Parker Palmer has a quote I love: “Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.” When I read this, I think of one of my favorite teachers, Dr. Lynne Herr. Lynne learns for the sake of others–sometimes internationally–and is brave in a way that dares us all to be. Thanks Lynne for being bravely you, and for sharing your wise words here today. – Evi
In Ann Patchett’s sweeping novel The Dutch House, character Danny Conroy narrates a memoir of navigating a life marked by deep scars of abandonment and disappointment. Nursing the hurt caused by his mother’s abrupt leaving marked Danny’s life. Until he decided as an adult that it wouldn’t.
So I made the decision to change. It might seem like change was impossible given my nature and my age, but I understood exactly what there was to lose…The point wasn’t whether or not I liked it, the point was that it had to be done.
One of the most remarkable elements of being human is our ability to change. Each of us can wake up one morning and decide to change most anything. While you may have gone to bed angry, unhealthy or resentful, you can choose to wake up as a different person. You can wake up one morning and be a person who…
- eats vegetables.
- looks forward to going to work.
- leads your rowdy class in a breathing exercise to calm them down instead of yelling at them to be quiet.
In her book, Everything is Figureoutable, Marie Forley says, “in order to solve any problem or achieve any dream, we must first make a change at the level of belief, because when you change a belief you change everything.”
You. Change. Everything.
Just like that. You can choose to let go of long-held, limiting beliefs about yourself and others. You can stop nursing hurts, even when they are justified. You can stop eating too many donuts and sit with the feelings you’ve used them to numb. Will change happen overnight? I speak from experience when I say most likely, no. But maybe it’s time to have an honest talk with a friend or family member; to make an appointment with someone who can help you navigate letting go of hurts and habits you’ve held so long that their thorny tendrils have slithered into the crevices of your heart and taken root, squeezing out space for the good stuff.
Like Danny Conroy, all of us need to decide what we have to lose if we are unwilling to change. What work needs to be done in our own lives, even if we don’t like it? After Danny made the deliberate choice to change, he found, “The rage I had carried for my mother exhaled and died. There was no place for it any more.”
What fills your heart that no longer has a place? What long-held beliefs can you let go?