Tag Archives: perfectionism

Thank you Ms. Freeman wherever you are

My teacher in fifth and sixth grade was Ms. Phyllis Freeman.

I think she was the first person to teach me to use Ms. She created a new grade for me, A-WD – “A With Distinction” because I’d gotten too many A++s. Whenever we asked if we could borrow her tape to fix our papers in class, she’d give us the tape, and then she’d come back to us ten minutes later to ask us for the tape back, because we’d asked to “borrow” it. She taught us modal verbs using the phrase, “I can, I may, I will, I shall, I must love my teacher.

I loved my teacher.

And I think she loved me.

Then when I was in sixth grade, and my life imploded, she somehow figured out, and she went out of her way to protect me and to actively love me more.

I don’t remember how or when I began to call her “Mom” (not around any of the other kids, of course), but I did. I don’t know if she knew, or how she might have known, that my mother had left us, but she stepped in to be my mom. She gave me extra hugs and affection, perhaps trying to fill my void and my need for hugs and affection.

When I spoke loving of the Unification Church, she never corrected me or chastised me. When the other kids made fun of me or questioned me after I praised Rev. Moon while presenting a New York Times article about his speech at Madison Square Garden, she quieted them or redirected the conversation.

And when I wrote a passionate essay about the beauty and joy of a weekend workshop at the Church’s estate in Barrytown, New York, her written comment on my essay was “The Unification Church is very lucky to have a loving member like you belong to it!”

How she was able to remove what must have been her disapproval of the Church and of my mother’s (and my) involvement from her interactions with me, I’m not sure. How she was able to treat me with love and kindness when she must have wanted to wrest me from the situation, the surroundings, and the people whom were taking over my mind. She had known me (and my mother) during fifth grade and must have watched in horror when I returned to sixth grade, having found the Messiah during the summer, a changed person with changed beliefs.

And yet all she did was love me. And protect me. And teach me not to “borrow” tape. I wish I could find her to thank her personally.

Thank you Ms. Freeman wherever you are.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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I’m nauseous again. It’s a good thing.

I’m getting used to it I guess. Each new phase is nauseous making, and then I breathe through it and it lessens. A little bit.

This time it’s the cover we’re working on. Should it have a picture of me? Should it have a picture of a moon? Should it show New York City, the East Village? Should it be symbolic and not realistic?

It’s making me a bit nauseous. Again.

The good news is I remember I felt this way when we played with possible titles. And then we found the right one, and we knew. I felt this way as I spoke with publicists and marketing experts. And then I partnered with the right ones, and I knew.

The good news is that as soon as I felt the nausea seeping in, I remembered that I’d been through this before. That it’s scary…and exciting. That it’s overwhelming…and exhilarating. That it’s daunting…and fun.

I’m having fun. I’m having fun with the choices. I’m having fun envisioning the outcomes. I’m having fun with the process.

I know the final goal is a book – a book that inspires people and changes lives. Hopefully a book that finds its place on a few bestseller lists.

But the current goal is to enjoy the journey.

And to not be too nauseous. At least not for too long.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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Just breathe. Just be.

Every time I breathe consciously, I ground myself. Every time I remember to pay attention to where I am – when I notice my feet on the ground, my butt in my seat, my fingers on the keyboard of my computer – I build a stronger foundation with which to move forward. When I pay attention to how I am – when I observe my breath, the beating of my heart, my calmness (or lack thereof) – I remind myself to be.

It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness. It is so easy to rush forward, not seeing where I am, not present to what’s going on around – and inside – of me.

But when I breathe. When I pause. When I intentionally notice, there is so much to notice. There is so much to enjoy. To relish.

All I have to do is stop.

All I have to do is stop trying. Stop trying to make it better. Stop trying to make it more. Stop trying to achieve and overachieve.

Stop trying to keep myself safe (because I am safe). Stop trying to make up for all that’s wrong with me (because nothing is wrong with me). Stop trying to anticipate and solve and soothe everyone and everything around me.

My husband teases me at times. “Get out of your head,” he jokes. “Stop thinking about everything so much.” Not thinking about everything so much does not come naturally to me. I’m trained at reading the room, assessing the danger points, and noting what people want and need – even before they note it at times. My warped reasoning can reason that these skills kept me safe when I was younger, so these skills are needed to keep me safe now.

I no longer need to be mindful of the lay of the land to be safe. I am safe. I just need to be mindful. And more mindful.

I just need to breathe. And be.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Photo by Fabian Møller on Unsplash

Categories: Hope and Amazement, Tags: