My [redacted] Journey

A teacher's search for inner peace.


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For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow


student-love

I’m all about the love.

November 16, 2016

*Names in the following post have been changed.

Dear Readers,

Respect is overrated. In fact, at times, it is quite inconsequential. I can think of several nouns I would rather have from someone than the ‘R’ word; peace and love naturally come to mind. Unfortunately, our world is sorely lacking in all three.

When I was younger (much, much younger), I was fond of saying that I would rather my colleagues respect me than like me. And I have always been confident enough in my skills to ensure that my coworkers would do just that: respect me. Boy was I wrong!

For the past year, I have noticed a definite shift in the attitude of my students, collectively as well as individually. There is certainly more bullying and less kindness on display in my classroom. Indeed, I have oftentimes pointed this out to my most unruly classes. The school year is nearly half over and I have finally gotten my students to take me seriously. I’ve had to prove myself over and over again to not only earn their trust, but, yes, their respect as well. But as any teacher of middle school students knows, it’s one step forward, two steps back. And sometimes it’s not my students that are tripping me backwards; it’s my fellow educators.

There are certain male teachers at school who seem to command respect by their mere presence. Something about a deep, throaty voice and a six foot frame that registers with middle school kids. I was always able to put the fear of God in my own children with my “look”, but it never quite worked with this bunch of students. I’ve even ventured to ask my students why they behave for Mr. Down-the-Hall but not for me. I’m not going to tell you their answers, but I’ve come up with a few of my own.

We live in a male dominated society. Like it or not, men are valued more than women. I try to not let that bother me, but it does. It especially bothers me when Mr. Down-the-Hall undermines my authority in front of my students. Instead of accusing me of dismissing my students before the bell rings, why can’t Mr. Down-the-Hall wait until there are no students around, mine or his, and ask me what happened that my students left early? Why? Because if Mr. Down-the-Hall had waited to ask me what happened, instead of accusing me of letting my students out early, I would have told him that as soon as I turned my back, my students (all but two) rushed the door and were halfway to the bus before I even knew they were gone.

These same students would never deign to pull such a stunt with Mr. Down-the-Hall, they’re too afraid of him. Alas, I am envious of the fear he commands. “If I could just have a teeny bit of whatever he has…” I muse, and sometimes cry. And today was one of those days.

Today was one of those, “I am sick to death of putting up with the lack of respect from pipsqueak, prepubescent would-be reprobates!” And Mr. Down-the-Hall just added to my frustration. I willed myself to stay angry to stave off the tears. “I will not cry on my way home. I will not cry on my way home. I will not cry on my way home.” Then I began to think.

I began to question where I had gone wrong. When had I begun to be ineffective? When had I lost the respect of my charges, if in fact, I ever had it? All I ever really wanted was respect. Respect, respect, respect. My respect mantra was still looping through my mind when I stopped at Panda Express to pick up tonight’s dinner. My anger began to subside (the anticipation of food often does that to me) and I began to soothe my soul.

Instead of telling myself what I didn’t have from my students, I began to tell myself what I did.  I have my students’ trust; they trust me to lead them in the right direction. I have my students’ laughter; they not only laugh at me, they laugh with me. I have my students’ love; they love me even when I don’t think they do. And as if on cue, I see one of my students, standing in line behind me, with her family. I was pretty sure she hadn’t seen me, and I didn’t want to embarrass her, so I was going to pay for my food and quietly slip out the door. It was enough for me to know that I was making a difference in my students’ lives. And, hey, at my age, I can STILL improve my character, I can stop the tears AND the anger, and I CAN be good to myself. Yea me! What had started out as a miserable evening was turning into a pretty good night. And it was just about to get even better.

Lost in thought and heading for the Panda Express exit, I almost missed my student stepping out of line and heading right toward me. She was walking with arms outstretched, smile on her lips, twinkle in her eye; my heart melted. I stopped and we enveloped each other in well-needed hug. We said, “Hi,” and “Bye,” and I was out the door. It was then that I finally let the tears flow freely down my cheeks. To hell with respect, my students LOVE me. And that, dear Readers, is what makes the world go ’round.

peace, ~v.  

 

 

 

 

 

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Seeking the Truth


May 1, 2016

Dear Readers,

So often during the Middle School Years, kids are seeking acceptance, self worth, and yes, even their own identities. It is helpful for teachers to remember this when confronted with raging parents, marionette administrators, or the un-truth tellers themselves. It is also helpful to remember that truth is subjective and its extraction, a dance. 

“She won’t teach my daughter!”

I was sitting across from my student, Marta** and her mother, who was raging. 

“Marta said you refused to teach her!  She said you even used those words, ‘I refuse to teach you!’  How unprofessional!  I don’t care if you don’t like her or she makes you mad!  My daughter deaserves her education and you can’t refuse to teach her! She was sooo upset last night, and I wanna know…”

I’m stalling for time here, allowing Mom to blow off some steam. I’m trying to pinpoint in my memory just exactly when I refused to teach Marta…ahh, yes. I had told Marta the previous day that I refused to teach her; but, that’s not the whole truth. As soon as I pinpointed the incident, I came back to the present and Mom was still accusing me of things untoward. I love righteous indignation. And both Marta and her mom had such self-satisfied smiles showing.   I almost hated to see them fade. 

“Excuse me,” I said to Mom. Then I turned my full attention to Marta. “Marta,” I asked, “What is the bathroom policy in my classroom?”

Before she could answer, Mom interrupts, “What does that have to do with anything?”

In my haste to get to the whole truth, I ignore the question and turn once again to Marta, “Marta, would you please tell your mother the bathroom policy for my classroom?”

“Yeah, well, we raise our hand and ask if we can go to the bathroom.”

“Okay. And then what?”

“If you say yes, then we sign out and go!” she says with pride at being able to answer such simple questions. 

“And how often do I say ‘Yes, you can go?'”

“Almost all the time,” Marta answers.  She turns to Mom, “Ms. Kunzmann always lets us go to the bathroom!” She’s picking up steam now, “And we hafta sign all the way out. The date, our first and last name, and the time we leave and the time we come back”

“That’s right. And what happens if you forget to sign all the way out?”

“We can’t go to the bathroom anymore?” she answers with some doubt. 

“Yes,” I answer.  “But only for the next week. And is there anything else your mom should know about my bathroom policy?”

“Ummmm, I dunno.”

“Okay,” I prompt her. “What about the part when you’re in the bathroom and I’m still instructing the class?”

“Oh yeah,” Marta remembers. “And you won’t repeat anything when we get back.”

“That’s right,” I exclaim and I address Mom. “You see, some of my students take advantage of my seemingly loose bathroom policy. In fact, some of my students leave class every day to go to the bathroom. Some days there is a steady stream of students from my classroom to the bathroom and back. Because of this, I have repeatedly told my students that I will not repeat whatever they miss while in the bathroom. It is each student’s responsibility to ask a peer for any information they might have missed.”

I could see Marta squirming uncomfortably as I addressed her mom, because now the whole truth will be revealed. 

“The other day when Marta came back from the bathroom, I had finished my instruction and the students were working on their assignment. Marta sees this and asks me what she is supposed to be doing. I told her to ask one of her peers, she knows the rules. At this point, Marta becomes quite upset at me for not telling her the assignment. Right, Marta?” And I look right at her. But she won’t look at me. 

I go on to explain that I had added up the amount of time Marta had been out of my classroom in the past two weeks: 32 minutes. If I have just three students from each of my four classes go to the bathroom every day, and believe me, I have far more, I would be repeating every. single lesson, every, single day. I refuse. 

Finally, I am explaining to Marta’s mom that what I had said to Marta was, “I cannot repeat my lesson over and over again for those individuals who use the restroom during my class. Heck, just Marta alone would have me repeating 32 minutes worth of instruction every two weeks!  So yes, I did tell Marta that I refuse to teach her while she is in the bathroom. I don’t think that is unreasonable.”

Crickets. 

Middle school students are still trying to figure out who they are and what path they should take. Unfortunately, this middle-school-soul-searching often requires dramatics (theirs, not mine). “I refuse to teach you!” is certainly more dramatic than, “I refuse to teach you while you are in the bathroom.”  And, “I refuse to teach you!” is a much better attention-grabber. While, “I refuse to teach you while you are in the bathroom,” is, well, sensible; something middle school students rarely have an occasion to practice. 

And that’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. 

Peace, ~v.

**Names have been changed


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My Joy


sunsetJoy:  the emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune; a source or cause of delight.

October 4, 2015

Dear Readers,

As joy settles in and around my soul, I am taken aback at my good fortune.  I have touched the lives of many young people, and this has been a source of great happiness for me.  However, countless young people have moved my soul, and this has been a great source of joy for me.

Why must I constantly search for more? 

Well, dear Readers, that is what is at the heart of the matter.  It’s not that I think I have done quite enough in my teaching of young people and I can rest on my laurels, it’s that I fear I could be doing more.  I have been dedicated to teaching to the point of absorption.  I have painstakingly and methodically set out to be a fine educator.  I’ve taken the time to hone my craft and I’m almost always tinkering at my workbench.  I am in restless pursuit of a greater understanding as to how to better do what I do.  If the key to success is based on extraordinary effort, well then, I am successful.  However, I nearly always fabricate an opposing force to my joy.

Why must I constantly feel out of balance?

I either have or I have not.  I either take or I give.  There seems to be no middle ground with me.  It’s time I look deeper into my life and question where it is leading, who is really in charge, and what’s really going on.  I need to get ahold of the big picture.

What is my sole (soul?) purpose?

I’ve always taken the road less traveled.  I’ve lived my life speaking my mind and seizing the day.  I’ve gambled that being bold would bring me personal power over my life.  Ahh, but somewhere along the way I forgot that true power always comes from God.  It’s through this relationship that I am blessed with fulfillment.  When I begin to believe that I am the source of my accomplishments, problems develop.  When I forget that I am not the source of my power, my good sense is overwhelmed and I become blind to my true intentions.

What are my true intentions?

Although I’ve faltered, I do have the courage of my convictions.  I believe that man is basically good.  I believe that one person can make a difference.  I believe that I can inspire a generation to act upon the goodness in their hearts.  And, I believe I am blessed.

Why am I worried about my future?

I’ve thought long and hard about these questions, dear Readers.  As near as I can tell, it’s time to take a walk with God.  Communing with nature is one way in which I connect to God.  When the words on the page clutter my brain, my wisdom dulls.  When this happens, it’s time for me to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation, Mother Earth.  Watching the sun rise over the mountains, being still and watching the nighttime twinkles in the sky.  Getting up close to a flowering plant so that the bud and I are aware of each other, breathing with each other and for each other.  Man and earth are dependent upon one another.

Why do I lose that connection?

When I can appreciate my connection to God through nature, I can reconnect to the nurturer in me.  I can once again appreciate and care for others.  After all, that’s part of the big picture, to serve others.  To be of service to others is one of my greatest gifts.  I must pray I don’t fall victim to, well, playing the victim.  I oftentimes have developed a “Why me, God?” attitude and plunged into years of selfishness.  I’ve clung to my cloud of oppression and bitterness.  I’ve substituted that for the big picture and it never works.  Selfishness is nowhere in the big picture.

What’s the point?

We were never meant to walk in self-pity.  We were made to rise to the challenges that God has foretold.  Disagreements, hassles, quarreling, arguing, and bickering.  Being at odds with one another does not manifest joy in one’s life.  Being bothered by the differences keeps us from looking for the similarities.  Quibbling over details only derails the peace in which we were all meant to live.

What are my options?

I’m finally beginning to see the balance I’ve been searching for all these years.  I now recognize that I can be an effective educator without dying for the cause.  I can embrace the challenge of teaching without losing myself and my sense of humor.  I can go with the flow without being afraid to go under somewhere downstream.  I can keep everything in balance.

What’s the catch?

Here’s the rub, I must learn to feel my emotions.  That’s what this all comes down to, feeling my emotions instead of constantly masking them.  Truly, this is my answer.  I’ve closed the door to my heart so often that I’ve found it nearly impossible to open it again.  However, through my constant prayers and my faith in God, little by slowly (thanks Skip), I’ve managed to let down my guard and let in my students.

kidsWhat’s changed?

The students are the same, I’ve changed.  I’ve begun to see my students not as empty vessels that need to be filled up.  But rather, as bodies with souls that need to be loved and nurtured.  And it’s been through this love that I have found joy, pure, unadulterated joy!  I’ve found my balance.  I’ve found my inner peace.

I used to think that I wanted to change the world.  But no, I want to teach the children who want to change the world.  There could be no greater joy.  Peace, ~v.


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Thoughts and Musings


P1000438

July 29, 2014

Dear Readers,

Here’s the truth of it.  I had an occasion to look back through my writing journals today and I liked what I saw.  In fact, I liked it so much that it is now the subject of today’s blog post.  So dear Readers, without further ado, I give you some of my past thoughts and  musings.

…on who I am

“I am a realist hiding in a cynic’s body, trying to be an eternal optimist. Sometimes it works, most times it doesn’t.”

“No one gets to be my age without some scars. Some scars blend and fade over time; I have those. Some scars only become deeper with age; I have those as well. And some scars never heal, they remain jagged to the touch and even “bleed” when touched; I definitely have those.”

“I am unable to pinpoint just where I began slipping away from reality. Heck, I can’t even tell you the month or the year the darkness began to take over. And that has been my savior and my demon.”

“I have done the hard work to get myself back to the land of the living. No more having to relive the past and no more worrying about the what-ifs of the future. I am finally living in the present and it feels good, it feels right.”

“It is simply amazing that one year ago I was in the depths of solitude and now I am reaching new heights.”

…on motherhood

“I’m not your friend, I’m not your buddy, I’m not your pal, I’m your mother, and you will respect me.”

“I came to realize that a mother only has a few precious years in which to mold and shape her children. I was determined to do the best I could by you. I can look back now with pride that I had such good kids to work with! You all made it so easy for me to be the best I could be. You helped me understand when I was way too much, way too close, way too everything. And for that, I thank you.”

…on being a teacher

“I do not teach, I TEACH!”

“I don’t want to change the world.  I want to teach the students who want to change the world.”

“Teachers are overworked, underpaid and undervalued.  And I wouldn’t have any other job.  I have always, ever wanted to be a teacher.”

…on food

“Me and food, we’re tight, we’re good friends.  One look at my voluptuous figure bears this out.”

“Food is the common ground we human beings, share. It is what keeps us well, alive.  We bake bread, eat bread, receive the bread and even break bread. It is one of our common denominators.”

…on my writing

“I have been told that my writing is quirky and inspiring, refreshing and heart-warming.  I’d like to think that it is just you and me, dear Readers, sitting around the kitchen table drinking coffee on a crisp early morning as the sun rises over the horizon.  Or perhaps it’s just you and me sitting in the backyard on a lazy summer evening, drinking a beer and watching the sun melt into the distance.  Either way dear Readers, it’s just you and me, talking, laughing, crying, connecting like two, long lost friends should.”

…on my faith

“I forgive and I love.  I forgive because I have much in which I must be forgiven.  And love?  Well, when God calls me home, I want to go knowing that the people I love know that I loved them.”

“What a kind and merciful God we have. I am blessed and divinely favored. I praise God each and every day that I am where I am today.  God is good and I intend on living my life in praise of Him. To whom much is given, much is expected.”

…on teenage girls

“Teenage girls chatter, they gossip, they seek to belong and they seek to be individuals. They love pop music, pop stars and popcorn. And they all have dreams; dreams they will strive to achieve, dreams they will hold close, dreams to leave this world a better place. And sadly, dreams they will never realize.”

“Sadly, most of them have accepted their lot in life.  Well, I have not accepted this fact! I refuse to accept it for me and I refuse to accept it for these girls. I will continue to bang my head against the proverbial wall. I will continue to demand the respect I, as an authority figure, deserve. It is an uphill battle to be sure. However, perhaps someday they will look back on their brief encounter with me and remember that as an authority figure, I was valid. And perhaps they will begin to realize that they, and all women, are valid as authority figures.”

“I stand here before you today to tell you that you are no different from the girls I taught back home. Yes, as a group we are different. However, individually, we are the same; we live the same, we learn the same, we love the same. We hurt the same, we cry the same and we die the same. We are the same.”

…on war and peace

“When you are stronger than somebody, you have power over them.  And when you have power over them, you can “rape” them.  And when you can “rape” them, you can brutalize them.  And when you can brutalize them, they will fear you.  And when they fear you, you can control them. And when you can control them, you do.”

“When we, as human beings begin to realize that we are all the same, we will have no more hatred, we will have justice.  We will have no more war, we will have peace.  I want to live in that world and I know you do to.  So go out there and make a difference, change the world or change your mind; one is just as dificult to do as the other.  And then begin to make this world a better place.  I want to be proud of you and I want to tell the world that I taught the girls who taught the world how to be a better place.”

Enough said, dear Readers.  Peace, ~v.


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It’s In the Cards


July 15, 2014

Dear Readers,

I recently wrote that I was celebrating my one year anniversary writing my blog, My [redacted] Journey.  Having reached that milestone, I envision taking my writing into a new direction.  What that entails exactly, I do not know.  I do know one thing, however.  I do know how to tackle my indecisiveness.

At the heart of the matter is my lack of clarity and guidance.  I am  not clear what I want to ‘do’ with my writing.  Therefore, I lack the proper guidance to get me there.  Usually, a major concern such as this,  puts me in an emotional state;  I feel anxious, I begin to obsess, I am easily irritated.  Not this time, I have a better handle on my life’s direction.

Next, I take a good look at why I am resistant to explore my options.  The reason I am holding back this time is because I have recently started a journey of self-discovery and it hasn’t always been pleasant.  In the back of my mind, I am afraid the only thing I will discover about my writing is that I shouldn’t be writing.

Then, I check my motives for wanting what I want, in this case, to pursue my writing.  I check myself for any ulterior motives, any hidden agenda.  In this case, I feel a twinge of guilt for wanting to do something other that teach.  I recognized my inner calling long ago, so to change it up, I must not be judgmental and learn to make the hard choices without the guilt.

Once I stop judging myself and what I desire, I see what was once important to me begin to slip away.  For example, in order to concentrate on my writing, there are certain qualities in which I have to let go.  If writing become my life’s focus, my nurturing, caring side would  become a former focus of mine instead of my primary focus.

So where do my attitudes and beliefs fit in?  What are my goals insofar as writing is concerned?  What is the alternative future for me as a writer and not me as a teacher?  The answer to these questions is for me to us my common sense.  If I take a realistic approach to my writing, an opening may appear that leads to my taking a chance with a future in writing.

It is only then that I begin to face unresolved issues about my personality that may make taking a different path, such as that of a writer, even more difficult.  Here is my breakdown:  I have to resources to teach, but not the knowledge to learn.  I have the capacity to lead, but am hesitant to do the following.  And I have the humility to give, yet the hubris to never receive.

Subsequently, I see myself as having suffered one too many losses to begin with something new and lose that, as well.  I have suffered great losses of things (and people) that I loved, and right now, I am feeling deprived of love in general.  I realize I have made wrong choices in my lie, I am apprehensive to make many more.

Here is where it is always best to see myself through the eyes of others.  Others perceive me as energetic, outgoing, cheerful, and self-assured.  Sometimes, those perceptions are only what I am projecting into the universe.  I have to stop all of the negativity making a loop through my brain.  I need to begin to see myself in a more positive light.

So then, what are my hopes and fears about my future writing endeavors?  I believe that writing is a gift I must use to feel fulfilled.  Writing, in conjunction with teaching, represents that which will help me become connected, engaged with what is around me.  I am in a position to realize my heart’s desire: to actively contribute to society and to be of service to others.

So, what do I see as the overall outcome with respect to my writing?  Well, I do not believe my writing has run its course; I still have so much I have to get out to the masses.  I see that it is time for me to take action.  I have thought about my writing and I have imagined me as a writer.  I even dream of being a writer.  Now is the time for me to act.  Soon the dust will settle and I will see how my plans have fared.  Meanwhile dear Readers, any suggestions?  Peace, ~v.


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Pieces of Peace


Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

July 14, 2014

Dear Readers,

Today is the perfect day for me to write my list, as I go back to school in two days, and the students return in seven.    It is the time of year when I most need to be at peace with myself.  Having either been a student and/or a teacher most of my life, the end of summer has almost always had a calming effect on me.  I am more grounded, more centered, more positive.  And until recently, my inner peace would creep inside my soul without so much as a clue as to how and when it arrived.  Now however, I am beginning to recognize and understand the characteristics of my inner peace so that I may practice letting it spill over into my everyday self.

In the past two years, I have been able to identify five essential elements of inner peace.  These pieces of  the puzzle have often been within my personality, two or three at a time.  I recognize however, that I must be able to manifest all five of the traits in order to fulfill my inner peace.  Nothing can bring me peace but myself,thus, I am responsible for making sure that all of the pieces fall into place.

Five Essential Elements of Inner Peace

1.  Live in the Present.  This is the most difficult of all the elements to accomplish, for myself and I suspect for most people.  We look back fondly, we wax nostalgic, and we hold tight to our memories.  We also regret.  Looking back and remembering is fine, as long as we do not live in the past.  Living in the past only serves to magnify our errors, our missteps.  Then, we begin to regret and our lives in the present become a series of, “How can I make-up to (blank) for my mistakes?”  You can fill in the blank with my spouse, my children, my family, myself.  Regret robs us of our present.  More importantly, it robs us of our inner peace.

Similarly, putting too much focus on the future robs us as well.  Planning for your future is a good thing.  However, if you find yourself constantly putting off until tomorrow what you can do today, your focus is not in the present.  When you lead your life according to what-if’s, “What if I get in an accident?”, “What if my husband leaves me?”, “What if I don’t get that job?”, you become paralyzed, afraid to let life happen.  Live in the present, that is the only place you will find inner peace.

2.  Embrace Change.  Change is inevitable.  In fact, the only thing we can count on is change and we cannot control that.  Having no control over changes in life is frustrating for many of us.  Change after change after change, with no control, is likely to have our lives spinning out of control.  When we resist change, we become stuck in the past and inner peace remains elusive.  Do not resist change, embrace it.  Growth is never possible without change.  Besides, if you are not happy with today’s change, just wait, it is likely to change tomorrow.

3.  Be Still.  In today’s hustle and bustle, we oftentimes forget to stop and smell the roses, we forget to be still.  Being constantly on the move affords us no time, no space to re-connect with our higher being.  God, the Creator, Allah, the Supreme Being, whatever your choice, if you believe in something or someone greater than yourself, you must make time to honor that connection.  To pray, to meditate, to be silent, to be still.  If we keep a constant dialogue going on in our head, we are not doing enough listening.  We have our epiphanies, our moments of clarity when we are still.  It is also where we begin to find our inner peace.

4.  Simplify your life.  The more simple your life, the happier you are likely to be and the more likely you are to find your inner peace.  I will use mathematical equations for my analogy.  There are two types of mathematical equations, simple and complex.  A simple equation, for example 1+1=2, requires little to no energy to solve.  We do not have to put forth much effort or use up much of our time to get our answer.  However, a complex equation, for example    , requires a lot more of our thought, our energy, and our time.  Simple equation, simple solution.  Complex equation, complex solution.  The same is true in life.  When our lives become too complex, it requires more of our thought, more of our energy, and more of our time.  We become drained and are less likely to put much effort into seeking inner peace because we are too busy looking for a little peace and quiet.

5.  Forgive.  Not an easy thing to do for some of us.  As with everything else in our quest for inner peace, what we have in our heart, will show in our lives.  If you harbor resentment, hold a grudge, refuse to forgive, it will manifest a negative energy within you.  Think about it, we hold our resentments and our grudges in the same place we hold our souls, within ourselves.  Living so close together, our resentment is bound to seep into our soul.  Our soul becomes that which surrounds it.   Surround your soul with forgiveness and your soul will be filled with mercy.  And when your soul is filled with mercy, you are more likely to find the inner peace you are seeking.

These five elements are just the beginning.  Our lives are like a jigsaw puzzle.  We each have all of the pieces that we need in order to complete the beautiful picture that is on the front of the box.  Once we fit all of the pieces together, we can begin to live the life we were meant to live.  We will begin to live a peaceful existence once the pieces of peace are in place.  Peace, ~v.


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Not A Hippie


July 6, 2015

Dear Readers,

Today I am hopeful (insert emoji here). I am hopeful because this young man is an example of our future. I enjoyed reading a particular blog this past weekend and I thought I would share. This blog, Mykul Mitch, is written by a young man from Milford, New Hampshire. His tagline is what caught my eye, “Empathy Deserves A Comeback”. This blog was either going to be really lame, or really worth my time.

I dig the concept of empathy. Our ability to not only understand, but to share the feelings of others is definitely an attribute of peace. Peace? For it. And I’m pretty sure dude, I’ll call him Milford, who writes this blog is for it, as well. I mean, he read the Dalai Lama and thought it was cool (see here).  Milford is inspired by the almost ordinary (see Inspired In A Minute).  He wants to make a difference; he writes about regret, self-confidence, negativity, and basketball.  What’s not to like?  And then, I read one of his posts that has had me chuckling for the past two days.  In fact, it was the catalyst for my post today, dear Readers.

Someone asked Milford is he was a hippie (see the post here).  He was appalled!  Of course he is not a “(move cross country to find my purpose)” individual.  He laughed, “How anyone could think I am a hippie is beyond me.”  Let’s see, Milford is a believer in the free-spirit attitude (If it works for you)”, he questions authority because he admits that he “can’t just take the opinions and perspectives from older people and regurgitate them out in my own words.”, nope, not a hippie…well, maybe hippy-ish.  Milford also writes things like, “We are all wrapped up in “getting ours.” Too busy to understand that others are in need.” and ” Pay attention everyone. If you don’t, the amazing people in this world will be overshadowed and under appreciated by men and women of power.” Hippie, right?  I mean, I should know…

I am a believer in the free-spirit attitude as well.  Also, I believe that we should all question authority.  I think men and women of power under appreciate too many people and yes, plenty of people are too busy to understand that other are in need.  This is what I thought made me, and Milford, subsequently, a hippie.  Turns out I’m wrong.

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines hippie as ” a usually young person who rejects the mores of established society (as by dressing unconventionally or favoring communal living) and advocates a nonviolent ethic; broadly :  a long-haired unconventionally dressed young person.”  Say what?  Really?  That’s the definition?  Hmmm, I thought “hippie” was more of an ideal, more of a concept, than a stereotypical individual.  Guess not.

Well dear Readers, and Milford, I guess the laugh is on me.  I thought you and me, Milford, I thought we were hippies.  I mistakenly believed that it was our attributes of peace and kindness that characterized us as hippies..  Sadly, I am wrong.  However, I am still hopeful (insert emoji here).  I have faith if there is one Milford out there, there is another and another.  I feel hopeful that our future is in good hands.  Check out the blog Mykul Mitch, it will inspire you, hippie or not.  So, I’m not a hippie, hmm…Wait!  What about my peace sign tattoo?  Peace, ~v.