For most of my life I have held back on being happy when people around me are in pain. And I so want to be happy! When I am in this way of thinking and someone tells me about a problem they are having, I jump in to fix it or demand that they either fix it or suck it up and get over it already!
Then I learned that my happiness should not be dependent on others, that this makes them responsible for my happiness. So I dutifully added a new behaviour to my repertoire – keep the unhappy person at arms’ length, nod, smile, but don’t really engage: Don’t let them spoil that precious vibe. I even labelled some people as ‘downers’
I became familiar with nonviolent communication and now with caring science and learned about the joy of empathy. It is possible to just sit and listen to someone who is suffering and be with them and both of you appreciate and enjoy the connection. Sometimes an opportunity to help arises in the moment and sometimes something clears for the other person and whatever it is just becomes a little more bearable.
The thing is that the quality of my happiness has become so much deeper and more nuanced in these moments. I now know a calm happiness, a deeply deeply sad happiness, a happiness as soft and gentle as a baby’s breath, even a happiness infused with anger and purpose. It has been a long journey of learning and unlearning, and what is behind me lies ahead of me, but I will keep returning my wayward feet to this path. ❤
for synchronicity… seemingly random events that collide in a way that allow us to make something great of them…
A few weeks ago three things happened within three days of each other.
Many students in my area of the university received their first marks and thus become aware of the importance of referencing. Some of these students were not feeling too positive about study, or their abilities. I decided to provide an online referencing class. I was worried that I didn’t know how to do this effectively
I attended a seminar on reflective practices in nursing (1) with a library friend. The seminar drew on a nursing-specific tradition of transpersonal human care and suggested that it was possible to create a rich online learning environment that could provide opportunities for students to learn and the experience of being cared for.
In a meeting I heard of an academic who was successfully using a digital conferencing program to have students work in groups during her online classes. I contacted her, and she kindly explained how to do this.
The class was of course a beautiful failure. It was a failure in that I made a mistake in the discussion guide and we totally underestimated that time the groups would take to get working (due to familiarising themselves with a new way of working). It was beautiful in that all the students stayed online for the full 90 minutes (yes, it’s true). They enjoyed interacting with other students in a similar situation and felt more confident with referencing and using the resources. We have also received positive feedback from academic staff.
But, the great thing that was created was not really the class, it is the inspiration to offer a program of classes throughout Semester that uses the same principles to connect with our students online in a meaningful way. And to share this with other librarians at a conference next year. Need for contribution – met 🙂
Horton-Deutsch, Sara. (14 September, 2017). Reflective practice in an academic setting. Seminar presented at USQ Ipswich Campus.
Publish my caring science meets info lit work and apply for PhD + scholarship
Start a creative business
Increase my Ipswich Urban Forest activism and tree planting
Last night I wrote a list of projects I would like to accomplish in a year. Then I used a random number generator and out popped: #3. So that is what I’m up for!
I did this because I want to make a difference in the world but am so indecisive — the absolute definition of hot and cold — and end up spreading myself too thin and never really accomplishing anything. And weighing everything up and being logical about it all just leaves me paralysed and anxious. Bottom line is I don’t believe in order and logic, so needed a method that allows for a safe amount of chaos.
So this morning I went and planted out an eroded river bed with rushes, and tomorrow I will plant 14 gums and some native grasses at the same site … Prior commitments that I will not break. I’m giving myself till the end of October to slow the habitat work down, will limit my garden to just one more bed, and the dance to just weekly classes and practice at home … and there is a poetry class that I enrolled in months ago … you see my problem! But I promise to let it all wind down in September/October and get an conference abstract written up too … caring science & PhD, here I come!
So, I started a dance class a couple of weeks ago and I am pretty crap at it. Now my brain is a perfectionist – If I’m not immediately good at something I pack up and go home, but my body is a completely different beast – it just loves to move, it loves to try and fail and try again and practice the moves while washing up, watering the garden, carrying a shopping basket up and down the aisles at Aldi… Wherever, whenever, my body loves to MOVE. And eventually this joy is contagious and I find myself laughing with total joy and abandon as I flail about enthusiastically in class, and even more when I realise that I am moving in the opposite direction as everyone else. Hahaha!
What is not to love and appreciate about this marvellous joy machine that I have been blessed with?
This morning, on this first day of gratitude, I am grateful for my breath.
In and out and up she rises.
For a moment loving and nourishing me alone
and then leaving,
just for a moment
before returning replenished.
My breath, connecting me to all things.
My breath connects me to the earth and the rich warm smell of the earth, to rain and to the possibility of rain, to my neighbour’s bonfire, and to the other neighbours’ dogs. To little birds, to people everywhere, to the mighty old trees crowding the sky down by the river.
In and out, here now and gone again and here, now and now and now,
my breath, your breath,