Monday, June 7, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 158: Celebrate the Success of Others

I think I posted this lesson before in another context. Can't help it, there's too much to celebrate. I came home from teaching a little tired and worn out. Nothing exciting to report until I looked down on my dining room table and there it was. A book!

Not just any book, a book from a blogger friend. I can't tell you exactly when I *met* Tony Anders from Ohio. Well, we've only met virtually. Yet, like many online friends I have crossed paths with here and other places, I feel like I know him well.

Today I received something tangible from Tony. Something that I could actually hold in my hands. A gift. It was such a different experience. When you type a comment to someone on a blog, there's feeling there. But when you hold an actual book sent to you by someone you met through the internet, suddenly things feel "real"...that this is a real person with real emotions who really exists. Not to say that you all don't exist out there, but sometimes I wonder. Sometimes I wish we could all meet up. I'm going to make that one of my goals. Maybe I won't be able to meet all of you, but I'd at least like to meet some of you.

Anyway, Tony Anders has a wonderful blog called Artisan of the Human Spirit which is also the name of his book. He is also a writer on a collaborative blog I started called Writers Rising which now has 34 authors. I asked Tony if I could buy an autographed copy of his book. He was so sure that my book would be published that he sent me a copy in exchange for mine when it comes out. On the first page of the book he wrote:


Thanks for being a good friend in my writing journey! I hope our paths cross someday and we can celebrate our writing success over tea and yoga!

Tony Anders,

I sure hope we will do that Tony! Signs have been appearing lately. I think if we pay close enough attention, they are always there. Tony's book on my dining room table this evening really made my day and I felt it was a sign. In celebrating the success of others, we are actually celebrating our own success because we are all connected. It depends what we decide to tune in to. I decided to randomly flip open Tony's book as I was eagerly looking for more messages or signs.

The booked opened to a chapter entitled, "Why Not?" And I have to give you a little book preview as Tony's words really spoke to me. He said:

To me, the fact that anyone is reading these words is a miracle. My writing, as well as a plethora of other desires and goals, have been postponed, shattered and shunned by my biggest critic: me! Fear (False Evidence Appearing Real) and insecurity rented space in my head for so long I started to believe I did not deserve or live up to what was mine for the taking. I spooked myself, procrastinated, and then disappointed me and others. No longer will I live in fear and sabotage my own potential.

I have certainly been there. It took me years before I was willing to share anything I had written with the public. I didn't feel what I wrote was worthy enough for others to read. It wasn't flowery or lyrical enough, I didn't have a fancy vocabulary or earth shattering things to share. Just a few days ago I posted "Take a Nap," sure that that would put everyone to sleep. It actually got quite a few comments and an e-mail from....of all mother! She loved the post. Maybe we don't need to put this pressure on ourselves to be "amazing." Maybe what people are drawn to is who we are, just as we are. We don't need to add or subtract anything to what makes up us. We are wonderful as we are.

Thanks for making me realize this today Tony! You are wonderful as you are and I celebrate your success today. I am very happy for you my friend and I hope you sell many copies of your book! Peace to you, Katherine

Here's a little video I made after I received your book today. I am in my front yard garden. I am speaking softly, so sorry if you can't hear me very well, but the neighbors were playing ball in their yard next door and were a little puzzled at who I was talking to ^_^!

Start the day with recess

The onward plodding slowed as we approached the building. Even though we are approaching the final three days of school, it is still school for three more days nonetheless. The weekend’s freedom was coming to an end, and the students in the courtyards and playgrounds started to converge on the doorways leading to the classroom.

As the children tried to find order in their excitement to prepare for their calmer “school-accepted” volumes and demeanor, the teacher emerged from the doorway. Normally she stands back and holds the door for the youngsters, allowing them passage. Today she extended her arms, keeping them at bay and forcing them to retreat and not enter the school room. The kids were shocked at their interrupted routine.

The teacher spoke these heavenly words: “Children, leave your backpacks here on the steps. Today we are starting the day with recess!”

The sky’s parted. Heaven appeared before all. Once the statement sunk in, my son raised his hands and shrieked as if exalting to the witness of a biblical miracle. It was the kind of shriek that I know windows shattered, car alarms went off, flocks of birds flew away, dogs started barking and forest animals jerked their head in startled amazement.

What a pleasant surprise!

Okay I am forty five years old; I still want to be able to start my day with recess from time-to-time. Maybe I can. I guess our interpretation of recess has maybe changed. I am aware that if I were to join the kids on the swings in the morning that is, well ...just creepy. I find that recess is simply a pleasurable break in the routine. “What” the break encompasses is subject to personal interpretation.

Upon reflection, I find that I have been finding ways to incorporate “recess” into my schedule recently; especially in the mornings. Since I often hit the ground running due to my obligations to my kids and having to get them off in time, I have found a greater need to regroup. Adhering to a strict and tight schedule can be something to admire, but to fill every moment of every day dedicated to a specific task can wear a body thin.

I have added 15 minutes to my alarm clock in the morning. I find that this is ample amount to be able to sip down a mug of coffee, catch up on some news, emails, or light headlines prior to getting the kids off.

I walk my kids to school in good weather. A little exercise never hurts anyone. On the way home today I had a pleasant conversation with the neighbor dog. It had been a while. It was good to see Scout again.

I also find that my music player is a great way to achieve recess at any given moment. My trips to the grocery, walks in the neighborhood, and other simple tasks take on a more serene feel in the presence of music. There is just something calming when life has a cool soundtrack. I have a tendency to look at things with more of a “cinematic appreciation.” I star in my own movie.

I guess for us adults, we need to find things that allow us to disconnect from the grind and recharge, if only momentarily. We often exclaim that we “do not have the time” for simple diversions, however we often find time for the “Today Show” or the “Bachelorette.” Hours and hours of it. I remember in school as a child, recess was often fifteen minutes long, and was a most treasured fifteen minutes at that. Try to retrieve your precious quarter hour my friends.

As we grow on and grow old, we mustn’t drift from the idea that recess is exclusively for children. Children are just wise enough to expect it as a nourishing part of their day. Of course we may look foolish if we were to run, arms a flailing, screaming, and twirling in circles; but wouldn’t it feel great?

The business man with his tie extended from his next in the centrifuge of a carousel, giggling with eyes closed hoping to not throw up. Maybe using his briefcase as a way to slide down a hill. Perhaps the female executive climbing a tree in her skirt, not concerned with social inappropriateness and brushing her hands off on the front of her readily available blouse. Restyling hair for the afternoon would be simply brushing your bangs out of your face on the way back to the boardroom. Okay maybe not. But it is fun to think about, and creates a comical mental picture.

Remember recess is where we exercise a little, temporarily lay down the routine, thumb our noses at the schedules, and simply “be.” We play, we live.

Simply we must remember to just take a few minutes. This gift we give to ourselves allows us to better give to others. We can start our day with recess. We can fit in some fun, some activity, some exercise; something that recharges and prepares us. We just have to prioritize it.

So twirl on my friends, run with arms in the air, and scream. And before anyone else says it: “Dibs on the swing!”

Tony Anders
Repost from Artisan of the Human Spirit