We are all blessed

"The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me." - Meister Eckhart

You matter!

We are not the limited entities we think we are.  We are much, much more.  We are one with the Divine. Wherever we are, whatever we think or feel, we are connected to Divinity. When we are aware of our Divine connection, we know we matter.

We are never alone. The Divine source encompasses us and flows through us. Spirit is always with us.

We would be wise to put our egos aside and let spirit fill us with love and healing.  We only need to breathe and be aware of the great and loving gift that resides inside and around us.  

Let us quiet our minds and rest in spirit
We all matter
We are all blessed

A Sense of Purpose

"Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it."
- Buddha

I believe that living a life full of a sense of purpose and meaning is connected to health and longevity. 

"The evidence shows a sense of purpose, and being engaged in your day to day is indeed health protective. A significant decrease in stress and inflammatory makers is noted in people with high eudaimonic well-being." (Eudaimonic means striving for a noble, meaningful purpose.)
- Dr. Kelli Harding, "The Rabbit Effect"

The primary pathway to a sense of purpose and meaning is learning. I have been blessed with a lifelong passion for learning. Learning is my second favorite thing in life. My favorite thing in life is holding my wife Sandra. 

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." - Plutarch

Make sure you are engaged in activities that you find meaningful. Develop your sense of purpose voluntarily to serve others, learn through a variety of resources ie. podcasts, books, classes, and speaking and listening to other perspectives.

Love and Kindness

"We've learned to fly the air like birds. We've learned to swim the seas like fish. And yet, we haven't learned to walk the earth as brothers and sisters." 
- Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

For many years I have known the impact of love and kindness on our physical health. I have shared stories of this impact. Recently, I read the following in Dr. Kelli Harding's new book, "The Rabbit Effect".

"Our physical health and well-being is intimately connected to our social and emotional health. In the 1970's we found rabbits developed heart diseases like humans if fed a diet high in fat. When fed diets heavy in fat, the rabbits had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. They were destined for heart attack and stroke. All of them were going to die because of their diet. All of them except those that were loved. One group of rabbits had significantly less fatty deposits in their arteries. The rabbits with healthy hearts had been touched, cuddled, petted and talked to by their post doc lab worker. Because they were loved they would live.

Kindness and love make a difference in our overall health and well-being. Ultimately, what affects our health in the most meaningful ways has as much to do with how we treat one another, how we live, and how we talk about what it means to be human then with anything that happens in the doctors office." 
- Dr. Kelli Harding

Social Emotional Learning is intimately connected to our health and wellness. Social Emotional Learning is the convergence point for health, wellness, trauma informed care, diversity, equity, relationships and community. Social Emotional Learning connects love and kindness to how we treat ourselves, how we treat each other, and how we treat our world.

The Power of Touch

The following is from the "The Rabbit Effect" by Dr. Kelli Harding.

"Oxytocin is known as the "love hormone" because it's involved in bonding, empathy and trust. It is released at childbirth and during breast-feeding, as well as when we hug, kiss, and snuggle. 
Oxytocin helps us remember faces and build connection, and it increases steadily during the first six months of parenting for moms and dads."

"Oxytocin helps us feel calm, appreciated and even sing more."

"There's a biological reason that a friends supportive hand on our shoulder 
or a pat on the back comforts us."

"The sense of connection from touch is more than emotional attachment. There's a physiological factor. Holding hands lowers our blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol."

This powerful research encourages me to continue to speak to the power and importance of connection in education. How do we connect? A high five, fist bump, handshake, hug, pat on the back. Maybe connection is through the eyes. A long, sustained listening with sincere eye contact. We must continue to create connection and build relationships with our students and our colleagues. Relationships are the most important part of a happy, healthy and successful life. We must invest time and energy in building classroom and school relationships. We must celebrate our various backgrounds, cultures, histories and skills.

We all need to be loved.

Real kindness requires strength, compassion, empathy, patience and generosity of spirit

"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, 
or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, 
and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, 
those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." - Robert F. Kennedy

What can I do today to be kind? What small good can I offer my little corner of the world? Our hellos, thank you's, have a good day and can I help you with that, are all micro kindnesses. Micro kindnesses are those daily thoughtful actions that bring good into the world. Anything that supports human value, growth, health and development, helps create a community of emotional safety and caring. 

Kindness requires courage. There is nothing courageous us about manipulation, lack of civility, we're shutting down and opposing perspective. Real kindness requires strength, compassion, empathy, patience and generosity of spirit. 

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must conquer fear. Let us all pray and act to be courageous and kind and know that every micro kindness is an act of love.