children creativity happiness humor memory

what a day! what just happened? something good.

Way back in September, I remember thinking that this day might be portentous. That was the day I compared the syllabus of the class I was taking with the three I was teaching, and realized that they all ended in the same week, one Tuesday, one Wednesday, and two–including the SPARK class I took at SMC and the “Write YOUR Story” class I teach–on Thursday. That was today. Although I was exhausted last night, after creating the “Sales projection” and final business plan for Honey Girl Books and Gifts, I survived. (btw: homepage below; website pending very soon!)

So anyway, a day heavy with expectation.

And now, the image I chose conveys how I feel.

At this morning’s class, the fifteen participants in the entrepreneurship class, SPARK, presented our “vision boards,” where we visually depicted milestones in our lives and how the class impacted us. I saw acts of bravery, intelligence, and kindness. I learned that people who I’ve become very fond of, as classmates, dreamers, and future businesswomen, have endured awful stuff I’ve never known, as teenage pregnancies and family problems derailed their dreams while they were really young. But now that all the babies are grown up, or almost, these extremely competent women are ready to take on the world! They are SO inspiring and fun to be around.

At the last day party (aka “Gala Celebration and Book Sharing”) of my writing workshop, the kids talked about their stories with phenomenal calm and purpose. I have never seen anything like it, in the five years I’ve been teaching this class. The first boy, Ian, age 10, took the invitation quite seriously. Even when the other kids and even I was getting kind of incredulous and giggling nervously, Ian kept going. He kept going and telling his very detailed story. Time to time, he would smile a little, but keep going. Ian knew what needed to be told and he took the time to tell his story.

From that precedent, every single child spoke with focus, passion, and unflappable poise. What was that, that just happened? Every other year, they were embarrassed and awkward, and rushed through the little presentations so they could open their presents and have cookies sooner. But not today.

We witnessed the spirits of kids (age 8-12) who, when given an invitation, can go deep into their minds and tell you stories of amazing complexity and allegorical meaning. They explained what they like about writing and said things a novelist would surely share, about character and motivation. Their metaphors were fabulous: one spoke of a castle where the staircase is made of stained glass, and everyone’s imaginations are safeguarded from the world. Another told of a pirate ship manned entirely by cats. There were many journeys, a mystery, and a lovely utopia.

And I’m delighted to announce that a fellow SPARK student, Jane Lockhart, of UX Designs, agreed this morning at the SPARK event to co-teach with me “Write YOUR Story” in Spring 2018. We now have two ND student assistants too: Priscilla Quaye and Travon DeLeon! So “Write YOUR Story” will live on, after all, in South Bend!

good karma? shooting stars? divine guidance?

it’s all good.

Rest easy tonight, reader. I know I will! The world seemed to be on a good axis, at least for a little while, today.

HGBG website homepage.jpg




health meditation

full moon, no sleep. what to do?

December 2017 moon

The moon has been splendid these past few days: a wonderful moment for night owls, lovers, and others who thrive in the late hours. But what about those who have a hectic job, a sick child, a term paper or business plan to finish, and a big presentation looming on the horizon?  Or all of the above?! “Letting go” as preached by the Zen masters sounds easy, but it is not. It is actually a skill of mindfulness, and you can get better at it if you practice.

As Monique Beck, a fellow student of mine in the SPARK program at Saint Mary’s College, and someone whose drive I admire, recently asked on LinkedIn: “Drive is great, but when you have too much, it can be detrimental to your health! What can you change today, so that your tomorrow doesn’t have to suffer?”

Going to bed earlier might help, unless your mind is still on overdrive. But what else is there?

Since May 2017, I have been following a routine of evening meditation that puts an end to all that internal chit-chat. I ensure that the bedroom is dark and cool, and that my bedclothes are loose and comfortable. Then, right before placing my head on the pillow, I turn on one of the guided audio meditations provided for free by the University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness. (You can download it onto your phone.) The calm voice guides you to listen to your breath, and to listen to how you are breathing in and breathing out. It gently nudges you to return to the breath, whenever your thoughts go elsewhere. I often fall asleep before it’s over.

Give it a try tonight. You deserve a break from this harrowing world.