Blogging on The Brightside

"I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." -The Little Engine That Could

“The sun is up. The sky is blue. It’s beautiful and so are you.”

Dear Prudence, The Beatles

What a beautiful day to be optimistic. Soak in some Vitamin D and don your sunshiny disposition.

Today’s the day and it is gorgeous.

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Kulia i ka nu’u

“Strive for the summit.”

–Hawaiian proverb

To visit Haleakala, a dormant volcano designated national park in 1961, for the magnificent sunrise is a Maui tradition.  The journey to the summit is a perfect parable for this blog.  Yesterday we arose at 2am to travel in the dark to the lookout before sunrise.  Driving up the twisting switchbacks (and down again, later) proved a challenge for some of our travelers’ inner-ears and stomaches.  10,000 feet above sea-level in the dark and wind was surprisingly and uncharacteristically cold for our group that packed for Maui beaches and left its Northface gear at home.  Needless to say, by 5:30 stomaches and tempers were growling fiercely.

But when dawn broke and the sun peaked over the fluffy clouds and filled the crater with glowing light, radiant heat warmed our goosebumps and our attitudes.  Standing in the middle of the south-pacific and observing a once-in-a-lifetime sunrise in full panoramic, the memory of the dark morning seemed distant and making the trip was worth it.

Legend of Haleakala (link also includes time-lapse video of the sunrise)

There is a legend that tells the origin of Haleakala’s spectacular sunrise.

The demi-god Maui and his mother, Hina, lived near Rainbow Falls in Hilo on the island of Hawaii. Hina would make kapa from the bark of the wauke and mamaki tree, and the strips would be dyed with magnificent designs to form cloth. The kapa, however, would still be damp when night fell, and Hina would lament how the sun moved too quickly across the sky to dry the cloth.

Upon hearing this, the demi-god traveled to the island of Maui and climbed to the 10,000-foot summit of Haleakala, where the sun was asleep in the giant crater. Maui hid until morning and watched the sun begin his daily journey. As the first ray of sunshine appeared, Maui snared it with his lasso of twisted coconut fiber.

The sun demanded to be released, but Maui would not let go. “Promise me that you will move more slowly across the sky,” he told the sun. Left with no choice, the sun struck a bargain with the daring demi-god. He would move slowly for six months out of the year, and then move at his preferred pace for the other six months. Agreeing to the terms, Maui hurried home and told his mother the good news. As a reward, Hina made her son a new cape, and sure enough, it dried in one afternoon.


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“Like a child standing in a beautiful park with his eyes shut tight, there’s no need to imagine trees, flowers, deer, birds, and sky; we merely need to open our eyes and realize what is already here, who we already are – as soon as we stop pretending we’re small or unholy.”

— Bo Lozoff

Open your eyes. Take in the beauty around you.

And remind yourself that YOU contribute your own unique beauty to the world.

May this week be one of the most beautiful you’ve ever witnessed.

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“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.”

— Lao Tzu

I love the sentiment expressed by this quote.

I would add one more thing at the end if I had the chance…

In ALL things, be grateful.


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“The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present – and I don’t want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future.”

— Audrey Hepburn

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With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be here. Be present. The before or soon-to-be is nowhere near as important as the here and now.

So… be here!

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“I made up my mind when I was a young girl. I’ve been given this one world. I won’t worry it away.”

— Sara Bareilles

Welcome back from hiatus. Now that school is out for summer and I am back from my family vacation, expect everyday motivation.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

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“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, an sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.”

— Elizabeth Gilbert

It’s that time of year: the end of the year. With the end of another glorious year comes the not-so-glorious task of “doing grades.”

As an elementary school teacher, not EVERYTHING can be graded, nor can it all be graded the same way. I look at the papers I bring home, thinking of how hard students tried. They poured their heart and soul into something that did not turn out the way they had hoped. I have to account for effort. I have to see if they were present in the lesson, listening, and trying to succeed. I want to see my students participate. I want to know that they are actively trying to engage with my lessons, my ideas, my thoughts. They need to have a hand in their own success.

Life wants the same thing out of each and every one of us. Tell me you haven’t slacked earning your “participation points” recently… yeah, that’s what I thought. It doesn’t matter that we get everything right, and goodness knows, perfect is a fantasy. But each time you don’t participate, at least a little, you’re losing points. Perhaps you won’t get a grade for your efforts, but the point you are missing has a much heavier weight attached to it.

What is the point of suiting up? What is the point of signing up for anything? What is the point of waking up, getting out of bedding, and trying at all?

BECAUSE IT IS YOUR LIFE. No one else can live it for you. Unless you are willing to participate, life can’t even meet you half way.

Give life the benefit of the doubt. Don’t miss the point. And for goodness sake, get an “A” in participation. You’ll thank yourself one day, I promise.

Love and Light,

Miss McPartland



“True happiness is an acceptance of life as it is given to us, with its diminishment, mystery, uncontrollability, and all.”

— Michael Gellert

Let life do its thing. You’ll be okay. Love life for what it is, for all that it is, just as you would want to be loved for all that you are.

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“Courage is looking fear right in the eye and saying, ‘Get the hell out of my way, I’ve got things to do.’”

I am all for being polite, respectful, and dignified. I am often the first to keep my mouth shut when I should stand up for myself.

But sometimes, you need to do some rescuing of your own and take charge when fear is telling you to sit down and shut up.

Have the courage to face your fear, whether it takes the form of nay-sayers, a curve ball, a huge misstep, or simply the weight of uncertainty.

Lead yourself in the right direction. Follow your dreams wherever they may lead. And make sure that you get the hell out of your own way. Sometimes the biggest road block can be the person looking back at you from the bathroom mirror.

This week, say it. Mean it. Do it. It’s your turn.

Fear, get the hell out of my way.

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