Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Messy stories are ok

Funny how something major can happen in a day and no one really notices.

The rain keeps falling.  The emails flood in as usual.

In fact it happened to me and I just noticed.  

I just noticed that a thing that has been on my heart and mind for ages, a thing I have been noodling around and around, looking at from multiple perspectives, tallying up the pro and con columns on, listening to and reading advice of experts and also trying to listen to my heart and intuition.

And quietly, over an excellent coffee, in a tiny coffee shop in a nondescript building I reclaimed my voice. 

"They" said .... you should not lead the curriculum - the power differential will make it messy.  You be the Leader of the other stuff but let a real Early Childhood Educator do this part. 

I listened.

So I stepped away from that role. 

I picked a great person to lead that part of the work.  She has done so extremely ably, forging a path in a job there are very few blazing ahead of her.  She has been breaking a path through thick vegetation with just her head and her heart and her hands and the steady shouts of "hooray!" and "courage!" from my desk, always a listening ear, always giving her permission to be her authentic self.

I sat at this desk increasingly feeling disconnected from the heart part of the work which turns out to be the reason I get up to come to work most days.

So the more technical and strategic my job became the less I loved it.  

Recently I have realised that despite all the work we have done, the years invested and the vast distance we have come, now so many more of us are singing from the same song sheet - yet I still have a profoundly deep understanding and passion for the curriculum work that is not yet equaled in the organisation.

I have invested in those leading that work and it was worthy and inspirational work. And I couldn't be prouder of my leadership team.  We are learning, growing, living into our vision and values while occasionally bumping our heads and stubbing our toes.

But today I sipped coffee with my colleague and I stepped back on to the curriculum path with her - shoulder to shoulder.  She needs me and I need to walk with her for my own sake.

And so we hatched plans, grew a little misty eyed at times and I felt the stirring in my belly again, the gentle rekindling of the fire for the work we do.

It may be messy, there may be power issues, "they" might have a point....

But I am going to rediscover my voice and reconnect to our people and to our work and I will figure out how to do that and attend to the 50 million other things my job demands and we will write our own story about how we changed the world by honouring childhood. 

I'll write my own leadership story that is true to who WE are and who I am.  

We like messy stories in our work anyway.  


Friday, November 18, 2016

Flying through Fall

We hit a low point in our home this week.

We ran out of our usual tea. 

If there was ever a sign that Fall was kicking our butts this is it. 

Tea is the currency of our little kingdom here on Steveston Highway. 

It is how we start the day.  

And by we, I mean Allan makes us tea and we have it in bed every morning. 


Days do simply not begin without tea.
It is also essential to the "Honey I'm home" time of the day.

The barometer of the day is "One cup or two?" 

Red tea pot for two, brown betty teapot for one.

So when I tasted the tea this morning and knew were into the hidden emergency stash I knew..... what my body and my mind already knew....I knew.....we officially have Fall Fatigue.

I wanted to believe the absence of soccer and teaching for me would lead to a serene Fall, quiet evenings, crackling fire, red wine, hearty soups...


The flurry of Fall activities both planned and unplanned have left us a little breathless.  My work has been plain crazy and after a great AGM last night I decided a day off was needed.  My challenges with sleep are worse than ever and though I didn't sleep any better last night I snugged under the covers a little longer than usual.  I spent the morning accomplishing several errands I have been trying to get to for weeks (new jeans yay - one size smaller than the last time yay yay!), passport photos (nothing to yay about that), some christmas shopping, groceries....

and TEA.

 The arrival of snow on the local mountain tops heralds winter and I am ready to bundle up and dive in.  
I am done with Fall.  

Bring on snowflakes, hot chocolate, crackling fires, red noses, brisk walks, christmas lights and carols.....

Ahhh enjoying this moment of unrealistic anticipation...with a cup of tea. 

Have a great weekend friends.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Engine light

The engine light came on in my mazda on Saturday.  

And it caused the car to lose power while I was driving.  It was barely inching forward.  I parked it and called Allan.  And then my parents  - feeling strangely adrift at thought my trusty zoom zoom was ill. And I was without a vehicle.

After making all kinds of plans and contingencies I got in, turned it back on and despite the continuing presence of the engine light the car drove normally.

I drove home slowly. 

It is now sitting outside the mechanics garage waiting for a scan tomorrow to reveal what is troubling it. 

Of course I hope it's just a sensor and not the transmission or something else huge and costly. Fingers CROSSED. Please please please

If I had an engine light.... that signalled trouble... it would have come on last Monday morning. 

And although I could have used the warning I surely could not have managed a loss of power.  A crisis at work is no time for anything other than full energy, focus and attention.   

Of course this, in a week my Dr changed some of my medication, and despite our best hopes my sleep is decreasing not increasing.  

By Friday I left the office, crisis unresolved, feeling pretty ragged and yet a lengthy TO DO list for the weekend stared me down.  

But in a remarkable show of maturity I turned off the alarm clock (alas to no avail sleep-wise) and I pared down the TO DO list to essentials - like baking cookies and making lasagne and doing the groceries. Ok maybe laundry too. And a few work related must-do's.

And then I let the rest go. 

I let go the desire for a perfect looking house when my leadership team gather here for a retreat tomorrow.  I let go off dozens of small details I still wanted to accomplish on our guest room for a friend arriving from South Africa on Wednesday - the room  is lovely and comfortable and clean - a complete redecorate, was I realise, unnecessary.  I did not gut the Laundry room as I intended, I shall simply close the door. The chest freezer remains in need of a defrost - I shall simply chip back the ice advancing over the top. 

Instead I spent time with Allan between his bouts of Masters work.  I visited with friends, caught up and connected.  I ate good food. I drank good coffee. I browsed a very odd flea market with my co-adventurer EV... I walked many steps, marvelled at the sunshine however briefly it appeared, turned back the clocks and tried not to grump about the early darkness it brought or how many clocks I had to change.  I chatted with my kids - gosh...I love those two.  

And so while the Mazda engine light may signal something dire (please please please be a sensor) , my own engine light was dealt with with gentleness and connection and is thankfully now off....I'm powered back up to face the week!