Wrapping Up #solc20 Day 31

Day what…?! How did that happen? How can March 31 look so different than four weeks ago? Its as if we blinked and the world changed shape.

For my last slice I have taken key words, themes or titles of my posts over the last 29 days. (I missed two days- I will do better next year.) It’s been an extraordinary month as a global community and what a privilege to get to write about it every single day. I was interested to look back and see if any themes emerged and what I could do moving forward. This unwieldy list is what emerged.

  • Gratitude
  • Resilience
  • Being Brave
  • Popcorn
  • Transition
    Self compassion
  • That words matter
  • Memories
  • Happiness habits
  • Learning to ride a bike
  • Schooling by device
  • Zoom
  • Faith
  • Tea
  • Togetherness
  • Jelly
  • Kindness
  • Courage
  • Strength
  • Reflection
  • Home
  • Gratitude
  • Yoga love
  • Gratitude
  • Pause
  • Reflection
  • What I see

 

  • My deep gratitude to all who read, responded, liked and left me feedback and to all the wonderful writers who contributed. Your students will be richer for you having written with such open hearts. It has meant the world to me to be a part of this community.
  • Thank you to Two Writing Teachers- this is such a gift- thank you for all our hard work.
  • Last but not least, to Radutti, thank you. I owe you my friend, for introducing me to this. I struggle to see self worth often so being able to write had been such a boost. Looking forward to celebrating this writing marathon together.

Till next year. May we look back on this time as a that may have been fraught but one which taught us lifelong lessons. Be safe and healthy.

What is in front of you? #solc20 Day 30

My slice tonight is a prompt from Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away. I was inspired by the prompt and played with juxtaposing the literal with what I can see in my mind’s eye. 15 minute quickwrite.

I see the cat curled up on my bed, cleaning her self meticulously as only cats do. Ears, paws, tummy, seemingly, not an inch is missed. I see my sewing in front of me, part stretched between the hoops, the rest of it lying limpy against the olive green bedcover.

I see the days ahead merging into one. Is is Sunday today, I asked my self earlier? Monday? Does it matter? I see a long few weeks after this week of pause.

I see the standing fan whirring, dutifully turning its head from left to right, circulating the air in its path. I see a little butterfly stuck on my mirror… a little gift from my little girl.

I see the world crying out in pain, flummoxed, confused. Panic, stress, illness. I see people clamoring for hope- something, anything. 

I see my beautiful Indian rug. Maroon, olive green, biscuit geometric designs. Curves and straight lines meshing together like they were always meant to. I see white tassels, straight in some part, ruffled in others.

I see myself exhaling after holding my breath for 8, 16,36 weeks. I find myself forcing myself to inhale and exhale and let it be. 

I see my beautiful little girl, 7 days old. I remember it like it was yesterday, not a decade ago. I remember that later afternoon, her lying close to me, her beautiful eyes, her delicate skin and her soft-baby-powdery smell. I see you sweetheart, in the photo and out of it.

I see the need to believe. It will be ok. This part is hard, but it will be ok. We are safe and we will get through this, as a collective. This too shall pass.

What if… #solc20 Day 29

What if she said no, felt more, thought less?

What if she held out, put her hand up, dug deep?

What if the call hand’t gone through, the connection faltered, the moment passed?

Would she have had you, by her side, tonight?

What if she never tried, never gave, never thought?

What if she lived with status quo and never wanted more?

What if she had looked in the mirror, back then, and seen a glimpse of self worth?

Would she still have grasped at straws and settled for less?

What if she had never questioned, doubted herself, given in?

Would she ever have learned how to love or how to fly?

The truth is, without walking the path she did, she wouldn’t have her loves, her heart, her soul.

In the end, the heartache will always have been worth it.

Spring Break…day 1 #solc20 Day 28

Slow, quiet, a plodding kind of day. Steaming hot tea, sitting outside, enjoying the calm, listening to birds chirp and noticing the new red buds on the hanging greens.

Letting the weight of the last nine weeks slowly begin to thaw.

The luxury of not remembering where my phone is, or what time it is. Just going with the feeling of being hungry or thirsty or tired.

Cardio at 11.00 am. Because we can. Yoga after.

Lunch, snooze. More tea.

Children squabbling, playing, reading.

Podcasts… all kinds, all day. Brené, Brains On, you name it.

May we remember the enormous luxury of being safe in our home. It is not the case for everyone, everywhere.

Countdown #solc20 Day 26

I don’t like endings. I have had a few to come to terms with and every time my feelings have been reinforced.  I don’t like endings.

Over the last couple of days I have been trying to push to the back of my mind the annoying noise which reminds me that this writing challenge is coming to an end.  I have loved the discipline, the focus on details and more than anything else the avenue to share thoughts and fears and frustrations during this extraordinary time. It feels like months and months ago that I was standing in our faculty common room at school when my colleague and friend announced the March challenge and asked if anyone would be interested to join. Who knew the upheaval and chaos February and March would bring and the role this writing challenge would play in bringing solace and calm.

I know I will miss it when it ends. Even on days when it has been hard to write, I have looked forward to it. I know it will feel a little empty, post Monday. So instead of allowing my self to worry about the inevitable ending, I thought I would reflect on what I learned.

  • Writing regularly, in a disciplined way, even just a little bit, is worth the effort. It can mean giving up time with loved ones and yet sticking to it has so many benefits.
  • For me, getting feedback has been the biggest motivator. Have the amazing luxury to be in a community of writers who support and read my writing, no matter what it is, has been humbling. I feel incredibly grateful.
  • I shared a quote I came across with our Lit Coach at school some time ago – it says “if you don’t have the time to read, you won’t have the time or the tools to write. Period”. I have thought of those words often and reflected how much I miss reading regularly and perhaps how much that has impacted my writing. A good must do, going forwards.
  • Reading other people’s writing has been such a privilege. I have learned so much.
  • I have thought  lot about my late grandmother who was a beautiful writer herself. I hope I can continue to hone my craft and write like her someday.

Thank you to all the people who work so hard to put this together. It has been like balm on an aching bruise… this ability to share and get some of the strong emotions on paper.

Yoga will never be the same again #solc20 Day 25

Come to a seated position and feel that invisible thread pull up through your spine to the sky. Her voice lilted, part soporific, part mesmerising.

“Mum!” His energetic, slightly high pitched tone broke my fragile moment of silence. “If I stand like this on my toes I am so tall. And, there’s no thread in my spine!” N’s excited chatter has become a part of our daily 15 minute yoga routine. As we work through each pose, each instruction to breathe, my little energizer bunny keeps up the non stop commentary, throughout.

“…. and now, downward facing dog”, she continues, speaking gently, imploring me to follow. I go from table top and stretch into downward facing dog. I have my eyes closed as I try and focus on remaining present. I feel some thing jump up to my right and I open my eyes, adjusting my view to the back of his head as opposed to my knees, upside down. He is in downward facing dog too, only underneath me- both of us like two layers of triangular stacking blocks. It doesn’t last long.  The instruction for the next asana is barely given when he slithers out and proceeds to undo the curtain ties.  “Let the curtains be, please!” I say. Not quite as zen like in my tone, yet. “Its ok,  Mum, its only so that when its the lying down one I can make the room dark.”

A couple of poses later we are instructed to lift our legs to the ceiling and slip into water fall pose. As my hamstrings begin to tremble in protest, I catch a glimpse of him to my left. He has his legs stretched all the way to his face- his knees practically squashing his nose. He looks at me, grinning, and then informs me that ” this yoga is quite hard Mum”!

We end with shavasan. I have always loved this asana- lying flat on your back arms by your side, palms facing upwards. There is some thing so wonderfully calming about it. If I can really focus, I literally feel my shoulders destress. Not today! N jumps over, and then back and over again, momentarily pleased with his own speedy movements, and then goes on to the draw the curtains closed completely. He bounds back and then lies down on on the mat between us. I keep my eyes shut and try hard not to think about anything. Just as I begin to tune out the noises around me,  I feel a little hand reach up and feel its way into mine. I squeeze it gently and feel a squeeze back.

Yoga, done any other way, will never quite feel the same again. This might be my most favourite of all.

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To, today. #SOLC20 Day 24

I go through my day now thinking about what I will write about later. Making an effort to be more present, look, listen, feel. So many huge gains from writing every night this month.

It was a stunning day. The city was washed asleep last night with lashing rain and woke this morning to clean, clear air, bathed in warm, golden sunlight. It set the tone for the day.

After our long day of distance learning and distance working, we set out for a bike ride in the late afternoon. Amidst some initial mumbles and grumbles, we soon got into our groove and rode a good 6 and something kilometers around our secure neighbourhood. There was no one around us, which was good though some parts of our ride felt like we were riding through alien territory. Broad streets, huge palatial facades, desolate blocks of houses. We rode mostly in silence- keeping a watch on each other and calling out directions when it was time to change direction. Only a short stretch was actually on the pavement that runs along the big main road. The thoroughfare which is usually jam packed with traffic was not as busy and certainly not as crowded.

Once we were back home, we dove straight into our 7 minute aerobic workout and when we finally showered and settled down to dinner, I could tell the exercise had done us all good. Moods were lighter and everyone was smiling more.

A colleague wrote today that if 21 days of doing something forms a habit, then 7 weeks of doing something must feel like a lifestyle shift. In these many, many weeks of being at home, we are in the constant danger of sitting too much, staring at a screen for too long and forgetting the benefit of turning off and tuning in.

I am so grateful for the weather today, and the stunning clear air. I am so grateful the day cajoled us into being active and getting out and about. We will all sleep better for it.

Home #solc20 Day 23

For my slice today I am using a prompt from Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir: Here it is: Where is home for you. Go. Ten Minutes.

Where is home? That is such a great question. Is is a place or is it a feeling? This evening after a very long day of multiple video calls, art lessons, Math problems, strategy meetings, the list goes on,…. we sat down to a delicious homemade dinner. The table was laid with one of my favourite Fabindia tablecloths and matching napkins. At one point, amid the happy sounds of children eating and laughing and cracking bad jokes, I looked around at our perfect square and thought, everything I am grateful for is right here. I am home.

Home is bright colours and delicious food. It is warm afternoons, dozing with a book in my hand. It is perfectly made Darjeeling tea. Home is togetherness and loud voices. Unending traffic jams and singing rickshaws. Home is squabbling sisters and over excited grand children.

Home is order and routine. It is predictability. It is calm and quiet. It is listening to them breathe. It is watching them laugh. It is holding each other when we are scared or frightened.

Home is Mummy’s chocolate cake. And steaming hot daal. It is big, leafy, green salads. Home is fruit- red, yellow, orange, green. It is mango- juice dripping down your wrists in delight. Home is planning lunch at breakfast and dinner at lunch. It is freshly baked bread.

Home is curling up in front of a favourite movie. It is foot massages and tight hugs. It is listening to pod casts and debating truths.

Home is family. It is love- bigger and brighter and more all encompassing than anything you can imagine.Home is knowing you are safe and you will be ok. It is the best thing in the world and the only place I want to be in and feel right about now.

A brief log, Part 2 #solc20 Day 21 & 22

Week 5

We are now into distance learning in full swing. Teachers are still coming in and out of campus and even though we don’t see everyone as it is optional to come in, there is a sense of a common place. Already, our community seems to be thinning. Worryingly, news of the spread in other parts of the world, especially in Europe have begun to break. Our conversations are now focused on the butterfly effect that infections being brought into the country on international flights will have.  I did not do so well this week, managing my juggling act- the children are doing their best but we really get down to them getting on with their work once I am home. Their morning meetings, which help the children start their day, has easily become their highlight.

Week 6

The end of week 6 is a PD Day. We had originally, back when all this first hit, thought we would cancel PD Day and have a regular school day. Little did we know then what we know now. We got together as an ES Leadership team to plan what the faculty will work on together on Friday, March 13. As we planned we thought of an asynchronous option but decided in the end to start with a 60+ person Zoom call. It was good to see people and connect. It is emerging that maintaining connections is at the core of all we are doing.  A silver lining is that this is a 4 day week- for teachers, students and parents. We are all grateful for the break.

Week 7

More turbulence this week, literally and metaphorically. The infection is spreading through out the world, much like a wild fire. We are given the choice to go if we want to but as a family, we decide to stay. The week saw yet another change in our routine as I spend much of the week at home- our family unit juggling multiple Zoom calls and sharing the dining table, working from home while supporting my children is going to take some getting used to. We keep a low profile, don’t go out much and appreciate the walks and bike rides when we can. We ended the week with World Happiness Day and a message of deep gratitude to our amazing community.

I entered the March writing challenge a few weeks into this major disruption to our lives. As I look back, my posts are peppered with slices on resilience and silver linings, self compassion and schooling at home. This is an extraordinary time- I am grateful to have been able to capture some of it.

A brief log, Part 1 #solc20 Day 20

A brief record of these last 7 weeks. Lest I forget. Amazingly, as vivid as it has been to live through, the details are already beginning to blur.

Week 1

The shock to the system, learning late on Sunday 2nd February, that the govt had ordered all schools to be closed for students. Our campus shut down for children but was open to the adults. I remember the rush of adrenalin, both in my role as educator supporting my teams to get Distance Learning on the go and as a mum, trying desperately to work out what I was going to do with my two little ones all day. I remember being so embarrassed at shamelessly asking for favours from friends and neighbours to check in on them while I was at work.

Week 2

I was calmer that week. At work the teachers were getting into their groove, working out the teething issues of video conferencing and various online platforms. Consistency was the key and as a school were working hard to support our parent community. We began to get feedback of how some parents were struggling with their newly imposed roles of teachers as well as parents. For them, especially working parents, managing all of it was not just difficult, it felt overwhelming. I managed a little bit better this week. A few regular playdates materialised, sewing lessons, the children seemed more settled. Distance Learning at 4.00 pm was not by choice but at least we were getting to some of it.

Week 3

Chugging along. The teachers showed amazing resilience – putting hours of work into generating interactive, personal synchronous and asynchronous lessons. Video conferencing proved to be a huge success from D-5 and our students flocked to their cameras to make connections with each other and build bridges across the void. The insane juggling act at home continued with me trying to manage even more digital requirements for my kids remotely. My 4th grader discovered google hangouts. Oh dear! What began to stand out was the amazing power of community- people coming together, supporting and looking out for each other. Oldest students allowed back on campus under strict conditions. There seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel.

Week 4

I remember that feeling of optimism that week 3 ended on. It was another burst of adrenalin. The number of cases in the country were down to zero. The city and our neighbourhood looked and felt much the same other than the fact that our kids were not in school. Maybe there really was an end in sight. Then, on Saturday we woke to the gut wrenching news of a new case and with it renewed sanctions and most of all, little or no hope of reopening for the near future. A slow, dull realisation that this was not going to end any time soon. The week felt heavy and our work of sharing the weight of the collective sense of frustration and anger was beginning to tell.

Tomorrow, week 5,6,7.