Triumph of The Heart: How Forgiveness Can Open Creativity In Your Life

I changed majors three times in college: first business (what was I thinking?!), then journalism (on the right track), and finally English. I spent years floundering through courses, panicking in exams and wondering if I ever would find my heart’s calling.

I put a tremendous amount of pressure on my seventeen-year-old self to have all the answers, and when I couldn’t figure it out, when I lost my way and made mistakes, I spiraled down and hit bottom. I’m a first born to two first born parents. I was used to being successful. I was used to leading the way, and I definitely wasn’t sure what to do when life didn’t work out the way I thought it should.

So 22 years after I graduated, after a marriage and two children and 20 years of teaching, I began to forgive myself. I began to realize that just because I hadn’t followed a plan for my college and my career – just because I had stumbled into teaching after graduation – didn’t mean that I wasn’t on the right path for me. I realized that while mothering and teaching brought me joy and happiness and fulfillment, there was still room for more.

I forgave myself for making mistakes in college, for trying to parent ‘by the book’ when it wasn’t the right plan for my child. I forgave myself for being a working mom, for not being enough for everyone. I told my inner critic to shut up and step aside.

I forgave myself and forgave fate for the obstacles life had thrown at me, and I started to write again.

That was June, 2011 when I took responsibility for making my dreams come true – all of them. I gave up trying to come up with reasons why I couldn’t write and just started putting stories together, and I found that the more I wrote, the stronger I became. I found that my inner critic became my muse, and unleashed words to the world that had always found safety locked inside journals. When I forgave my life for being what it was, I began to create my life for what it is.

triumph book cover

I’ve been reading Megan Feldman Bettencourt’s new book, Triumph of the Heart: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World, and through her words I’ve begun to realize just how miraculous this transformation of forgiveness really is. As a journalist, Megan’s journey brought her to a multitude of people with transformative stories of forgiveness and piqued her interest in the human capacity to forgive and whether it can really help us change our lives. As a teacher, I’m witnessing our school district implement the practice of restorative justice as an addition to our discipline policy. I’ve noticed the difference it has made when we bring children and adults together and walk them through a process of dialogue, discussion and determination of other’s feelings. The power of children to forgive each other is evident; a forceful practice that, if adopted by more adults, would unleash a flurry of creativity and problem solving into our world.

I’m happy to be able to host a giveaway for Megan’s book – I’m hopeful that by spreading her words I’ll help someone else unlock their capacity to forgive and help create a kinder, more understanding world. Enter to win by leaving a comment, and to increase your chances, tweet, like and follow mamawolfe on Facebook and Twitter! Winners will be chosen on September 24, 2015.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp

Karate and Calling Up the Creative Spirit

12 5 karate third degree extravaganza (8)Sitting in a karate dojo may not be the best writing environment for calling forth the creative spirit.  But it’s where I am for the next hour, and time is precious. Nine black belts gather on the bright red and black mat, geared for battle with padded sticks, thick, protective gloves and head gear that rivals any major league baseball catcher’s. Silently, they listen. Quietly, I watch, my fingers clicking the keyboard in opposition to their stick staccato.

I watch the instructor lead the class through drills that require intense hand/eye coordination, quick reflexes, and serious concentration to avoid a beating. “Don’t look away-stare your opponent in the eye,” the teacher directs. My son’s cat-like reflexes make it appear effortless, but I know better. I see what’s going on behind his stare.

I envy his ability to block out all distractions and focus on one seemingly simple act of snapping a stick towards his opponent. He’s not stressed out about the English homework left behind on his desk, or the piano practice he has to do when he gets home. He throws himself into the moment, fully present for the hour of training. I’m having trouble getting in my groove. Distractions abound in this place.

For me, being fully present in my environment is essential for creating, and while I find inspiration in the world around me, today the words come slowly. The train whistle, the beat of the funk music and the chants from the students across the hall challenge my focus and complicate my thoughts. I can’t concentrate. The words swirl. I need silence. Escape.

I could walk to my car-that’s always a quiet, controlled space for me-but that’s not politically correct in the parenting world. I could put in earplugs, but then how would I follow along with the class? Perhaps I should just sit with my notebook, jotting down words, thoughts, and inspiration that comes to mind…

They’ve moved to knife defense now. The instructor carefully tosses directions to his students. Tighter grip. Looser grip. Crowd the upper arm. Don’t let him wiggle out or get his posture back. Nice and smooth. It’s not about bending your arm 90 degrees in the wrong direction.

As I gaze down at my screen, I suddenly realize what I’m doing wrong: I’m bending in the wrong direction. I’m filling my days to the brim, looking for any moment to spill my thoughts. I’m immobilizing myself, keeping a tight grip on all the parts of my day instead of keeping it smooth. I want to capture it all, to not miss a moment. I’m bent over, poorly postured, no wiggle room. I’m not present in my now. I’m the epitome of multi-tasking. I’m the sucker walking down the dark alley, unaware of the danger lurking behind me.

I’m my own worst opponent here. I’m a sure target for being taken down. I have no self-defense.

The drills stop, and the students line up for last words. Today, it’s a motivational quote. Something by Winston Churchill – maybe “Never, never, never give up.” I’m not 100% sure. I’m listening, watching, writing, and only part-way there. Maybe that’s just the quote that comes to mind-my creative muse sending me a message after all, perhaps.

I’d better listen up and learn how to get myself out of this one – before it’s too late.

More life lessons from a 13-year-old.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp