Moving to Brasilia brought more opportunity for change besides geography. I also moved from the classroom to counseling. After 31 years of teaching, I have found taking a different role in the school organization to be energizing and challenging in all new ways. Every day, I draw upon all I have learned in my life about both the nature of being human and the nature of learning. Students and adults continually surprise me with their hidden motivations and thinly veiled vulnerabilities. Just because I occupy the office with the title Counselor on the door, people reveal themselves to me in a different way than they ever would have in a classroom. Much of the time, I feel there is a lot of good I can do, and sometimes, I feel overwhelmed.
Before I entered this job, a fellow counselor gave me a two word piece of advice: Self-Care. Of course I was already aware of taking time to nurture myself, but I took this as a mandate. I can feel now, more than ever, how other people draw off of my personal balance and strength to find their own courage and equilibrium. I start every day with meditation, and my intention for that time is to center my thoughts and emotions before I go out into the public or interact with anyone. I frequently use three sites depending on my mood or time- a weekly podcast from the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA, podcasts by Tara Brach, and the Insight Timer. If you want to explore meditation, these could be ways to begin.
This is our private slice of jungle in our backyard where I learned how to meditate. I have spent hours watching the changing dappled sunlight and visiting wildlife, listening to cicadas, bird calls, and rainfall on the pool. It is a sanctuary.