A collection of essays on life, teaching, parenting, and finding the good in this crazy world.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Past Present Future
If you’re on Facebook, you know all about “25 Random Things About Me”. It’s become such a phenomenon that the New York Times recently wrote a feature about it. If you’re not, allow me to explain. Someone, anyone, writes 25 statements about him or herself: childhood memories, current beliefs, high school crushes, favorite books or movies, quirky information. He or she posts it on their Facebook profile for all their friends to see.
When I first saw one, I was amazed at the openness. I loved learning about a small slice of my friend’s background. It was fun, thought-provoking, and enlightening. Over the last few weeks, more and more friends have bared their souls. Never feeling like I was reading TMI, too much information, I have been pleasantly surprised at how carefully I’ve been taking them in. Windows have been opened and wonderful discussions have followed. I have learned things that I would never have discovered over coffee.
Inspired by my friends, I have just finished writing my own. It has been a fascinating process. What information would people want to read? How can I narrow it down to 25 things? Is this supposed to be a summary of my life or of my current thinking about the world? Should I be sincere, humorous, vulnerable? What would people think? What I discovered in the course of writing is that one ‘fact' flowed into the next. It doesn’t matter what people think and it’s not a résumé. It is simply an exercise in taking a little time, going inside for a short while, checking in with me, and seeing how I am doing.
I also discovered that looking backwards and looking inside isn’t enough. My random things are about my past and my present. As I wrote, I realized that where I really want to go is my future. So I have also generated some thoughts about where I’m headed. I have spent some time dwelling on where I want my life to go, and creating a vision for myself. I’ve called it Living My Vision.
Both my 25 Random Things About Me and Living My Vision are posted here. I have written them for me. But I post them here because I hope someone, maybe you, will enjoy them enough to be inspired. Perhaps inspired enough to go inside for a moment or to create a vision of your own. It has been a wonderful pause in my journey. Enjoy.
25 Random Things About Me
1. Being sent away to a traditional English boarding school at the age of seven has affected my adult life in more ways than I have previously cared to admit….
2. Negative impact: child abuse is never ever ever okay under any circumstance. Intimacy and trust are damn hard. But I’m working assiduously on both.
3. Positive impact: it has become very clear that my entire life has been and will always be about creating safe, happy spaces in which kids are free to grow.
4. Emma and Leah are the essential elements in my life. When I watch them sleep, I understand what is meant by ‘love hurts’.
5. Laughing with them brings me my single greatest joy.
6. I’ve never taken a class in theater in my life. I’ve acted in three plays, one in elementary school, two in college. All three were terrible. I was the only native English speaker in one – The Importance of Being Earnest – it was hilarious, but still terrible.
7. I am passionate about directing. Bringing a story from script to production is an awesome experience.
8. But not as awesome as seeing the light go on for one child.
9. I’m directing four plays this summer, bringing my total to 27 full-scale productions in the last ten years. My theater colleagues are among the most creative people I know.
10. I am an artist. I think I’ve always been one but nobody told me until a couple of years ago. I see the world in pictures. Books on tape are really hard for me.
11. I am grateful for those who see my artistry. You know who you are.
12. Writing is my thing. When the newspaper published my first essay, I wept. I plan on getting out there more. I know more about blogging than I ever thought I would. When I sit down to write an essay, I rarely know where I’m going. I believe that the Creative Spirit works through those who let her in.
13. I believe in Spirit. I am beginning to trust. I am learning to get out of the way. I’ve been here before and I know I’ll be back.
14. I believe religion is the root of much that is wrong with this world.
15. I love water – drinking it, listening to it, floating on it, walking through it, watching it, crossing it, standing under it, swimming in it. My best ideas come in the pool.
16. I am not a fan of movies or TV. I’ll go see live theater as many times as the budget will allow. Though I watch and know more about sports than anyone thinks.
17. I fantasize that one day I’ll still be teaching but earning the salary of a profession I value less.
18. Every year, I take the stage in Stanley’s Annual Deadbeat Coffeehouse. It is an amazing event involving the most incredible people. Every organization deserves such a night, a boost to the community spirit. I feel like an amateur compared to other performers. I am in awe of my musician friends. I wish I could sing like that.
19. I’ve played a lot of rugby, squash and water polo in my time, but I find it almost impossible to button the cuff on the right arm of my shirts.
20. At one point I was fluent in French and reasonably useful in Russian, Italian, Greek, Swahili and Latin. I have discovered that Colorado is not the place for honing those skills.
21. When I was small, my father owned the toy shop in our village. It was heaven for a little boy. I still feel guilty for stealing a plastic miniature Greek soldier. Sorry, Dad.
22. Some likes: Newcastle Brown, Brussel sprouts, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, beach vacations, kind people, Wings Seminars in Eugene, baseball.
23. Some dislikes: celery, beets, peanut butter, traffic, thoughtless and/or mean people, crowded places, shopping malls.
24. I don’t consider myself a material person, but I know that one day I will be the proud owner of a Mini Cooper S, a red one with a sunroof.
25. I didn’t plan on writing these, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how wonderful it’s been reading those of my friends. However writing what’s been before will never be as relevant as creating a vision of what’s to come. See below.
26. I’m not very good with rules (see #1), so I just had to write a 26th random fact – just to be difficult.
Living My Vision
I know who I am. I am grateful for the past and I know where I am going. I trust that I have everything I need for the journey. I am energetic, playful, humorous and kind. I am fully present and I dream big. I am courageous and adventurous and I take action, even when I am fearful, creating the results I want.
I am abundantly healthy, exercising at least twice a week and choosing a nutritious and balanced diet. I feel great in mind body and spirit. I always have choice and I am living a life of integrity. I am honest and joyous, celebrating my openness and vulnerability. I am emotionally connected to those I love. I am in a loving, supportive, mutually respectful relationship and I enjoy a close caring relationship with my girls, at all ages.
I work in a creative environment where I feel valued. I celebrate the artist in myself. I am writing and publishing, with positive reviews and strong sales. I am passionately involved in theater. I am assisting others to know and trust themselves, and I support them in pursuing their dreams. I am growing my wealth, investing in myself, my family, and for the good of the planet. I have enough money. I live in a warm and cozy house, where simplicity and comfort reign. I drive a car I love. I enjoy relaxing and exciting vacations at least twice a year.
I am a lifelong learner, seizing and embracing opportunities to grow. I trust the process of intention. I recognize the uniqueness and sacred in everyone. I know in my heart that each of us is capable, lovable, whole, and magnificent. I am building a culture which celebrates and honors children. I embrace service to my world and the people in it. I live in gratitude and bring joy and passion into my life and the lives of others.
I celebrate the happy carefree child and the wise guiding adult.
History starts now….
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Kudos to Living Your Vision, Steve!
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