August 1, 2019
Carpet cleaning, check. Date for getting REAL ID at the DMV, check. Car detailing to be scheduled, check. Plants on porch getting an overhaul, check. In my world, a lot of cleaning is getting done. And beyond and underneath the literal cleaning of dead leaves, and spots on the carpet, and the throwing out of things that no longer serve me is something bigger. Way bigger.
Things have been making me oochy. (Yes, that is a word – for me at least.) I am itchy. Irritated. Unsettled. I can hear you now, you coaches and solution offer-ers. Yes, I am meditating. Yes, I am exercising. Yes, I am drinking water and yes, I am counting my blessings. This is bigger than that. This is a gestation period for something bolder and vaster. What it will be is to be determined.
A few companions on this journey of introspection.
- Tending to the Perennials: The Art and Spirit of a Personal Religion by my dear friend, Eric Booth.
- Who Do We Choose to Be? Facing Reality, Claiming Leadership. Restoring Sanity by the powerful and incisive writer, Margaret Wheatley.
- The inspirational quotes that I put up on my website to go along with my book, Swimming in the Deep End, including one from the ever amazing Parker Palmer who says, “Authority is granted to people who are perceived as ‘authoring’ their own words, their own actions, their own lives, rather than playing a scripted role at great remove from their own hearts.”
I am trying to stick close to what my heart is saying. In the rush of airports and in conference rooms, in hotels and in restaurants, I cannot truly hear myself. Yet my inner voice speaks – quietly but insistently. I have been, as I say, a touch spiritually constipated, so it is time to hear my inner voice. A trip to Tassajara is coming in a few weeks.
I have no answers yet for how to settle myself and bring something meaningful and fulfilling into the world, just a tip of the hat to loving the questions ala Rainer Maria Rilke. This is a time of disruption and unrest for so many in the world – my micro is simply a reflection of the macro. And as Eric Booth says in his book, I am merely ‘stumbling among the immensities.’
What I know is that work is getting done in the soil of my life and blooms come later. Inner voice work for now. To what or who will I offer my ‘big yes’? What will come next? TBD. Yet I am not alone. David Whyte writes in his poem, Sweet Darkness, these final lines that both comfort and dis-comfort me.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
Be my companion along the journey. See you soon.
If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions, please feel free to email me at Jennifer@jenniferabrams.com. I look forward to hearing from you!
In the spirit of feeling more grounded and connected in one’s life and one’s work…
Amazing writing in the post from The School of Life entitled 10 ideas for people afraid to exit a relationship. If you are unhappy and consider leaving your job or a relationship, read this. “On death beds, no medals are handed out for endurance and a limitless capacity to consume bowls of misery.”
And a new way to frame things. Mark Manson brilliantly talks about change management and forcing someone to do something as a ‘boundary violation’ in his post, No, You Can’t Make a Person Change. Manson writes, “That’s because making someone do something, even if it’s for their own good, requires either coercion or manipulation. It requires intervening in their life in a way that is a boundary violation, and it will therefore damage the relationship—in some cases more than it helps.”
About Jennifer Abrams
Jennifer Abrams considers herself a "voice coach," helping others learn how to best use their voices – be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of an audience, coaching a colleague and supervising an employee. Jennifer holds a Master's degree in Education from Stanford University and a Bachelor's degree in English from Tufts University. She lives in Palo Alto, California. Jennifer's latest book is Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives. Her previous publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicating, Collaborating & Creating Community and Hard Conversations Unpacked – the Whos, the Whens and the What Ifs. She has also created a Corwin Press e-course by the same name.
Work with Jennifer
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Decades of Experience
A thousand things are unspoken, implicit, buried in our educational lives. The invisibility of issues enforces the ineffective status quo. Change–personal, educational, institutional–requires that we speak OUT LOUD about what we know and believe. Jennifer Abrams brings decades of experience and years of training across the world to this usually overlooked essential act of finding our effective voice about what matters around learning.