my 14th first day of school. I will visualize my stomach as a creamy coated, animated Pepto-Bismol pink after the first bell rings. But I will know that it’s all okay. I will stop, drop, and embrace. Breathing will help too.

Until Then,

I will not wear pink on the first day of school. I will wear blue in honor of my favorite (calm) lake.

sup

mindful

T Minus 7 Days Until

My mind is officially on repeat with school thoughts. They freak me out, but I’ve embraced them. One week from today, I will be navigating through The Teacher’s Edition of the Sunday Scaries.

I started feeling overwhelmed this week, and my angst was soothed over by a meme that I came across on Instagram posted by @Bored_Teachers.

“You can be a loving teacher with a gentle heart and still listen to gangster rap on the way to school”

-Bored Teachers

Yes. Gangster rap. So good. Although it’s not game time yet, I put this notion into action and I proceeded to blast Big Sean’s “I Don’t F* With You” at the start of my Saturday errands in suburbia. Basic. 

Next week, I will return to my workplace. In many ways, it contradicts my beliefs and goals of being present and awake in the moment. Living in the now is hard. It’s nearly impossible while being an an elementary school teacher.

Lesson planning is centered around a place and time that doesn’t even exist yet. I hesitate to plan as far as 1.5 weeks ahead. Teachers also often reminisce about how amazing or how awful the curriculum was a decade ago. They speak of a non-reality. I feel like I should have regular access to a 40 oz of something to pour out for them. May I add it to my teacher wist list?

It’s all very important though. Best teaching practice depends on thoughtful planning and a strong debrief and reflection on the past.

Finding balance during the craziness of the teaching day  requires the swagger, confidence, rhythm, and beat of my best inner gangster rapper. Vulgarity is necessary and acceptable in certain situations. I’m talking to you, sh*tty broke ass f*n copy machine. 

To all of the teachers currently experiencing a Sunday night stomach ache, push on and power through. The energy and hype of  “the now” during your morning commute complete with your favorite rap, punk, country, or NPR doesn’t have to end when you cut the ignition in the school parking lot. Set it on repeat in your mind until you return at 3:30 (or whenever your contracted day ends).

 

Until then,

How do you hype yourself up in the morning? Who are your favorite gangster rappers?

-Jenn

 

mindful

Just One Thing

I did something yesterday afternoon that I haven’t done in a while. I sat down with my daughter and we played together, uninterrupted for about half an hour. Sadly, this rarely happens anymore. When I play with her, she usually doesn’t receive my full attention. The other portion is given to her baby brother, cleaning and chores, school work, and the one that I feel most guilty about: my phone or laptop.

We enjoyed our time together. We played with her Calico Critters toys out on the backyard deck of the family’s home away from home in the Truckee Tahoe area. We were surrounded by nature, peaceful weather, and quiet. I forced myself to not think about anything else. I lived in the moment (ish) and let go of all of the surrounding thoughts that I usually can’t turn off. I snapped some pictures, and tried to get right back to what we were doing, since my phone can easily take over during these times If I let it.

The next day, I was able to enjoy some rare quality time with my own mom. It was just us. I realized it had been so long since we had done this. It was brief, only a few hours. We went to the gym together and then to the grocery store. We caught up on the latest updates of family and friends. We did some people watching, debriefed about it, and laughed. She does so much as the primary caregiver for my kids while I’m at work, and we are so blessed to have her. I see her everyday, but the times that we just get to hang out anymore are few and far between. The gym and grocery store just turned into amazing memories for my paperless mental scrapbook.  

Spending exclusive time with my daughter and my mom individually reminded me again about how important it is to value people rather than things. Sometimes things do need to be a part of it. I can’t play Calico Critters without the actual Calico Critters. However,  I can give up the other items that aren’t as important at the moment. Time to set aside the phone, papers, and the Swiffer for a bit.

So here I go with a very risky new habit shift. I used to be proud of how well I can multitask. Things get done so efficiently when Jenn is in the house. Or classroom. I realize now that it comes with a small cost that can add up over time. My brain gets strained a bit each time I try to do more than 2 things at once. Maybe that’s why I feel less focused and more disorganized lately. The people who really need my undivided attention such as my kids, my husband, and my students may also feel the effects in the long run.

I think it is time for me to outgrow my multi-tasking mentality, because soon, my daughter will outgrow her toys and her tolerance for her mom.

Calico
The epitome of happiness. 

Until then,

We will see if my home and classroom completely fall apart if I try not to multitask for at least some part of the day. I have a feeling life will go either way.