“Before we can make friends with anyone else,
we must first make friends with ourselves.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” – Otto Rank
I feel like my life has been a world wind the last 4 months. Traveling around the world was amazing, but took a lot out of me. Going home before New Zealand, though wonderful to repack and see family and friends, made me feel very much in limbo. I had grand plans to travel around New Zealand before getting settled in Wellington. All of that shifted when I listened to my need for a pause. I needed time to be still. I needed to hear my inner voice. I needed quiet. I think it is okay to take that time and space for ourselves. I actually believe it makes us better at our relationships with others. As educators we pour ourselves out. We respond. We are on all day, sometimes without pause.
I truly believe Step 1 of Restorative Practices is knowing ourselves, acknowledging our needs, and expressing our feelings in a healthy way. When I see the push for implementing restorative practices happening in schools, but the lack of time given to creating healthy positive relationships among our colleagues and adults in the buildings, I wonder how anyone thinks it will miraculously happen with children. I was recently in conversation with my advisor overseeing my study in New Zealand and she describe restorative practices as the science of relationships.
My relationship to myself is where I start. It felt fitting to start my time in New Zealand with that need for stillness. I searched and found an amazing yoga studio a few hours away in New Plymouth, Sanctuary Hill. It became a sanctuary for me for 4 days. I practiced yoga. I ate amazingly delicious plant based meals. I wander in nature. I read. I listened and practiced relationship with myself. I felt completely taken care of by Bhavani and Ram. They had a book on the shelf called The Life You Were Born To Live, by Dan Millman, in it you can calculate from your birth date your life given path. You can read into this type of thing what you will, but I was definitely amazed at how spot on mine was about me. Check it out for yourself Life Purpose Calculator http://www.peacefulwarrior.com/life-purpose-calculator/.
After New Plymouth, I headed further north up the coast to the surf town Raglan. There I stayed at a beautiful place called Solscape, where you could watch the ocean below. I read and enjoyed just being near the tide. The color of the ocean in New Zealand, it is unreal. A heavenly blue.
After driving 8 hours back to Wellington from Raglan, I can also say I survived a week of driving through farm land up and down on the left side of curvy roads. Nothing like learning something new to make you humble, but I also didn’t have to worry about anyone else giving me a bad time about my driving skills. Our Fulbright Orientation is in a little over a week. This week I am attending the International Art in Early Childhood Conference and settling into our apartment.
I will leave you with a poem by Mary Oliver, who recently passed while I was in New Plymouth.
by Mary Oliver
Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.
But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.
If you are interested in some added reading:
check out this opt-ed: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/opinion/learning-emotion-education.html
and I have a great article in pdf form called Relational Restorative Justice Pedagogy in Educator Professional Development by Dorothy Vaandering I can email you if you give me a holler.