August 3, 2020
Ah, to breathe. To calm down. To rest easy. Not always easy to do. And at this time, even more difficult. Wouldn’t it be nice to lower our own cortisol levels and, maybe even more importantly, help others to do the same? Social scientist Gregory Bateman said, “It takes two to know one.” I don’t know about you, but I certainly need another at this time to help me come back to my center. To ground. To breathe. To know myself.
I have been spinning. I had a book chapter that was growing too big for my brain to get its hands around. Yes, I did mix a metaphor. Whatever. I told you I was spinning. Laura Lipton, my colleague and editor, listened to me and ultimately said, “How about we try not to write THE book that you feel would solve THE WORLD’S problems and just try to think about four or five ideas around this topic that would help an audience of educators?” Oh. Okay. Smaller bite. More manageable.
Bob Garmston and I spoke the next week about another chapter. Now, I have been known to be like the famous actress (and drama queen) Sarah Bernhardt. (Shocker. “Oh, me, oh my, sigh, hand in scarf on forehead starting to faint. Withering.) Yup, that’s me. A MASTER at coaching (Hell, he wrote the book on it), Bob paraphrased me for about 30 minutes and voila, I was able to remember I had a pre-frontal cortex. Ah, oxygen! What a concept. Okay. Moving on….
I realized at that point (as I do again and again and again) that we all need someone to bring us down off the ceiling now and then. For those of us working in education and/or have children who are ‘going back to school,’ things this month are going to get a little busier and more frenetic, internally and externally. We will need others with whom we can be in partnership and community and who can hear us “into being.” Just a few reminders if you start thinking that it is all too much and you don’t have the bandwidth to help yourself, not to mention another human being.
- Remember that a paraphrase is a wonderful gift.
- Remember that being present and sitting with someone in his or her anxiety is a gift.
- Remember you might not be able to fix it. That’s okay. Breathing with someone is a gift.
Just be with someone in whatever way you can. Be that someone who is offered this compliment, “You helped me close 100 tabs on the desktop of my mind.” How cool is that? Inhale. Exhale. Join me.
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!
This is where my true laptop desktop comes in…a few links this month…
Karunavirus – Karuna is a Sanskrit word for compassion. “In times of great challenge, love must rise again. Transforming from the caterpillar to a butterfly is so much easier when we’re connected, when we see the good in others, when we respond with a heart full of compassion. Will we step into our highest aspirations to serve this inflection point in history? We think so. And we invite you to join us!”
With Karunavirus, I was in a Laddership Pod for the month of July. Really cool experience. Laddership Pods. Like a regular Laddership Circle, I engaged my hands, head, and heart with daily practices, a weekly reading, and weekly 90-minute call. Take a look at what they are offering.
Plum Village is a new meditation app that can support listeners to cultivate mindfulness, compassion and joy through guided meditations, deep relaxations, practice poems, bells of mindfulness and many other features.
“There are about 7,000 languages spoken around the world — and they all have different sounds, vocabularies and structures. But do they shape the way we think? In her TED talk, cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky shares examples of language — from an Aboriginal community in Australia that uses cardinal directions instead of left and right to the multiple words for blue in Russian — that suggest the answer is a resounding yes. “The beauty of linguistic diversity is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and how flexible the human mind is,” Boroditsky says. “Human minds have invented not one cognitive universe, but 7,000.”
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
Praise for Jennifer
Honest, Humane and Growth-Producing
“Our school’s work with Jennifer Abrams has sown the seeds of stronger communication skills among the adults in the building. This has only served to strengthen the integrity of communication between staff and students as well. We’ve added her language to our expectations: honest, humane, and growth-producing conversations occur regularly.”