I love having one of those experiences of pure synchronicity and flow. Today I was scribbling in my favorite St. Paul coffee shop. I had just finished writing two related pieces in my notebook–one about staying our right age and one about learning to self-appreciate. I was excited about the second piece in particular because I finally saw that I could go back and not only heal the old wounds–I could also go back and let all of those younger parts of me know how much I appreciate their tenacity and hard work. It is a brain wiring thing, but we can take it all pretty seriously in life.
In fact, I was writing down a list of moments in my own history when one of those younger parts of me did something brave and courageous. For each one that came to mind, I was writing, “Well done, my girl.” I had finished writing that I appreciated the young girl in me who had practiced writing pretty letters—good penmanship. And then, in the oddest of moments, this young man sitting next to me leans over and says, “Your writing is very pretty.”
I don’t think anyone in all of my years of writing at tables in various establishments has ever commented on my “pretty” writing. I thanked him. Then he asked if I would mind helping him with some tricky English words. I could see that he was working in one of these fill in the blanks ESL workbooks, an assignment on writing classification essays (yuck).
We spent the next hour working over his assignment. He is from Saudi Arabia and is going to school here at St. Thomas University. He said that he wished he had someone like me to just work with him, and I suggested we start a study group here at the coffee shop. He was very excited. They have a nice little group room available that is empty most evenings. I said he and his fellow students could just bring their work, and I would bring mine. We could work together; if they needed clarification or help, I would be there. We had a wonderful talk about it all. He said he would talk to other students and call me. We exchanged numbers and set a goal to do the first one next week.
I was reminded instantly of how I met Leon Hale and began writing my novel, Washaka—The Bear Dreamer. That time, too, was in a coffee shop. And that, too, began with an approach by a stranger in a moment when I was willing and open to something new coming in. Then I had actually been writing about what I wanted to write about next. I recently found an old blog post, in fact, the first one I ever did, and it told the story of meeting Leon. (click to read)
In this case, I was busy self-appreciating the younger parts of myself. An odd activity, but it was making me feel sweet and open and thankful to be who I am. The other thing that came abruptly out of this nice encounter was how very much I miss my students. I went home so excited about working with a group of foreign students who are trying to master English so they can succeed in their college work. Fabulous.
I have not approached the colleges here to see if I could find an adjunct teaching position for many reasons. I wanted to see what else would develop here. I didn’t want a full time anything until I had rediscovered my own rhythm of working and writing again. And, the truth be known, I wasn’t sure if I would be qualified enough for a “real” college or to work with foreign students. The idea of this study group is perfect. I can have a place to practice and gain experience. Synchronicity and flow—I love it.
In fact, as I think back, my teaching job at Oglala Lakota College came about while I was sitting in the middle of Rapid Creek on a hot summer day. A guy we know who teaches there walked by and he yelled over to me, “Hey, Jamie. There is an opening at OLC–you should apply for it.” I did. And new paths opened once again.
This exercise in self-appreciation feels big to me. I have had so many other people appreciate what I do and comment on my abilities, but if I don’t learn to deeply appreciate myself, then how can the appreciation of others even reach me? It doesn’t. It hasn’t. The bar is very high for me—always above my head—no matter how many more skills and abilities I gain. I am not sure why that is—but I’m willing to dissolve that barrier a bit so I can like myself more.
If you are curious about this self-appreciation thing, as well as the “stay your age” healing, watch for the upcoming posts. I only have them scribbled out in my notebook at this time, but plan to work them over a bit and add them this week.
Sometimes when we open old blockages, magic just happens. Othman Alshehri is the young man’s name. Nice to meet you Othman. And thank you. I can’t wait to see what develops.Share on Facebook