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Eternal Summer

A teacher friend once said to me that July is like a month of Saturdays and August is like a month of Sundays. Now, that way of thinking only fits if you subscribe to the paradigm that Sundays are days that should be part relaxation and part dread for Monday and the week to come. I get it. I don’t completely relate but I get it. It’s easy to slip into the anxiety of watching the summer days dwindle off of the calendar, pressuring yourself to make the days count, having your own version of Costanza’s “Summer of George” (I can’t remember how that turned out for him, but judging by most of those Seinfeld follies, it was probably a fail and thus a poor example… but you get me).

Behold: 3 Ways to Convert your August into an Eternal Summer

  1. Get outside

Duh… sounds so basic but you know you’re not doing it enough! Depending on your climate, summer is the traditional time of beautiful weather and more sunshine. Science tells us that sunshine makes us happy! If you don’t believe science, try it for yourself. Get off of the couch. Leave the phone on the couch. Get outside. Walk around the block. Sit outside. Fine… take your phone with you and make your calls from outside. Take every chance you can to get out there and change up the same places you do your “stuff.”

If you’re objecting because of bugs or other outdoor annoyances, I have you covered. Go ahead… click this.

  1. Slow down

Stop trying to cram in so many errands, appointments, social events, family things, friend things… stop. Just stop. You know you can’t do it all in any other season—why are you putting this kind of stress on Summer You?! Make a list; then Triple D that list: Do it. Ditch it. Delegate it.

Commit to doing less so you can enjoy and be present with what you are doing. I catch myself often leaving the present to think about all of the stuff I should be, could be, need to be doing… and I miss out on so much of this precious season with that stinkin’ thinkin’!

Take one thing off of the calendar. Schedule some of those appointments for September or October (yes, schedule it now so it’s done and off of your mind—but don’t force yourself to do it all in August). And remember it’s okay to do nothing… just try to do nothing outside if you can!

  1. Do what you loved as a kid in summer!

You were a kid once. I might not have known you then, but I know you were. Close those beautiful eyes for a moment and think back to what brought you the most joy as kid in the summer. Watch those movies of Summer Little You play in your head. Let the emotions flow, if they come up. Feel the feelings of doing those treasured summertime things. Feel the warm breeze. Hear the giggles. Taste the treats.

Now flutter those gorgeous lashes open and smile. This week, or at least before August is over, recreate that beautiful memory! Maybe you can’t go to the exact place. Maybe the same people aren’t around anymore. But you absolutely can get into that spirit.

If you have human children, make them a part of it. Don’t get sad or frustrated if they don’t love whatever it is in the same way that you did as a child. Even if they aren’t into it, they will catch the spirit from you. They will, either now or in the future, appreciate the moment, the joy they see from you.

Yes… you can run through a sprinkler. I don’t care how old you are. If you don’t have a sprinkler, you better pull the car over next time you drive past sprinklers that are turned on. Toss a towel in the car today, just in case the opportunity arises.

 

Summertime vibes are a feeling, like all vibes are. Feeling, vibration, frequency is accessible to us wherever, whenever. Make August eternal… if that’s what you’d like. If you get outside, slow down and revisit at least the mindset if not the activity of something that made summer special to you in the past, you will reap the benefits of the sunny season long after the calendar changes.

Much love.

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angels Believe Coaching Energy Healing Purpose Teacher Life

My Wings

Sharing one of my most vulnerable and treasured stories, originally published by University of Wellness.

I am unafraid to talk about my struggles, probably because I don’t view them as struggles, problems, hurdles or even speedbumps. They are just factors of or moments in my journey.

Do you perceive a hurdle in the distance and just stop running, for fear that you won’t clear it?

Yes? Ah… that’s what those wings are for.

A surface view of my journey looks like a fairy tale, the only child with adoring parents who, after nearly 50 years together, still hold hands with each other. The girl with the solid upbringing in a safe, middle-class town, who attended a private university and soon after graduation landed a high school teaching job on Long Island, NY… cue the Happily Ever After music.

But that’s just the surface. Do you ever feel like what your life looks like on the outside doesn’t match how you feel on the inside?

A deeper dive into my journey reveals bouts of depression (common) and living someone else’s dream (even more common– am I right?!).  I’ve been working with my therapist since 2005, when I was student teaching. I couldn’t put my finger on the problem at the time– I was supposed to be so happy, so satisfied with how everything was falling into place in my life!– but my spirit was feeling the crush of living someone else’s dream. Even as I write this, the anxious lump in my throat is returning, the lump I lived with for decades.

I was tired all of the time. I was overwhelmed. I was unsure about what I was doing and why I was spending every waking hour doing it. I see you nodding along as you read this.

14 years later and I’m stepping into my greatness. I made the conscious choice to find a better way.

In therapy, the great and patient E. guides me as I work through the “stuff.” Because I’ve committed consistently to doing the work on myself, I feel better than I ever dreamed was possible.

Now I have energy. Now “stuff” feels manageable (and I know what to do and where to healthily turn when it doesn’t). Now I am sure. Now I know my dream.

I found my wings– they were back there the whole time! Are you ready to find your wings?

Enter coaching– a modality to help harness and implement my gifts. Just like my T-ball coach helped me learn to swing a bat at 5 years old, just like my senior English teacher taught me how to “show, don’t tell” in my writing, coaches I work with now help me align my gifts and my dreams. They help me set a plan for success and accountability. They help me clear a path to fly.

Now that I think about it, I am living a fairy tale– but for the fairy tale to feel “right,” I had to position myself as the hero. I am not a character in someone else’s story. And just like in the fairy tales of our youth, the hero soars when she lets others, in those stories talking squirrels or fairy godmothers, in my story, coaches, help her plan, execute and follow through.

Now I coach to pay forward the invaluable gift that was granted to me. I am committed to helping others find their true happiness.

Much love.

~Denise

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Believe Coaching Energy Healing Purpose Teacher Life

Stop. Pick One.

I woke up this morning and before both feet hit the ground, my mile-long To Do list starting scrolling in my mind. Within a minute of being awake, the overwhelm kicked in and I felt like I had just so much to do that I had to start now and not stop (probably forever). I felt like I needed to take action on 10 different things immediately. You’ve felt that, right? Maybe you’re even feeling it right now.

It wasn’t easy… but I stopped myself. I pulled the emergency break on the mind mess. I decided that, if I were to get anything done today with the excellence that each task deserves, I needed to stop and take a moment, take the time to open up my best self. Less doing, more growing. Less mania, more ease. Less overwhelm, more grace. Less how, more why.

Basically, I needed to take my own advice.

So I grabbed the iPad, popped on a Yoga with Adriene class and took my first half an hour awake for me and my practice. I guarantee that taking that 27 or so minutes this morning to open my heart and hips does not translate into me getting “nothing done” today. In fact, taking that 27 minutes translates into me approaching every task I do today with greater focus and poise, the excellence that each task deserves. Hey, if it doesn’t deserve excellence, why am I taking time to do it at all?

And another secret to squashing the overwhelming the mind mess: do one thing you’ve been avoiding or putting off. Here’s a list of suggestions, if one thing doesn’t come to mind for you on your own. Pick one and do it as soon as you’re done reading this. If you’re feeling called, share with me which you’ve picked and executed.

  • Empty your purse. Clean out the non-essentials.
  • Clean out your email inbox. Delete. Delete. Delete.
  • Unsubscribe to 5 emails that you never open anyway.
  • Subscribe to my newsletter (had to throw that in there).
  • Make that call or send that text to that one friend you’ve been missing.
  • Empty the dishwasher. If yours is already empty, come empty mine.
  • Close your eyes for 4 minutes and let your mind wander.
  • Grab a book or magazine and read for 15 minutes.
  • Is it “nice” out? Walk around the block without your phone.
  • Go get that pedicure, especially if it’s nice out.

Remember, you are just picking one. No need for more overwhelm in our days!

Much love.

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Believe Coaching Energy Healing Purpose Rescue Teacher Life

Mr. Denise

Get ready for one of the most ridiculous anecdotes I’ve ever shared with you.

You know how there’s always one kid who accidentally calls the teacher “mom” and then gets teased about it for at least the rest of the school year? In 14 years of teaching, I’ve never been called mom. But about 6 or 7 times, I’ve accidentally been called “dad” (and once this year “King” but that was just cute). The second day of school this year, a senior, whom I taught when he was a freshman and a sophomore, passed me in the hallway and said, “Hi dad.” He then stopped, walked back a few steps and said, “I just called you dad.” To that I replied, “Yes, it happens” and we both went about our days.

From that encounter, I started thinking about these verbal slips as more than just a misspoken word.

I am a cisgender female. I wear high heels every day (except on Pajama Day when I don my work slippers). I wear makeup. I have long, layered hair. I don’t have the most soprano of voices but I’ve never been mistaken for a man on the phone. So… what gives?

It’s energy.

In a class, one of my mentors Kerissa Kuis, founder of the University of Wellness, taught us a bit about feminine and masculine energies. As the lesson unfolded, I was immediately reminded of the anecdote I opened with. As much as I look, sound and identify feminine, my masculine energies are overpowering. I lead with my masculine, the assertive, the dominant, because that’s what’s keeps me safe and successful. It’s not a conscious choice, but bringing in the feminine and balancing the two needs to be.

It’s yin and yang, but the classic black and white symbol is balanced… and I’m not yet.

There are benefits to my energies as they are currently. I can handle the toughest animal rescue situations with discernment and detach from the emotional aspect. I can put these personal stories out to the world without (too much) trepidation of judgment. My current energetic state is goal-oriented and gets stuff done.

In doing a little research before writing today, I found a great article, appropriately titled “Balancing Your Feminine and Masculine Energies” by Deganit Nuur. If you know me, you’ll read the Greater Yang section, nodding, thinking, “This is so Denise.” I love reading that a way to balance for my energy type is to delegate. I’ve been doing more delegating in my Rescue and business endeavors and I feel great… now that I’ve surrounded myself with incredibly passionate and capable people.

While I have gel French nails and Hello Kitty merch, I might get called dad tomorrow. And I’m not mad at that. My dad is awesome.

In effort to bring some balance in, I’m reading Rise Sister Rise by Rebecca Campbell. Drop me a comment or an email about what you do to bring balance… Much love.

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Believe Coaching Teacher Life

Power & Respect

I’ve nicknamed the school at which I teach “Happy High School,” not to be derisive—it’s truly a happy little place. I’ve been there 11 years. On average there is one fight a year, sometimes in the cafeteria, sometimes in the hallway. Just a one-on-one exchange, not some sort of organized rumble. That one fight usually isn’t so bad and then peace resumes for the rest of the year at Happy High School.

Last year’s fight was a rough one in the standards of our typical altercations. It took place in the cafeteria. The antagonist, a freshman in one of my classes at the time, was suspended for several weeks. Quiet, grew up in a different place, likely not vibing with the ways of Happy High School. We didn’t connect much because the course in which he was enrolled with me was only a quarter long, just 10 weeks, and he was home-bound for a chunk of our time together.

This school year, our same antagonist got into another particularly brutal fight in the hallway. I’m going to call him M from here on because calling him an antagonist, although he technically threw the first punch (and several dozen more), feels like a label he doesn’t deserve. The altercation took place in the English wing (my English classroom is one of the few that is not located in that wing). An English teacher broke up the fight. She’s braver than I am when it comes to things like this.

Both M and his opponent, sophomores now, were suspended from school for 6 weeks. When students are suspended for more than a handful of days, they receive homebound instruction—either their main subject teacher or a tutor from an agency our district hires meets them at the public library for 2 hours per subject each week. M’s English teacher couldn’t take the job, as she works a second job in the evenings. None of the agency tutors were able to work with M either. The boss asked if I would be able to take on the hours. Although the thought of adding another two hours of work into my slammed schedule caused me to hesitate, I said yes.

Our sessions at the local public library were quiet. M did his work with skill and focus. Of course, the life coach in me comes out sometimes… so during our second session, I asked M who his best friend is. His response: “I don’t have friends here.” He said it very matter-of-fact, like he didn’t want friends in this corny little town. I replied that he “could have fooled me,” as he’s often flocked with other boys as they travel from class to class. But I understood him—he doesn’t feel like he belongs. I dropped the conversation right there, got back to the work his teacher assigned.

If only M knew that he had a lot more in common with his colleagues at Happy High School, that so many feel like they don’t belong for various reasons… some just teenage worry and some with more depth.

During our last session, while M was completing some work assigned by his teacher, I scribbled down something I wanted to tell him. At the close of our session, I collected the work to submit to his teacher and took a deep breath. Then I said some version of what I had written down:

When you remember that the only respect you need is your own, then you’ll have all the power you need.

I ripped that scribbled section off of the manila folder, because I knew I’d share this with you. M doesn’t have to fight anymore to prove he deserves respect. And you, my dear ones, don’t need to seek approval or validation from anyone or anything outside of yourself. Respect yourself, empower yourself and there you will find your truth, your happiness.

And if you need help getting started, I’m here for you. Much love.

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