littlecolourfulteacher

littlecolourfulteacher

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the fact of the matter is…

July 21, 2019

And the fact of the matter is this: You are scared shitless of me. 

Of my light,

my confidence,

my ideas,

my voice,

my brilliance,

my joy,

my creativity,

my self,

because the air around me changes when I enter the room,

and I am affecting just by existing, I am so happy to be alive,

and thinking,

and making,

and doing,

and being,

and connecting,

and loving,

and illuminating, 

and despite saying all the correct words,

I know,

I know, 

that you are not coping with me being me,

and I laugh,

because I can finally see the fear behind the bravado,

the instability behind the big words,

and the insecurity behind the loud voice,

and overly grand gestures,

and will I let this set me off balance, you ask?

NO FUCKING WAY, little man.

No,

FUCKING,

way.

self-imposed limits

July 21, 2019

Why do we limit ourselves all the time?

The moment we wake up, we automatically calculate what we need to do in a day, and tell ourselves that we don’t have enough time.

We wonder if we’ve got the capacity to be all that we need to be in all our guises, and we start the day stretched before we’ve even tried.

We start with “can’t”; when an idea or suggestion is put forward, we think about all the things that will make it hard, rather than going first to all the possibilities.

Everything makes us feel weighted and tired, and it’s because we try to cram too much into a day because we are so arrogant that we think ourselves somehow different from everybody else that of course we can do what nobody else can. Apply that to parenting, self-care, teaching, maintaining a home, eating good food, and our relationships. The thing is, we need to time to give value to all of these things and to be there to feel those moments fully.

And scariest of all, we believe everything that people say. We are so foolhardy and gullible that we openly believe all the negatives put on the table about us, and most dangerously, we believe and invest in the opinions that absolutely don’t matter. Of our bosses, our superiors, of those who have not earned our trust. We agonise over comments that would be so much easier to figure out a way to let go, because our egos have been bruised. It’s ironically challenging, being human, isn’t it?

The thing is, all of the negatives, the fatigue, the impossibilities, and the can’ts are all going to happen. You can’t Teflon-coat yourself, or be so prepared that you are bullet-proof.

So isn’t it so much easier just to go into the day?

Isn’t it easier just to go into each situation, get stuck-in, problem solve, and get in up to your armpits rather than the unnecessary worry and preamble?

We all get stuck in that. I get stuck in that. 

I write, and re-write, and agonise, and wonder, and rehearse, and re-rehearse. That is one of my best personality traits, my care and thoroughness, at my worst. Burning holes in every bit of joyful spontaneity and casting distrust on any of my boss-level ability to adapt and problem solve.

So today, and every day, I am going to undo those limits. Life is messy, and you can’t dress rehearse.

Pause, take the layer of worry off and drop it like a heavy coat.

The day will happen whether you worry and agonise over something or not.

You will need to walk into whatever is scaring you no matter what.

Why don’t you spend the time and energy thinking about how you will navigate, rather than how you will avoid?

There are so many minutes in a day that go wasted in worry, and we look back on each weekend, each Sunday afternoon, and wonder why we got so little done and feel so wrung out? I am sure that it is, in part, because of the limits we put on ourselves.

Embrace the sucky, amazing, glorious, messiness. Go and live, my darling people!

 

impossible compass

July 20, 2019

Lyrics for a new choral commission, Impossible Compass.

The concept behind this work is the paradox of finding your internal compass, the one that holds the values that you live by, your ideals, your best heart and self.

To find your compass

You must travel the world with your heart in your pocket

Catch due north, and it’s gone, like a whisper in the wind

Walk into the north wind, and you will realise

It was there all the time in your heart

In the place where you came into being

But stay in one place, safe and secure

You won’t find it

That anchor of belonging

You won’t know what it’s like to really know

How to stand alone and ache with longing

When you are more yourself in solitude

Then you will belong

But, my darling girl, keep running and moving

And turning and twisting

And pulling and driving

Forward, always away, never still

And your compass will never align

And while you’ll be free

You’ll never find

The crossroads of joy and ache 

That give weight and meaning to life.

 

No-one asks to be a nomad when they are born into this world

But that’s who we are

We’re the map-makers and dream-sketchers

Tracking pathways to the sun

But that deep sense of longing 

That comes from being anchored deep 

While still moving and turning 

And living and flying

In the wilderness of your life

In the silence of your thoughts

In the love that springs from living

Sits beside you, and nestles in your heart

Whispers into your ear: 

My darling child, I’m here. 

#thankyou

July 17, 2019

If there was any doubt in the value of Music, or The Arts, then just think: What is it that you say the moment you meet someone who has created something that has affected you like nothing else could, changed you from the inside out, and tapped into the reserves of light and humanity that you didn’t know existed?

You grab their hands, or hug them breathless and say T H A N K Y O U.

#gondwanaworldchoralfestival

dare to play!

July 14, 2019

I have been sitting on an email for a week. It’s been utterly ridiculous. It’s been a mixture of admiration, respect, and wanting to connect that I’ve gone back and forth on the draft for the last 6 days, polling myself and every decision-making cell in me as to whether I should send it.

It was a complimentary and joyful email; if I were the recipient, it would honestly make me smile, and probably make my day. But for some reason I found myself completely stuck, unable to send this one off. Why? Part of it was not wanting to get it wrong, part of it was pride, my own and the other person’s, that I didn’t want it misinterpreted and did I even have a right to send such a joyful, carefree email to someone I wanted to connect with?

But mostly it was fear.

And I thought to myself, Why am I so afraid? 

This is one snapshot in my entire life, 11 seconds of my day. What am I afraid of? Rejection? Contempt? An answer? Not getting what I want? A throw-away response that cheapened my effort?

The curious thing was, I really didn’t know. Normally I am totally on the pulse with my own reactions and emotional compass. But where something really matters and I have a great deal invested, it becomes so much harder. I ended up, embarrassingly, doing three mental “pro-con” lists over the course of the week. I wanted a secure response, something that would indicate that I wouldn’t look like a total fool sending this, be misunderstood, and that it would be taken in exactly the right frame of mind.

The other extraordinary thing? I am never this indecisive in my professional and other parts of my personal life. I am usually optimistically realistic about things; you have to get yourself in there, stand your ground, say your piece, and be ready to invite conversation and interaction.

This morning, I woke up with a thought on the tip of my tongue, Maybe you’re afraid of getting what you want. 

I’ve actually never really understood that phrase. Whenever I hear someone else say it, I think, My GOD! I would be thrilled to get what I want! Give me that sort of reliability any day and I’ll roll with it! Put in effort, get a result, I like it!

But this morning, I got just the tiniest understanding of that phrase. If I got exactly the outcome I wanted, WHERE TO NEXT? 

Would I have the confidence to navigate the next step, to invite this idea and interaction into my life, and have the courage to invest of myself?

But that’s what life is, isn’t it? A series of tiny little moments where you play. There is a tiny invitation which makes your stomach flip, and then you respond. In friendship, in taking a leap of faith, in making the first connection to someone who catches you unawares, in giving a compliment, in going after something, in creating and living.

I sent the email.

I dared to play.

And do you know what the extraordinary thing was?

The moment I sent it, despite how scary it was, I felt as light and as illuminated as I could possibly feel.

And I knew that not sending it, and not daring to play with the greater universe, is far scarier than daring to play. 

when inspiration and time meet

July 13, 2019

One of the greatest joys in life is having inspiration, agency, and time meet at a crossroads, and bringing a creative project into existence.

Too often we have inspiration but have to fight for the time, cobbling together the tiny scraps in our day to allow space for our creativity. It is challenging and determined work, and catches us breathless, but we do it because we are punch-drunk with the idea and starry-eyed with agency.

Then there’s having time but no rush of inspiration, no idea or concept that makes our heart beat a little faster, and our minds lose all sense of time and logic. Yes, we can do workman-like work to create a committed, workman-like outcome, but again, it’s challenging and determined work with a different sort of struggle.

And then, there’s that magical, unexpected combination where inspiration, agency, and time meet at the crossroads and something truly creative and excellent is borne, coming to life with the sort of tenacity and heat that radiates from anything which has momentum.

When this happens you become a willing, humble vessel for the work, set alight by inspiration, powered by an energy which is not entirely all your own, propelled forward with a courage to give voice and breath to this tiny, audacious idea which wants to be born.

It’s a thrilling way to have a conversation with creativity.

choral commission: new lyrics!

July 11, 2019

These are the lyrics for my new choral commission, Magic Happens in the Silence.

“Magic happens in the silence

You can walk beside your heart

You can see between the moments

You can dance amongst the stars!

Light illuminates the impossible

Words alight and tell your soul

You can count between the seconds

Stand and see, you become whole

There is magic in the silence

That you never fathomed possible

That you never thought would pull you

Realigned 

Rearranged

Born again

Turned around

With your compass firmly fixed upon the stars

Where you are

Where you are

Listen to the magic in the silence

Of knowing all that you are.”

 

 

there is only now

July 10, 2019

I am a sucker for completing everything on my list and then allowing myself to have the reward.

“When I’m done with writing reports, then I can give that person a call.”

“When I finish cleaning, then I can have a glass of wine.”

“When I get to that savings goal, then I can treat myself to a brunch!” (Which will probably be pancakes…!)

I am a big fan of delayed gratification. It is well-documented in the “Marshmallow Challenge”, which pits 4-year-olds against the temptation of having one marshmallow immediately, or wait 4 minutes and get two, that those who can delay gratification work smarter, longer, harder, and are much more effective regulators of themselves and their decisions as adults.

But when that reward becomes, “…then I will allow myself to unwind, decompress, get out of go-mode, and be myself”, we hit dangerous territory. If I only allowed myself to be playful and have fun when I ticked off everything on my list, I would never catch the snippets of joy. I would never be the girl cracking jokes, or leaning into the tender moments, seeing the wistful glance, or able to grab the unexpected opportunities, and I would never experience anything from a different point of view.

Being so rigid with my expectations of myself can produce great rewards, and discipline is a wonderful task-master for effective living.

But there MUST be moments of the unexpected, particularly when it comes to humanity, joy, play, and love.

Simply, there is no perfect time to be human. You have to do it right now. You need to catch those unexpected moments of connection, take the two minutes to run over and see someone in person rather than hiding behind your laptop, grab the coffee (and eat the cake!), choose to laugh at the joke and engage, rather than worry about meeting every deadline that is crowding you.

You have to look hard and practise catching and creating those moments of humanity. 

You can’t dress-rehearse love, or grief, or sickness, or death. They happen. Life unfolds, with all it’s intensity and colour, and if you don’t decide to be a part of those moments right now because they aren’t conveniently on your schedule, then you will miss out on so much.

By the way, I should mention that there is no perfect way to grieve, heal, or apologise. You take time, you pick your moment, and you go in, ALL IN. You can’t create the perfect reception for an apology if you have to give one. There is no guarantee that the other person will welcome a hard conversation, or if they will to listen to you at all. You do it because you choose to, it’s driven by your moral compass, and it’s in your integrity.

Same goes for love. There’s no containing the unexpected, playful whisper of love and connection. You can’t conveniently compartmentalise it until you’re done with your Official Day Self. You just are. Don’t be foolhardy and ignore all you responsibilities, your goals, your daily activities, but let life in to play when it invites you. It’s unexpected, delightful, stomach-flipping, and all that is real. And when the unexpected decides to tug at your heart, let it. 

Don’t let go of your lists. That’s being ambitious, motivated, and working with agency.

But dare to catch those unexpected invitations to play, in life, in living, in yourself.

Without those, you will never connect, fall in love, wonder, day-dream, or create.

Schedule is KING, but daring to wander, dream and play is LIVING. 

courage, joy + love

July 8, 2019

How beautiful and unexpected is this? 
 
My god-girlies have each had their challenges this year settling into Year 9 + 11 and have turned to me as their Western Auntie Annie Gu-Gu for advice, tissues, and peanut butter cookies. I love our crazy, multi-faceted conversations, cooking afternoons + silly, playful games + Netflix weekends. I love being part of their lives and unleashing my Western Auntie wisdom. 😆
 
Yesterday, they “gifted” me an engraving on my ring: “Courage, Joy + Love.” 😊
 
That is JUST gorgeous. And they NAILED the words. The most precious. 🌟

say yes to the awkward + silly moment of connection

July 2, 2019

I was thinking about all the moments that were ever worthwhile between myself and my beautiful Year 12 Tutor Group this year. They are an amazing crew, so many different personalities, talents, characters, and insights. So many different backgrounds and understandings.

The thing about the Year 12s, the most senior of our students, is that they are the easiest and hardest to support and really know. I naively thought this year would be easy; to have the rapport built over the last two years to draw from. And yes, in many ways it is, as I’ve built a strong connection + have a history and storyline with my students.

But in so many ways, it’s harder. They are focused, stressed, and consumed by their thoughts, their lives, and their studies. They have goals and aspirations, and sometimes no time for simple, playful conversation. They are pulling away into the beautiful young adults they are becoming; strong, courageous, young, scrappy, imperfect, and breathtakingly authentic.

And it turns out that I have a fear-factor in me as well. I selfishly need to see some return on my endeavours to support, connect, and open a conversation. Oh, these are good students, they are polite and open in conversation. They will always talk to and laugh with me, accept my help and guidance, and respond to what I ask for.

But that’s not connection. That’s not really knowing them. 

So I have been daring my arse off. Every time there has been a “sliding door” moment; a chance to do something a little more silly and playful, creative, imaginative, or to open ups a conversation that might be a little too tender or joyful, I say yes. I do it. I make sure I cheer at every achievement. I celebrate every birthday. I grieve with them. I bring in lollies, brownies, and tissues and spoil them a little bit. I show my stress, my love for them, my gratitude, my frustration, my sense of fun. I unfurl myself and engage, so that they might as well.

And it’s in saying yes to every silly, playful, scary moment and inviting that awkward few seconds of “What if?”, that I have found the most authentic connection between me and my beautiful class of Year 12s, young adults on the brink of taking flight.