As we begin the 2021 – 2022 academic year, we always ask our students to identify how they can build on their strengths from the previous year. That way, they enter the year feeling more confident, more mature, and more capable–even if they are still nervous about the new year and unknown demands ahead. It’s a good practice for all of us. Taking stock, paying attention. Let’s do the same and look back on the positive skills we cultivated over the past year that we can use moving forward.
In my own experience, I can see that even in the midst of uncertainty, I’ve found a way to pay attention to joy. In the midst of challenges of the pandemic and being a new parent I’ve found strength, untapped curiosity that has pulled me through, and a desire for inner stability so I can be a rock and follow through on my purpose.
At times, it hasn’t been the easiest thing to do. I’ve had to adopt new habits and learn new strategies to meet the needs of myself, my family, and our Inner Strength constituents and staff.
What got me through?
I’ve had to be intentional about it – I’ve had to be mindful. I’ve learned how important it is to focus my awareness on the present moments, while acknowledging everything going on — my thoughts, feelings, and what’s happening in my environment and the world at large.
It hasn’t always been a walk in the park. Over the pandemic year, I’ve had to allow myself to feel happiness, sadness, pain, anger, confusion, and everything in between. You might have had a similar year, or maybe a little different. What’s helped me is really working with my mindfulness practice — it has helped me to make space for it all.
I’ve used mindfulness to be: present, aware, grateful, honest, open, helpful, and loving to myself and others. And in doing so I’ve discovered– and I hope you have too — that we can do this!
If each of us keeps putting one foot in front of the other we keep moving through!
Back-to-back to back Zoom meetings – we were on it. Technical glitches that used to cause us anxiety? No sweat. Virtual classes, curricula, and activities? It was hard, but we handled it.
The 2020 – 2021 school year changed us all in ways we may not even see yet. It also showed us the potential that we have to find calm in almost any situation, to grow, to love, to show kindness in the midst of adversity, and to create new ways to instill hope. Let us do all we can to keep the momentum going.
As I look ahead at Inner Strength’s beginning of the year, I see unknown territory. These are the skills, tools, and perspectives that I’m going to carry with me. I hope I’ve given you some suggestions to enhance your toolbox, too.
Let’s go into the new school year with creativity, kindness, self-love, awareness, empowerment and growth. Then no matter what, we’ll be ready and able to make it a great year!