Habits of Mind...

The Habits of Mind are a set of problem solving and life related skills that are necessary to operate within the world. These habits help each of us navigate through a variety of situations so that one can have positive outcomes. Habits of Mind, like persistence, flexibility, taking responsible risks, finding humor, responding with wonderment and awe, and applying past knowledge to new situations, help us in ways beyond what we can even know. These habits help us form other types of habits that create the foundation of the life we want to live.

I think about my own life and how I have integrated these habits to make my life better. Persistence is easy. That goes without saying. I am persistent in my work, in my play. I'd like to think that I have persisted through times that have been challenging in my personal life, times from my youth, times in adulthood, times with Javad. I sometimes think my stubborn qualities work in my favor in this area. I can be like a dog, unwilling to let go, sometimes to my own detriment.

Taking risks can be a challenge. Some would think my outgoing personality means that I am a constant risk taker but in actuality I can struggle with which risk to take. In some areas this is easy, I do it without even thinking. This is especially true in my job. I am willing to take risks for my students, willing to try things to help increase their educational opportunities. In my personal life, it gets harder. I can be a big picture thinker, which can actually cause me to get bogged down. I play the "what if" game to death, looking at each potential outlook and following the string of decisions and where they lead. I want to move my life into a better place. I want to build a life I love, one that feeds my soul rather than bashing it on the rocks of my sorrow. In order to have this life, I know that I have to take risks, risks with my heart, my mind. Risks that could bring loss or joy. "Great risk comes with great reward..." as the saying goes. One can only hope that as life moves forward, taking risks in my life and career provide fruitful results. It is scary walking to the edge of the cliff, but the exhilaration of jumping...worth it.

Approaching life with humor and rememering that so many situations have comedy infused truly becomes a way to survive. The ebbs and flows of the world, conversations, and relationships, when met with humor, seem better and more liveable. As a teacher, without humor, I am not sure I could survive a day. This is how I can bring perspective to others about things that can be challenging. Humor is the key to not taking oneself too seriously, remembering that we too are human.

Our world is filled with so many amazing things and over the last two years, I have worked to find the wonderment in the way the world has presenting itself to me. Being surrounded by nature is calming and finds me feeling my place. Seeing joy through the eyes of others is awe inspiring and allows me to find motivation and strength to move forward. Looking at my son, and the battle he has survived reminds me that so much of my tough challenges in life are small comparetively. I am in awe of so many I encounter every day, their skills and talents amazing me. Friends that share their love so freely and surround me with peace and joy. Each of these gifts to be cherished.

Finally, we must remember that we should use our past to build our future. Each experience we are given, lays a foundation that builds our lives. This foundation helps us decide on paths to take, decisions to make. Looking at our past, deciding if a previous situation worked for or against us, can provide guidance on the most intimate level, deep into our bones. As we build this one life we have been given, we must remember that each experience provides us with a lesson. Sometimes these lessons can be difficult to experience, hard to walk away from, while others provide lift to our hearts and souls, making us yearn for more. Moving away from the mundane and into the glorious requires us to look backward and reflect. Without learning from the past, we are determined to repeat it, staying on the eternal hamster wheel of life rather than breaking free and running into the sun.

Habits of mind, habits of the heart, habits that help us build a future that is healthy, happy and filled with joy. We must not belittle the importance of building good habits, finding the time to repeat the task over and over, impressing it upon our brains and hearts. Once we have a framework built than creating what goes in it can be easier...finding the right people to infuse in, finding the joy and love in your heart, creating a path that brings success and joy. Using your past to help you rather than hinder you shows growth. Moving into the light of your life where your heart, soul, and mind are fed and you are lifted to a place where you feel whole. This is our goal...but first we must start building...one habit at a time.

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