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Quieting the Mind

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Forms to file, bills to pay, errands to run…we’re not that different from one another, you and I. We are frequently on the go, whether we’re at school, work, in the car, or even at home. Our minds are always thinking “next, next, next”, so much so that it is often difficult to acknowledge (let alone appreciate) where we are in the present.

I’ve always been a planner. I use a black moleskin notebook to outline my life. It has the power to help me feel organized and overwhelmed at the same time, especially when I see my doctor’s handwriting scribbled all over the neatly printed lines. Even when I’m trying to fall asleep and my planner is closed, I sit in bed and tap my foot thinking about all of the things I have to do, as well as all the things that could possibly go wrong. It’s kept me from falling asleep more than once over the past ten years.

This is one of the things I admire most about children. They have the ability to live in the moment. Whether it’s when they’re arriving to class and smiling at you, enjoying Goldfish at snack time, looking out the window at the fire truck passing by, or crying because they are frustrated that they can’t use the train their friend is using, they’re in the here and now. Well, most of the time. I say most of the time because I have not noticed the slightly older children (particularly one and a half and up) to not at least make mention of “Mommy” or “Daddy” at least once during the day. I have also received questions from the two year-old's in my school as to where I am going and when I will be coming back whenever I need to leave the classroom.

There are times I need to really focus upon being in the moment the way my students can. It’s like completing each item on my to-do list one at a time, sometimes even as they occur, rather than worrying about how I’m going to find the time to get them all done.

Of course, as adults we are supposed to be able to think and plan for the unexpected. But even the best and most organized of us cannot plan for every possible outcome. Life can be pretty surprising at times, and that’s just part of the ride.

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