Live More Intentionally
The turning of the calendar represents an opportunity for change. Who can resist a clean slate and a fresh start? This year I am determined to:
- Listen more, and do so more carefully
- Practice yoga every day – even a single pose
- Cut my cable (kind of late on this one)
- Start planning an epic trip
- Read War and Peace
- Write letters by hand
- Give others the benefit of the doubt
- Leave a smaller environmental footprint
- See more art
- Find reasons to celebrate
- Be kind
- Live courageously.
The year’s end is a poignant reminder of time passing, and time so precious. We miss loved ones who are no longer living on this planet. So we try to live each day with grace, gratitude and compassion – for ourselves and others.
I woke up early this morning to a magnificent summer storm.
The incomparable sound of rolling thunder and rain; finally quenching the thirsty garden and filling puddles for small wild things.
Step outside and smell the very essence of summer.
A year in pictures – Happy 2016!
The turning of the calendar is a place in-between. A perspective both backwards and forwards. This year in pictures represents gratitude for what has been, and eager welcome of what is yet to come.
take time to enjoy small delights
be the change
even when it’s really bad, get your hands dirty and try to make repairs
appreciate the beauty that surrounds us
focus on what really matters
follow new paths
don’t be afraid to shine
spread the love
take time with family and friends
bake a cake
Curated just for you by educateria
1. A guide to understanding your lived experience and yourself
The newly-released Metaphysical Dictionary by Svetlana Lilova is profound, whimsical and wise, delightfully illustrated by Graham Falk. At her recent book launch at Centennial College, the author described how, newly-arrived in Canada and never having heard spoken English, she traversed the city with a dictionary in hand. Fast-forward many years, and Lilova offers us a compass, a roadmap, a mirror and a prism through which we can distill our lived experience and inner selves in this small, elegant volume.
2. A constant reminder
Inspirational sayings and quotations are always welcome, particularly expressed in everyday items. We are continuously exposed to a deluge of unsolicited and counter-productive messaging, and these are a welcome antidote.
“This Moment is Yours” notebook available here. It has to be in turquoise.
An heroic affirmation of determination and ability! This zippered pouch is perfect for everyday essentials. Available here.
3. Your very own power source
Your phone is at 2% power and no outlet in sight…and you’re scheduled to join a conference call in five minutes. Enter the charging block. Until nearly every surface integrates device charging, this is what we need circa 2016. Available here.
4. Stories to remind us we are all connected
I am a big fan of HONY. The latest book by photographic census-taker Brandon Stanton reminds us that the singular is universal. Ordering information here.
5. Fall asleep under the stars
The Star Map Projector Dome (available in your choice of southern or northern hemispheres) evokes the magic and mystery of laying on a dock at night and looking up at the sky. Not very practical in December, so this is the next best thing. Check it out.
May your days be merry and bright!
Do you remember your very first day?
This weekend is move-in time for first year university students living in residence. When my daughter was small, I couldn’t even fathom the day when she flew from her “nest”. It all seemed so impossibly far away, and now here we are on the brink of independence – both hers and mine. Mentioning this impending event to friends and colleagues evokes a gush of memories about embarking on post-secondary education. We are instantly transported back to a transition marked by excitement, trepidation and absolute freedom. Selecting courses, finding classrooms, drinking a lot of coffee, and making lifelong friends. There was some learning there too, as I recall.
All these years later, I can’t recall the advice that my parents no doubt gave me prior to my first year at university. I felt pretty sure I had things figured out, and what I didn’t know I was keen to discover for myself. But the impetus to impart one’s hard-won wisdom is irresistable, so here are my key messages to you, my daughter, as you commence an incredible journey:
- Be grateful. The fact that your main job in post-secondary education is to learn carries enormous privilege and obligation. People literally risk their lives to get an education. For many in our world it is out of reach. Learn as much as you can and make a positive difference.
- Keep an open mind. You might think you’ve settled on a path, but look to the left and right as you travel – there could be other options and opportunities that you never imagined for yourself.
- Keep an open mind about friendships too. The person sitting next to you may be far outside others you’ve encountered and known (and they might be thinking the same about you), but you might find in them an essential part to who you will become.
- Read the course readings, even if they’re hard and boring. Not only will you learn stuff, you’ll also learn discipline. Sometimes life involves reading hard, boring stuff – the challenge is in transforming it into accessible, engaging, transformational stuff. Alchemy with your mind.
- Be your real, true self. High school doesn’t generally encourage this, so now is the chance that every high school student has been waiting for.
- Join clubs. OK, I admit I didn’t do this myself as an undergraduate, but I really wish I had.
- Ask for help. We all need help, with just about everything. Ask your friends, your professors, the student services people…basically anyone. And it probably doesn’t need saying, but you can always ask your mom. Any time of the day or night.
- Oh, and also have fun. Actually I don’t need to include that as part of my advice because you will do that anyway. You won’t be able to not do it. You are going to redefine the word fun.
In short: fly free, grow your mind and heart, enjoy the ride, and don’t forget to call home.
“Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.” – e. e. cummings
I’ve been thinking about how our questions define who we are today, and who we will become.
At a conference last week, I attended a session focused on questions. Not scientific questions or the questions we ask others in clinical practice – the focus was on questions that we ask ourselves. This inspired me to think about some of the big questions I should be asking.
Here are three of my top questions for 2015-16:
- What do I want more of in my life?
- How can I better contribute?
- Where do I need to work harder, and where can I scale it back?
To paraphrase Voltaire:
“Judge a person by their questions rather than by their answers”.
I love old books and the booksellers who catalogue, conserve and care for them
The artistry of typesetters and book binders echoes the craftsmanship of their authors. A leisurely browse over the crowded shelves yields unexpected detours into areas about which I never knew that I wanted to know.
One of my favourite finds is A Handy Classical & Mythological Dictionary by A.C. Faulkner (“Author of A Handy Dictionary of Synonyms“), published in 1884: “A brief and concise explanation of the ancient mythological, biographical, historical and geographical allusions most frequently encountered in English literature.” I think it’s the word “Handy” in the title that especially delights me, offering a highly specific Google and Wikipedia circa the late 19th Century in a 4″ x 6″ volume.
Today I discovered the best bookstore ever, housed in the original Lakefield Railway Station: Lakefield Station Book Shop.
The town of Lakefield once marked the end of a trunk line that used to run from Peterborough, carrying tourists to the steamships that traveled Ontario’s Kawartha Lakes. The trains are long gone and so are the steamships, but the building remembers. Along with the roughly 25,000 books lovingly curated by proprietor David Glover. These books add their own stories.
Humanity’s expanding immersion in the digital ocean makes it possible – probable? – that future generations will live in a world with no print books. It’s good to be alive in a time when most homes still require bookshelves.
When the kids are away, the mice will…work
It’s March Break and school’s out for the week. This week I’ll be taking a workation.
A workation ensues when your kids are away on a trip… without you (the parent). Thus permitting you to:
- Be incredibly efficient getting out the door in the morning (no lunches to prepare, no lost items to urgently find)
- Work late without fear that the children will starve or eat candy for dinner in your absence
- Dine on cereal (like being an undergrad again!) or sushi (why not treat yourself?)
Jack and Janet went on a trip to their grandparents’ house. They tried to paint a goat-house and made a mess. Mother and father went on a workation.
A Hallowe’en Tale for Educators
What’s not to like about putting on a costume and knocking on strangers’ doors for free candy?
Nine things I’ve always wanted to do and haven’t gotten around to yet
The first week of classes always feels like a fresh start. Just as students are wondering about what lies ahead in order to accomplish their dreams and aspirations, I am feeling inspired to consider some of my own outstanding “to-do” items. Here are some of the things on my Bucket List – not all are related to teaching, but all relate to learning, and in my mind that is as it should be.
1. Be inspired attending a TED Talk (in person)
2. Take a chance and enter a poetry contest
3. Join thousands of other students and enroll in a MOOC
4. Step outside my comfort zone and teach a MOOC
5. Witness the drama of dining at Hell’s Kitchen
6. Mine life’s experiences and write a novel
7. Eat perfect, delicious sushi in Tokyo, Japan
8. Enter a whole new world at Burning Man
9. Hear stories of the sea on a cargo ship across the ocean
Our time here is precious and finite. What’s on your bucket list?
We all need time to recharge our batteries
Summer is my time to pause, reflect and recharge my batteries. Long days, swimming in a cool clean lake, the smell outside after a thunderstorm, open windows. Even the email traffic slows down a notch.
Last weekend, on an early morning walk by the water, I found a red plastic bucket half full, with a few sluggish minnows and two crayfish. I am really sorry children who must have spent hours the day before catching them in your nets. I set them free.
Summer feels like freedom.
Warm wishes for joy and peace in this holiday season