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red shoesThere have been elements of chaos and inner storms this week, to add to the wild summer storms, times when I wished I had been wearing Dorothy’s red shoes so I could just click my heels and ask to be taken ‘home’. What I did at those moments is what I’d like to briefly share with you as an intro.

This is a tool I created a while ago, and involves drawing a spiral on a piece of paper, from the outside in (left to right). The idea then is to take two full breaths, in and out, with eyes closed, and write down the word or phrase which comes – then repeat – two full breaths, write the word/phrase into the spiral, beginning at the outside and gradually working your way inwards into the centre. Once you reach the centre take a few meditative moments to pay attention to what you’re finding/feeling there and then free write for five minutes.

sspiralI most recently did this on Friday morning. I actually sat in my classroom an hour before class, postponing printing my materials and setting up my computer, and I breathed and wrote. And what did I get? Stop being a teacher, just be Harula. I’d allowed myself to get to stuck in my role/position as teacher and all that that implies, and it wasn’t helping me connect with some of my teenage students. So that morning, I let that go, I dared to just be me, even if that me might not be cool/interesting/funny/entertaining etc to the students in my class. The lesson turned out to be one of the best of this course, at least from my perspective.

Good Deeds Received

I received a very sweet email form a friend who I haven’t heard from in a while, just letting me know that I remained in her heart.

My mother sent me a parcel full of post that’s been arriving while I’ve been away.

Went on another beautiful long walk with my Dad, returning to a delicious feast he’d prepared earlier.

One of my students stayed to help me clean up the classroom a bit, without even being asked.

A colleague unexpectedly shared that she too writes poems, has been published in fact, and was very enthusiastic about us getting together on Monday so we can share our work with each other. I’m really looking forward to that:-)

Our centre manager here made a point of thanking us for our hard work.

The father of an old school friend, who runs a cafe in town, said hi and hugged me warmly, saying I should come in for a coffee some time.

Good Deeds Done

Gave generously to two brilliant street performers I saw in Covent Garden, London, while we were there taking our students on an excursion.

Sent more of the money donated by friend and family to Beatha, my friend in Rwanda who’s been unwell. She will have another scan tomorrow (Monday) to see if the treatment has been successful in removing all the fluid on her lungs – fingers and everything else crossed…

Picked up litter while I was walking and later reading by the river yesterday on my afternoon off.

Bought treats and prizes for my students to make Saturday morning’s lesson fun.

Made some woven coasters from the brown paper bags we get our packed lunches in to remind myself (and the person I gifted them to…) that there is beauty everywhere, if you only take a little time to ‘dig’ for it:-)

Caught up with some emails this morning before writing this – I seem to have received lots of lovely messages in the last week.

Offered to complete my contract here after 6 weeks instead of 8, as we are not all needed for the last two weeks. This is both a good deed to those who want and need the work of those last two weeks, and a kindness to myself, in acknowledging that this job is much more challenging that I expected, and I’ve given it my best, but I don’t need to push it…


then you nod and smile