Blogging on The Brightside

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

“Worry is a misuse of imagination.”

— Dan Zadra

As we (my district and many other fellow educators) begin a new school year tomorrow, I am overcome with a myriad of feelings.

Excitement. Anxiety. Hope. Doubt. Joy. Passion. Worry.

With every good emotion, feeling, and memory comes the struggle that follows every educator. A few questions will always remain.

Will what I do be enough? Can I change my students for the better? Will my students be better people when they leave my class? Will they show what they know? Can I get them to reach their fullest potential and try their best?

As these questions float around, anyone can feel overwhelmed. (There’s a reason that so many teachers leave the profession within their first few years.)

But what if we let go of the worry? What if we gave ourselves more room to imagine the best of our students, our curriculum, ourselves. When we pause and leave room for this kind of thinking, the room that is necessary to imagine the best in all situations, we can transform our classrooms. We can transform our students’ futures. We can transform our lives as a whole.

Use your brain for good. Remind yourself that as we start a new year, new season, new part of our lives, worry drains all the energy we have to make ourselves great. Use your imagination and lift yourself up. Living fully requires everything you’ve got. Whatever you give to worry you can’t give to anything else.

Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow starts a new year. Tomorrow could be a new life for you.

Make it count. Imagine the possibilities.

Love and Light, Carly

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Letter for a Friend: A Colorful Life

Recently, I have found myself coping with some darker days. Life is not always optimistic and at times, you can really feel like it is not on your side. I shared these days in a similar place to a friend of mine. We both dealt with a feelings of loss, grief, anger, and guilt.

I settled upon the idea that I would write a post for him. Easier said than done when what you are feeling is the same difficulty you want to write in spite of. I wrote this friend an email, and the contents of this email are what I will share with you all. No picture, no cutesy doodle. Just words.

I guess what we all need to realize is that a colorful life is what we should wish for, and without any one color, light, dark, or otherwise, our days, our experiences, our lives would not be as alive and complete.

Letter for a Friend: A Colorful Life

I am incredibly sorry you are dealing with this sense of loss. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. Knowing that you love someone and that the entire situation has changed can be very difficult to deal with. 
 
I appreciate your kind words and your compliments towards my sense of honesty and self-awareness. It has taken a lot of practice and, unfortunately, I must deal with the waves of grief, guilt, and anger (with varying levels of intensity). At the time of my loss, I had no way of processing what was happening, and how my life would be forever changed. I can promise you (while still accepting and thanking you for your kindness) that I continue to truly struggle with painting a similar picture of meaning, compassion, health, and healing. The hues of my picture can be found in a darker palette, and at times, the canvas all together is thrown out with overbearing sadness. Still, there are moments where I remind myself that each day is its own clean slate. The world is not black and white, and while we spend our lives working through the gray, inside and outside of our heads, our world is meant to be lived in FULL color. Every color imaginable works its way in– the darks that paint our days with sadness one day merely fill in the shadows of another. The lightest shades of a new morning can fill our worlds so completely that our eyes struggle to find darkness at all.
 
I encourage us both to take the darks, lights, and everything in between as part of this “artistic” process. We experience life as playful artists, and when we test our boundaries, our emotions, and ourselves, we can create some truly breath-taking moments with every emotional hue we possess.
 
I wish you the same vibrancy in your days as I do my own.
Love and Light,
Carly
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“When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.”

Chief Tecumseh

espresso

 

In the morning, light pours into my bedroom.  It’s kind of a pain to fall asleep with the blinds open and the curtains pulled back, but it’s worth it to be greeted by light.  Then, for me, it’s baked oatmeal and one shot of espresso.  I’m not a morning person, and I probably haven’t had a single thought about anything worth remembering until I’ve begun to absorb some caffeine.  A quick aside- I’ve never understood why people don’t drink more espresso, is it the whip cream thing?  And then, a clean shave.  I (almost) always use a sharp razor, not a Gillette, and have replaced that blue goop with fluffy and fragrant lavender shave soap applied by a badger hair shave brush.

I’m sharing my routine with you, because I’ve found that from the first ray of sunshine to the first bite of oatmeal, the last sip of espresso to the last bit of shave soap, I tend to concentrate on how lucky I am to enjoy these little luxuries.  They are simple joys.  When you appreciate your situation first thing in the morning, you start the day off right.  And when you start the day off right, the rest of the day tends to follow suit.

If you’re a snooze button 12 times, rush out of bed and into the car to sit in traffic on the way to the job you dread kind of person, consider what you give up each morning.  You’ve missed the chance to be gracious, to take a few minutes to yourself to think about your day, to think about what you can do for someone else today.  By the time you’re expressing you’re road rage, you’ve given up the chance to work out that day or your opportunity to reflect in your journal.  Approaching the beginning of your day differently might change your outlook on school or work, especially if you’ve taken a few minutes to give thanks that you have gainful employment and think about how you can make a difference at work that day.  An improved outlook is often the key to improved performance.

So much of this blog is about having a positive and gracious attitude.  The reason is simple- life is better that way.  The time to establish that attitude is first thing in the morning.

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“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

— Lao Tzu

May you find strength in the ones who love you. These are the ones who risk heartbreak to show you they care. Love is unconditional. No matter what, they choose to love you.

May you gain courage from each person to whom you give your heart openly. You lay your heart on the line every time you care for them. To love someone is to be the most genuine version of yourself. That vulnerability is unparalleled.

You have fought for love. You have fought for your happiness. Today is a day to celebrate love in its may forms and revel in the joy love can bring.

I hope that today (and every day) you find a moment to realize how much love surrounds you and know you are more loved than you can possibly imagine.

Love and light,

Carly

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“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

— T.S. Eliot

All the posts that have been written in the past remain there, ready to be looked back on longingly. (I must say I am extremely proud of each and every post Ray and I have shared and the beautiful thoughts you have shared.)All the words we have yet to type remain hidden from view. But right now this moment unfolds before us all. We are standing at the starting line of this new year with eager eyes, open minds, and hopeful hearts.

With the end of 2013 comes the beginning of 2014.

Allow the words you found last year to remain with you, bringing you comfort and fond memories.

Allow the mystery of your future ignite a passion and excitement in your soul that drives you to it.

In this moment, be here now. It sounds simple, and it sounds incredibly obvious, but at this moment, each one of us can live too much in the moments of the past year or spend too much time anxious over the year ahead.

Start the year off well. Start where you are. Start here and stay here. Here is where the best year of your life begins.

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“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!”

— Mae West

Let yourself overdose on joy. Find your bliss, let it fill each day, and find yourself floating from one thing you love to the next. Too much of a good thing can be wonderful– do not talk yourself out of happiness.

Take the good that finds you, and when it does, do not limit yourself. Moderation is nothing in the face of soul-stirring joy.

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“Embrace relational uncertainty. It’s called romance. Embrace spiritual uncertainty. It’s called mystery. Embrace occupational uncertainty. It’s called destiny. Embrace emotional uncertainty. It’s called joy. Embrace intellectual uncertainty. It’s called revelation.”

— Mark Batterson

Live your life wide open and it is amazing what you will find.

Embrace life and all that comes with it. Find yourself amidst romance, mystery, destiny, joy, and revelation.

Live today with intention and in recognition of the joy in your own life.

Embrace life. Love life. It will return the favor.

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“There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

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“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.”

— Paulo Coehlo

Expectation is the thief of all joy.

Let today’s blessings, big and small, obvious and otherwise, be recognized and celebrated for what they are.

Just because things don’t turn out the way we want doesn’t mean they’re not turning out the way they are supposed to.

Expect to be surprised. Expect to be challenged. Expect the unexpected and smile at the cards you’re dealt.

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“Sprinkle Joy.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

jimmies sprinkles

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