Recently I have felt as though I am carrying a yaffle of balls that just keep coming and I am desperately trying to keep them from hitting the ground. (Btw, yaffle is a Newfoundland term meaning “an armload”) Each day I deal with many different people from different walks of life and each one has their own point of view about what happens in a school. When I discuss the challenges that I am facing with my husband he always tries to help me reframe. He will say to me “Think about all of the skills that you are developing as a result of these challenges, these skills will help as you move on to bigger and better things.” He always encourages me to look at the challenges as learning opportunities. I’ll be honest, there are times when I want him to stop being the voice of reason. I just want to vent. At times when I’m really tired I have responded with, “Yes, but when will the learning stop ?!” But in truth, he is right. We have both used this type of reframing talk with our own children and students in the past, it’s just that when you are in the midst of it all you need time to slow down, reflect and look for the positive.
This morning as I sat in bed with my steamy cup of coffee looking out the window at the snow gently falling, I felt a calmness that I haven’t felt in weeks. I think it was the first time in a while that I felt time slow down. I was in the moment, enjoying my coffee, the house was silent and my mind suddenly cleared. I was reminded of an interview I watched once with Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey when they talked about how “Stress comes from wanting a moment to be different than what it is.” That was it! I had been wanting the recent “moments” to be different. When instead, what I ought to have been accepting the moment(s) as my reality and being grateful for what they have to teach me.
I searched for the Tolle interview on the internet and watched the clip then I started scrolling though my Twitter feed as I typically do on Sunday morning. I came across a tweet by @jaydostal that jumped out at me:
“The #Road to Awesome is paved with unique challenges and opportunities designed solely for you. You get to decide if you will embrace it or call an Uber. #ownyourepic ”
As I reflect on the challenges I realize that I have learned so much in these past few weeks. Things you simply cannot learn by attending a workshop, brainstorming in a meeting or reading a book. Things you can only learn from experience. Which now reminds me of a discussion I had with my son when he came home from UVIC at Christmas. I asked him how he felt about his first semester. As a mother, people often ask me how he is finding it at UVIC so I specifically I asked him “If someone were to ask me how you found the first semester what is one word I could tell them?” He responded with “fun”. I was so happy to hear that! I asked him to explain and he talked about how we, his parents, had tried to prepare him, telling him that it would be challenging but really he had no idea what that would actually look like. He had to experience it for himself. Sure, it did pose a whole new set of challenges for him but it was fun, he learned a lot and knew now how he could move forward with the new skills that he had developed. (Proud mama moment)
While I cannot control all of the challenges that come my way, I can embrace them and treat them as learning experiences, being grateful for the new skills that I gain along the way. After all, they are preparing me for my next great adventure. No Uber for me!