Tag Archives: learning

Their Faces

We are all still trying to enjoy and eke out the best last bits of summer. No one wants to think about back to school things but I have to bring it up because of their faces.

I’m talking about the faces of the school children and their parents. In our community we are less that three weeks away from our 6th Annual Connect GCISD Back to School Fair where the economically disadvantaged students in our school district receive full school supply packs, backpacks, clothing and a huge array of district and community resources all in a one hour stop.

I’ve seen the joy on the children’s faces when they select their own brand new backpack and when they receive a huge bundle of supplies appropriate for their grades. I’ve seen them when they see their principals and teachers there; their school nurse and other adults in the community. I’ve seen the relief on the parents’ faces too as their children are provided for and ready to start school, equipped to learn. The teachers and counselors faces beam as well because they know they won’t have to scramble in those hectic first days of school making sure all their students have the basic supplies to be successful.

Every year we get a little better at the fair’s logistics.  This year, over 1300 children are pre-registered. We know from experience, the children and their parents will show up. This year, for the first time, we are not scrambling through the summer to provide funds for the school supplies. Because of the fundraising efforts of the Women’s Division of the Grapevine Chamber and because of generous donations to Connect, all the school supply packs have already been paid for.  I love our community, by the way.

Our community vendors, civic organizations, police and fire, faith based organizations are all ready to serve these families. Dentists are coming with their toothbrushes; vision screenings will be done by the Lion’s Club (every year we find hundreds of children who need glasses). Families will receive information about parenting and the services of GRACE (Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange). Even children who qualify but didn’t get pre-registered will receive school supplies from GRACE at the fair.

Really, we just need two things:

1) We need elementary age new backpacks. The little kid backpacks are the most fun to buy. Drop them off between now and August 3 at the GCISD Administration office, 3501 Ira E Woods Ave, Grapevine, 76051  Last year some people ordered from Amazon and had them shipped to this address. Do that!

2) And, we need you the day of the fair, Saturday, August 5 from 8-noon at Grapevine High School. 18 and older please! We like every single family to have a guide who walks them through the fair. We will teach you how and make you comfortable. We want these families to be seen, to feel loved and equipped and a personal guide seems to be a great way to do it.  Sign up here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0b4eaeac23a5f49-6thannual or respond below and we will be in touch.

Last year, a little girl I know from the community, rushed up to me to give me a hug and showed me her new pink princess backpack. She said, “I saw my principal and my teacher from last year and they said they can’t wait to see me when school starts!” Her face was radiant. Faces are attached to hearts. That little girl felt loved and valued….and, I’m sure, ready to learn.

No one wants to think about back to school just yet, but we will, together, because of their faces.

     

If Only I Could Write While Doing Yoga

One of my new ventures this year is a yoga class twice a week. Obviously, I am several centuries/generations/cultures behind others who have engaged in this ancient physical/spiritual practice over time. I’m 100% aware of how late I am to this game. I am still very much a back row beginner and super clear on the fact that I know almost nothing about yoga.

There is, however, an ancient saying, When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.  I think it just took me a while to be ready for what yoga had to teach me.

I love the quietness of it. I love the stretching and the physical challenge. I love that our teacher said early on yoga is not supposed to hurt.  I tell myself when it starts hurting, which helps. I love noting my steady progress. Some things I absolutely could not do at the beginning, I do pretty well now.

What I was not expecting were the life lessons. Last class, I wished for a notepad to jot down what our teacher was saying. Then, I realized, of course, writing would not be possible while doing yoga. You pretty much need your hands to hold you up, balance, stretch and pose.

So, I can only share the good lessons that I remember. Here are a few:

Yoga is not a competitive sport. It is all about what you challenge yourself to do. This is so refreshing. 100% of my focus is on what I can do better each time, stretching a little further, balancing a little longer and no one else.

This teaching is closely related to one I made up. No one is looking at you in your yoga pants because they are focusing on their own balance, poses and issues. Get over it. 

Falling is part of the pose. Don’t worry about it. I almost screamed with delight when she taught us this. Falling is part of the pose! It is also part of every single thing I’ve ever experienced in life. Imagine finding a way to tell yourself with each fall, “this is fall is part of the pose.”

In the course of each class, there are resting moments sprinkled among the hard ones. Our teacher says, Enjoy the pause. Drink it in.  I want to do that better in life: enjoying the break, the weekend, the deep breath, the nap, the meal, the drink of water, the park bench, the good night’s sleep.

At the end we do this relaxing thing. It is only a few minutes long and it has long yoga name.  Our teacher talks us through relaxing every part of our body, softening, she says. Soften your forehead, your face and so on. As everything softens she says, now, relax more deeply.  This also makes me want to scream in happiness. Did anyone out there know you can relax more deeply than even your most relaxed self?

Our teacher says, search your body and your soul and let go of what you do not need.  It is okay to let go of what you do not need. Just, let it go. I’m still happy screaming, silently and in a relaxed way, of course.  

At the end, with prayer hands, we whisper Namaste to each other. This means the divine in me honors the divine in you.  In today’s world, I believe that one word, Namaste, could possibly transform everyone and everything.  What if we honored the divine in every single person we met, from every single walk of life? What if the Republicans and Democrats started with that? Or, the Christians and Muslims? Or people of each race? I could go on and on. Namaste.

The pose in the picture is called the Half Moon. I can pretty much do that pose and hold it when I’m not falling (which as I mentioned is part of the pose.) I think it is pretty close to a full on cartwheel. Namaste and happy silent screaming to you.