SPARK Day 25: Identify Your 10 Things


Spark Jan 2014Welcome to SPARK Day 25– the next to last day of SPARK!  And, today, we’re completing an exercise I have been doing each month for almost two years now: a list of ten good things.  Here’s the scoop.

At the end of each month, I take stock of the previous month.  What went well?  What did I learn?  What brought me a simple joy?  These monthly reports are a way to encourage myself to take delight in the littlest of things.  I find that Ten Things I Loved allows me to always see the silver lining, even when there are hard moments in a month.  Taking joy in the simple things is paramount to how I want to live which makes 10 things an invaluable tool for me.  Here’s this month’s simple pleasures.

Spark Jan 2014
 1.  SPARK!  I was really excited about turning the calendar to 2014.  I wanted to set just the right tone for myself, get into my best practices right away, and really build some momentum after a December that was an emotional and physical quagmire.  Choosing to share some of my practices with you through SPARK was also a great way to reinforce them with myself.  While January wasn’t as full of ease and flow as I would have liked (Happy was out of school A LOT for weather and I’ve got my standard it’s been four weeks since my last one sinus infection brewing right now), but there was lots of forward progress and I am happy with the foundation that has been laid.  Did you enjoy SPARK?  Come back in February for SHINE as we focus on philosophies to nurture and flame our self-acceptance.  More on that on Saturday!
2.  visionSPARK!  Oh my goodness! One of my best New Year’s traditions is hosting visionSPARK.  I am just WILD about this event.   Amazing women gather together with women that they are just meeting and get real and excited about what they want to craft out of this new year and then they set about to capture it in one simple, powerful word and in beautiful, inspiring vision boards.  This year, I added a 3rd local offering and so I rode the visionSPARK high for three days!  The inspiration is still carrying me.  
3.  CHOOSING THRIVE!    My 2013 word was a bit of a bust.  It just didn’t really capture what I most needed out of 2013 and about halfway through the year, I thought, what my word really should be is “abundance.”  So for a while, though I started to center my 2013 energy on abundance, I was also thinking that I’d already figured out my 2014 word well in advance.  Then, as December started clicking along, HARMONY came to me as my word for 2014.  As I reflected on that more, I realized I wanted harmony in a very specific part of my life and that the word itself wasn’t broad enough to capture the feeling that I most wanted to have in all of my life.  So, harmony was a good sub-focus in one area but it wasn’t it so I circled back around to abundance.  As I thought more about it, I realized that abundance wasn’t quite it either as it felt like it could elicit some “careful what you wish for” sentiments later on.  I didn’t want to have too much of some things and so calling out for abundance felt a little like a dare.  I didn’t want my cup to overflow as much as I wanted my cup to have all the right things in it at the right amount.  I want to thrive- to have a lush, radiant daily life and big picture life that is heaping with inspiration and clarity and goodness but isn’t too much, overbearing, exhausting.  To flourish but not wilt.  So here’s to a thriving 2014!          
4.  2014 VISIONBOARD.  I typically create my vision board for my new year on my birthday (since it is mid-November), but BF took my last birthday off so we could spend it together and he was certainly not thinking that it included helping me to trim my carefully chosen words and images down to just the right size.  So, I put off making my vision board until the new year AND I only made one (for the last couple years, I have made 2 boards: a professional one and a personal one).  While I wasn’t sure about it at all while I was creating it, I am really happy with the end product.  There are some powerful longer quotes that really speak to me on the board (not so long but really fun is: what I want to do is uplift consciousness, heal the planet, and boogie.  That Carlos Santana quote sounds just about perfect!),  but there are also words and images that pack a powerful inspirational punch.  While I never found the word thrive (yes, I could have pieced it together but didn’t feel that compelled to do that), I did find a photo that captured it for me: the woman carrying so many flowers you cannot even see her upper body and the words In Full Bloom.  There are lots of words and images on the board about tapping, maintaining and sharing my light— from that star light to a fortune I found in a recent cookie:  You stand in your own light. Make it shine!— as I strive to radiate (but not harmfully, of course).  And reminders about the work that I wish to do out in the world (The Martha Beck quote: It’s only by starting in a place of peace that we find our purpose and power, feed your soul, and several of the other quotes on the board) and at home (Happy Happy Happy Happy, Celebrate Love,  Make a playdate with your own kid, and a photo of a woman painting on the seaside).  There are nods to Circle de Luz and to just being who and how I want to be in the world.  I’ve propped it in the window of the Sugar Shack, right in front of my desk so that I state at it when I glance up and not at the sad, bare trees beyond.  Here’s to inspiration!  
5.  BACK TO SCHOOL!  I am always so sad to say goodbye to my students at the end of each semester and I worry that my next class won’t gel in the same way.  Yet, that is just a silly worry because EVERY SINGLE TIME, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the way the students who are attracted to a class on Body Image come into the space in such an intentional and receptive way and, together, we get to create something really special together.  My new group is just as grand as any pass group and I’ve even adjusted to my new classroom layout- the kind of collegiate lecture hall where the professor is down on a little platform in front and the rows are tiered up from in an amphitheater.  It TOTALLy threw me off when I walked in there the first day, but we’ve made it work together (especially for discussions which are central to Body Image class).  Very excited about the semester!  
6.  HOT STONE MASSAGE.  There really isn’t more that needs to be said here, is there?  Best Christmas present for sure.
7.  How Children Succeed Summit.  This half-day summit was sponsored by Communities in Schools (one of our partners for Circle de Luz) and America’s Promise Alliance and its national GradNation Campaign.  The summit featured powerful education around drop off indictors (as early as first grade!), poverty impact, the impact of quality teachers, and a keynote address from Paul Tough, the author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and The Hidden Power of Character.  It was so informative and inspiring. I took pages and pages of notes.  And now I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of How Children Succeed from the library so I can read it all.
Rosie holding son
8. FIVE YEARS. We celebrated five years as a family this month.  Wow.  It both seems like the time flew by and that Happy has always been in our lives.  
9.  A CHAPTER A DAY.  I practically didn’t read from Thanksgiving to the New Year so making the commitment to read a chapter a day in January was just what I needed to get back to it.  Three books done and a fourth moving along.  
10.  THIS LATEST SINUS INFECTION.  One of my oldest childhood friends told me that she just thinks of me as snooty.  Not snotty as in I have an attitude but snotty as in there is always something going on with my damn nose.  She knew me in middle school; she knew me in high school; she was a college roommate.  She’s had enough exposure to how I sound to know.  But the thing is that while the problem always started in my nose, it spiraled out of control FAST.  Seriously, I go from post nasal drip to infection in about a day.  I go from sinus infection to tonsillitis in about two days and from tonsillitis to bronchitis in about three days.  And, usually, just for good measure, this is all accompanied by ear infections.  About six or seven years ago, I was fed up with all of it and because I saw my tonsils as the problem (that was what hurt the worst), I saw an ENT who said that my tonsils definitely had to go.  He also took one look up my nose and suggested sinus surgery, too (that he could just take care of while I was already under for my tonsils).  But since I, non-doctor that I am, saw my tonsils as the problem, I agreed to tonsil surgery and not sinus surgery.  Well, the good news is no more tonsillitis and, hence, less bronchitis.  The bad news is that I am still friggin’ snotty more often than not.  So after a sinus infection that knocked me on my tush in December and another one this month, I loudly declared that I was done.  DONE.  DONE.  I would love to not have to have surgery but who knows what my quest to end the sinus infections will bring.  What I do know is that I put out a call for feedback and have gotten tons of great suggestions.  I’m working every angle and will certainly update you here if I land on something that makes me a less snotty person.  In the meantime, I am grateful that this sinus infection landed at a time where I wasn’t so worn down from everything else and I could just look squarely at it and say, “This isn’t my normal anymore.”  It gave me just the impetus I needed to come out swinging.  Here’s to the good fight.  
Now, tell me about your January?  What did you love?             
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2 responses to “SPARK Day 25: Identify Your 10 Things”

  1. Cecile

    I had my first hot stone massage this week… What a delight!

  2. 10 Things I Loved In February 2014 | Teacher Goes Back to School

    […] the last few months I have been doing these reflection posts after being inspired by Rosie’s. Taking time each month to reflect on the good things that happen each day/week/month has done […]

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