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Everything posted by WolfDreamer

  1. I try my best to make what I teach relevant to my students' lives, to the real world. I modify writing assignments to match something they may actually have to write outside of school, while also giving them opportunities to be creative and expressive. That's a solid philosophy.
  2. I appreciate the reference. At the risk of feeding my own ego, I've often thought of what I do to resist as "storming the castle from the inside." The knight reference is fitting, I suppose.
  3. Thank you. And I agree. And it is definitely one of the more practical tools he has offered. And thank you for the compliments. I'm sorry I haven't been more faithful with updates, but I appreciate that you are following. Thank you. That is a very powerful perspective. And I will definitely check out the group. Week 2 Update: My thoughts lately have been a steady balance of positive and negative. I reached out to a friend who is also a Rebel and part of this community, and he allowed me to blow up his Messenger with some recent struggles I have been having. Essentially, I am wrestling with some very real emotional dichotomies (if that makes sense), feeling torn apart by polarizing thoughts. I've been living in that tension between wanting to abandon everything and yet not. This is especially true when it comes to education. I still believe in its power, and I still love being a teacher, but damn it rough out there right now. Our kids are drowning in a sea not of their own creation, and they know they're drowning, but many of them have become so familiar with their pain and suffering that it's easier to remain in it than to crawl our or to accept help. And yet, YET I still believe that education (not the system but education/learning) is one of the best ways to heal this struggling generation. Friday, I walked from the high school to my favorite church in the city. It is an impressive stone structure that always catches my eye, most especially because of its steeple, which can be seen from all over the city. I also go there because they have a Little Free Library, and I was curious what books were there. As I was considering grabbing a copy of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, I heard the call of a red-shouldered hawk (my favorite species of bird) and looked up to see one perched on the steeple. He called a few more times and then flew off behind the building only to circle around and fly right overhead then turn again to land on a nearby tree, where he continued calling. Out loud, I said, "Okay. You got me." And right there I started weeping. I am not exaggerating when I say I almost knelt right there on the sidewalk (and perhaps I should have) as I watched this hawk, his silhouette stark against the vibrant blue sky, wispy clouds, and rising sun. But, to paraphrase Frost, I had promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep. I sat in silence for 10 minutes this morning while repeating the word NOSTALGIA in my head, which was the word discussed in the chapter of David Whyte's Consolations that I also read this morning. Some images of childhood memories and toys and people and songs kept creeping up as I sat. But there were also thoughts of both the value and the hindrance of dwelling on the past. I am getting better at eating slowly and mindfully, as well as eating foods that nourish. I am still struggling to drink enough water, mostly because I just get busy and don't have a bottle with me or near me.
  4. Challenge Update: This challenge is starting off rocky as I'm finding myself in a weird mental health place where I feel good until I start to doubt and question some things. This, of course, calls for me to consider the first part of the challenge: pay attention to the noise in my head. Lately, I have been feeling like my wife and kids deserve better. When I hear myself getting snappy or grumpy, I feel this distrust of my ability to be a good husband and father. As a solution, I openly expressed these feelings to my wife, not for reassurance from her but for the sake of stating it out loud and feeling whether or not I truly believe it or if it is simply my mind messing with me. I think what I said to my wife was, "It's one of those days when my mind is telling me you deserve better." She hugged me and said, "You know better than that." She's right. I do. I have consistently sat in silent meditation every morning, paying close attention to my breath and to how my body and mind respond to this silent solitude. I get restless after a little more than 5 minutes, but I've learned that if I remain without judgement, it is possible to let the quiet and stillness really set in. The weather has been unseasonably nice the past few days, so I have enjoyed a couple of mindful walks, including one barefoot walk. My nutrition has been... a mix of bad habits and better habits, if that makes sense. I did eat too much this past weekend and regretted it will both a belly ache and with the scale reading higher than I'd like it to read. But I'm convinced the overeating and the mental health issues are connected. I am continuing to read Consolations by David Whyte in the morning, as well as a few poems from Mary Oliver's collection, Devotions. I plan to write down some mantras to say to myself in the morning during my devotional time, or possibly in the mirror after my shower.
  5. Forgot to mention I am also doing the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge. It is definitely getting me out of my reading comfort zone, and not because I am bothered by any of the content but mostly because I feel as if I am not the intended audience for some of these books. As an example, I am reading Felix Ever After, which I recognize is a well written and very important book, and I'm glad I'm reading it, but as a straight white cisgender man it is obviously not written for me. It doesn't mean I'm not enjoying it or that I don't want to finish it, but I definitely feel like the outsider here (which, again, is kind of the point, I think). I'm already five books into the challenge. I am also part of the book club at work, and the book they chose is The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Luckily, I have a copy of the book and plan to keep up with the reading for our group meetings.
  6. Sorry to hear this. Please don't knock your head against anything no matter how tempting it may seem. Any other way to express what you're feeling?
  7. Last month I listened to the audiobook version of Dan Millman's auto-biographical novel The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. I really enjoyed it and was inspired by its message. I haven't watched the movie based on the book yet but plan to watch it during this challenge. In searching for more information about the book and Dan's story, I stumbled onto a challenge that was posted to Challenge Tribe and decided to incorporate that challenge into my 5 week NF challenge. The challenge is only for 30 days, so in order to help extend it I will be including it with several other challenge goals. All credit to the Challenge Tribe Way of the Peaceful Warrior themed goals should be given to the original creator: Pay attention to the noise in your head. Is it negative or positive? Are they voluntary or do they seem to spring from nowhere? How much of an effect do they have on you? Meditate for 10 minutes a day and remain mindful of the moment. Take in all sounds, sights, and tastes of every moment. Notice how you feel internally, the temperature of the room, other people and how you treat them. Focus on your breath throughout the day. Do you breathe from your chest or from your stomach? Try combinations of the two until you breathe easily and it feels good. When you walk, notice the pressure on your feet. Notice the way the air around you feels, the sights and colors. Drench yourself in the moment. Cleanse your body and mind with a whole foods diet (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds), with little to no processed foods, meats, or cheeses. Do your best to eat healthy food but slowly transition to a healthier diet by crowding out unhealthy foods with healthy foods you like or you won't stick with it. When you eat, do so slowly and mindfully. Breathe in the scents, chew your food well, notice the tastes and textures and temperature. Savor every bite. Learn about wisdom or spirituality, whichever interests you more and brings you more peace, love, and kindness. Practice loving yourself by doing and thinking things that make you happy, so much that this love spills over onto other people. Replace negative impulse thoughts with understanding and caring ones. Treat yourself like you would a friend. Replace put downs with uplifters. When you look at yourself in the mirror, smile at yourself warmly. Part 2 of my challenge will be guided by the Eminently Qualified Human goals designed by Jocko Willink. At the beginning of the year, I downloaded the EQH app and have been completing the evaluation daily. My average is 2.5 out of 5, with 5 being the absolute eminently qualified human. An overall score of 5 is considered unattainable, so the goal is not perfection but rather something to strive for. The EQH evaluation is based on the following code, affectionately referred to as the Jocko Code: From The Code. The Evaluation. The Protocols: Striving to Become an Eminently Qualified Human by Jocko Willink Read on Jocko Podcast No. 226 (starting at 25:15) I will take care of my physical health by exercising, eating properly and getting the rest I need to recover and rebuild. I will take care of my physical surroundings, keeping them in order. I will develop myself mentally by reading, writing, drawing, building, creating and engaging in other activities that sharpen and expand my mind. I will not waste time. Time is precious. I will not waste money and I will make prudent financial decisions. Money is hard to earn. I will set goals that I will strive toward. I will excel in my job because work is integral to life. I will be humble and not allow my ego to negatively impact my decisions. I will control my emotions and not allow my emotions to negatively impact my decisions. I will put others before myself. I will help other people and protect those who cannot protect themselves. I will take care of my friends, my family and treat other people with respect. I will be ready to protect my friends and family. My gear will be ready. I will train and prepare to defend myself and others. So that's it. I know it seems like a lot, but I am carrying over habits and routines that I built while participating in my last challenge while incorporating the challenge goals for The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. And of course many of these goals will overlap.
  8. Thank you both for this. I actually like drinking from a stainless steel water bottle. It's more along the lines of remembering to fill it up and to drink from it, which sounds weird, I know, but it's a true challenge. I'll even glance at the empty bottle and think, Oh, I need to refill that. And then I don't. I have a job interview tomorrow that I am really nervous about. It is for an assistant principal position at one of the toughest high schools in the county. What is it they say? My anxiety just shows how much I really want it? Honestly, what I want is to nail the interview, whether I get the position or not. This is the beginning of my future as a school administrator. If I do well at the interview and don't get the position, at least members of the board and other principals are aware that I am interested in administration positions, which may help get me hired elsewhere. For my next challenge, I am looking at this challenge on My Challenge Tribe inspired by the book, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, which I just finished listening to. You can click the link and read the challenge expectations, but I'll be posting them in full once the new challenge boards go live. Also, assume I am still implementing the disciplines I built during the DEF Reset while dialing in my water intake habits.
  9. I haven't checked, but is Better World Books on that list? Discounted/used books, and for every book you buy they donate a book to a literacy program.
  10. Yes, it was me. I've been eyeing that book for a few years now and feel it's finally time.
  11. Weeks 3 and 4 were equally meh as far as challenge goals. I've been mostly consistent other than Sugar Coated Lies and Hydrate or Die. I don't understand why I struggle to drink water. It's so simple. But altogether, I feel good about the entire DEF Reset challenge. I'll be shifting gears soon to something else while maintaining the habits I have built through the DEF Reset. The good news is my upcoming challenge idea will also stress the importance of drinking plenty of water and avoiding processed sugary foods.
  12. Sorry for the lack of updates. I'm holding at 187, which isn't as discouraging as if I had gained, I guess.
  13. Things are well. It's just been a busy week and a half. My daughter got married today, and Friday is the court date for our son's adoption. So things are going really well, just busy. I'll post an official update soon.
  14. Awesome! I'm comparing our books right now. We have a very similar diverse taste in books, it seems. I have to point out that some of the books I enjoyed more than you, I was listening to the audiobook versions. As an example, I listened to Ready Player One, which is narrated by Wil Wheaton, which added to the impact of the nostalgic 80s-90s pop culture references. Glad to have you along as a friend!
  15. I use Goodreads, as well. @Artemis Prime, are we friends on GR? If not, we should be! I'm slowly working my way through Anam Cara. It is challenging mostly because so much of it sparks introspection and contemplation, and I literally cannot just read through it like I do some other books. I also started listening to Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman.
  16. I'm up a little bit to 189, but the good news is that a few of my shirts feel snug in the right places (chest, shoulders, arms), so some of that might be muscle gain since I've been strength training.
  17. Yesterday was a long day. My son had basketball practice until almost 9:30, so last night was a late night because I stayed up later than I should have. That's not typical. Most of the time I'm in bed by 10:00.
  18. W3D2 GOAL 1: woke up to my alarm at 0430 GOAL 2: took the kids to the park because they wanted to check out the new skate park; took advantage of this time and did a variation of Simple and Sinister with a variety of kb sing combos and 5 Turkish get-ups, followed by 15 step-ups onto a picnic table bench. hiked three miles with my kids GOAL 3: three priorities; executed them all successfully: 1) catch up on laundry 2) prepare for two podcast interviews 3) put bags of excess clothing in attic GOAL 4: drank 120 oz of water GOAL 5: breakfast -- oatmeal with peanut butter, protein shake lunch -- leftover meat loaf dinner -- pepperoni pizza, protein shake GOAL 6: avoided sugary foods and drinks GOAL 7: read an entry from Consolations, as well as a few pages of Anam Cara. listened to Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman sat in quiet contemplation for 10 minutes this morning GOAL 8: I was grateful for: familiar trails seen through new eyes, clearance deals, my wife's laugh
  19. Many people are. What can I say? I love the early morning. Why do people keep asking to see God’s identity papers when the darkness opening into morning is more than enough? Certainly any god might turn away in disgust. Think of Sheba approaching the kingdom of Solomon Do you think she had to ask, “Is this the place?” -Mary Oliver W3D1 GOAL 1: woke up slightly before my alarm at 0422 GOAL 2: since Sunday is a "rest" day, I used Pavel's "Grease the Groove" technique and alternated sets of 5 kettlebell snatches and presses throughout the day, every 15-30 minutes or so. also found out I can overhead press my 9 year old son for about three reps before I lose form and risk dropping him walked 3.3 miles with my dog GOAL 3: three priorities; executed them all successfully: 1) clean kitchen 2) put clothes away 3) catch up on grades GOAL 4: drank 120 oz of water GOAL 5: breakfast -- Perfect Bar (peanut butter), three fried eggs, New York strip steak lunch -- orange chicken from a local Chinese restaurant dinner -- my wife cooked meat loaf and mac and cheese GOAL 6: avoided sugary foods and drinks GOAL 7: read an entry from Consolations, as well as a few pages of Anam Cara. listened to an episode of the Nomad Strength podcast sat in quiet contemplation for 10 minutes this morning GOAL 8: I was grateful for: energy, fitness "influencers" who are authentically good people, the feel of my bare feet on frost
  20. I'm sorry it was a rough day. I hope you got some rest and things get better before work. One day at a time, celebrate the small victories. May this poem bring you some peace. It's called "In the Beginning" by my favorite poet David Whyte: Sometimes simplicity rises like a blossom of fire from the white silk of your own skin. You were there in the beginning you heard the story, you heard the merciless and tender words telling you where you had to go. Exile is never easy and the journey itself leaves a bitter taste. But then, when you heard that voice, you had to go. You couldn't sit by the fire, you couldn't live so close to the live flame of that compassion you had to go out in the world and make it your own so you could come back with that flame in your voice, saying listen... this warmth, this unbearable light, this fearful love... It is all here, it is all here.
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