Untangling of Myself

Over the course of my life, I have acquired many titles and roles:  daughter, sister, friend, teacher, mother, professor, board member, Director of Teacher Education, leader, agent of change, colleague, disruptor, team mom, Dr. Coach, mentor, and the list goes on.  In each of these roles, I try to lead by example, leaning into each moment whether the moment is comfortable or uncomfortable, and live in the realization that we have one shot at every day.  Once the moment is over, it’s over.  The words we say, the way we make people feel, and the actions we take, whether people are watching or not, matter.  They matter a lot. 

This isn’t an easy way to approach life.  In fact, it’s really kind of hard.  However, when I intentionally focus on the things I can control, like my attitude and the words and actions I spend, I am much happier.  If I’m happy, and the others with whom I interact are happier because of what I have done for them or said to them, then it’s a win-win!  It is a life well-spent.  Ultimately, my life seems to have more purpose when I start each day answering the question Mary Oliver asks in her poem “the Summer Day:”  “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Getting to this point in my life didn’t happen by accident, and it certainly didn’t occur without heartache and a little guilt. What’s important, though, is that I arrived – that I am arriving – that I have plans to continue arriving.

Empowering Others Through Life

Tell me. what is it you plan to do with this one, wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver

Life has a funny way of nudging us – of helping us find our voice in the deafening noise of the world. For years, my students, friends, and family have encouraged me to write – to share my reflections of living an intentional life. Honestly, talking about my philosophy – sharing my advice over coffee or lunch – is so much easier than crafting entries for a blog.

I have spent decades mentoring young people, and over time, themes repeat themselves. Leaning into our emotions, working towards being fully present, and embracing the fact we choose only the way we respond in action and words ~ these responses enable us to untangle life. We have no control over others’ words and responses, and we certainly have no control over t he ebb and flow, or crashing waves, the universe brings us.

This blog emerges from the realization others may benefit from my experiences, just as I continue to stretch myself through reading books from Brene Brown or listening to podcasts such as the Happy Place. In childhood, I recognized my need to work with young people, and as I entered the classroom as a high school teacher, now college professor, I learned the secondary joy actual teaching of literature and writing. My primary joy in life comes from the nurturing of others, of watching them untangle themselves and begin to make meaning of their own experiences.

Along the way, the universe offers us reminders, gentle and tumultuous reminders, of the need to pay attention – to make meaning of the events of our lives – to intentionally reflect on the lessons it so graciously provides us. And in the end, living really is about the untangling so that we may see our purpose more clearly.