The mysterious forces of the universe never cease to amaze me. As doors close, windows open. Once, in a relationship crash of my twenty-something years, my father – who thinks pragmatically like any true businessman – tried to comfort me with “don’t look at this as an obstacle, rather, look at it like an opportunity!” This “insensitivity” sparked a teenage-like rage of disbelief and betrayal in my heart! How could he liken my broken relationship to a business euphemism? Ah – but that travelling salesman – my daddy – was all too wise! That truth has become a mantra of my life; thankfully I could put my emotional ego aside to see that wisdom – those loving and supportive words, eventually, brought light to my darkness. Thus, the universe does this to us too, repeatedly! It brings us situations that are obstacles and conflicts until we learn how to make them our opportunities.
I have thought of this often this week through challenges! There have been many obstacles and my emotional side often frustrates through it all. But slowly, the week has offered me far more opportunities and I will choose to focus on those.
To begin, I – gulp – took up the call for proposals for NCTE 2013 regarding the blogging journey I’ve experienced with my students. This is pure opportunity, a dream to hope for! I do not expect such an honour of presenting at this event that I truly, truly love, but I am proud that I took a chance to make a dream come true. After-all, as my first blog here states: “Pretending that next time I could be presenting at such a conference as this! But in truth, I just basked in the glory of the gurus and the geniuses wondering if I’d ever really grow up and be wise like the big kids and as energetically creative as the young kids?” I truly believe in NCTE and how it has transformed me as a teacher! The PLN and sharing we speak of here in our etmooc course really made me feel the confidence I needed to take a risk and try.
Second blessing of my week – tweeting with one of my professional idols – Penny Kittle. As an English high school teacher, this fine lady is a mentor to my professional growth. I first encountered her at 2011 NCTE and again I basked in her glory at 2012 NCTE! She is pure inspiration! If you are an English teacher – you truly need her! In fact, my subtitle on this blog is “Blogging Beside My Students”, which is an emulation to her book Write Beside Them. Alas, I am so excited that she will be coming to Alberta to do workshops with writing! I noticed on her website that she would be in two other provincial cities this coming month – so I advocated to our local PD and they are bringing her to us too. Okay, true, I could be accused of being a stalker. But, I promise you Penny, I’m just humbly respectful of your amazing energy and talent! I hope you’ll still take me up on the coffee and tour (it seems Oprah wasn’t interested when she came to town this week). Just the courage it took me to tweet Penny warrants a coffee – I hope!
Now, as the universe has offered me some painful lessons this week, it also brought great “lights” to my life! First of all, I reconnected with this amazing teacher who has been a virtual friend and mentor to me – my PLN (personal learning network). I met this amazing lady – Carol Mayne – about four years ago via the English Companion Ning. Ironically, she is in neighbouring Canmore (in the mountains via Calgary). As I was learning about PLN and sharing, I longed for my friend who I had lost touch with over a year ago. Luckily – I quickly found her – and it turns out we were finding each other serendipitously via this course. Amazing! I am so grateful to have her back in my world and we are planning an actual meeting, as real humans! Furthermore, I just saw great clarity of good people in my life – the gifts of my family, dear friends, and amazing student teachers who I get to collaborate with in my classroom! I have been blessed by many loving, light-filled people!
Finally, I have really enjoyed reading many blogs this week that transform one’s “wounded” spirit. But the two that truly to spoke to my inner truth were:
These blogs, this course, that conference, the tweets, these people all remind me: “don’t look at this as an obstacle, rather, look at it like an opportunity!” Essentially, there is much more grace and gratitude to be had in my week than I had felt before. I choose to focus on the opportunities and be grateful for them. I guess that pragmatic dad of mine was right all along! Thanks Daddy!