It is also the month that I celebrate another year in this world and the many gifts and people that have added to my life in that time. It is a tradition with me. Somehow things have never had as great a meaning to me as memories. One of my greatest joys is to try to find ways to pass on those gifts and to thank some who have made a difference in my life.
As I contemplated what to do for this next month of writing, this month of gratitude was a natural fit. It is especially meaningful to me this year because I will be 57 and was born in 1957. There is something about those matching numbers that stand out to me and this is the last matching number available in a reasonably long lifetime. So, in my estimation, this makes it my golden birthday. I plan on celebrating the month by mindfully living each day and observing for the gifts in whatever each day holds.
Like all months, it will be a time of mixed emotions, of inner searching as well as joyful moments. I am not going to try to make this month anything but what it will be. I am not planning on hanging on to any time worn clichés to chastise myself if I don’t feel wonderful about everything that comes my way. The fun of the month will be to look at whatever comes and find the gift it has for my life. I don’t think gifts only come in the wonderful moments of life.
Here is an example. A student I teach walked into class with all the tension that is so often held in his frame bristling all over him, but he was there. He was willing to risk involvement even though the desire for fight or flight read clearly in his features and stance.
I have built a place in my room for him and for other students that may just need a time out before they can come back and be involved. He hadn’t chosen to use it so I went on with the lesson. As we worked with the expressive activity of the day I could watch the tension fading from his body and the light coming back into his eyes.
It is a gift I see in many students each day. I am so thankful that I teach in a creative area — music — but also that I am a person who struggles with my own anxiety issues so that I can be empathetic to students who have the same struggle while at the same time still holding a respectful expectation of what they are capable of doing. For me, my own anxiety is a gift that helps me to be the best teacher I can be for these students.
Though the photo background is mine, this quote comes from a wonderful blog post called “The Gift of Anxiety: 7 Ways to Get the Message and Find Peace ” by Ariella Baston found at http://tinybuddha.com/blog/the-gift-of-anxiety-7-ways-to-get-the-message-and-find-peace/.