As I look back on the selection of my one-little-word, my focus for 2013, I realize how it continues to guide me.  For 2013, my word is “being”.  It is active, powerful, and one that represents the right now.  The meaning behind my definition of “being” includes:

Being open and aware.  Letting go.  Discovering.  Teaching.  Learning.  Sharing.  Being spontaneous.  Reading.  Writing.  Photographing the memories.  “Being” in the moment, right now.

This week, I started a six-week e-course with a new favorite author of mine, Brene Brown Gifts of Imperfection. And, while I hesitate taking on another commitment during this busy time of year, I also believe this course comes at a perfect time.  An opportunity for me to be open and aware as I continue to discover what there still is to learn on this journey.  I plan to document this experience over the next few weeks; I want to remember each revelation along the way.

After hiding out on safe ground for a while, I know I need to push just enough each week to get beyond it.  Along with my intentions of “being” this year, I’ve challenged myself to get “uncomfortable”, at least once a week. Getting uncomfortable has sometimes been a difficult appointment, phone call or conversation.  And other times it’s finding the courage to share an idea or thought with someone new, without worrying about what they will think.

So, what better way for me to continue on this journey of getting uncomfortable than to take a course requiring me to be transparent and creative through writing and drawing in an art journal.  (Just a visit to the art supply store made my palms sweat; my only comfort with art involves a child and Crayola markers.)

In our first e-course lesson, we are asked to create permission slips for ourselves as we begin this experience.  Mine includes permission:

-To take time for this project
-To not have the answer
-To change my mind
-To be creative
-To first go with my gut response
-To not over think
-To keep it simple
-To have fun

At work, I‘ve recently started leading an accountability skills group with some of my colleagues.  While teaching continues to be one of my greatest passions, I still get nervous and intimidated every time.  The pressure of providing value for each participant, something that changes his or her experience, weighs heavy on me.
So, I tried it out this morning. I took a slip of paper and created a “permission slip” for myself for the next hour. It read:

-To be nervous (I’m not perfect but I am enough)

-To start, stop and start over if I need to (to self correct in front of people)

-To make it fun (to have fun)

-To learn something (not worry about having all the answers)

As I stuffed it in my shoe and headed to class, I felt my shoulders soften and breaths deepen, lifting the pressure as I allowed myself to be more present in the moment.
After quieting my own voice I was able to listen; I took the focus from what could go wrong with me to the possibility of what I could learn from the rest of the group.

Everyday life, this is the real classroom, the one that counts. 


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