The Gold Thread

Connection.  I believe it is everything.  We are always affecting others…even if we do not see it.  We are either making drops, ripples or waves in the frequency of our linked experience.  There is a thread holding us all together.

I tell my own little messengers it is like a very colorful quilt.  We all have our own square that we decorate and represent.  One fact is certain.  All of the pieces are woven together.  Some fragments are perfectly clean, embellished and yes, oh so fake!  Others are confusing and dark, clouded with turbulence and pain. Other scraps are just plain disgusting and heavily trampled upon. The hopeful luminous sections continue to pulse out little beams of light, regardless.  Why? They have chosen to overcome.  Do you get the picture?  They are all patched together somehow, someway, forever influencing each other.

Okay, so I started this entire thought process with the intention of sharing my experiences as a Substitute Teacher in a public school district.  Geesh!  That is a dreadfully long introduction, but I do believe it may be necessary.  The public classroom is a great representation of the quilt.

Being a sub isn’t for everyone, but I absolutely affectionately ADORE it!!  I definitely thrive on change in order to feel alive, and there is nothing quite like being thrown in to a different situation from day-to-day (I so badly want to say ‘den of wolves’) and attempting to land on my feet.  Although I want peace, I treasure challenges, so being a sub gives me that great opportunity to act fast, set structure quickly, all the while remembering to pause and feel.  I must gather and be attentive to the students…the little people, the crazy ones, the hurt ones, the ignored ones and the disciplined ones. My goal is to get through the lesson plan and actually accomplish maybe 75% of the items that the organized under-paid real teacher has left us for the day.  It always becomes a vividly lumpy most-marvelous ride.

INSIGHTS:  I have great respect for these real teachers.  I have found them to be exquisitely prizes of humanness…people who can actually influence and teach my own little messengers when I cannot.

The most significant thing I have learned from subbing is that the kids I am toughest on, have to draw the line with, thinking they will hate me forever….are the ones that come running for my hugs in the grocery stores.  They go out of their way to introduce me to their mothers and siblings when I am in my sweats and no make-up on.  It is usually in the moments of my self-loathing that they catch me by surprise.  They let me know that I am their little piece of The Gold Thread.

My own kids rarely listen to my oh-so guided words of wisdom.  Therefore, I am always bewildered that the students in the classroom often respond to me.  Wow!! They can hear my voice?  They can feel my cues?  Yes, they certainly can.

Here are some of their responses just this week:

As I unlock the classroom door and peer out my head,  a 2nd grader runs to me in full embrace and exclaims with a big grin “The best substitute ever for all people!” Really?  With a greeting like that…how can it be a bad day?  It cannot.  She is an artsy soul, always drawing, hardly ever working.  She is one I have to harp on to stay on task.  I know her from another school, another year.  I also praise her…I tell her what a wonderful creative person she is.  We are connected through The Gold Thread.

A 7th grade young lady, after witnessing a rough interaction I experience with a boy taller than me, and with more attitude than me, names me Sensei Sorter. Sorter is my last name.  And really, that is all I actually do all day…sort things out.  I impulsively say out loud “Oh no…was I too mean?” …thinking I do not want to play some one-sided Commander Jerkface role in their lives. This quirky clever student gleams at me with respect all day… and the other students start calling me Sensei Sorter, as well. They explain to me that it is a name of great honor and educate me with mind-boggling weighty historical information.  They’ve got me.  I am wrapped around their beating hearts.  They are studying the Middle Ages with their real teacher.  I am humbled.  I listen and receive even more.  After what for me was a tumultuous start, we end up merrily rolling through the day.  I watch them, they compete to impress me with their hard work.  They all want my approval.  It is funny how the day can turn around in a split-second.  I end up grabbing some elementary stickers out of my messy satchel.  If I was prepared I would have brought chocolate.  I roam the room, handing out smiley faces and little red apples and kittens that say “perfect” to super hip 7th Graders.  They love them.  They lighten up.  Even the tough boys put them on their foreheads, their books, their clothes.  They wear them proudly all day.  We are all vibrating through The Gold Thread.

Another strong, smart, sometimes-naughty 3rd-grade boy recognizes me out at the bus line after school. He has red hair, freckles and reminds me of Dennis-The-Menace. I had to evacuate the entire classroom once for him in Kindergarten while the Vice Principal kindly removed his baby-cheeked chair-throwing persona from the area.  He runs up to me, stops and boastfully yells “I have not gotten into trouble once this year!”  I hold up my hand, beam and give him five.  We will always be connected through The Gold Thread.

On Friday (all teachers are in love with Friday), as I walk around the room of a highly-capable class, I notice that two students are giggling.  They are supposed to be answering questions on a Scholastic News worksheet that we just read through together. I notice they are editing the questions with a red pen.  Then my heart melts.  They have noticed the word “substitute” in one of the questions and have eloquently re-designed the entire inquiry to be about me. Instead of the original, “Which phrase is the best substitute for ‘engaged’ as it is used in the article?”…the paper now states “Which is the best substitute?”  The answer is written in, “Mrs. S.”  The article is on the video game Minecraft.  It debates whether or not it is a learning tool.  The neighboring student has written my name in red.  It proclaims “Ms. S.  Minecraft is nothing compared to her.”

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I am speechless.  These children, born of someone else, are all of our little messengers.  How lucky am I to be connected to their little Gold Threads?

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Among the Wildflowers

The house is peaceful.  I adore this time….just me, my thoughts, incense burning, Jackson Browne swooning me in the background.  My spirit feels free, alive, open and spacious.  I feel room to be who I am.  I feel simple. Today I am thankful for a greasy breakfast with a mom friend and my running shoes.

I took in the sun piercing through fall leaves of towering trees as I sat in the parking lot waiting to pick up my little messengers from school.  We then drove straight to a familiar booth, snuggling close and eating fresh made-to-order deli sandwiches.  Their silly giggles mixed with the warmth of a nearby sun-lit window announced another amazing day. Next we adventured through our favorite thrift store…trying on endless possibilities of Halloween costumes.  We chuckled and coined our newest term as we absorbed all the clowns, blood and princesses galore, “That is so Halloweeny!”  We were light on our feet, dancing through the aisles.

“And it was fun…”  another famous quote by my son when he was in first grade. These were the three words he added to the end of every page of his language arts journal.  Brilliance I say.  Shouldn’t the journey be embraced?  Isn’t that a spirit we can carry with us every day?

It seems as if all the deep pain from a tainted year has been suddenly removed from my soul.  Gone…Just like that.  Did I heal?  Did all the counseling kick in… or did the right time just pass by?  Perhaps the triggers have been removed.

I feel truly young again.  I am overjoyed with tenderness and care for myself. Yep, I am a pretty cool soul.

I deserve this peace.  I deserve the inner calm.  I am far from perfect, accepting my humble humanness, yet definitely operating on a higher frequency.  What joy it is to be tuned in to the NOW.  For nine months I have been processing the loss of some extended family members…trying to make sense of rejection.  Nine Months.  It just hit me.  Perhaps I was really birthing a new life of my own?

I know there is much work to be done from here in my own sweet family of four. We must learn to effectively communicate again.  2015-04-04 002

I must admit it feels more like a treasured gift than a chore.  It is some sort of valuable awakening.  Something went horribly wrong this year. However I know somewhere deep inside that we will glide through this growth period, soaring like eagles..rising up.

I recently picked flowers from my neglected summer garden, delivering a wild bouquet of goodness to my dear neighbor.  As we sat on her porch, sharing stories of our daily grind, two eagles flew directly over our path.  We both stopped in pure silence, feeling the depth of the moment.

We belong among the wildflowers, in a place we feel free.

Little Messengers

Meet my little messengers.  These two remind me daily of what breathing is really about.  We must be like a child…have fun…embrace the moments…laugh during the crazy!!  In fact, during the crazy is when our spirits shine bright!  And sometimes….it is going to get tough…I mean really ugly tough… like a 2-year-old overly tired, just ate a whole bag of Halloween candy, melt down kind of awful.

INSIGHTS:  You are not going to get your way.  Nope.  In fact, you are going to fall flat on your face, sobbing out of desperation. You are going to realize that while parts of you have advanced and evolved…other parts of you are totally dirty, grimy and absolutely broken.  You might think for a second (or even a few days) that your world is over..it has been washed away.  The absolutely unexpected nightmare has happened.  Even worse, you allowed it…you probably even caused it.  It comes in the form of BADNESS, a term coined by my son in pre-school after days on end of not fitting into the rules box.  (ie.  “How did it go today?”  “Oh Mom, there was a lot of badness.”)  All of the sudden you will be forced to surrender.  The white flag goes up and it is waving like a bloody soldier at the gates of hell…you will realize that you are certainly more than slightly fucked up.  Guess what?  The jig is up, the news it out, it is finally over.  Oh yes, and songs from your youth will sound through your head in earth shattering rhythyms, sung by choirs of angels in white robes… every lesson flashing through your mind at mega speed.  And then…

Everything will stop.  The silence will be as if time is standing still.  You will still be breathing.  Everything will suddenly halt, like you just pulled the reigns on a wild horse that was fighting in a no-win battle.  It doesn’t feel right, you have lost control… but it sure is a relief.  YOU HAVE ARRIVED IN THE EVER PRESENT MOMENT.  AND NOW THE MAGIC CAN BEGIN.

As a family of 4 we are passing through a storm, or perhaps letting go of the storms inside of us – My hubby and I  each fighting our own battles.  We are separate.  We must learn how to reconnect.  Start over…and from where?

One thing I know for sure is these little creatures may have come from us physically, but they were sent to us in spirit form.  My son tells me last night, “Mom, you know that I would have still been your son in any marriage.”  I giggle back, “What? Are you sure?”  Calmly and as reassuring as the Universe stepping down and speaking to me, he says, “Oh I am quite sure…I just would have looked different.”  Then my daughter pipes in “Yes, and I think I came for Dad.”  Well, this makes perfect sense, yes perfect sense indeed.  I remember dreaming of this very life.

As a little girlOne of eachall I ever dreamed of was becoming a mother. I have clear recollection of a moment in time..I can still feel it as if it were yesterday. I was probably six or seven, playing in my backyard (which was a 280-acre ranch) and I visualized my future.  I pictured a house I would live with my one true love…it had a white picket fence, white washed paint, a big covered porch.  It was in the country, had acreage and most importantly,  the breeze was soft and safe. I can still see this image perfectly, and I can certainly feel it.  It is not the exact house I live in. The one I now reside in with these two precious kiddos is similar…only better.  It is not white and blank – it is full of color, art, laughter, tears, grace, relaxation, work, friends, and certainly life!   I had always cast aside this image from my youth as a ‘normal young girl’s dream’ of having a family. I even blamed society for putting that image in my head.  For years I thought I missed my calling, chasing jobs, achievement, recognition.

Today I know that this beautiful peaceful scene was a small glimpse of all that was meant to be.  I am first and forever a wife and mother.  I am doing my best to care for the emotional and physical well being of my four peeps.  I have it all….at least I hope I still do.  Perhaps I used to.  I am alive and not that well.  My life is kind of messy and real, beautiful and surreal, in the most vulnerable authentic way any dream could ever be.  And I am wide awake.  I hope we can adjust our sails, drop our anchor and find the safe and breezy place we all deserve.