Lean on Me

All You Have to Do is Ask

I am facing a new task for this school year. I am not teaching college students like I have done in the last 11 years. No, I am going to be teaching 4th graders for this coming year. It is a one-off situation this year because of COVID and the need for more teachers this year. This is a good challenge for me. It has been 25 years since I’ve taught 4th graders. However, sometimes life surprises you and you have to go with it.

When I first realized in March that my income was not what it had been because of the uncertainty of COVID I was knocked back like someone had hit me in the stomach. I was looking for other jobs but as we all know that the job market fell apart. I felt like I was failing my family and it was very depressing. However, as a family we were able to get through the difficult times. 

Situations like this can often bring up the best and sometimes the worst depending on your attitude and belief. These are difficult times for most people. However, the most important thing is that you remember that you have skills, determination, resources, and people that will support you. 

There may be difficult times that will come up but remember that you have people that will be there for you. It is important to turn to others and ask for help. Everybody needs help. Remember, you don’t get help unless you ask for it. There are always people that can help you. All you have to do is ask for it.

Don’t Stand So Close to Me

I miss people

I saw The Police perform at Hollywood Park in 1983. They were an amazing band live and their energy was electric. The thing that I remember was getting there with my friends and making sure that we sang all the songs and we didn’t miss any of their songs. There were three other popular bands that night, but The Police were absolutely amazing. 

However, I do remember the beginning of the day just as the concert opened up. My memory is still vivid because we were only able to take a few steps at a time and most people were pushing and shoving. I loved that concert– pushing and shoving included. It makes me somewhat sad because despite all the people, and not being the type of person who enjoys being jostled, it was the best concert I have ever experienced. I would love to just see people at a concert again. 

I would not have said something like that before COVID-19 but I do now. I miss people. I miss seeing their faces and watching their expressions. The tone of their voices and their smiles and frowns. I miss people. Let’s hope that 2021 will bring us back to shaking hands and embracing others.  

Don’t Stop Believing

Take the First Step on Your Journey

We always have another choice. We may not like the other choices before us, but they do exist. Often, we believe that there is only one viable solution, but the truth is that there are many choices before us. Our challenge is to narrow those choices and follow what we believe. However, if we don’t stop believing you might find that your own belief is standing right beside you waiting for you to go all in whatever thing you want to do. This is a difficult time for everyone. People are scared with good reason, but you can’t just wait for things to happen. You are the one that needs to take the reins.  

This is about believing in the journey. These are difficult times for most everyone but the road that you take can bring you back to a different time that was not so chaotic. For me, I am going back to teaching this year in an elementary school. I haven’t taught elementary school in the last twenty years. I am excited and somewhat nervous because it has been so long. On the other hand, no matter how things turn out I will remember things that I had forgotten and learn about what’s new. It is exciting and I know that I will learn a great deal.

In the end, we sometimes find ourselves right back where we started. That is not uncommon. However, being able to see what you have gained during the process can be very precious. That can be gift to learn once again. Be thankful for your journey during these difficult times. 

Some Ideas for Changing Your Daily Routine

 It begins with movement

Time to get up and start with the good vibes to help motivate your mind, body, and soul! 

We are all being challenged by COVID-19 and the rest of the trials and tribulations that we are meeting daily. It is very important to find your daily routines. 

Physical movement is important. Whether it is walking/running, going to a gym, lifting weights, or doing yoga it is important part of your daily and/or weekly routine. The blood is flowing, the body warms up, the negative thoughts are harder to hear when the blood is pumping and the endorphins are released.

If you are a prayer person or a spiritual person, spend some time each day in prayer. Ask for the things that you want to attain.

Positive affirmations are a must. Create these affirmations according to your beliefs.  I am exercising and my body is getting stronger. I am strengthening my connection with a higher power. I feel good about the work that I am doing. 

Just get moving. If you are looking for a job make that your intention. Look for new job ads. Talk to people that are doing what you would like to do and ask questions. What training do I need? What experience is needed? How do I start?

Finally, be patient through the process. Remember that we are in a pandemic and it might take a longer time to find what you are looking for. Stay positive, focused, and believe in yourself!!

Livin’ on a Prayer

We’re Halfway There

Half the year is gone and what a year it is. I don’t think many (or any, to be honest) anticipated the first half year such as this one. But here we are. And yes, Bon Jovi had it right, it does feels like we are living on a prayer. It may not be what we expected but it is our reality for now. We don’t know exactly what the next 6 months will bring us, but we do know that there will be a very important election, more COVID-19 with possible different strains, and other social issues from now to the end of the year.

So, what do we do? As always, we push through. We put on the masks, we work from home, we do what we have to do to make life livable. It is difficult to change our routines and how we manage our lives, but this is what is needed now. It is us coming up with the ideas. There is no magic wand. It is just us doing the work. 

To make it a little fun perhaps you might come up with 3-5 songs that describe the times we are going through. Then play them and challenge other friends or family to come up with their own songs. 

Time to Listen and Take Action

How will you be a catalyst for change?

There is no point in trying to start anywhere else other than the start. Where do you stand on the events in the last weeks? How do you feel about what is going on in our country? What steps are you willing to take for what you believe in? 

If we sit back and expect others to do the work that we want to change then nothing will be accomplished because each and everybody needs to be a catalyst to make change for the better of our country (and the world). We may not always see things the same way with others and that is allowed, but there is no room for people who literally shoot first and ask questions later. It is beyond important to express what you believe during the protests. Each voice matters but people of black and brown heritage have mostly not been heard until now. We need to listen because violence continues all over the United States. This is not something new to people of color. However, the marches going all around America and the world show that many people are now waking up to the call for action. What is your call?  As American citizens, it is our civic duty to vote in local, state, and national elections.  Everyone needs to rock the vote!  

How will you be a catalyst for change?

Times Like These

Peering over the Pandemic Wall

It’s times like these you learn to live again.” The Foo Fighters got it right. We are learning to live again particularly because our own existence is at stake and nothing is a given. At the same time, we have to take the chances that we get. Step out into your neighborhood and get to know people. This is not something that I would have said three months ago, but now I’ve met some of my neighbors and I feel like I know some people that are helpful people, particularly in a pandemic. Four months ago, I would not have ever uttered the word pandemic or COVID-19 but here we are. This is a different time.

We all know now that anything can happen at any time. However, we are peering over the pandemic wall that is soon to be a return to work or finding a new place to work.

We all need to be better people to others. We need to believe and embrace that we are better people than what we show sometimes as individuals. We need to be more understanding of others.

If you have the time this holiday weekend, consider talking to one of your neighbors and see how they are doing. I did this recently with one of my neighbors and he let me know that he had bought a screen about the size of a garage door where he plans to project Disney movies on the weekends. It is a nice and safe way to watch a movie with others but still respecting the six-foot rule for social distancing. It seems like a nice way to be social with our neighbors and getting to know them better. 

Thanks to the Foo Fighters as well! 

Once in a Lifetime

Letting the Days Go By

If you are a fan of the Talking Heads you will know the song Once in a Lifetime. The lyrics in this song are very compelling to me right now because often we do let the days go by and now everyone’s problem is that it isn’t the same as it ever was. We all know that time goes by, but now we are acutely aware that it is passing slowly because we no longer are able to go to the park or to theatres, or even just to eat as a family or with friends. That is what we are dealing with right now.

We cannot look at this pandemic like it is something that we can schedule on the calendar because it goes to its own beat. The days of “same as it ever was” is not a given anymore. Who would have thought that this would be the new normal? And yet, many people seem to have more time to devote to their loved ones. Look at it as a gift. Spend that time wisely and if you can, have some fun with your family or friends.

Look, this is my first pandemic, and I am viewing this situation as something to find meaning and hope from. The opportunity is there. Take the time to be with your loved ones. If you want to try something different here are two examples: (1) Start writing a journal or filming a video journal so that you will remember what it was like during the pandemic; (2) Make a theme dinner once a week. It could be a who done it mystery or just the dinner is a mystery. 

Spend the time with your loved ones. Those are the people count most in our lives!

Find Your Anchors

Having Trouble Getting Started? So Am I – Here are some ideas…

I have been waiting for something to happen workwise and it hasn’t yet. I have been feeling lost waiting to get back to work and not knowing when I will be back. In these situations, we often stop doing the things that have been so useful for our routine. You get up, stretch, read, meditate, write, or whatever works for you. When we no longer have a job or some type of reason to get up and face the world, the tendency is to forget our routines and practices that are so important to us when we are really busy. When working we become little geniuses that can find creative ways to make our time matter. But when we go into a mode of having finished a project, moving to the next job, having time for other things, or simply having trouble finding a new job, our infrastructure tends to fall apart or completely disappears. 

Number 1:  Stop worrying about your situation and find your anchors. Your anchors are the things that you like and feel confident about. This is your solid ground. This is where you can show what you can do even if you are not getting paid. It could be helping out a friend in their business, volunteering at a school, or displaying your talents in some different arena. We are always much more comfortable when we are working and helping others. Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves about how knowledgeable and skilled we are and how helpful we can be.

Number 2:  Take a step forward or take one back, but movement is key. Maybe take that step backward because you put too much on your plate. Your expectations might be not in tune with where you are in life. Or, maybe it is time for a step forward and a greater challenge. Sometimes we need to push ourselves further so we can see if we can handle it. Again, often times we get stuck in a rut. But remember, if we are stuck we simply need to find the movement that will help extricate us from whatever is holding us back. 

Number 3: Reach out to someone that knows you and supports you. Often we have trouble reaching out to others because of embarrassment, pride, and not wanting others to know what is going on with you. This is something that I suffer from. I don’t like to give out information when things are not going well. At the same time, I lament that I could use some help. Well, you and I cannot get help unless we ask for it. I am a life coach and I still struggle with this concept. But the way I see it, if I am willing to write this for anyone to read then reaching out doesn’t seem that bad. 

In conclusion, if you have reached this point of the article then you are ready to change your patterns and find your help. Reach into yourself and/or reach out to someone you trust. The moment you take that step you are starting the process of getting help and getting back on track. Go with it and see how things can change for you!