I rarely watch tv. It is even more rare that I watch Netflix. The quarantine, however, has expanded my viewing repertoire.
Robert and I have been looking for shows that are light and will make us laugh. I have included three of our favorites: Schitt's Creek, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Love is Blind. If you haven't watched these, do yourself a favor and quickly binge your way through them.
Sometimes you want to share your Netflix experience with someone else. Unfortunately during these times, that "someone else" might not be in your home. Thankfully, now there is a Netflix Party option! You can find more information about it HERE. It's basically a Google extension that allows you to watch a video at the same time with a group chat.
I hope you are able to enjoy your Spring Break, despite the strange circumstances we are in. Take care!
We all know how important it is to be aware of feelings and to take care of ourselves during these challenging and uncertain times. My favorite band, ODESZA, did a livestream of music yesterday on YouTube. Although this might seem minor, it was one of the better parts of my week so far. ODESZA hasn't put out new music in two years and have been taking some time off after touring for 2 1/2 years straight.
The mix of music is amazing, but the most powerful part was a message at the beginning. The message is a voicemail from Harrison's mom. It really was unexpectedly powerful to me. I am including it and the music mix below. Enjoy! :)
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"Hi. I am thinking about you, and I want you to take time for yourself. Slow down and find moments that only belong to you. And may your spirit savor them. Be blessed with all that makes you happy and healthy today and every day."
Our new normal is anything but normal. I have not yet entered the work from home stage, but I have heard from many of you that it is sort of tough. One way to pass the time, lift your spirits and do something good for you is to work out! With gyms around the nation being closed, many places are offering FREE at home workouts! Here's a list of a few to try-- that don't require signing up and are absolutely free!
The Fitness Marshall
Caleb Marshall is from my hometown- Marion, Indiana! His dance fitness workout videos are wildly popular, and people love his bubbly personality.
YOGATX is my favorite yoga to do at home. It is challenging but not super complicated. Cole Chance is one of my favorites!
Cosmic Kids Yoga
For those with little ones at home (or those who are just looking for a good story), Cosmic Kids Yoga is an awesome resource! Also, Jamie has an awesome British accent!
Down Dog App
Free yoga, HIIT and barre classes until April 1, 2020. (You do have to download the app for this one.)
Core Power Yoga
Free for everyone for the next month, CorePower (with brick-and-mortar studios across that country now closed) will offer the same in-studio experience for people at home. Choose their level one (C1) or two (C2) yoga classes, which feature fast-paced flows, along with soothing poses. Or try yoga sculpting (YS) to mix strength-training moves with yoga sequences. You’ll also find meditations for when you just need to get some zen.
No Equipment Training
Planet Fitness is offering freee workouts on their Facebook page every day. You don't have to be a member of Planet Fitness to access the free workouts!
Always free workout videos, challenges and plans. Always awesome.
Get ready for a high-intensity workout that will tone your whole body! Led by STRONG by Zumba® Master Trainer Aurelio Figari, this 30-minute session includes high-intensity cardio and muscle-conditioning exercises that are synced to the beat of the music to keep you motivated and focused. Press play and push past your limits for the next 30 minutes.
Happy sweating! If you need an accountability partner, you've got my number! :)
Monday morning had every reason to be hectic:
Just as I walked outside to direct the first 6 cars through the drop-off zone, I looked up and saw the sky on fire in the east. It was truly breathtaking. I held up traffic, quickly grabbed my phone and snapped this picture. As soon as it had appeared, all the colors faded and the sun came up. It was a gentle reminder that the day held so much promise. Despite the rain and well-managed chaos, there was beauty to be seen if I look for it.
It's almost time to spring forward! Daylight saving time 2020 begins at 2 a.m. local time on Sunday, March 8, meaning you'll set your clock to 3 a.m. at that point.
So set a reminder for 2 a.m. Sunday and then check out these four fast facts about daylight saving time.
Mindfulness is a key skill for happiness and we can do it wherever we are. So here are some ideas to get started - it'll help you get more from your day!
Why Do It?
In our busy lives we constantly have our head full or thoughts about the future or about the past - what are we going to do next or what are we going to become or how well or badly we just did. This means we're often not that aware of what is around us, and what happening in the here and now. So there's likely to be a lot good stuff that we miss (or not so good stuff that we really need to be aware of). It also means that we often do things more out of unconscious habit rather than fully conscious choice.
Being mindful means being more fully aware of what is around us - what we can see, hear, touch and taste. And what is happening inside - our thoughts and feelings. It's about learning to observe all this but not getting caught up in thinking or worrying about it, so being able to choose what we then attend to.
Mindfulness has been shown to help us be healthier, less affected by stress, more relaxed, more creative, more open to learning, sleep better, improve our relationships with others and feel happier and more satisfied with our lives.
What's great is it's a skill that anyone can learn and benefit from. It is very simple, and need take only a few minutes a day. But it does take a bit of practice and it may be hard at first. Keep at it and you'll feel the benefits in many areas of your life.
Where to Start?
There are lots of different ways to practice mindfulness. If you can, a good place to learn and experience it is to join a class or use a CD or online tool (see Resources below). And there is also a separate action on this website if you'd like to learn how to meditate, which is a great way to be more mindful. However, we can all start by trying a few simple exercises during our daily routine. Try one of these for a week or two and notice what you notice!
1. Observing mindfully
This is about simply trying to increase what we're aware of and our consciousness of what is around us. It only takes a few extra minutes. Here are some ideas to try:
Eating is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness. Have a go…may be try it with a piece of you favourite fruit or even some chocolate…
Source: Action for Happiness
Since moving to Michigan, I have developed a love for taking pictures of sunsets. To be fair, I am snapping pictures on my iPhone, but I get great enjoyment from taking a picture at just the right moment that makes for a great visual.
In southwest Michigan, we are so blessed to have beautiful, diverse sunsets. Sometimes the sky lights up with pinks, purples and blues, but other times the sky is on fire with bright oranges and reds. Sometimes there are dark, heavy clouds, and other nights there is hardly a cloud in the sky. Each sunset is so unique.
I have become keenly aware of the sky around the time the sun is going to set. I closely monitor the position of the sun and the amount of clouds in the sky. I often race from the gym to Second Street to capture the sun dipping under the lake. (To my dismay-- Second Street isn't available right now due to erosion!)
Here are a couple of pictures I have taken since November. The winter rarely provides sunsets for us, but spring and summer are just around the corner!
My final suggestion is that there are five truly essential questions that you should regularly ask yourself and others. My claim is that, if you get in the habit of asking these questions, you have a very good chance of being both successful and happy, and you will be in a good position to answer “I did” to the bonus question at the end.
The first is a question my own kids are fond of asking, and it’s one you may have heard other teenagers pose — or maybe you still pose it yourself. The question is “Wait, what?”
My kids typically pose this question when I get to the point in a conversation where I’m asking them to do a chore or two. From their perspective, they hear me saying something like: “blah, blah, blah, blah, and then I’d like you to clean your room.” And at that precise moment, the question inevitably comes: “Wait, what? Clean what?”
“Wait what” is actually a very effective way of asking for clarification, which is crucial to understanding. It’s the question you should ask before drawing conclusions or before making a decision. The Dean of Harvard College, Rakesh Khurana, gave a great master class this year, where he emphasized the importance of inquiry before advocacy. It’s important to understand an idea before you advocate for or against it. The wait, which precedes the what, is also a good reminder that it pays to slow down to make sure you truly understand.
The second question is “I wonder” which can be followed by “why” or “if.”
So: I wonder why, or I wonder if. Asking “I wonder why” is the way to remain curious about the world, and asking “I wonder if” is the way to start thinking about how you might improve the world. As in, I wonder why our schools are so segregated, and I wonder if we could change this? Or I wonder why students often seem bored in school, and I wonder if we could make their classes more engaging?
The third question is: “Couldn’t we at least…?”
This is the question to ask that will enable you to get unstuck, as they say. It’s what enables you to get past disagreement to some consensus, as in couldn’t we at least agree that we all care about the welfare of students, even if we disagree about strategy? It’s also a way to get started when you’re not entirely sure where you will finish, as in couldn’t we at least begin by making sure that all kids have the chance to come to school healthy and well-fed?
The fourth question is: “How can I help?”
You are at HGSE, I presume, because you are interested in helping others. But you also know, from your time here, to be aware of the savior complex, of the stance where you are the expert or hero who swoops in to save others. We shouldn’t let the real pitfalls of the savior complex extinguish one of the most humane instincts there is — the instinct to lend a hand. But how we help matters as much as that we do help, and if you ask “how” you can help, you are asking, with humility, for direction. And you are recognizing that others are experts in their own lives and that they will likely help you as much as you help them.
The fifth question is this: “What truly matters?”
You can tack on “to me” as appropriate. This is the question that forces you to get to the heart of issues and to the heart of your own beliefs and convictions. Indeed, it’s a question that you might add to, or substitute for, New Year’s resolutions. You might ask yourself, in other words, at least every new year: what truly matters to me?
So these are the five essential questions:
This bonus question is posed in many ways, and you have surely heard a version of it before.
To me, the single best phrasing of this question is in a poem by Raymond Carver, called “Late Fragments.” It’s one of the last poems he wrote. I came across it recently on the very sad occasion of a memorial service for one of my dearest and closest friends, my former law school roommate Doug Kendall, who died in September at the far too young age of 51. The poem was printed on the back of the program for his memorial and it starts with this question, what I’m calling the Bonus Question: “And did you get what you wanted out of life, even so?”
The “even so” part of this, to me, captures perfectly the recognition of the pain and disappointment that inevitably make up a full life, but also the hope that life, even so, offers the possibility of joy and contentment.
My claim is that if you regularly ask: wait, what, I wonder, couldn’t we at least, how can I help, and what really matters, when it comes time to ask yourself “And did you get what you wanted out of life, even so,” your answer will be “I did.”
So the poem asks “And did you get what you wanted out of life, even so,” and then continues:
“I did./And what did you want?/To call myself beloved. To feel beloved on the earth.”
The word “beloved” is important here as it not only means dearly loved, but also cherished and respected. And while I promise I’m very near the end of my speech, let me just say that when I read these lines, it’s hard for me not to think about students. We spend a lot of time, here and elsewhere, thinking about how we might improve student performance, which is how it should be. Yet I can’t help but think that schools, and indeed, the world, would be better places if students didn’t simply perform well but also felt beloved — beloved by their teachers and by their fellow classmates.
To tie this all together into one slightly misshapen package, and to bid you a final farewell: As you leave Appian Way and head into a world that desperately needs you, let me express my sincere hope and belief that: if you never stop asking and listening for good questions, you will feel beloved on this earth, and, just as importantly, you will help others, especially students, feel the same.
One my friends from Ball State, Kyle Krauskopf, is a talented artist who lives in Seattle. I love following his instagram account for his art, but also for his positivity and words of encouragement. He has an incredible gift for spreading joy and encouragement.
On Tuesday, he shared a quote from Lisa Olivera Therapy. The quote was about self-forgiveness, and I really wanted to know more about it when I saw it. As I scrolled through her page, I loved what I saw. She has so many impactful words and thoughts.
As I was reading, I saw this post about what we all have in common. It was so meaningful to me-- for us, for our kids, for our parents. I thought it was worth a share. I hope it sparks something in you, too.
Lisa Olivera's instagram: @lisaoliveratherapy
Kyle Krauskopf's instagram: @kylekrauskopf
Just thinking about how much we have in common.
How easy it is to overlook our shared humanity.
How quick we can be to 'other' people, and give into the false sense of separateness, and forget our inherent connection to one another.
How we often forget to pause and remember the people around us are also human, also figuring it out, also wanting these things.
How often we judge in others what we do not know how to hold within ourselves.
How often we admire in others what we forget we also contain.
How many have had to abandon themselves to feel even a glimmer of these things.
How naturally we offer others the very things we believe we don't deserve.
How common it is to feel like we're the only ones.
How the story of what we believe about ourselves was often conceived even before we were.
How we all want similar outcomes.
How we are mirrors of what we see and we see what's mirrored back.
I'm not 100% sure about any of this, but I am sure I'm not the only one exploring these things and wanting to really grasp onto the truth of how wildly similar and connected we are underneath the built-up idea of disconnection.
“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.” – Mandy Hale