Monday, July 15, 2019

Premise is Peace

I have almost completed going through practical applications of communications between adults in previous posts. We reviewed scenarios and the psychology of interactions. While all of that is important, it is nothing without understanding that we have an inherent drive towards peace. Moving forward and having long-lasting successful interactions, we have to keep in our minds that our premise is peace. 

Keeping this in mind does not take away from the fact that we may not agree with someone’s communications or interactions. However, we can “agree to disagree,” more agreeably when we believe that our goal, and the other person’s goal, is peace. The route to peace may not look the same for you as it does for the other person. How you get there or think the other person should get there may not be the same, but the end result is equivalent; the goal is peace. When we accept this, believe this, and keep this in our minds, interactions become easier.

Step one towards peace for ourselves and our interactions is understanding. Over the past five years of starting my own school, and now moving to a new location, I have experienced an onslaught of emotions, tensions, and frustrations. When going through these types of processes, there is a lot that is out of our control. People are counted on to do their job correctly, and to do it on time or early. All too often, this very well may not happen. There are even people who become involved in a project, who may sabotage (or seem like they are sabotaging) the process to get to the goal. Anger and frustrations towards these people surface. All the while, it is so important to be resourceful, rather than give and find solutions. This is applicable to the interrelationships between guides, parents, and administrators too.

We have all heard people say things like, “life is hard.” This is true. There are going to be obstacles, challenges, and change in our lives. That is a given, right? What is one thing that separates successful and fulfilled people from those who are not? It is how we handle difficult experiences. Part of how we handle these experiences starts with a determination for peace. We can agree that everything and every living being is made up of energy. 

You and I have a 24 hour a day internal experience filled with emotions and thoughts. Our perceptions, interpretations, and communications of those emotions and thoughts is what lays the groundwork for our further interactions with ourselves and others. While we will still experience anger or frustration towards ourselves and others, those emotions will become less strong when we remember that the goal is peace. Furthermore, our internal experience seems to be so intricate that I want to offer something for you to consider. When you think of everyone and everything as being energy, there are no boundaries that separate us and it is all connected. We are all connected. Herein lies what I want to try to offer to you as practically speaking as possible. 

The conflict and/or frustration that you are having with someone else, whether it is over timelines not being met, commitments not being honored, etc. starts and ends with you. What is the internal conflict that you feel in yourself that is reflecting your external experience that “someone else is causing?” It is a tough pill to swallow and it is very easy to be dismissive of it, but I want to challenge you to swallow the pill and experiment. Here is a simple exercise that takes maybe five minutes, that you can do before having a communication that you are not looking forward to. You can even do it for something or someone you are looking forward to. This is also something you can do for five minutes a day leading up to a meeting or event.

Before the meeting: Do the following in your mind, like a meditation.
  1. Find a quiet space and sit in a comfortable position. 
  2. Take a few slow deep breaths and let go of any tension you are feeling physically or emotionally. 
  3. Self check what your predisposed judgments are, and if they are negative, breathe them out.
  4. Self-talk positive affirmations to replace those judgments. 
  5. Now that your mind is clear and you are feeling more positive, imagine the experience the way that you hope for it to go. Imagine the room and experience being bright and cheery. 
  6. Take a few slow deep breaths and put your awareness at the front and center of your chest as you imagine warm and good feelings. 
  7. Thank yourself and the person (or people) for their participation in coming to a peaceful resolution. 

What are some things that this simple exercise does?

It aligns you back to a positive space. Negative thoughts and emotions begin to, or completely, dissolve. 

Why does this work? 

You are reacknowledging the connection between you and all things. We have awareness and unawareness, and we want to utilize our awareness of connection. There is a belief in God that you have or the Universe or something of the sort. If everything is connected and connected to God and or the Universe, then we all fall under that connection. 

Remember, the premise is peace. When we come from this mindset, things become easier to experience because of this perception, interpretation, and ability to allow ourselves to be open-minded enough to be resourceful. When we always intend to be peaceful with others, even in difficult situations, we can find ways to make peace possible.

Give this a try, and/or share your thoughts with me, and, in turn, your insights and shared experiences can be utilized by others. There is so much to be gained by all of us through sharing. This is why history can be so beneficial and is often enjoyed by so many. We teach our children history because we hope they benefit from the shared experiences of others. I believe that sharing about our experiences is a component in our daily personal and professional lives that is all too often overlooked. Let’s remember to be aware of our intentions and practice this perception of a premise for peace together.

Monday, February 11, 2019


What do you think of when you think of work? What do your family members, colleagues, peers, employees, and children say or think?

If you google, “define work,” you will come up with a definition that you will probably find surprising. Using the word work as a verb, it states, “be engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a purpose or result.” Look at how far away we have come in defining work for ourselves and our children. What message do you directly or indirectly send to your children about work? What message do you directly or indirectly send to them about their work? What aspects of your communication are potentially constructive or potentially destructive? No matter what you are communicating, when was the last time you asked yourself, “Is my communication based on a misperception about work?”

So often, parents come home at the end of a day and complain about work or complain about having to go into work on Monday morning. There is exuberance in the air when Friday rolls around! How counterproductive is that for your child, especially if they are attending a Montessori School?! Maybe we aren’t modeling a desire to be at our chosen job or joy in our work. Often, parents either ignore their children as soon as they get in the car by being on their phone or they grill their child about their day, asking too many questions in what should be a moment of joyful reconnection. When a child says they do not know or they forget what they did during the day, it can cause friction between the child and their parent. This is a whole other blog post. The point here is to ask, what is the intention, the relationship, focus and understanding with work?

Think about this for a moment. Work is the engagement of the body and/or mind. The goal is to be in the moment during this engagement. Taking it another step forward, can you work on being engaged in something that you really do not feel like doing? The answer is yes! It may not be ideal, as ideal as knowing you are doing something you love. However, being able to find joy in that which just has to be done is an ability of humans. This is what I say to my students when they eventually have to do something in particular that they may not really feel enthusiastic about. I say, “Well it is a good thing you are not a deer or some other animal!” They usually look at me like a deer in headlights, pun intended. I say, “Well, for example, when a deer gets scared, it either freezes or runs away, or will, very rarely, fight. The difference between you and a deer is that you can choose any number of actions regardless of whether you want to do something or not. You might be scared and might want to run, but you can calm yourself down, or get a friend and ask for help. Just like, even though you do not want to do this work and have been avoiding it, now it is really important. So, I challenge you to figure out something about it that you can appreciate so you can learn and enjoy the process.”

Sometimes I also tell the children, “I really do not care if you get the work right or not. What is important to me is your brain and your learning experience. There are certain things that your brain will go through during this experience and you are going to feel and do better for it, regardless of the outcome of the work. I care about your learning, not just about the spelling in your final report or whether you’ve memorized all the times tables.”

All work is noble; the only ignoble thing is to live without working. There is need to realize the value of work in all its forms whether manual or intellectual, to be called 'mate,' to have sympathetic understanding of all forms of activity. - Maria Montessori

I find that we do not all have the same understanding of what is considered “work.” As Montessori implied, you are working at home when you are playing basketball. When you choose to talk about a conflict with a friend, that is work as much as doing multiplication or a science experiment is work. In fact, social and emotional “work” is sometimes more important for children than what is usually considered school work. Academic work can almost always get done or reviewed if it is missed at a particular time. Developmental markers, including work of the emotions and mind, sometimes seem to have small windows of opportunity compared to the length of one’s life. You could be the greatest mind in the world (this may be an exaggeration), but if you are not emotionally and mentally healthy too, there is no enjoyment in the more academic  gifts you have.

I want to urge you to carefully consider how you communicate about your perception of work in your workplace, school and home. Think about what you are communicating to yourself and to others, especially children. Try to act with the premise that work is the engagement of the hands and/or mind. See how this changes your world and the world around you. Share your comments and see if you believe what others are already thinking and not saying or maybe you’ll gain a new perspective from what others have to say, which is helpful, too.