Tag Archives: positive thinking

What Is Your Purpose?

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.” 
-Gautamma Buddha

I’ve been doing a great deal of reading lately on how having a purpose in life and how this contributes to our happiness, and in turn, to our longevity.  Having a profession where you actually feel as though you are making a contribution to society as a whole is a clear example of having a purpose. This can be well defined through just about any profession. If you are committed to what you do and have a passion for it, this will ultimately contribute to your happiness.

As teachers we know what our purpose is, and since we have chosen teaching as a profession, gone through years of schooling and have made a conscious decision that instead of enjoying early financial gain as you might see in other professions, we would instead be rewarded with nurturing the intellectual growth of our students.

I think that it would be safe to say that we all enter education because we have the desire to impart our knowledge and love of our subject matter to the kids in the communities where we teach. To not only see the intellectual growth in the year that we may have them, but also as they make their way through our colleagues classes as well. The point is that they will see our passion and maybe, just maybe, they will take with them when they leave a life long love for learning.

On the island of Okinawa, Japan, they refer to this as “ikigai”, or a reason for getting up in the morning. This reason, or purpose is what keeps us centered.

But what happens when external, or for that matter, internal factors enter into the equation and stifle the sense of purpose that we have? What happens when a profession such as teaching becomes “just another job”? I don’t know many teachers who have chosen the profession for the paycheck, and the ever present myth of having all of the time off is well, still a myth.

Where am I going with this? Recent events have shown me that although we may have a very clear sense of purpose, from time to time our resolve is tested and when a situation may set up roadblocks that cloud our purpose, or to question it, then it is up to no one but ourselves to balance things out and keep moving on a forward and productive path. Most times it isn’t our love for teaching, or our passion for what we do that comes into question, instead it is those other factors that prove to contribute to our downfall and for us to lose our focus.

So what do we need to do to regain or maintain the balance? The external factors in our life are sometimes easier to correct than those that are internal. Often times internally we do not have any say in decisions that are made that “mess with our mojo.” But we still have to keep moving.

I have some thoughts. One thing that has proven to be incredibly helpful to me is to have other things that you are equally as  passionate about and that you can share with others. If you are reading this, then you are well versed on my love for hiking and in turn, my blogging about it. You might also know about my love of building things, not so professionally, but a love none the less. These two things truly keep me grounded so I am not consumed with the daily drama associated with work.

Second, having a core group of colleagues that you can depend on is vital. Now I don’t necessarily mean people that we can just blindly bitch to one another about what we don’t like, but people who will listen and offer constructive advice and support as we meander through our daily work lives. Think about it-We sometimes spend more time interacting with our colleagues every day than we do our husbands, wives and significant others.

Teachers have a unique sense of community that in my humble opinion, can’t be matched by many other professions. We are not driven by money or other material factors, but instead the passing off to others a love of teaching and our specific subject areas. Think about the teachers that you loved the most. Why did you love them? What did they do in the classroom to convey their love for what they do?

Don’t get to a point where you don’t know why you get up in the morning.

 

 

Good morning 2017!!!

“New Year’s Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change.”

-Sarah Ban Breathnach

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The sun coming up over the hill behind my house on a beautiful New Year’s Day.

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Can’t we all just get along? (at least until November)

“I don’t have to agree with you to like you or respect you.”

-Anthony Bourdain

“A lot of lip service gets paid to being honest, but no one really wants to hear it unless what’s being said is the party line.”

― Colin Quinn

Disagreement is something normal.

-Dalai Lama

I vowed that when I started this blog that I would not discuss politics. By virtue of the fact that this is an election year, the discussions about who will be the next president have already begun. With the start of the silly season comes much discussion, debate and arguing. Unfortunately but predictably, the discourse has already turned ugly on both sides and it promises to only get worse as each side regurgitates its own set of talking points.

It is also unfortunate that I am not just talking about the candidates, I am talking about the everyday person. Yes, you and I. Your family, friends, co-workers and strangers are already robustly letting each other know what they think about each of the candidates on both the left and the right and it isn’t pretty.   

Why then am I writing about politics? I am writing about it because I want to make a plea to everyone out there today. If you are on the far left, the far right, a moderate, progressive or whatever you choose to call yourself, please read the following and join me in an attempt to make it through November without losing family or friends based on the ugly and often untrue statements or comments that are made during “friendly conversations.” Ok. With all of that said, here we go…

One of the greatest gifts we have is being able to live in a democracy and having the ability to speak our minds about where we stand on the political spectrum. In the years that we elect a new president, it seems that many more people seem to care about politics than in the off years. As spring turns to summer and summer into fall, the attempt to have our positions heard rises to disturbing levels.

With that discussion, of course, comes disagreement. Now don’t get me wrong, disagreement is a good thing as long as it is reasonable and intellectually honest. As noted above, the Dalai Lama says that “disagreement is something normal.” Let me give you some examples.

As you may or may not know, I tend to lean to the right when it comes to fiscal and military issues and to the left in regards to social issues. I like to think that I am more independent than anything else. Each and every time, however,  that I express dissatisfaction with something that President Obama has said or done, it is always insinuated that I am a racist. If I don’t support Hillary, I am then sexist. Could it be possible that I just don’t agree with you?

Sorry folks. Making fun of people (candidates and those you are debating with) and calling them a racist, sexist, homophobe, islamophobe etc. does not make you right, it instead shows your ignorance. You need to support your arguments with facts and not the usual race to blame everything on, well, race or sex. Falling prey to the name calling and the labeling makes you intellectually dishonest, thereby taking you out of the discussion.  

I am making a plea today for everyone reading this not to take the easy way out during this election cycle. Assume that you know and will meet people that have opinions that differ from yours. Let that other person be the one that makes the leap immediately to the negative. When you choose to share the lies and negative nasty comments  that you find on social media about any of the candidates, you make the choice to be part of the problem, and not the solution. You also show that your ability to to engage in a rational and productive political discussion is non existent.

Since this blog is shared on facebook, I am hoping that those of you who are reading this take what I have written to heart and join me in keeping this political cycle a decent and productive one. Electing a president of the United States is, in my opinion, is one of the most important things we can do as a citizen. Let’s not turn into savages as we do it, whichever side you are on.