Zen Fairytale

Trail in Temperate Rainforest

Lead me through the forest
Pin me up upon a tree
Get me drunk on fine, fine wine
And ____ me ’til I feel free

Steal me to your castle
Hidden deep inside the wood
‘Cuz I’m dying for adventure
And I’m drowning in the “should”

Cruise me to that island
The one I’ve always longed to go
Maybe there I’ll learn the things
I’ve always yearned to know

I’m worried I’ll go nowhere
That fantasy is for the young
No castle no forest no island
My siren song’s been sung

So fly me fast to a city
Bustling with culture and art
Help me to write a perfect ending
And make a perfect start

But if I really do go nowhere
The truth’s still plain to see
No person or place can save me
As wherever I go I’ll be

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Out of my mind

Scientific Image Active Neuron
The beast wondered, worried,
“How can I be more in my body?”
And wondered, worried,
“How can I be more?”
As long ago trained to live in her brain
She faithfully exercised split from self
Rarely allowing herself a moment
To simply be

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Pin me down

blue butterflyI want to be (more) in my body with you
But how could I ever imagine
That I would need you to be more fully me?
Ha!
Perhaps, flittingly, it’s because I hunger
To be pinned down (pin me down)
Captured and admired
Like a butterfly under glass
As floating, mutable,
I stumble to catch up to myself
And seek an identity on which to land
Ha!
So catch me, now,
Before the dust settles
And it’s too late

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I know better

I know better (far better)
And yet
I still wish you could save me
Wish you could love me enough for the both of us
Wish you could make me feel enough
When there’s no substitute for self love
Remind me, remember how to move from
“I am inadequate” to
“I am” to
“I” to
_______.

Yes, I know better (far better)
And yet
I still wish I could save you
When I can’t even save myself
Wish I could love you enough for the both of us
Wish I could make you feel enough
Maybe it’s true (shit)
That you can’t really love someone else
Until you love yourself
So dance, dissolve with me now
“We are not enough”
“We are”
“We”
_______.

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Time was when

Time was when
I didn’t know who I would grow up to be
What I would choose to become
(Artist? Actor? Teacher?)
Where I would choose to live
Or who I would choose to love
Time was when
I believed anything was still possible
Choices, not hurried, waiting to be discovered
Like perfect gifts on Christmas morning
Which one should I open first?

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I wanna see you. Be brave.

Sara Bareilles’ Brave video is remarkable in its normalcy. To date, over 26.5 million people have watched its average-looking cast hanging out in everyday places—at the shopping mall, say, or at the gym—dancing and having a good time. What’s so remarkable about these folks is that they’re “acting out” and “goofing off” in public; not necessarily dancing as though no one’s watching, but as if they simply don’t care.

So often we’re afraid to let loose, be ourselves and have fun; or at least do so in a way that risks making us stick too far out from the crowd. (There’s safety in numbers, don’t you know.)

Too often our growth is stunted by concerns about how other people might perceive, judge or criticize us. In short, we’re I’m afraid. And dare I say it? Cowardly.

But why are we so worried about what others think? Perhaps in part it’s because of the message captured so cleverly at the very end of Bareilles’ song, shortly after one of our everyday (daring!) dancers steps onto a city bus, when we hear two bystanders concluding, “Maybe he took the wrong pill.” Clearly, anybody who dares to go against the grain is mentally unwell! And worth mocking. What else are we going to do—join them?

So, on the one hand, it seems as though people desperately want to fit in. However, as Brené Brown clarifies, “Most of us use the terms fitting in and belonging interchangeably…fitting in and belonging are not the same thing, and, in fact, fitting in gets in the way of belonging. Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires is to be who we are.” 

Since we all share this need to belong, isn’t it paradoxical that we far too rarely let ourselves be seen, especially for who we really are?

Of course, one way to be seen by and attempt to connect with others is through social media. Interestingly, some research suggests that people tend to feel worse (i.e., less connected) after looking at their friends’ status updates and photos on Facebook. (She’s doing what? Wow, does my life ever pale in comparison.)

In explaining her reticence to be on social media, Tina Fey asks, “Why does everyone need an audience every moment of their life?” Sadly, I wonder if it’s because some of us feel relatively unseen. It’s no secret that we live in an era that idolizes celebrity. Every aspect of celebrity life is simultaneously celebrated and condemned. (“Look, they pump gas! They’re just like us!”)

Given that society worships the cult of celebrity, it’s no wonder that we dread the curse of invisibility.

I might answer Fey by asking, “If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear it?” In other words, is it dangerously, increasingly tempting to wonder, “If I don’t have an audience for this moment or this experience, how valuable is it?”

When Bareilles sings, “Show me how big your brave is,” I consider her dare a much-needed societal invitation. Perhaps even a revolution cry.

I mean, what would happen if we took bigger risks? Dared more greatly? Judged less quickly? Worried less about what other people thought and more about who they actually were?

Brene Brown Daring Greatly Badge

brenebrown.com

 

 

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Failing Forward, Creating the Now

Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)

–T.S. Eliot

photo (2)In her visionary keynote at the Educational Technology Users Group (ETUG) spring workshop, facilitator Nancy White said, “It’s not about mastery, it’s about opening.” This was a wonderful reminder of something I know to be true.

It was true when I recently stepped on my yoga mat after several months away from the studio. No, I wasn’t able to do the poses well and I did feel more self-conscious than I would have liked. But I reminded myself that it was okay; that’s why it’s called yoga practice.

photo (1)It was also true when some presenters and peers used nuanced, academic language that I didn’t easily digest (this is not a complaint–these are just educated, eloquent folks!) and a small part of me felt like an imposter. What do I really know about educational technology, I wondered. What can I contribute?

ETUG met Hollywood, however, when my thoughts wandered to actress Jennie Garth. Garth reportedly puts Post-it notes on her mirror with positive messages like “You are enough.” In an interview with Health magazine, she said, “So often we walk around and feel inferior—not smart enough or thin enough.” And so I reminded myself that it was okay. I’m a practicing professional. I’m enough exactly the way I am.

Chatting with Nancy via Twitter, she affirmed, “It’s not about mastery, it’s about creating the future as we practice.” A-ha! That practice thing again. So I don’t have to be perfect (ha!) or have all the answers. I wrote back, “Love it. I like to think it’s also about creating the now.”

Essentially, this call to collectively create the future–now–is my favourite spring workshop takeaway. I love the invitation to engage, be together and be unleashed; the invitation to make magic, consider our power as social artists and to “learn by failing forward.”

Wanna fail forward with me? #etug

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