weakness

What If We Re-frame Weakness?

Re-framing Weakness

“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”

Niccolò Machiavelli

 

Weakness

a fine line in a marble statue

not deep enough to crack,

but penetrating enough to create a story…

weakness

or a vulnerability like a chink in a coat of armor

or strength of character

and trust in those who love you?

weakness fault line

Weakness

a fault line in the earth

reminding us of the fragility of our existence

and yet sturdy enough to walk on…

weakness snowflake

or indecision like a snowflake wafting in the air

or certainty that the world will continue

even when we falter?

weakness peach

Weakness

a soft spot in an overripe peach

reminding us to taste, quickly, before it’s too late

and savor the sticky nectar dribbling down our chin…

or imperfection like a mountain range

erupting from a tranquil valley full of crevices and pitfalls

or offering a majestic view from the top?

January prompt-a-day from write alm – today’s prompt is weakness|strength

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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.

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Let It All Go, And Flow…

freeimages.co.uk nature images
image courtesy of freeimages.co.uk nature images

Let go of the ways you thought life
would unfold; the holding of plans
or dreams or expectations – Let it
all go. Save your strength to swim
with the tide.

The choice to fight what is here before
you now will only result in struggle,
fear, and desperate attempts to flee
from the very energy you long for.

Let go. Let it all go and flow with the
grace that washes through your days
whether you receive it gently or
with all your quills raised to defend
against invaders.

Take this on faith: the mind may never
find the explanations that it seeks, but
you will move forward nonetheless.

Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry
you to unknown shores, beyond your
wildest dreams or destinations. Let it
all go and find the place of rest and
peace, and certain transformation.

~ Danna Faulds

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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.

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On the Corner of Dream Ave. and Believe St.: Stepping Out Of Our Comfort Zone

“To the degree we’re not living our dreams, our comfort zone has more control over us than we have over ourselves.”

                             ~ Peter McWilliams

comfort zone
From angelvillanueva.com

What is on the other side of change?  How often, when we find ourselves happily cruising down the  road of life, do we stop and think about what’s next? The superstitious among us might not want to jinx a good thing-why think about what might be around the next bend? Why not just keep on chugging forward? Don’t rock the boat? The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, right?

I’m wondering if maybe it actually is.

As Peter McWilliams, author of Do It! Let’s Get Off Our Buts and Life 101: Everything We Wish We Had Learned About Life in School—But Didn’t says, if we really want to live our dreams, perhaps we should think what’s just beyond the horizon or around the corner. Pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone means a momentary loss of control-scary for some of us, exhilarating for others.

Living in our comfort zone is safe.  We know what to expect, and we often feel guaranteed of the outcome.  That is, well, comforting.  Whether it’s the salary we earn from a job we don’t feel passionate about, or a relationship we are used to, a weight we feel is ok, or a dream we think we’ll never achieve, staying put is only a guarantee that the part of life that is comfortable will likely stay the same.

But is that living our dreams? Are we simply designed to be content, with only the renegades among us willing to take a risk?

12 7 iNDONESIA TRIP 110Last summer, I traveled to Indonesia-a place I never considered as part of my life travel itinerary. That experience propelled me to take dozens of risks, including getting incredibly cozy with a Komodo dragon. I remember the palpitation of my heart, the baby steps I took, first touching the back, the tail, and them finally getting close enough to his face to brush my lips to his scales.  Recently, the Jakarta Globe’s story of a Komodo attack that left two people in the hospital prompted discussion among our travel group: were we courageous, or simply stupid?  I say, courageous.

I think of the pioneer women who traveled across the west without any clue of what lay before them. They stuffed their wagons full of all the comforts of life, sure that their china, linens, furniture and even their beloved piano would not only safely make the trip, but also provide the much desired civilization they left behind.  Leaving their comfort zone often meant following their husband’s dreams, not their own. But they went anyway, knowing they might never go back. I’m sure komodo dragons weren’t on their worry radar, but undoubtedly the fear of the unknown, the fear for their children, and their second guessing of their decision as they huddled over a campfire for the hundredth time must have seriously tested their strength.

The curveballs life throws today’s women is similar.  Many of us follow expected gender roles, marry, have children, and put our careers second to raising the family.  Others forgo the traditional route, choosing instead to follow their dream job at the expense of what our mother’s generation could barely fathom.  Still other women try to balance both, exhausting themselves between juggling babies, bosses and never feeling wholly present in both worlds. Like the pioneer women, we ruminate over our choices, wondering if we’re on the right path.

Stepping out of our comfort zone, regardless of our social, marital or work status, requires a leap of faith; sure that our future can be more than this, that our life is ours to create.  It requires courage, determination, and often, a bit of impracticality.  Taking calculated risks that push us towards our boundaries, to find out what is on the other side of change, is scary.  Like a rocket shooting off into the darkness of the universe, sometimes we must trust that the plans have been laid, but the process might bow,flex and bend us into places we least expected to land.

Power-shift
Power-shift (Photo credit: Brett Jordan)

With all our feminist advances, women today have no guidebook to navigate motherhood, marriage and the myriad of opportunities in front of us. I say that’s a good thing.

Consider that your comfort zone is perfect for where you’ve been and where you are right now. Consider going at your own pace, placing opportunities in front of you like a master chess player, sometimes hoping that the risky move won’t be noticed by the opponent and will propel you to the win.  Prepare for the setback, the capture, and the ultimate possibility that the grass really is greener on the other side. Think of the words author Neale Donald Walsch wrote, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Where do you want your life to begin tomorrow?

What are you waiting for? Where do you want to go in life? What have you got to lose?

Take that leap.  Step outside yourself. Take control of your dreams. Experience a little discomfort-it means that life is happening.

Let me know what changes.

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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.

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Friday Photo: Words For My Daughter

“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”

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.

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Struggle

NPR’s recent story, “Struggle for Smarts: How Eastern and Western Cultures Tackle Learning” really got me thinking.  I’ve spent 22 years teaching junior high, and 16 years parenting, so the question of how do I teach kids to tackle struggle resonates in my everyday life.  The NPR story focuses on struggle and intellect – how that looks in the classroom and at home.  It made me think about the bigger idea of struggle, determination, and perseverance – traits that as a mom, I find creeping up in my life every day.

As a parent, I’ve tried to show my kids the easiest path – I’ll be honest.  Does anyone like to see their kid make painful mistakes, or take the twisting road rather than the straight? Watching our children collapse in defeat or cry in frustrations makes us feel helpless and wish we could change the outcome to spare them the agony of defeat, frustration, and yes, struggle.

No one mentions struggle in the parent handbook.

With babies, we think we will do it right.  We’ve read the books, watched, the videos, and for me, I had seen enough rotten parenting in my first six years of teaching to know I would do it differently.

None of that prepared me for those moments of struggle.  The moment when my daughter cried in exhaustion after her first weeks in kindergarten.  The moment when she had to understand her math problem – in Spanish.  The moment when she fell off the balance beam at a gym meet, or had to deal with ‘mean girls’ for the first time.  The moment when my son struck out in a baseball game, crashed in a ski race, or tested for his black belt.

I felt utterly helpless.

But in those moments, something came to me.  I suppose it was that same tingling feeling that comes to a boxer when they’re down, or a scientist on the brink of a cure.  It felt that profound, that important.  It was that split-second moment when struggle could tip the scales.

Parents know that moment.  It feels like your heart will tear out of your chest, wanting to protect, run away, shield them.  It plows through your head like a tsumani, spilling your thoughts and emotions all over and eventually, hopefully, turning you upright, to the air pocket, and in the right direction.

Don’t give up.  Persevere.  Fight.  Push yourself.  Never quit.  You can do it.  Come on, peanut.  Stick it.  Ski fast, buddy.  You’ve got this.  Run fast.  Indomitable spirit.  Study.  Don’t be afraid.

Mama loves you.

In the end, struggles happen.  Our world thrives on them.  We look to Eastern cultures and marvel at their test scores, their focus, and their determination.  We look to Western cultures and are inspired at their individuality, their creativity and problem solving.  We wonder if we’re doing the right thing.

We look to our children and know that struggle will not escape them, no matter how much we wish them safe travels down the yellow brick road of life.

So parents, what are we going to teach them?

If you’d like to read more of my analysis of the NPR story from a teacher’s perspective, please click over to my Yahoo article, “Are American Students Getting Through School Too Easily?”


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.

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