A State Where You Can Thrive & Your People Can Breathe

detourWhen I was young, my family would take long car trips in the summertime. It was always a big deal when we’d cross state lines. Everyone in the car would look up from whatever they were doing to pass the time and celebrate our progress. Going from one territory to another was exciting, but there was nothing like crossing into my home state at the end of the trip. Knowing I’d be sleeping in my own bed made me feel giddy with delight. When my dad pulled the car into the garage, my foul mood suddenly lifted. The familiar smell of home filled my senses and made me forget how much my sister annoyed me the previous nine hours. I’d jump out of the car, eager to move my stiff ligaments and see my beloved orange cat.

Although I seldom take long car trips now, my Hands Free journey to live better and love more causes me to think about state lines every single day. These lines are not physical territories, but rather emotional boundary lines—and I’ve discovered they are critical for a peaceful, loving, joy-filled existence.

Let me explain …

With adult decisions, daily responsibilities, kid mishaps, constant pressures, and blatant distractions, it’s quite easy to cross over fragile state lines:

From a state of calm … to a state of impatience

From a state of caring … to a state of apathy

From a state of presence … to a state of distraction

From a state of hope … to a state of despair

From a state of joy … to a state of infuriation

You could have the best intentions in the world to be calm, present, and joyful and sometimes all it takes is just one incident to push you over the line. One sibling squabble … one added work assignment … one painful rejection … one burnt dinner … one dog-chewed retainer … or one call from the school and before you know it, you’ve crossed over into dangerous territory and find yourself in that place you never wanted to be (again).

I know. I remember.

[Read more…]

Somebody’s Child

"Know what it is to be a child . . . To see a world in a grain of sand And heaven in a wild flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour." --William Blake

“Know what it is to be a child . . .
To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”
–William Blake

*name has been changed

I still remember her baby fine blonde hair that hung  just above her shoulders. She had a freckle-dusted nose, Snow White skin, and a toothy smile.  The way her hair was combed till it shined revealed that someone took great care in getting this little first grader ready for school each day.

Grace* was a beautiful, well-behaved child who, at first glance, appeared to be any teacher’s dream. But within ten minutes of the first day of school, I knew Grace would offer an extreme test of patience despite my previous experience in the most challenging special education classrooms.

As if pulled by some magnetic force, Grace physically gravitated toward me. If she was not sitting at her desk, she could be found directly under my nose looking up at me with a concerned expression.

Why the nearness? Why the concern? You may wonder.

Because Grace was a Persistent Question Asker. Whatever inquiry popped into her 6-year-old brain came out of her mouth—and the question was always addressed to me.

[Read more…]