Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Jumping for Joy

This past spring, we went for a trampoline after a miserable pool attempt the year prior. I researched safety, took price into account, and we ended up with one of the best investments in our parenting years thus far! Our Skywalker Trampoline is large and sturdy, and has brought family and friends hours of fun -- watching trampoline routines, staring up at the clouds, or just bouncing like mad. 

Today we practiced jumping jacks (harder than it sounds!) and jumping high. Then we moved onto forward flips... I’ve had a bit of failure with the flip and I’ve had many failed attempts of late. The first time I tried it months ago, I did it. And, then thereafter I chickened out or somehow contorted my body sideways and would end up with, at best, a half-flip.

My kids are flipping machines - it’s so fun to watch! I asked them to help me this go-around and each time, they cheered for “Ms. Johnson” (we were playing school). There were lots of whoops and hollers and count downs. After a handful of tries, I got it -- and then it was like riding a bike. Soon after, I was trying to land on my feet to chants of “stick it, stick it, stick it.”  Again after a few tries, I got it. Without them I couldn’t get past my mental block, until the kids opened me up to their contagious enthusiasm.  It’s amazing what heartfelt cheer can do for the physical act as well as the spirit. Thank you, my little darlings for sharing your joy, determination, and sense of wonder. Ms. Johnson loves you muchos!  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Everything Will Be Alright in the End

Some say as soon as you know your true purpose, it will hit you like a ton of bricks. And, cool, you can figure it out through a writing exercise. You just write until it hits... But what if nothing hits? The author of this particular exercise didn’t explain what to do in the event that this happens, so here I am feeling a bit “unpurposeful.”  

I recently applied for what seems like a dream job but so far, it appears they may not be interested. I can see that... the work is centered around educational equity in urban environments and since I live in the middle of the woods, it probably seems an odd application. Still... my heart is in the mission, with the children, with empowering teachers and communities, and with improving the profession and outcomes for society and individuals both. I’m in cover-writing mode as you can see, although trying to build myself up amidst doubt can prove a bit difficult. 

Communicating in writing can be a bit rough at times. Images or music may work better at times. Weezer recently came out with a new album “Everything Will Be Alright in the End.” When I was in my late teens, I found “Pinkerton” one of my favorite albums to this day, by this unknown (to me) band I stumbled across at a small concert venue. Since then I’ve become a fan and learned more about the band and their identity struggles. The focus is primarily on frontman Rivers Cuomo - who some say is a musical genius. He’s a Harvard English graduate, a strict follower of Vipassana meditation (two hours per day), and one that exiled himself from the scene for years following a series of "musical failures." The attacks on him and his music are so personal - of course, he’s a celebrity so we tag these acceptable. One critic wrote: “It's commonly argued that his [Rivers’] story during the 90s fits the mold of the misunderstood genius. But his story is far richer. It is the tale of an egomaniac with a rare gift for the micro-management needed to grease the wheels of his own self-prophesy... It's easy to believe that they [fans] will be willing to romanticize the smallest details in an attempt to reconstruct an unattainable past.” This is mean, when did we get so mean? 

Perhaps if the "true purpose" exercise doesn’t work at first -- it's best to just remain patient. Maybe, right now, it's as simple as spreading kindness. It doesn't provide instant gratification and obvious goal-reaching, but at a minimum it's a worthwhile venture at a time when my "calling" (if there is such a thing) feels uncertain.