Monday, May 23, 2011

On Vulnerability

It is quite interesting what one might experience when vulnerability comes knocking at the door. What is even more interesting to me is the way we hide it, mask it, store it, numb it, or run from it when it so vividly enters our lives.
It is true, no one wants to feel weak or submissive, but in times when we embrace the act of being vulnerable I believe we learn and grow the most. And we are in fact much stronger than we may be sought out or fear.
Whether you are the first to say "I love you", "I'm scared", "I don't know" or "I need a divorce" you are taking a risk towards the unknown (which unfortunately often times leads to judgment, our fear).
What is hard to realize... is that... one learns the most once they enter the unknown, and through this you are taking your life by the reigns.

Vulnerability is Power.

As the Tao Te Ching suggests:

"To be whole, let yourself break.
To be straight, let yourself bend.
To be full, let yourself be empty.
To be new, let yourself wear out.
To have everything, give everything up.

Knowing others is a kind of knowledge;
knowing yourself is wisdom.
Conquering others requires strength;
conquering yourself is true power.
To realize that you have enough is true wealth.
Pushing ahead may succeed,
but staying put brings endurance.
Die without perishing, and find the eternal.

To know that you do not know is strength.
Not knowing that you do not know is a sickness.
The cure begins with the recognition of the sickness.

Knowing what is permanent: enlightenment.
Not knowing what is permanent: disaster.
Knowing what is permanent opens the mind.
Open mind, open heart.
Open heart, magnanimity."

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable."

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Day in the Life

The Famous mud pit at Greenschool... Fully taken advantage of.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Just Another Day @ Work :)

Matt & I took our little 3rd graders on a field trip to the butterfly park in Tabanan last week. This park was fully loaded with 40-50 different butterfly species, about 10 different LARGE insect species (including the stick bug & rhino beetle featured in photos below), scorpions, monitor lizards, frogs, etc. etc. It was incredible in a variety of ways. One, it was Matt's first field trip-his first time teaching outside the Greenschool boundaries. Two, the kids absolutely loved their lives, we heard several times "this is the best day ever". And three, not only did my students learn A LOT, I also had the opportunity to learn a bunch of new stuff. This is what I have decided is my favorite thing about teaching. This "work" allows me to be a life-long learner. Whether it's learning more about butterflies, sustainability, patience, biology, being present, gardening,
relationships, etc. etc. teaching constantly presents endless opportunities to learn as I go --> forth.

Talk about "hands on" learning... I LOVE MY Job!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Arachnophobia.... psshhhhhh!

Before I came to Bali I had a God awful fear of spiders. I mean, that movie Arachnophobia, scarred me seriously! When I came to Bali I had many fears, I held them tight, they were a part of me. The funny thing is, I've accepted & swallowed this fear that I thought I would never budge on so much easier than I ever thought.
There is something very unique about Bali, and many people run from it, but I have learned to embrace it. In addition to the immense & vibrant energy that radiates through the air, Bali is extremely confrontational in a very deep & spiritual context. There have been many deeeeeeeep personality, ego, & past dilemmas I have consciously tackled since being here... All people who have REALLY given Bali a chance would all agree that this place presents you with ALL kinds of surprises (even some that you really weren't ready for).
The arachnophobia thing isn't so deeeeeeeep, but its a simple example of one of the accomplishments I have achieved since being here that I thought I could never get over.
The spiders here are huge!! I have never seen anything like these creatures. I mean these babies are bigger than my own hand. They are colorful, and their webs are immaculate. My fear started to disintegrate when I made the decision to let an ENORMOUS scary ass looking spider crawl on me. This was the first step, and once I allowed myself the space to feel the fear & anxiety & all the other emotions that tag along with true arachnophobia, it all just started becoming easier.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not interested in walking through a fat spider web, but now I look at the creatures in such a different light.
I made a vivarium with my 1st grade class (a cage with spiders in it) & they all were too scared to catch the spider, and I was teaching them all about how spiders are our friends & we should love & appreciate them even if they seem a bit scary. This was the second step. When we went on the hunt & I was the "spider catcher," I played off my fear like it was my job (I guess it is my job-lol). I found 3 different species of spiders before I came across this amazingly huge yellow arachnid. When the kids saw it they all screamed "I want that one! I want that one!" Not only was I already nervous, this spider had made a huge dark white X mark in the middle of its web, saying "don't fuck with me." But I knew I had to get it. So I gulped hard, took a deep breath & went at it with my bug catcher with all the courage my fast beating heart could offer. Today I looked at that spider with absolute amazement, we've been feeding her for two weeks now, and paying attention to her behaviors. She just hatched 100s of little baby spiderlings, & I was in awe to witness such an incredible force of nature right before my eyes.
Now, when I see pictures of spiders or come across them along my path, I no longer cringe. I accept their gift & am grateful for their unique presence here on Earth.
Again, this arachniphobia achievement may seem small & insignificant, I admit it is only a thin layer off the top an extremely layered chocolate cake. But I think you get the point where I am heading with this.
I have felt a fearlessness here in Bali, in ways that is hard to explain & in ways I have never felt before.
My wings are open & ready to soar!