Favorite Tweets of the Week

Do you Twitter? Follow me @lavalily for some wonderful quotes from other Tweeters. Here are a few of my favorites from the past week:

NutriliteHealth NutriliteHealth
“The greatest wealth is health.” -Virgil

OutofyourBox_EN Fred Krautwurst
Stay connected with younger people. They can help you understand new paradigms #networking

BabaRamDass Ram Dass
Ambition does to intuition what a weevil does in a grainery…

OutofyourBox_EN Fred Krautwurst
Everything you want in life is just outside your comfort zone #networking

wikiHow wikiHow
A brother is a friend given by Nature. ~Jean Baptiste Legouve. 9 Reminders for Cherishing Your Brother http://ow.ly/1dKAgM

VisitBritain Visit Britain
“You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” ~ C.S. Lewis #BritQuotes

wikiHow wikiHow
Are you too hard on people? Next time you’re about to criticize someone, offer praise instead http://ow.ly/1dBr9N

A hui hou!

Why I Love Teaching In A Community College!

Sharing what I’ve learned along the way, knowing that some might never “get it”, but those who do will be ready to take that knowledge to the next level;

Finding new ways to present old material that will make it more relevant to today’s young people;

Watching students struggle to understand a new concept in order for it to mean something in their world;

Catching the shy romantic glances between two people who don’t think anyone saw it;

Seeing the look in a room full of big eyes when they are truly surprised by new information they had no idea existed;

Hearing their excitement when they tell me there is a new baby on the way, but not due until after graduation;

Listening to the dreams of older students who have come back to school after many years of working and/or raising families;

Explaining the difference between high school and college to those who are recent graduates of the local high school;

Recognizing the pride in many of the students because they are the first in their family ever to go beyond high school;

Welcoming the daughters and sons of former students because their mother or father said for them to be sure to sign up for my classes;

Worrying when some of the students don’t pass the class;

Pondering schedules and requirements with those who aren’t sure what they want to be when they “grow up”;

Striving to make each class better than the one before it;

Accepting the challenge of keeping my brain active and alive;

Empathizing with those who have to work more than one job while tending a family while they take classes;

Admiring the young healthy bodies of those who can’t imagine ever getting as old as I am;

Learning new names for each class member and actually knowing how to pronounce them;

Praising those who grow out of their timidity enough to give an oral presentation in class;

Crying on the last day of classes because I will miss the students over the summer holiday;

Celebrating with them when they finally receive their Associates Degree before moving on to the next level of education.

A hui hou!

Metaphors

One of my readers hoped that the reason I hadn’t been blogging recently was because I was off drawing with my new-found pastel chalks. I wish I could say that was my excuse for being absent this last month, but the truth is that I have been doing my best to lift the spring semester off the ground.

One of my favorite courses to teach is “Psychology and the Expressive Arts.” Not only do they learn how to use the expressive arts (writing, painting, clay, dance, music and more) in doing counseling, but to use the arts to re-discover the creativity within.

This past week I gave my students an assignment to write about one of the metaphors in their lives.

Metaphors are all around us, and I offered suggestions for my students to find them in unexpected places.

One of my personal favorites is the metaphor of sailing. I’ve used it so many times in the past that it’s almost become a cliché, and yet it is a strong metaphor for me. Those of you who have been reading my posts fairly regularly will remember that I lived on my 37’ sloop for five years.

I moved off my sailboat to the Phoenix area when I was assigned to be a pastor there. About six months into that appointment, one of the men in the church came to me and said, “This is the first Sunday you haven’t mentioned sailing.” He went ahead to say that he wasn’t tired of it, but that it emphasized the fact of how many ways sailing was a rich metaphor for our lives.

We’ve seen many sailing metaphors illustrated on posters or key chains and the like. I am reminded of one metaphor in particular that continually comes into my life, and that is the way we have to maneuver the boat in order to get to our destination.

You know that a sailboat cannot go directly into the wind without being stalled. The sailor must tack back and forth, sailing just off the wind, yet never losing sight of our goal.

The same thing is true of my life. When I am not able to sail directly toward my goal without getting stalled, I don’t need to let that stop me. I can veer off course a little as long as I keep in mind where I ultimately want to go.

This has been true so many times – with education, career, home, relationships. How easy it would have been to give up, rather than to let the wind carry me in a different direction!

A hui hou!

Day of Enlightenment

There are thousands of lights decorating homes, yards, and businesses at this time of year. There is one light that doesn’t get unplugged or taken down after the holidays and that is the light that shines from inside each of us.

December 8 is Bodhi Day, celebrated in Japan as the day when Siddhartha Gautauma, the historical Buddha, experienced enlightenment. “Buddha” means “awakened one” or “the enlightened one.”

In the strictest sense, I suppose, we are all striving toward enlightenment as our ultimate goal. I like to think of enlightenment more as the path itself, the journey or quest, simply living with light shining from within, rather than an end point we might never reach.

In Nicaragua, there is a combination of festivals that start on the night of December 7 called “la gritería.” People run through the streets shouting in Spanish, “Who causes so much happiness?”

This boisterous evening leads up to the following day, December 8, to “La Purísima” or the “purest conception of Virgin Mary.”

But I like to think the notion of “la gritería” is pushing us to recognize our inner light as the source of our happiness. May we all celebrate our own enlightenment!

A hui hou!

Remember Typewriters?

One reader sent an email in response to Sunday’s post that has great appeal for me. It makes so much sense, I’m surprised I didn’t think of it myself. He suggested that I start something completely new, and to set aside all the “old” stuff I’ve written.

He said “You don’t need to suffer the discouragement of being rejected. After all, you’re a different person now and a lot more experienced.” How true!

Back in the day of typewriters, ribbons and carbon paper (yes, I’m that old), sliding a fresh sheet of paper between the rollers always gave a sense of new possibilities. There were times I used one piece of carbon paper so long that it was almost in shreds. And a new ribbon with freshly cleaned keys (remember the smell of that cleaning fluid?) made the manuscript look crisp.

There is something cleansing to see a pile of wadded up paper on the floor after numerous fresh starts.

When word processors came into being, there were many articles in writing magazines about whether that would change the way authors write. The consensus seemed to be that it would take away our creativity! There may have been something to those worries.

I loved having a legal-sized yellow pad handy beside me in the car for scribbling down notes as ideas popped into my head. That is still the most reliable way for me to capture those fleeting thoughts. Sure, I have a cell phone that takes notes, and when I’m not near my laptop, my netbook is handy for note taking, but nothing beats the old-fashioned convenience of a pen or pencil and paper.

There is at least one book I’m reading in each room (or in the car or in my purse) accompanied by a small notebook and pen for seizing inspirations.

Sometimes starting a fresh new page is the necessary impetus for many things in life, isn’t it? New curtains, rearranging the furniture, or even a new house brings new energy. Each new semester of school brings hope of brilliant and eager students, although I enjoy most of my “old” students, as well. Fresh soil in my planting beds brings anticipation of new growth.

Perhaps someday, I will return to the “old” written stuff and recognize its worth – or its worthlessness!

As the year 2010 draws to a close, what of the “old” do you need to set aside to allow room for the “new” to flow into your life?

A hui hou!

Thoughts for the Day

Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was not only a Jesuit priest but he was well known as a palaeontologist. Among other accomplishments, he was involved in uncovering the skull of the Peking man. As someone with a mind of both the spiritual and the scientific worlds, he has inspired me in several ways.

A birthday can be a good time for reflection, so it is on that occasion I think about one of Teilhard de Chardin’s primary concepts. The way I understand it, we constantly are evolving or spiraling to a higher and higher state, which he called the Omega Point. He described it as a “transcendent centre of unification,” a convergence, rather than a divergence.

As I apply that concept to myself, I see that I have evolved over the past decades, although perhaps starting that process later than I might have wished. As he put it, in my life there was “a clear pattern of a rise of consciousness…a continual heightening, a rising tide of consciousness.”

Like his description of Time and the Universe, “in any period of ten million years Life practically grows a new skin,” I have grown a new skin throughout my own quest. More than ever before I am aware of how my action or inaction affects my traveling companions, aware of the world around me and of its cyclic nature. It is my personal evolution – “a condition of all experience,” he would say.

There is another quote attributed to Teilhard de Chardin, although I’m not sure which of his books it is in. I use it as my own mantra.

“Our duty as men and women is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist.”

In his Hymn of the Universe, he writes “Happy the man [sic] who fails to stifle his vision.”

For the next several decades, I want to continue an upward evolution without stifling my vision!

A hui hou!

A Season of Changes

It has been a summer of emptying old boxes full of junk, planting seeds, watering because of (or perhaps in spite of) the drought, reading delicious murder mysteries, writing a little here and there, and even spending some time being totally slothful.

Now on this sixteenth day of August, 2010, I am officially back to work as a full-time instructor in a community college. A week from now, classes will begin, each class full of students eager to learn. Well, I think most of them are.

At one point, I was working so hard to catch up with chores here at home that I was ready to go back to teaching so I could relax. By the end of summer, those chores were (mostly) completed and I had more opportunity to kick back, have a little fun.

So while I’m looking forward to the first day of classes, some new faces, some familiar faces, several students looking toward graduation so they can either go off to a four year school or get into a depressed job market.

Summer isn’t officially over, first day of autumn is still a month away, and winter is practically nonexistent here in Hawai`i, although there are seasonal changes. In the area where I live, the plumeria (frangipani) loses its leaves, there is a bit of briskness in the morning breeze coming down from the mountain, the hens are not laying as profusely, and I am delayed by school buses that manage to get ahead of me.

All of this rambling leads me to say that I’m a mixture of reluctance, anticipation, joy, relief, sadness. Through all the changes that happen in life, I hope I will continue to inspire even a handful of students to become who they are meant to be. Isn’t that what teaching is all about?

A hui hou!