NEXT.

universeLooking back I can see all the uncanny signs that Barcelona, Spain wasn’t meant to be, but I didn’t imagine that we’d be moving to Laos. Yes, that’s right, I’ve accepted a contract and we are moving to Vientiane, Laos. For the last two months, my husband and I have had the mantra: let’s create a move that works for all of us (My husband, my daughter and me). This triple win was an essential component of our decision-making process. We’ve been grappling with making this choice for the last 2 weeks since it meant that I would have to defer leadership opportunities at other IB schools and merely be “just a teacher”–when I shared my worry out loud, one of my cherished colleagues at school reprimanded me for framing it as an insult. I’m really grateful that she told me off because she gave me an important perspective and I needed to reflect on my litmus test for my next position. Making decisions based upon job titles when our life’s work should be about joy, is how our ego can be our own undoing.

Ego always prevents you from accomplishing the success that you want to have. ..It’s not that ego prevents you from what you want to do. It’s that ego prevents you from what you want to do next….So you can never stop being a student because students are humble-they know that there is someone above them that can teach them.

Ryan Holiday, author of Ego is the Enemy

Last year I read Where Good Ideas Come From, by Steven Johnson and this book’s premise of the moving towards the adjacent possible has left a residue on my soul. I caconnectionnnot shake the excitement of developing innovation, especially in education. I’m a progressive educator and I really wanted to work at a school that was absorbed in this process.  When I shared that I had interviews with Vientiane International School, several of my colleagues got excited for me, and more than one person said that it was a “dream school”. As I engaged in dialogue about curriculum and education during my interviews at VIS, it was the oddest sort of communion that one might feel when they are undergoing a vetting process. I began to understand why it was such a highly respected school in Asia.  I feel like I have signed up for a journey towards this “adjacent possible” and I am grateful that I get to be a “just a teacher”, fully engaged and focused on cultivating the next generation of leaders, inventors, writers, diplomats, engineers, doctors, artists, entrepreneurs, and educators. Etc….

Even though it may seem on the outside that I have strayed from a certain professional trajectory, I have come to trust my intuition, being infinitely surprised by how magic and miracles show up when I lean in with faith. It felt the best fit for our whole family, and I look forward to seeing what opportunities will emerge for my husband now, as he looks to work at NGOs and/or in the hydroelectricity field.  Life is full of surprises and zig-zags, and sometimes you just have to adjust your sails so you can catch the wind. This past year has definitely been the case.

Although I intend to savor my current experience here in China, I am finishing the sentences of this chapter of my life.

Next.

 

 

It’s in the Refrigerator

the refrigerator

Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson was one of the books on my summer reading list. I chose it because I don’t know anything about basketball–about any sports, really, for that matter.It was a challenging text for me because it is so out of the context that I am aware of, but reading it meant that I would have no expectation, good or bad.  Surprisingly this Zen Basketball Coach offered a fresh perspective on difficult experiences that made me deeply reflect on my role as a leader. And, I almost want to watch basketball now. (almost)

I feel like in order to move forward with the future challenges of this year, I have to accept the losses of last year. Get over it. Move on. Phil Jackson reminded me that “the soul of success is surrendering to what is”.  Zen Master Jakusho Kwong also suggests being an active participant in experiencing loss and understand on some level that loss is a catalyst for growth. Not only do I have to embrace the mistakes, the confusion and grief that resulted in some of the decisions made last year, but I have to “put it in the refrigerator”–realizing that it’s over, letting it cool and later appreciating the lessons that come from them.

Yep, letting go and closing the door on that chapter!

Awareness of Unawareness- Is this a Pathway to Achievment?

Dr. Craig and Dr. Richard made did a great job summarizing the week’s learning in this video.  All the discussions, articles and activities got me reflecting on how I focus my attention on tasks and use my thoughts to either generate affirming ideas or defeating ones.

After contemplating this week about how frequently I am “mindless”, allowing my attention to be diverted by my personal thoughts and the thoughts and opinions of ideas, I am wondering if all of this spent energy and time could have channeled into more productive things. And I’ve been also thinking about leaders who have been moving the masses toward a common goal. Clearly Nobel Peace prize winners must have had focused minds that helped them to overcome challenges and helped them to achieve great things.

CHG_muhammad_yunus1

Is my mind wandering into “what ifs” that are moving me forward in my life’s goal or are they causing me stagnation and distress? That’s the big question that has erupted as the result of paying attention to my breath and my body sensation. I never expected these deeper questions to develop but I am enjoying the process of unplugging from my thoughts, creating space between my opinions and “reality” and cultivating an openness for creativity and inspiration to emerge.

I am amazed by what has floated to the top, as ideas and thoughts have surfaced through this week’s journey into mindfulness. But as Dr. Craig explains that this is not a one-off practice but a commitment to developing “mindful moments” throughout our days.

That’s my goal for next week: can I raise my awareness?