To open each day, one of the first things I like to do in the morning is turn up the blinds in my home and let natural light shine through. Similarly, when I walk into my classroom in the morning and find the dark curtains closed, I immediately open them for a burst of energy to kickstart the day.
Once I have this natural light streaming in and the energy flowing, there’s one little trick I do to intensify those positive vibes. Almost considered old school with our iPad screens projecting these days, I scribble a handwritten note on the board. It can be a quotation or word of the day, a run-down of the day’s agenda, or a simple “Good Morning.” As messy as my handwriting can be, it’s a surprisingly effective way to lift the spirits.
The act of writing something down – and then reading it – forces our minds to focus on those words and the feelings they create. Try this: write a happy little note or quotation and put it in a place that you’ll see often: on the refrigerator, on a post-it note stuck onto your bathroom mirror, on a scrap paper tucked inside your wallet or purse… Every time your eyes gaze upon that note, make a point to take a moment and really READ the words. Think about what they mean, why you wrote them, and how they make you feel. Take a moment to try this little trick and I bet your lingering winter days will feel a bit warmer. By the same token, tuck a handwritten encouraging word into the belongings of someone you love to discover later in the day and, voilà, you’ve just made his or her day a little brighter.
That’s the power of writing . . .
Here’s something on one of my blackboards at home right now . . .
What is your passion?! What’s that one thing you fall back on to escape from your everyday trials and tribulations? Your feel-good activity guaranteed to make you feel exhilarated, refreshed and alive? Mine is dance. My dancing in the living room as a little girl translated into many dance classes from junior high through post-college. Ballet, jazz, modern, character . . . it didn’t matter what I took. I even wrote about the physical and emotional benefits of dance for my senior expository research paper (a class I now teach!) – and I still have that paper. After my daughter was born, my dancing feet moved into the basement where we had a ballet bar for me and a matching lower bar for my mini-me. While I haven’t taken formal classes on a regular basis for some time and the bars are long gone, dance will always resonate in my soul. I still race to the basement to dance it out – even if only for a few moments. Let the music play . . . words about dance → →→
Dancing can reveal all the mystery that music conceals. ~Charles Baudelaire (yes, yes!)
Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order. ~Samuel Beckett
There is a bit of insanity in dancing that does everybody a great deal of good. ~Edwin Denby
The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie. ~Agnes de Mille
Dancing faces you towards Heaven, whichever direction you turn. ~Terri Guillemets
Dancers are the messengers of the gods. ~Martha Graham (love her!)
Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen? ~Friedrich Nietzsche
You can dance anywhere, even if only in your heart. ~Author Unknown
There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them. ~Vicki Baum (so true!)
You don’t stop dancing from growing old, you grow old from stopping to dance. – Author Unknown
Fresh from this evening’s EC Ning Webstitute, “Work with Me: The Essence of Authentic Collaboration,”
I’m devoting my most recent collection of Quotable Quotations to the art of collaboration. Teamwork!
- “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” ~Henry Ford
- “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” ~Isaac Newton Ask the experts, work with the best of the best.
- “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” ~ Ryunosuke Satoro
- “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” ~ Anonymous
- “Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it.” ~Bill Bradley . . . a good formula to follow
- “Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe A little goes a long way if we all pitch in.
- “One piece of log creates a small fire, adequate to warm you up, add just a few more pieces to blast an immense bonfire, large enough to warm up your entire circle of friends; needless to say that individuality counts but team work dynamites.” ~ Jin Kwon
- “It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.” ~ Anonymous
- “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” ~ Henry Ford Everything has a way of falling into place.
- “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery . . . The author of one of my favorites, “The Little Prince.”
- “Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.” ~ Andre Gide I like this one a lot!!
I’m so proud of the person my daughter has become and all she’s accomplished. Now that she is a college student, I thought I’d take a few moments to post some of life’s little lessons I’ve instilled in her throughout these beautifully blessed 18 years. The young woman she has become and continues to grow into attests that she’s been listening. 🙂
- The world is your oyster. You CAN build your own future and the possibilities are limited only by you.
- It’s okay to change your mind.
- Experiment. Dabble. Reinvent.
- Reading is fun. It’s an everyday part of life!
- Write it down. It’s magic – things happen more swiftly and productively when you get it on paper.
- Finish your work first and you’ll be able to relax and have more play time.
- Sometimes you have to drop everything and dance it out!
- Expose yourself to all types of activities. Music, dance, theatre, art, sports . . . try it ALL and then decide what you truly want to stick with.
- Make friends in all types of circles. You can never have too many and having friends of all ages, interests, and backgrounds makes life all the richer.
- All problems have a solution.
- All things lost are eventually found.
- Issues are more clear in the morning.
- Forget the bad; remember the good.
- There is a reason for everything.
- Life has a way of turning out for the best.
As a teacher, summer serves as a time for reflection and renewal – both on a professional and personal level. These are resonating particularly strongly in my head these days as I’m starting a new running program. Running is sooooo hard for me which is why I’m finally, finally giving it a serious try ~
“Sit as little as possible. Give no credence to any thought that was not born outdoors while moving about freely.” –Friedrich Nietzsche . . . No matter what my mood, going outside makes me feel better – even when I was attacked on the head by two birds the other night while going for a run (silly scary!).
“Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” –William Faulkner . . . Such a great goal to strive for.
“Obstacles are those frightening things that become visible when we take our eyes off our goals.” –Henry Ford . . . Keep your eye on the prize and everything else will seem less signficant.
“When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” –Theodore Roosevelt . . . What a great way to look at the idea of finding strength when we feel most defeated.
“Sweat cleanses from the inside. It comes from places a shower will never reach.” –Dr. George Sheehan . . . I feel soooo invigorated after a great workout!!!!
“You can have anything you want, if you want it bad enough. You can be anything you want to be, if you hold that desire with singleness of purpose.” –Abraham Lincoln . . . THIS ONE IS MY FAVORITE!!! I truly, truly, truly believe this. I’ve proven this to myself and it is what I’ve been teaching my daughter since day one. I could write a huge, lengthy post on my belief as to how this affects all aspects of our lives . . .
“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” –T.S. Eliot . . . Anyone can talk the talk but only those that actually go for it will get anywhere.
“One cannot consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.” –Helen Keller . . . This beautifully illustrates the desire for greatness, for love, for achievement.
“Do give books – religious or otherwise – for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.” ~ Lenore Hershey, author I LOVE to give (and receive!) books as gifts! 🙂
“This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone.” ~ Taylor Caldwell (1900-1985), English novelist. Even when it seems like we are, we are not.
“My first copies of Treasure Island and Huckleberry Finn still have some blue-spruce needles scattered in the pages. They smell of Christmas still.” ~ Charlton Heston, American film actor. I remember my glee from receiving a beautiful anthology of Shakespeare’s work. Of course, I still have it.
“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” ~ Oren Arnold, author This is the ultimate Christmas list! Let’s give everything on this list this year!
“Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in the Holiday Season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the mall. We traditionally do this in my family by driving around the parking lot until we see a shopper emerge from the mall, then we follow her, in very much the same spirit as the Three Wise Men, who 2,000 years ago followed a star, week after week, until it led them to a parking space.“ ~Dave Barry, humor columnist I had to include this one – too funny!
“Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish. Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself.” ~Francis C. Farley Life may be simpler and sweeter if we could do that all year.
“Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.” Larry Wilde, motivational speaker Small children intuitively know what is important; we should follow their lead.
“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” Norman Vincent Peale, preacher This is so true. Everything appears more inviting and peaceful.
“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” Andy Rooney, radio personality Agreed! That’s one mess I don’t mind leaving around for a while.
These are the quotations inspiring me right now ~
Today’s inspiration ~ LOVE
“Sometimes the one thing you are looking for is the one thing you can’t see.” (Anonymous) Ain’t that the truth. Now if only we were more perceptive to what is around us.
“There are two kinds of sparks, the one that goes off with a hitch like a match, but it burns quickly. The other is the kind that needs time, but when the flame strikes… it’s eternal, don’t forget that.” (Timothy Oliviera) I prefer the latter.
“Falling in love consists merely in uncorking the imagination and bottling the common sense.” (Helen Rowland) This is funny but there’s something to it.
“The first duty of love is to listen.” (Paul Tillich) Unlike writing, reading, and speaking, listening is the one communication skill we don’t learn in school, yet it’s the one we practice the most each day.
“When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.“ (Mark Twain) I think we try to think things through too much. It’s better to go with our instincts. That leads us to our true selves and our true loves.
“Those that go searching for love, only manifest their own loveless ness. And the loveless never find love, only the loving find love. And they never have to seek for it.” (D.H. Lawrence) You can’t make something happen or make someone love you. All you can do is be you and let yourself love who you love. The rest falls into place.
“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” (Mother Teresa) And why would we even want to curb that hunger?
“It is never too late to fall in love.” (Anonymous) I don’t think it’s ever too late for just about anything.
“We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.” (Tom Robbins) Something to remember. . .
“A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the “why” for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any ‘how.‘” (Victor Frankl) This is beautiful!!! Now if only people could remember this, the world would be a happier, more peaceful place.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. (Rumi) Wow, wow, wow!!! Words to live by.
“It’s a shame when one is pining over an old, broken love that he/she can’t see the new, real love waiting.” (Anonymous) You can’t change free will.
It’s a rainy night and rainy nights make me dreamy and introspective. Here are a few of my favorite quotations about rain. Let’s not let rain get us down but help us appreciate the good days and the not so good:
I love to run when it’s misting outside. It is exhilarating!! Anyone who says that only sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain. (Grading Girl’s own) 🙂
God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way. (author unknown but it is so beautifully true)
The best thing one can do in the rain is to let it rain. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 19th Century American poet ~ well said)
I believe in running through the rain and crashing into the person you love and having your lips bleed on each other. (Billy Bob Thorton ~ I loooove this!)
Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. (Rabindranath Tagore, Indian poet ~ a wonderful way to look at struggles in our lives)
We will never be an advanced civilization as long as rain showers can delay the launching of a space rocket. (George Carlin ~ too funny!)
It will never rain roses: when we want more roses we must plant more trees. (George Eliot , English Victorian poet ~ makes me stop and think)
So let it rain! What do you do on a rainy day when cooped up inside?!?
Because I’m an English and speech teacher, quotations inspire me to share wisdom. Because I’m a romantic, quotations inspire me to appreciate life.
Today’s inspiration . . . Friendship ~
“Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
– Mark Twain (sounds like summer break to me)
“We all need friends with whom we can speak of our deepest concerns, and who do not fear to speak the truth in love to us.”
– Margaret Guenther (amen)
“It is one of the severest tests of friendship to tell your friend his faults. So to love a man that you cannot bear to see a stain upon him, and to speak painful truth through loving words, that is friendship.”
– Henry Ward Beecher (hard to do, but true)
“The holy passion of friendship is so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring in nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.”
– Mark Twain (his wit is timeless)
” ‘Stay’ is a charming word in a friend’s vocabulary”
– Louisa May Alcott (a charming writer)
“To find a friend one must close one eye; To keep him, two.”
– Norman Douglas (haha . . . there’s something to that)
“Friendship should be surrounded with ceremonies and respects, and not crushed into corners. Friendship requires more time than poor busy men can usually command.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson (transcendentalist with a heart)
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr. (enough said)
There are some quotations that stay with us, that we remember, and that we use. I would like to share those quotations that inspire me through challenging moments when I’m tested, through tired days when I’m dreamy dazed, or simply through happy times when I’m dancing inside.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Notice what you care about.
Assume that many others share your dreams.
Remember, you don’t fear people whose story you know.
Real listening always brings people closer together.
Trust that meaningful conversation can change your world.