I heard an interview with Anthony Doerr about his new short story collection, Memory Wall, and he was speaking on how we place ourselves into the larger context of time. He used the phrase " the tiny fingersnap of time we get to be on this earth" and it got me to thinking of how we can better appreciate the moments we have.
The signs are up at Target, the ads are in the papers, and a certain sad expression has appeared on many of the kids in the neighborhood. It can only mean one thing. It's back to school time.
With all of the back to school energy in the air, it got me to thinking about how all of us can take advantage of this energy and find our own back to school project.
As an educator and an advocate in the HIV/AIDS community I am often asked “Is AIDS still with us?” This question usually arises after the latest television story or news report about the newest treatments for HIV positive people.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the answer to that question is yes; the disease is still with us with over one million reported cases of people living with HIV in the United States alone. Worldwide the numbers become more staggering with UNAIDS estimating over 31 million people who have contracted HIV.
Every day we set ourselves a list of good intentions and goals that we would like to accomplish. And yet we often over esimate the amount that we can accomplish in any one twenty-four hour period.
How can you find a way to recommit to these intentions you set to manifest change and not feel that it is just one more things to do in the your busy day?
You notice teenager seems to be very moody, moodier than usual. They seem to be isolating from their friends, sleeping all the time, not eating, and losing interest in the things that use to excite them. They talk about being worthless and guilty when they choose to talk at all. School performance drops, they have difficulty concentrating and may even be expressing thoughts of death and suicide.
The coming out process for a GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) adolescent can be a challenging moment for not only the teenager, but also their family and friends. It is a time of high emotions that can run the gamut from confusion, shock, disbelief, rejection, and anger, to acceptance, calmness, understanding, and concern. It is important at this potentially fragile time for parents and teens to be kind to each other and create room for this new information and identity to be processed.
This beautiful piece of wisdom was recently sent to me by a friend of mine. As we enter into the new year this seems like a great perspective to carry with us during trying times.
Become a Lake
An aging Hindu master grew tired of his apprentice complaining,
and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice
returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful
of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.
“How does it taste?” the master asked.
“Bitter,” spit the apprentice.
As the New Year opens ahead we find ourselves bubbling up with great ideas of the things we want to do in our lives. And yet as the year progresses we find that we lose focus and little ever seems to happen or change. The things you dream of don’t seem to be appearing in your life.
Not to long ago, I was asked to teach a stress management workshop for the students at a highly competitive private school. As I prepared for the class I began to connect with how extremely stressed out many of today’s teenagers are and how much pressure is put on them to succeed. In working with teens I am reminded on a daily basis of how much information is available to them and how this constant stream of stimuli from TV, the internet, texting, and interaction with other teens is forcing adolescents to assume adult stress at a young age. It seems as if there is very little room just to be a kid.