Even with advanced car stereo technology, I most often enjoy FM radio as my companion while driving from hither to thither. Lately, I have been enjoying modern pop dance hits and am starting to feel caught up with what the “kids are listening to,” these days.
As I wove on a winding road which led me to an elementary school parking lot, a fun and uplifting song graced my ears and a smile warmed my face. I was early for my appointment to present a circle time activity for young elementary-aged children. This was the second part of my interview process for an early childhood special education teaching position.
As a spiritual and meaning-finding person, what songs happen to be playing on the station to which I happen to be listening often provides me with deeper wisdom in any given moment, especially if I am in a place of wonder. I remember driving to the airport to pick up a person I was dating and three songs in a row had lyrics that communicated doomed relationships, not really knowing the person, and dusting oneself off after an upsetting relationship. I won’t get into what happened in this post yet I am sure you can imagine.
I have been reflecting on what I desire to surround me in regards to landscapes, community, and home. The aforementioned song’s lyrics included “this could really be a good, good life” and “when you’re happy like a fool, let it take you over.” These seemed to be encouraging gestures that I was making a positive step to be considering working in this preschool program near ocean sanctuary.
In gratitude, I report that I accepted the position at the sweet school surrounded by redwood trees and only 15 minutes to the Pacific Ocean. I feel comforted to be returning to my roots as an early childhood special education teacher. And to have the opportunity to again live near the beach!
After celebrating with my sister and parents, I called one of my dearest friends. He mentioned he felt glad that didn’t have to worry about my finding a job any longer. Hearing him say this cracked me up as I surely wish to never be anyone’s “worrysome burden.” I asked him to support my choice to grow healthy roots and longevity within a job and community which lead to our conversation about me creating a personal care plan.
My dear friend is a vibrant activities coordinator at an elder care center on the Oregon Coast. His clients love his passionate energy and the red khaki pants he wears. He works with families and elders to create care plans to support each individual’s physical, psycho-social, and cognitive needs. In turn, my friend was inspired by his clients’ plans and created one for himself. He encouraged me to do the same, especially as I transition into a new teaching position and community.
SELF-CARE PLAN INTENTION: To grow, live, and work in my new community within the same school district and teaching position for at at least five years.
Physical needs: Daily exercise that enlivens my body (e.g. yoga, surfing, bike riding, walking, hiking, swimming, dancing, stretching, Feldenkrais, running), maintaining good nutrition and water intake, keeping up with taking vitamins & minerals, getting enough sleep
Psycho-social needs: Visiting and staying close with my family, connecting with healthy, active, spiritual and vibrant communities, creating art and photography, journaling, continuing therapy, making and maintaining close friendships with joyful, positive, self-reflective people, maintaining my spiritual, self-love, and Wholeness practices, regular doses of laughter
Cognitive needs: Reflecting on and researching ways to continue stimulating my need to have wonder and mystery in my life, challenging myself to strengthen my surfing skills, deepening my education career skills, pondering my next travel adventure, learn a new language (e.g. Spanish), take a class on a topic new-to-me, attend a yoga teacher training program
My friend suggested that I review my self-care plan on a weekly and monthly basis, making updates as necessary. The pieces that feels most riveting are my committing to a community for at least 5 years and insuring that my wonder/love of life’s mysteries are healthfully stoked and tended. I feel intrigued and know that both of those intentions will expand my edges and help me grow. I desire a sense of stability and growth within a teaching position and community. I feel curious how these personal commitments will help me evolve as I journey into another decade of a life better-lived.