Getting to the Root of What’s Bothering You

There’s something just under the surface that you can’t figure out.  You feel very close to making a break through with yourself, but each time you are almost there, another wave crashes over you and threatens to pull you down with it.  You feel alone, but the fact is, you aren’t.

Over the years, I realized what had to happen in order for me to get over a feeling that felt “stuck”.  I actually had to give it a bit of attention and figure out where it was coming from.  It’s uncomfortable as hell, but the fact is, if you ignore it, it will get worse.

Right now, as you are reading this, do a brief inventory on your feelings.  What made you stop and read this?  What feeling is there just below the surface?  As I was writing this, I was happy and content to help others, but now, as I am exploring the feelings someone else might be feeling right this minute, I am anxious.  How do I move forward and really help people get “unstuck” and move forward?

Self-check in time.  Are you running away from your feelings?

If the answer is yes, why? Are you afraid you will reveal too much emotion by facing what is bothering you?  What is the worst thing that can happen?  Sadness?  Tears?  Anger?  Or regret << bingo.  It might be this one that gets stuck.

How to get to the root of the emotion:

  1. Name the feeling and give yourself back the power.  I remember the first time I told someone the root of their problems was ultimately depression.  Depression is a serious thing, but once addressed, we can really get down to business and dissect that bad boy.  It no longer has the power of hiding out in the darkness waiting to overtake you.  You see it coming and you are ready to face it.  Do not freak out over that word.  It is just a word, but if you don’t face it, it can and will destroy your life.
  2. Write about it.  You aren’t a writer.  Heard that before.  You don’t have time.  Avoiding it still.  I have worked with clients who tell me all of this.  I am not a counselor, merely a wellness coach using her gifts to assist others into stepping into the life that was truly meant for them.  Write down every single thought for 5 minutes.  Set a timer.  Then close it.  The next day, re-read it.  Look for a pattern.  A word that emerges.  If you don’t clearly see it, do it again.  Write a stream of thought for 5 minutes.  Is there one word that pops out and your gut says that is part of the problem?  The next day, begin with that word.  Explore it and see what is under it all.
  3. Talk about it with a friend or counselor.  Do the work first as named above, and when you have really explored it, especially if it persisting sadness, do seek professional help.  Private message a friend and ask if they have the name of a counselor.  It is okay to not be okay…but you can’t stay in that place for the rest of your life.  It is not healthy for you and you deserve so much better my friend.
  4. Be mindful of the present moment…constantly.  I watched this inspiring story about a guy who lived after jumping off the Golden Gate bridge.  You might have heard about him, and his story.  He said the second he let go, there was instant regret.  He prayed to be saved, and he was.  One thing he does now is constantly take back control from the “what ifs” and the past thoughts.  He made people realize they have to be honest about their pain.  Here is his post.  It gave me chills to know that this is what he was called to do.  I hope this story as well as these tips help bring a little bit of comfort to your day my friends.

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Empath tips to use today!

My wildly popular article has gotten lots of comments on being an empath.  Most of them were wonderful as we are all in the same boat, and let’s face it, the article was written about what I feel.  I wrote a follow-up that you can read here on protecting yourself from negative energy because it was needed by some of my followers.  Then, to further help you, I wrote about how to ground yourself.  But the questions keep pouring into my fan page on Facebook.  So I am going to write a little bit more for you today and see what we can do together to move forward and tread lightly at the same time.

So much energy….needs an outlet.  I want you to pause and think about what you are doing to really relieve your stress.  My husband used to say it just radiated off me.  Being a teacher was hard.  I would pick up on everything.  If I didn’t go directly to the gym after work, I would bring all that “stuff” into the house.  You know what I mean.  The stories here in the archives on this blog about what I dealt with, well it was not easy.  So maybe the gym isn’t your thing, but what to do with all that stuff that isn’t yours?

Yoga...helped me harness my own power.  I’m not saying you have to do that, but you have to shed the other feelings that are not yours.  So go on a walk in nature, stop by a park, get out of the car, take your shoes off and walk barefoot in the grass.  Say to yourself that you are releasing what does not serve you back into the earth.  Then move on from there.  It does no good to bring it home.

Lies. Energy vampires.  Okay, this one gets a bit tricky.  If you catch someone in a lie, and trust me you will, have or do daily, that itch, you know the one, that itch doesn’t always have to be scratched.  So how do we make peace with knowing we caught someone in a lie, and then moving on.  As difficult as it is, that’s their karma, or behavior that they will later have to answer to.  Will we be around to see the destruction?  Possibly.  But do we need to be there?  No.  We already know that it probably isn’t going to end well.  So have a secret word or phrase that you utter like “Interesting.” Or “Is that so?” or even Namaste.  And just let it be.  Say the same thing every time so that it becomes like washing your hands of it.  Then really and truly, go wash your hands as soon as you can.  It’s done.  You don’t own that problem.

Rest when you canIf you know you have a large gathering coming up, take some time to meditate or rest.  Get off social media.  Schedule down time.  Seriously and truly rest your brain waves.

Go visit some animals and laugh. Spend some time with a friend who has animals and lets you just chill.  Laugh with the friend and soak up the love of the animals.  It will recharge you.  If animals are not your thing, take a journal outside and write under the clouds.

Water…get to it.  If you are still needing one more way to cleanse your soul, find a stream, pond, ocean or somewhere you can walk in the water, listen to it and just enjoy the way it feels and sounds.  Add a water feature to your office to relax you or put on some music with water in the background.  It will help you focus and reclaim your energy.

I hope you enjoyed all the links in this article as there are additional resources for you. NEW resource available to you called the Empath’s Guide to Journaling.<<<

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Note: NEW support group to help you in the Head|Heart|Health tab on the blog up top!

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5 Simple Ways to Ground Yourself

Sometimes, we can live in such a state of overwhelm that we no longer can find our center.  It is times like these, when we have lost our way, that we need to remember how to find balance in our lives.  If you happen to have the traits of an empath, you might walk into a situation and not be aware that you are in fact picking up energy like a lint roller to your soul.

When we ground ourselves, we become fully present as well as calm which usually helps us step back from the feelings and become aware of what is ours and what we have inadvertently attracted to us.  Grounding can help a highly sensitive person separate and discern instead of feeling and reacting.

5 Simple Ways to Ground Yourself:

  1. Use aromatherapy such as frankincense oil.  Frankincense is said to be very balancing and it’s believed that the oil transmits messages to the limbic system of the brain, which is known to influence the nervous system.  As long as it’s 100% naturally derived, any oil or incense can provide grounding.
  2. Listen to this water sound as you work.  Water can really help you focus and stay grounded in your work flow.

3.  Use this stone to “rub the worry” away and feel connected.  Hematite is the ultimate grounding gemstone for the body. It holds a very powerful grounding energy that literally feels like you are being sucked down into the Earth.

4.  Meditate and reflect with my favorite thing…journaling.  This journal is pretty amazing and looks like it has survived the test of time.

After you sit quietly for a space of time and talk to God, the universe, or just repeat a mantra on finding balance, think about what you are trying to get clear on.  Let’s say the feeling is anger.  Think of the last 3 people who you were around and see if any of their anger could have come through.  Which feelings are yours and which do you think did not come from you at all?  Is it possible to let go of the feelings and release the ones that you know were not yours?  Write about what it feels like to release those feelings and move forward.

5.  Get outside.  Take your shoes off if possible.  And walk literally on the ground.  Spread your toes and feel the earth.  The texture.  The grass.  Lie down and deeply.  Close your eyes and focus on the point between your eyebrows.  If you need a focus thought, I actually have this tiny book called Everyday Positive Thinking, and sometimes I will close my eyes, take a deep breath, and randomly open to a page.  Reflect on that thought and get clear on what it is you want to feel like for the day.

I hope these 5 tips helped you today and be sure to look at the top posts on the side of the blog! 

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5 Ways to Spot an Emotional Manipulator

Sometime back, I decided I needed to take better measures to protect myself from what I sensed were emotional manipulators.  I did things people thought I would never do.  I MOVED ON.  Seriously.  I got my journal, my yoga, my meditation ladies, my new circle of friends who lifted everyone up and then moved the hell away from the nasty black hole feelings I got from other people.  I became “different” apparently.  Or not.  If my spidey sense was fully open and I used my sense motive check on the person and found their motives to be dishonest, I moved on.  I could physically no longer take it anymore.  So how did I spot some of the people I needed to get away from?

5 Ways to Spot an Emotional Manipulator

  1. Whatever is wrong in your life…their life is ten times worse, so they turn it back to them.  If you are going through something, they are going through something far worse and make it a point to let you know that.  Over and over and over again.  Now your stuff could actually be life-threatening…but their mental drama is far worse.  It’s difficult to talk to them about anything seriously hard in your life, because whatever it is, you know they will turn it back to what they are going through.  How bad their “shit” is.
  2. It is never their fault.  Ever.  After months of listening to them turn every conversation around back to their stuff, they seem to have the same problem over and over again.  Naturally, it is everyone around them and not them.  They never start anything…it’s the world.  They tell you this story to get you to feel sorry for them and they do a great job at it.  But when you offer practical solutions to this “problem” they can’t be bothered to actually try anything to move forward.  Thus repeating the cycle.
  3. They use ridiculous phrases that make no sense, yet somehow they weave guilt into the words.  Whatever you do or say is never enough.  You have no idea how to help anymore because you have tried everything yet they still say phrases like “you just don’t know how this feels.”  Here is the KICKER.  They repeatedly ask you for help, but not in so many words and when you finally try to help them, they say they didn’t ask for your help.  WHAT the actual F Bomb.  So then, because of this great and enormous problem they have created in order for you to feel sorry for them in this continual loop, for thinking you might should help them because they seem to want that support from you over and over…when you do try to help, it wasn’t what they wanted.
  4. They lower your vibration repeatedly.  This one can be felt as soon as you walk into a room with one of these people.  You immediately put your guard up…but you feel it.  You feel like you have to raise their emotional state because you are thrown off-balance.  The same story they cling to has now become part of their very fabric.  It reaches out to pull you down to that level.  Each and every time.  This co-dependent cloak they wear will rob you of your ability to realize you are not them or their problems.  You actually can leave this situation.
  5. They shrink back when you shine.  You find them not happy for what is going on in your life…and you have no idea why.  So overtime, as things in your life improve, the life they are leading takes a turn for the worse as a last desperate measure to keep you there with them.  This might be where they start to tell others more lies…as you have gotten this feeling all along, but know that if the feeling keeps getting worse, the end is near.  It takes a strong person to see these things for what they are…and the knowledge that there was nothing you could have done differently because they created a world where they wanted to be saved repeatedly, but not really get out of victim mentality.

Continue to focus on the positive things going on in your life and don’t feel guilty for moving forward.  Always do what is best for you so that you can continue becoming who you were really meant to be.

walk awayWould love to have you in the closed group so that you can work more on your boundaries.  Check out the tab at the top called Head|Heart|Health Club.  Don’t be afraid to shine!!

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Stop Using the Word Judge.

I looked up the word “judge” and tons of articles about the Bible teaching us not to judge appeared.  Then a few more interesting pieces of research…saying that some people like to throw certain verses around to cover up whatever they were doing.  At this point, I was getting warmer, but still didn’t quite find the point I wanted to make.  So, in a nutshell, I want to tell you if you have commented saying that “We shouldn’t judge x,y,z” the truth is, you just judged.  By feeling like you had to make that comment, yes, you could have held back, but you didn’t, you just judged the other person and felt you knew enough about them or the story to make that comment.  The truth is, you sized them up and whatever the meaning was behind their words, off just a snippet of conversation.

So what can we do instead of trying to berate another person publicly?

  1. Don’t comment “bait”.  It’s just not helpful nor is it appropriate on someone’s status.  They are entitled to make their status update about whatever it is they want to.  Sure, there are TONS of people out there who LOVE to share, comment, and make ridiculous posts.  I get it.  I do.  Unlike.  Unfollow.  Unfriend.  <<< poof.  It’s like magic.
  2. Do you really know this person at all?  As one gal said to me recently when trying to justify something that appeared on the book of face, what do we really know about anyone out there?  Stop and consider this a moment before you comment.  Have you ever had a conversation with this person in real life?  Face to face?  In a message?  On the phone?  Skyped with them perhaps?  If the answer is no, you honestly have no basis on which to use your word of the day.  You have no real frame of reference.
  3. Think about what was triggered inside of you.  Why do you feel the need to comment?  Take a step back and notice if it’s because it is a behavior you recently fought hard to push down in yourself.  Maybe you have even had the same thought this person had, but quickly pushed it away so now it makes you mad.  The emotions that it triggered made you realize you really don’t have a handle on your “stuff”.  So it scared you.
  4. Your negative reaction stems from anger, jealousy or perhaps envy.  This one is hard for those of us who are constantly working to reel in our “stuff”.  As we try harder and harder to change our thought patterns, and work on our spiritual self, we start to notice when the ego side of us rears it’s head…and then we get in this thought pattern “ugly cycle”.  Like it’s stuck on rinse, but not working.  Say “Oh that’s an interesting feeling.”  I am going to just notice it, and breathe deeply for a count of 5 and see what happens when I allow myself to release it.  The trick here is to see if you can release it, so visualize the emotion being released like a balloon in the sky and floating away.
  5. Try to use “discernment” instead.  Discernment is awareness/understanding without the emotional response, and often it is there, but buried under the emotional response first.  So when we work to remove the emotional piece like we did above, what are we left with?  Hopefully a clearer picture that is not as biased.

As with any journey, learning more about ourselves and what pushes our buttons can ultimately help us understand our fellow man.  What we have to learn to do, is pause and reflect before we rise and react.  ~Aimee Halpin

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Motivational Monday…I’m back!

Here is what I am pondering today:

People will let you down.  People will tell you things and never follow through.  People will anger you.  People will disappoint you.  People will be human.  That’s right.  Human.  It hurts.  I know, but learn to love them anyway.  Because maybe, just maybe, you’ve let someone down.  You’ve told somebody something and didn’t quite get around to doing what you said.  You’ve angered someone.  You’ve disappointed someone.  I know, its shocking, but at some point in your life, you have done those things because you aren’t perfect either.

So when it happens to you, take three deep calming breaths.  Pull yourself back from whatever emotion is running through your body and focus on something nice that person has done lately (I know you can find something if you try).  Move beyond the emotion that threatened to overpower reason.  Pull back just a little and look at the whole picture.  Maybe they didn’t tell you their husband just lost his job…so they appear angry at you, but that’s because you were there at the time.  Maybe they ask you a question, and no matter what is asked, you feel like it’s a personal attack.  Why?  Is it because you feel competitive around them or are you usually thinking something negative about them already?

Life is hard…but it’s harder when we constantly look for the bad.  When we suspect enemies are hiding behind every face.  What if, just for a moment, we embraced the human side of our acquaintances and only held ourselves accountable for our emotions and reactions.  Hmmm.  It’s really hard to do.  I know it is, because it’s something I am constantly working on.

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Fappiness…

What is fake happy?

I feel like  I need to give you permission to be honest with yourself.  So there it is.  You have my permission (like you needed it, but anyway, you have it).  If you were to be really honest with yourself, truly honest, what would you say to yourself?  I know what I would say because I couldn’t sleep last night.  That’s always an indicator that I need to write about the truth.  How I truly feel.  Without the pretty stuff.  So here it is.

I don’t feel thankful right now.  I don’t.  I just imagined a collective gasp from like 20,000 people.  In reality, you might just merely be thinking ok, why?  Or maybe you are thinking you have lots to be thankful for, why are you not thankful???  I demand it.  If you thought the first thing, you get me.  If you thought the second, I want to explain.  It’s not that I’m NOT thankful…I am.  I am just having a hard time feeling that way some days.  I know I have so much in my life to be thankful for.  I do.  I know this.  But unfortunately, there is something inside me that hasn’t been getting filled up lately and I don’t know how to fix that.

As I talked to my husband about it last night, I think he began to understand.  I didn’t want to talk about it because I felt like I was ungrateful.  I felt like the “Inspirational Page Owners Police” were going to come and take away my license to operate a motivational page.  But then he said why can’t you write about the truth?  And that seemed easier.

Two years ago when I realized that something else was happening to my body yet again, I made the decision to stop teaching.  I went to my husband and I calmly said that I couldn’t explain it, but teaching was making me more sick.  I just knew it.  The last year that I taught I was out many days until finally, I was out for 3 solid weeks.  That year started off with a breast cancer scare, and I don’t know if I really recovered fully after that.  I was on edge.  Something was coming, but I couldn’t explain what it was.

I would sing my happy songs, smile at the beautiful children, and fake smile at everyone else.  I had previously been known as Mrs. Happy.  In my head, I was now Mrs. Fappy.  Fake-happy.  The pain in my body had already been building up for years and I flinched when anyone touched me.  If the children were sick, I put them to the back of the carpet, because yes dear parents, a few of you sent your darlings to school on Tylenol hoping I wouldn’t notice, but I always did.  They had fevers and were burning up after they had already hugged me and loved on me because that’s just how I am.  I am not going to let them be sick in my room without them knowing I still love them and want to take care of them.  I did, however, have them go to the nurse.  Sometimes you came and picked them up, other times, not so much.  You were busy and had no other options…I get it, but it made things difficult.

Unfortunately, I am immune compromised and my immune system isn’t what it used to be 17 years ago.  So I knew that I couldn’t operate this way anymore because I worked in a school where some parents didn’t have the means to take care of their children and really, truly,  were doing the best they could at that moment.  It was just difficult on me.  Emotionally, it had taken a toll long before now.

I could tell you the series of ridiculous things that happened to me up to this point in my life, but it doesn’t really matter right now.  All that matters is right now, I am trying to find the thankfulness in life.  Not just go through the motions.  I also know that money does not solve problems, I get that, I do, but sometimes I wish we had some wiggle room.  I feel responsible for my decision to stop teaching full-time because there is no longer any wiggle room…if there truly ever was.  I have to weigh decisions carefully on what we spend money on, and when I make a poor decision, I beat myself up.  Even going to the doctors cost me money I can ill afford to pay when they want to see me back in 6 weeks…at $35 a trip because it’s a specialist.  All I freaking see are specialists.  With 4.5 diseases that most people have never heard of I was told by one doctor, “It’s like building a house.  You wouldn’t expect the plumber to know about carpentry, right?”  Meh.  I see your analogy and I raise it a “I am trying to be seen in one place so this doesn’t cost me ridiculous amounts of money all the time!!!” stare.  Because sometimes, I just can’t respond to people.  The words that would come out are not nice.

So, the point to this entire erm rant?  I get you Wayne Brady and your breakdown.  I love you man.  I really do.  I love you Robin Williams and I miss you.  But I get you too.  But let’s start talking about “Fappiness” more and how it’s okay to feel this way at times.  Let’s talk about this and bring this out in the open.  Stop trying to fix it.  Just let it be.  And talk about it, until it’s okay to be fappy…

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New things…

As this year comes to a close, I reflect on the “new” and would personally like to burn the “old”.  Oh not old friendships or anything like that, but I chose not to dwell in the past as it’s over and we have to take this minute by the hand and hold on for dear life before something tragic happens and the moment is gone.  There have been some horrible things happening in and around my friend’s lives this year and I let it get to me at times.  I have said this before, but when something happens, I actually place myself in that person’s shoes for a minute.  I zone out, and become them for a second.  I imagine what it must feel like to get the news they just heard, or to go through whatever they are going through.  I have tried to stop this process…much like that new movie that is coming out based on an old short story called The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

So far, I have not been very successful.  There was cancer news, deaths of family members and friends, deaths of pets, depression, divorce, loss of homes, illnesses that tear you a part from the inside out, injuries, debt, and the suicide of a high school friend.  I am sure I am forgetting some bad news, but that is why I say I would like to burn the old.  I have held on to my hope as best I could for this year, but another sad thing happened to my brother’s friend on Christmas day.

What I am doing now is pushing through all of that and focusing on my new goals.  Making new friends with the same goals makes my work easier.  Realizing that I know what I want, on the cusp of what will be year 40, yes, that year, does not scare me (getting asked for my ID might help me be less scared, ha).  So I’m going to tell you what I said to my daughter the other day while pumping gas.  I said I want to be financially secure enough to hand out gift cards to people I don’t know, with no strings attached, so that they can buy whatever they need.  Groceries, presents, gas, or just pay doctor bills.  My work with people of poverty reminds me that we still have much to do for those who have fallen on hard times.  One day, I hope to be able to ease someone’s burden.  One day soon.

 

Author’s note:  It is now a few years later.  I gave out lots of different things to people this year in order to be of service to humanity.  I have also developed my own coaching programs to help others, and I am more financially secure than I have been in years.  My Head|Heart|Health Club is going to be taking a great journey this year to look at what we need to change, what we want to create and how we can create more abundance in our lives as well.  I would love to see you there!

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New things…

As this year comes to a close, I reflect on the “new” and would personally like to burn the “old”.  Oh not old friendships or anything like that, but I chose not to dwell in the past as it’s over and we have to take this minute by the hand and hold on for dear life before something tragic happens and the moment is gone.  There have been some horrible things happening in and around my friend’s lives this year and I let it get to me at times.  I have said this before, but when something happens, I actually place myself in that person’s shoes for a minute.  I zone out, and become them for a second.  I imagine what it must feel like to get the news they just heard, or to go through whatever they are going through.  I have tried to stop this process…much like that new movie that is coming out based on an old short story called The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

So far, I have not been very successful.  There was cancer news, deaths of family members and friends, deaths of pets, depression, divorce, loss of homes, illnesses that tear you a part from the inside out, injuries, debt, and the suicide of a high school friend.  I am sure I am forgetting some bad news, but that is why I say I would like to burn the old.  I have held on to my hope as best I could for this year, but another sad thing happened to my brother’s friend on Christmas day.

What I am doing now is pushing through all of that and focusing on my new goals.  Making new friends with the same goals makes my work easier.  Realizing that I know what I want, on the cusp of what will be year 40, yes, that year, does not scare me (getting asked for my ID might help me be less scared, ha).  So I’m going to tell you what I said to my daughter the other day while pumping gas.  I said I want to be financially secure enough to hand out gift cards to people I don’t know, with no strings attached, so that they can buy whatever they need.  Groceries, presents, gas, or just pay doctor bills.  My work with people of poverty reminds me that we still have much to do for those who have fallen on hard times.  One day, I hope to be able to ease someone’s burden.  One day soon.

Take Control

Comfortable in your skin…

I am surrounded by good friends.  Some of my friends, we don’t see eye to eye on everything.  I know that might come as a surprise to you.  I’m sure you agree with everything your spouse says, your family says, and your friends.  Alas, I don’t.  I have taken some big risks in my lifetime to take up for people who could not necessarily take up for themselves.  I would not change a thing.

The values you learned as a child are part of who you are today.  I have learned from my research into social emotional behavior, that by the time you are a teenager, you have either developed these skills or you have not.  Here is what one website says:  Social-emotional development provides the foundation for how we feel about ourselves and how we experience others. This foundation begins the day we are born and continues to develop throughout our lifespan. The greatest influence on a child’s social-emotional development is the quality of the relationships that he develops with his primary caregivers.  Positive and nurturing early experiences and relationships have a significant impact on a child’s social-emotional development. They also influence how the young child’s brain develops.

Many people who are now adults, did not grow up this way.  They grew up in broken homes and were often verbally abused.  They are not comfortable in their own skin because they do not have the coping mechanisms needed to process the challenges that life brings.  Often they feel threatened by others and have a hard time thinking that anyone is going to help them just to be nice.  These were the types of parents I worked with for many years.

They have pushed their troubled childhood way down inside their souls, and it eats at them.  They are angry and sometimes have turned to the same skills they learned growing up, which is verbal abuse.  They look for hidden messages because that’s how they learned.  One mother I worked with several years ago had a very difficult time getting out of this cycle.  She had little money left in her pocket one night after a conference at school, so I gave her bus money.  I looked her in the eye and said, pay me back when you can.  I did that because I knew she would not want to “owe” me anything.  It wasn’t for me that I said that.  I knew she was mad she needed help.

Her little boy, “M”, was in my class.  He came to school the next day and said something I did not allow in my class.  I allowed a lot of things to pass by my ears as I understood the background of the neighborhood, but this one I did not.  He used the “N” word.  The first time I heard him, I let it go, because he was halfway across the room and perhaps I misheard.  The second time he said it, I caught him loud and clear right next to me, so he couldn’t deny it.  I would not have cared if he had uttered an expletive, but that, I would not allow.  All the children in my class were the same color, but it didn’t matter to me.  All of the children did not need to use that word.  I wrote a little note to M’s mom kindly explaining that word was not to be used in my class.  It was derogatory, and I was building the children up, not tearing them down.

The next day, sure enough, in marches this mad momma.  She has M by the collar of his shirt and he is looking down at his little feet.  She makes him look at me and says tell her what you said.  He won’t make eye contact.  He mumbles a word.  I ask him what and crouch down to hear him as I always make eye contact.  He looks at me and in that moment, I knew he hated what he was about to say because it was a lie.  He opens his mouth and said “Snicker.  I said Snicker.”  Oh, hmm, okay then.  I looked the mom directly in the eye.  I let her know it is good he didn’t say the other word, because I want all children to think highly of themselves.  She marches into the office and next thing I know, M is having his last day in my class.

He still came to see me.  The whole rest of the year.  At Christmas, he brought me this tattered bear from his own home.  His mother came in later.  She said quite simply, he loves you and misses you.  I’m sorry for what happened.  I hugged her.  The truth is, I always knew she was sorry.  I knew she was hurt by things out of her control, but I was an easy target at that moment.  I would forgive.  Forgiveness comes easy when you can see the pain in the other person.  Working in that school, surrounded by pain, I learned to be thankful for everything I had.  It also became one of the reasons I didn’t really like Christmas presents.  But that story is for another day.

Uniqueness