Holidays are celebrated differently around the world; however, it seems that there is a consistent theme for Valentines Day- LOVE- symbolized by a heart. And we each have a heart. The pandemic has caused many of us to rethink what is important- the isolation that we have experienced and the uncertainty of what comes next has caused many of us to reconsider our priorities and begin to cherish in a much deeper way those individuals who mean so much to us. We have also started looking at ourselves differently and come to realize that loving ourselves and treating ourselves as we would a best friend is not selfish but selfless- because if we care for ourselves it enables us to show up as best as we can for ourselves which benefits those who are important in our lives. It allows us to show up as our best selves for others. So, this year, as we think of Valentines Day, we can certainly think of it as we have traditionally- romantic love for a partner. But I hope that we take the time to shower love on others- our friends our families and ourselves. Happy V day!!
Endings can be experienced as positive or negative, always signifying the end of something, the culmination of tasks or a journey, one which inevitably includes a rollercoaster of events and emotions., and quite probably, missteps. Even when the journey has been a positive one, the ending can bring feelings of a let down…”is this all there is? I thought I would feel differently.” Here’s the thing…at the end of anything….there is a new beginning. At the end of any road, there is another road from which to choose for further exploration.
We are at the end of one such road. As 2021 turns her last corner to take the final stretch towards the finish line, we are reminded of the challenges that faced us, some of which we fought head on- others by which we were crushed and left feeling defeated and depleted, crawling through our next steps as though we were trying to swim through quicksand and fast setting cement. Either way, the important thing is that we faced them, even when everything around us told us we would fail. And maybe we did fail at some things….maybe we fell along the way and needed help getting back up. But we didn’t give up….warriors don’t have that as an option.
Our Idayimani Montessori Academy teachers accomplished great things this year- they excelled in their teachers’ classes and graduated, eager and ready to bring their talents and love to our first students at Idayimani. They looked fear of all things squarely in the face and vowed to never give up…and they didn’t. No matter what else might have been weighing on them, they forged through and accomplished great things! In addition, our temporary location, graciously blessed to us by the Red Cross, is completed and set up, with bright colors, awesome supplies, and lots of love ready for our students, their parents, our teachers and a boat load of learning.
Perspective and progress is impacted by our attitude and we have shown that we are resourceful and courageous, even brave, and while fear and uncertainty surely might have slowed our steps, and may again in the future, we have shown ourselves and others that of which we are made. We are celebrating and rejoicing in renewal, restoration, rejuvenation, and resilience.
So, let us look past the finish line and jump for joy at what lies ahead.… by truly embracing the road behind us that brought us to this place! The place of which I speak is NEW BEGINNINGS!
Seasons of New Beginnings
Connected hearts and spirits transcend space and distance. That’s why the seasons for us - Spring in Langa, South Africa and Autumn on the East Coast of the United States from where I am writing are reminding us that while some things end, most importantly, new beginnings greet us in grand style! We are presented with a new way to see ourselves and the world around us…even as things are still uncertain and may be feeling a bit dark. Road blocks appear and cause us to stumble and lose our way; unexpected stuff happens and throw us off course. Yet the world keeps turning and as we open our eyes to a new day, no matter what yesterday was like, we have another shot at putting on our warrior stance and staring all obstacles in the way and forging ahead. “Set backs are set ups for a come back.” We are embracing new beginnings as the temporary location for Idayimani Montessori Academy is in place thanks to The Red Cross. Our teachers are ready to share knowledge, light and love. Thats what new beginnings mean to me. I hope that you can feel the light and love and it helps you see your way to your new beginning!
It's OK To Not Be OK
The months are slowly marching on and we are expected to keep marching with them. And
many of us will, even though we’re not sure how we will do it, and thats fine. My prayer is that
we do so while saying out loud that this is hard, we are grieving, we are scared, we are
exhausted - all in the middle of being very grateful to be alive. I want us to be ok if all we did
today was put one foot in front of the other and move from one chair to another. If all we are
able to get done today is walk outside to try to breathe some outside air, then thats ok. Many
of us are not comfortable with talking about loss and grief, anger and uncertainty. Others will
make us feel uncomfortable when we aren’t acting like they want us to. Don’t let anyone tell
you that you should be ok. Honor yourself and try to sit with not being ok....and lean into it...
because thats the only way that ok might show up on the horizon. And we will all be there to
greet each other whenever we arrive.
Keeping the Faith
Exhaustion, confusion, uncertainty…2020…..then 2021….excitement…..relief….. then …still 2021, NOW, more uncertainty, exhaustion, confusion, fear, even more this time…what to do, how to cope. Just when we thought it might be a bit safer, it’s not. Fear lives in the future and calls to us, causing our minds to be out of control while we try to control everything and never succeed. But please know that there is something we can do..all of us.. we can create a self-care plan for ourselves and our family. We can’t control other people or the covid virus but we can make good decisions about how we are going to try to live, and do our best to stick with it. We can practice slow breathing when we get upset or fear starts to take over; we can hold each other tightly and let each other know how much we care. We can work hard to help each other calm down when we can’t stop thinking about how hard things are. And we can do everything we can to keep ourselves healthy. We must stay focused on what we can do, not what we can’t. There is some peace in coming to understand what we can do and being okay with what we can’t. All we can do is try. Let’s try together!
Life turns on a dime. In the blink of an eye, life changes with no notice. That’s what this Covid thing did to the world. And to us! And to you! It shook us up. It turned us around and upside down, and pointed us in so many different directions that we couldn’t think, or plan, or do anything the way we used to. Everything was different. And we were scared. AND NOW! We are still scared and that's ok. Some things are returning to a new normal….we are supposed to just pick up where we left off and live. How are we supposed to do that? Here’s the thing! NO ONE knows..And thats also ok. So for now, with schools open and some folks back to work, try putting one foot in front of the other a minute at a time. And if that works, try it again. And if it doesn’t work, take a deep breath, and walk in another direction. You will figure it out..because you always do…even if you stumble in the process! We will get through this together.
Parenthood! Motherhood! Fatherhood! Parent! Mother! Father! Caregiver! So many WORDS are used to describe this important role and they can mean different things depending on who is saying them. Being a parent doesn’t always carry with it knowing what to do. Most of the time, we do what we know and we know it because it’s how we were parented. Sometimes what we know isn’t the best thing to do. It might not be the wrong thing to do, but there might be a different way to do the things we do with our children that will make life better for them might help them learn better, grow better, think better. We might be scared to be a different type of parent; our friends and family might get angry with us, or talk about us, or give us a hard time. Doing something different takes courage…so as you learn a different way to do something, try not to think about “how will I do this from now on?” Instead, try to do it one hour at a time, and then one morning at a time; one night at a time, one dinner at a time, one bedtime at a time, one school day at a time. And they turn into days, and then weeks and months and years and before you know it, you are doing things differently, and it is all turning out ok! Now don’t you feel better? We will be sharing some different parenting tools that might be something you want to try out! Stay tuned!
These days, when we have the chance to talk to someone, the question, "How are you doing?" might come from either of us. A writer named Omid Safi suggested that maybe the better question is, "How's your heart?" meaning, at this very moment, as you take this very breath, please truly share with me: what's in your heart right now?
I encourage us to really think about this as a way to help us express and thus process and thus heal in the midst of it all. So, on this day, as we work on wading through difficult times, I am asking us all, for the sake of our children and ourselves, to consider "How is our heart?" Because our hearts are hurting, tired and so scared of so many things. That's trauma, and we and our families, regardless of what our family looks like or how we think our family is doing are all living with trauma! And while life might get better, it will get hard again, hopefully not this hard, and it is important that we show our children how to travel through times like these. The are watching us. We owe them more.
Shawn M. Lacy, J.D.
Love to Langa Board Vice President, Shawn Lacy, is a Trauma Competent Trainer for Lakeside Global Institute, where she has the opportunity to share trauma principles, concepts and strategies with professionals and para professionals in various Pennsylvania communities. She comes at this work with a background in child advocacy, child welfare, early childhood education, behavioral health, human resources and leadership and organizational development.