Acknowledging Who I Am & Not Just What I do

Me, on a recent trip to Seattle, in a boba shop where I didn’t get boba (but I did get tea!)

I want to talk some more about humanizing interactions.

Yesterday, after a pretty horrible Monday and Tuesday, I had an amazing Wednesday.  I had tea, pastries & dim sum with a dear friend who is chosen family; had an incredible impromptu “office hours” conversation with a colleague who is leading another part of a grant that I’m working on about (among other things) being Asian American, mentoring and striving for social justice while maintaining self-preservation; had a scheduled conversation with some cross-campus colleagues about how to better align our work for teacher candidates; and then had an amazing happy hour/ early dinner with a new friend, who already feels like family, about personal identity and institutional oppression.

These conversations were life-giving, because they acknowledged the best parts of who I am.  In these conversations, I felt respected, heard, valued and that I could both contribute and be contributed to. In most of these interactions, I felt deep love and personal connection to the people with whom I was talking, and in all of them, I felt shared commitment.

These were humanizing interactions.

I think it helped that they were in person, face-to-face.  I find it harder to dehumanize someone when you’re in conversation with them (i.e. talking with, not at them).  As my friend Min reminded me (I think? She has a lot of wisdom so I’m going to attribute this to her), it is our biology to seek belonging and connection with one another.  But, I also think that it was refreshing that these conversations weren’t solely, or even primarily, task-oriented and focused on meeting a goal.

Don’t get me wrong. I am often goal-driven and task-oriented, and I think that we need goal-driven, task-oriented, productive work meetings to move forward on many projects.  I/We get the job done that way (hey, I am the daughter of immigrants).  And I don’t do these tasks, participate in these meetings, or get things done because I want any particular recognition or accolades.  I don’t do them (anymore) to prove my self-worth.  I do them because they help to enact my personal commitments.

[Note: Also, rest assured that my commitment to change and to choose powerfully, asking for institutional acknowledgment and compensation for my work done, instead of giving away my time and energy out of obligation, is still in tact.]

However, what yesterday made me realize is that, what is deeply important to me, more than compensation or acknowledgment for all the things that I’ve done, is to be seen, heard, and acknowledged for who I am.  There is a unique difference that each of us makes as individuals.  Yes, individual change and impact can only go so far, but without individuals (working in coalition), institutions will not change. People are important. Individuals are important.  And, our individual humanity and perspectives are important.

If nothing else, I hope that what I communicate to the people around me is that they matter, not just for what they do, but for who they are.  We are each imperfect, but I believe each person is also trying the best they can with the set of knowledge and beliefs that they have.  It costs me nothing to acknowledge them and who they are, and it can make an invaluable difference in someone’s life.

Time for Change

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. — Philippians 4:8

The above picture is my daughter in my messy bathroom with her stuffed flamingo, Gilda.  She is almost 4.  She is pure and lovely and admirable.  I love her with all my heart.

Here is what I do not love: being a part of oppressive institutions.

Generally, I forget about how oppressive institutions can be.  But every once in awhile, as happens (and and as happens more often to people of color, women of color, mother scholars, women of color who are academics, etc.), I will be reminder that institutions care more about protocol than people.  Sometimes I will be reminded multiple days in a row in multiple ways.

And that is a good reminder because as much as I don’t want to focus on these things, I spend a lot of my time working for and supporting institutions based on my ideals and commitments to the individuals and ideas that make up these institutions (students, colleagues, espoused views, non-actualized missions & visions), and that takes me away, at times, from the very, very best things in my life.

I was done with the weight of institutional oppression before today started, and then the weight got heavier.

But, here is how I will reclaim my strength:

  1. Reclaiming my loyalty — I am not loyal to institutions.  I am loyal to individuals, sure, and I will love and work hard for my ideals and for the people that I have always served at the heart of my work, but I also need to dedicate myself to the people who care about me and my own self-preservation.  The institution doesn’t care if I burn out or how hard I work.  I am expendable to the institution, but not to the people I love deeply and who care also for me.
  2. Focusing on what’s important — You can’t stay mad when you’re looking at an adorable 3 year old who is half of you and is SO EXCITED about a stuffed flamingo.  Good tacos and gazpacho with mochi for dessert helps too (hey, what I can say? It’s an eclectic international meal)
  3. Breathing — One of my best friends observed (about 20 years ago) that I hold my breath when I’m stressed.  So, I will consciously breathe deeply, and breathe out the weight that I’m feeling.
  4. Making new choices — I can’t keep doing the same things and expect for the institutions to change. I have to be intentional with my time and energy.
  5. Working for change — I know change comes through solidarity and coalition, through voice and movement, through making choices that honor my values and commitments rather than obligation and the status quo.

I’m done with today, but I’m also done with letting the oppressive institutions I’m embedded in take any more of my energy.  Frankly, I have given a lifetime of energy to them already and they didn’t deserve most of it.  I am making a new choice now.  It is time for change.

Protocol Over People: Why (Educational) Institutions Need to Stop Dehumanizing People of Color

In the fall of last year, I was asked to participate in a faculty diversity panel for a leadership retreat at my university.  I did so.  I rescheduled my week, drove 8 hours roundtrip, prepared my words carefully, spoke from my heart, and did it all for no compensation.  As part of my participation, I was asked to fill out travel paperwork for liability purposes.  I did so.

Last week, I was informed by my department office that I could be reimbursed for mileage to the retreat.  It was a token, but I appreciated the gesture.  I was then informed that the money would be coming from my own personal travel funds.  I asked if it might be possible for the Provost’s office (who sponsored the retreat) or the Vice Provost’s office (who asked me to be part of the panel) to reimburse the $80 mileage cost so that I could maintain my scarce travel funds for the multiple academic conferences I was scheduled to participate at in the Spring.  My department assistant said that it couldn’t hurt to ask.

I sent an e-mail to the administrative staff member who had helped to coordinate the panel.  I never heard back.  After a couple of days, I e-mailed my department chair and dean and they both offered funding for my mileage.  While I thought that it made more sense for the funding to come from the university, since I was there at the request of the university, I was just grateful that it was taken care of.

End of story…or so I thought.

Today, I was told, by my department chair that our fiscal office had been contacted by the Provost’s office who informed them that a “faculty member” had contacted the Provost’s office directly for money and that all requests for money should be processed first at the department level then at the college.

I had broken protocol, and apparently, I should have known better.

I want to preface the forthcoming rant with a few things that shouldn’t be relevant but may come up: 1) In my email to the Provost’s administrative staff, I was both gracious and respectful, even to the point of being deferent.  I reminded the administrator why I was e-mailing (specifically that I had participated in a faculty diversity panel for the retreat that was coordinated by that office) and also said that if I wasn’t emailing the appropriate place that I hoped they would excuse me and let me know who to contact; 2) I also stressed that the $80 wasn’t a big deal (Except that it was…or should have been.  I was already doing hours of unpaid labor.  I was not asking for a stipend. I wouldn’t have even asked for the $80 mileage had I not had to file the request to cover the liability); 3) I am not upset because I don’t respect protocols.  There are reasons for protocols and I know every faculty member on campus can’t go to the provost office for requests EVEN WHEN the request of the faculty member was made by the Provost.  I understand that.

But, here is why I am angry.  The humanizing and respectful thing to do would have been for the administrator to e-mail me directly to say, “Hi Betina, Thanks for your message and we really appreciated your contribution to the leadership retreat.  There’s actually a protocol for reimbursement that should start with your department office.  If your department and/or college office doesn’t have funds to reimburse you, then have your [title of fiscal officer] contact us.  We don’t deal with faculty member reimbursement requests directly because we don’t have the capacity to do so.  Best, Administrator” That would have actually been a much easier e-mail to send than 3 e-mails around me which eventually got back to me and referred to me as “a faculty member in your college” and completely dismissed that there was LOGIC to my request.

To be fair to my institution, this is only the second time in 6 years this has happened to me personally.  The other time was in my first year when I was not angry, I was sobbing uncontrollably in frustration at the fact that a poster order that I tried to place at least 5x was kicked back to me with no explanation and that NO ONE would explain to me how to properly make the request.  This happened in my college fiscal office.

With that incident fresh in my mind, I went to a local school where one of the first things I saw was a substitute teacher remove an African American boy from a class that one of my student teachers was teaching.  Neither she nor I felt that this was an appropriate thing for him to do, but neither of us was technically the teacher of record.  I believe that the substitute thought he was doing the right thing by removing the disruption from the class. I imagine that the protocol was for “disruptive, defiant” students to be sent to a “buddy teacher.”  My student teacher was in an awkward position.  I was in an awkward position. But neither of us should have let our awkwardness stop us from doing what was right.

I am clear that a little 12-year old who wasn’t doing anything more than, PERHAPS, chatting with a friend (and several other students were as well) missed out on his English class today and sat in another room, feeling like his teacher (and this other random adult in the room) didn’t have his back.  My student teacher and I spent most of a 2-hour debrief talking about how to own responsibility in that situation and build back the relationship with this student. She told me of an earlier incident in which the student had cried in class because another teacher hadn’t listened to his side of the story.  Her mentor teacher had simply dismissed his deep distress because the other teacher hadn’t called his mother or written a referral.

No harm. No foul.

Except that it is.  What message are the educators in this room giving this child about his life, his emotions and his education mattering? Why are we so willing to dismiss the damage done if the end result is that the “situation is resolved” and “no one got in trouble.” Why don’t we tell these stories?

I write about these two incidents not because they are equal in degree, but because they might be easily dismissed by those who cannot understand how deeply traumatizing dehumanization is.  I am an educator because I believe in the humanizing possibilities of education, in the power of education to liberate and connect us, and in the power of people, the power of love, the power of words.

But today, I am deeply discouraged by our educational institutions, even ones with individuals that I firmly believe are trying their best to “follow the protocol” and keep the ship running.

I will get my $80 from the university.

My student teacher will take responsibility for her part in what happened to her student tomorrow and work to reconcile their relationship and rebuild trust.

But long after that $80 is spent (to be honest, it’s already spent, but compensation as dehumanization isn’t the point of this post), long after the bell rings tomorrow, long after the next time he is or I am put in our places and reminded that we are only conditionally accepted, even by those who may ostensibly be on our side, the institutions will still exist, and they will continue to dehumanize us and those who are like us or unlike us, if we continue to accept that this is protocol. This is the way things are.

Unless we work to change these institutions.  Unless we work to humanize them.  Unless we remember to relate to one another and be responsible for the fact that our institutional protocols only serve us, if we can remember that we should be serving one another.

I hope you’ll read this. I hope you’ll share it.  I hope you’ll commit to doing better.  I believe telling our stories can convict people to change and can spark collective action.  We cannot change institutions alone, but in solidarity with humanity, we can find the power and courage to change.


I miss running.

I haven’t been able to run in 19 days.

I really shouldn’t have run for a few weeks before that, but I was training for the Surf City Half Marathon, and despite some nagging hip pain, I figured I could just push through it and finish the race, then rest a couple of weeks and get back to it, since I have another race scheduled at the end of March and then again at the beginning of May.

And then I ran injured, and pretty much felt like I was manually lifting my left leg from the hip joint through searing pain with every stride for the last 2 miles.  I still managed to finish just a couple minutes behind my time from last year for the race, but about 8 minutes off my time from Long Beach in October and with the clear realization that I wasn’t going to be running again for awhile.

I was limping badly for at least 10 days after the race.

The last 9 days, with support up stairs and with weight bearing, I’ve been able to walk almost normally.  I feel the difference in my gait and my husband sees it, but most people who don’t know me can’t really tell that there’s still pain occasionally.

But, I can’t run.  I tried jogging down my hallway yesterday, and there was pain.  I even instinctively ran after my husband (as the garage door was closing) when he forgot his coffee on the stairs. Pain. I can’t even really walk quickly and going up and down stairs is still hit and miss.


I hate being sidelined. I hate breaking my routine.  I really only like resting when I sleep or go on vacation. Not running has made me more irritable, exhausted, and scattered.  I’m sad, and I miss it. It is especially hard (ironically) when I have so many other things going on in my life because running is my time to not think, but just be.  It is the time where I am in motion, but not in deep thought.  I am just being.  And I need that space to be.

I’m finally going to see my doctor today. I’m hoping that she’ll refer me to a specialist that can help me get back on the road again sometime soon.  I imagine it’s just more a waiting game.

For now, it is an opportunity to develop my patience game, more patience with myself, more patience with my body, acceptance of what is, even if I don’t like it and can’t do anything about it.  It is an opportunity to really work on being without doing, even without running.


Coming Together

Tonight, my son and I did our Chinese homework together.

We both had similar exercises, with his characters more complex than mine, but with my repetitions more numerous than his.  He corrected my pronunciation, but I didn’t mind as much as I did a few months ago because I could hear the difference between what I was saying and what he was saying.  It’s still hard for me to say the words correctly, but learning to hear the difference is a big first step.

I’m learning vocabulary that he’s learned and forgotten, but is remembering as I pick it up for the first time.  He scans his homework for characters or phrases I might know, pointing out the differences between traditional and simplified, between how I’m learning to pronounce things and how they’d be pronounced in Taiwan.  He’s reading me his homework and figuring out what to do through trying to explain it to me.

We are learning Chinese, in parallel, together.

He is teaching me many things — pronunciation, patience, vocabulary, radicals.

He is learning from me other things — patience, perseverance, dedication, neatness.

I feel like the luckiest mom in the world when he says to me, “Hey Mom, let’s do our Chinese homework together.” My 13-year old wants to do something with me, and not just any something, but Chinese homework — the most dreaded of homework activities for him.

While he’s working, he tells me stories of his experiences, when he learned the characters I’m learning (Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd or 3rd grade), what it was like coming into a new Chinese school when we first moved to Southern California, how he doesn’t really understand why he’s learning some of the vocabulary he’s learning that he doesn’t really think will be useful in everyday life.  They’re good stories and good questions.  I don’t have answers, but he’s not really looking for them.  Somehow he knows that even if he never uses that random character he’s learning, that this is important to me and to us, and so he diligently does his work; we do our work; together.

Then he’s done.  He goes back to Youtube.  I go to tuck in his sister, and come back to work on reviewing an action research proposal that one of my students has written, for a conference we’ll have tomorrow afternoon, and then begin on this blog.

I am grateful.

I am learning.

Things are coming together.

We are coming together.

Peace in the Process

Last week, my son got a D- progress report that I received via e-mail with no warning.

If you know me (and/or my son) in real life, you might imagine that this was an incredibly shocking moment for me.  My son rarely gets a B in his academic classes and since the beginning of this calendar year, we’ve been closer, not more distant, so I was sure he would tell me if he was struggling.  In fact, we had just had a conversation about the class he got the D- in (English, which I used to teach) because he’s reading The Outsiders which I used to teach regularly. He hadn’t reported any issues, in fact, he commented that it was way easier that Twelfth Night, which he read at the end of the last quarter.  This is a class in which he got an A- in the first semester.

Given all this, my first reaction was understandably denial.  This seemed so out of the realm of possibility that I thought it was in error.  Then I was angry, at the teacher and my son for not informing me of the situation before being hit with the progress report.  I texted my son, logged onto powerschool, saw the culprit grades (a poor notebook check where he had a D in classwork and low F in homework) and texted him more to find out more information. I also e-mailed his teacher.

Then, I had to calm down.  I had an interview to conduct for my current research study and I had out-of-town family coming that afternoon, ironically to celebrate my son, whose birthday was at the end of the week.

My son arrived home and our relatives were at the house already.  I could tell that he was trying hard to keep it together and be pleasant while also looking sideways at me like, “How much trouble am I actually in once they leave?”

But, something miraculous happened, dear reader.

Once our relatives left, I talked to my son (sternly, but without yelling at him).  I had him take out the notebook rubric. He explained to me that one of the sheets was in his binder (not his notebook) but that he had lost one of the sheets and gotten half credit on a bunch of his homework because he had misunderstood the directions. Upon further probing, he said that the substitute had told them to take reading notes instead of annotations for one chapter and he had assumed (despite the fact that the prompt said “annotations” and he knows what annotations are) that he just needed to take notes for all the homework.  We walked through the other assignments that he got half or no credit for, found a few errors, but he acknowledged that the bulk of the responsibility was his.

I sighed. Honestly, I was pretty disappointed in him, and maybe a little in myself, but, I mean, what was there to do about what was done? Nothing. So, what could we do moving forward, working with the situation we had.

We reviewed the teacher’s policy on late work, and came up with a plan.  He would go in the next morning, apologize for the poor quality of his notebook (which was not his best effort), show his teacher the assignment that was in the notebook that hadn’t been checked off, ask if he could use a late pass for the assignment he did have but didn’t turn in, advocate for the miscalculated half credit on the homework, then he would do better.

He would not ask for an exception to any of the teacher’s policies, nor was I going to go and do it for him.  We talked about how this was an important lesson to figure out in 7th grade and how he had put himself in the tough position of having to pull his second semester grade up from a low start, a position he wasn’t at all used to.  We also talked about how this situation meant he needed to go beyond the minimum if he wanted to show that he wanted to improve.

His teacher was lovely.  Although she hadn’t contacted me prior to the progress report, she was responsive to my e-mail and generous (more than I expected) in terms of her willingness to let him turn in the entire notebook assignment in late (counting it as a single assignment rather than a conglomeration of smaller assignments) to be regraded.  I know my son, so her other offerings to help him work on organization and to help him focus in class by changing his seat were appreciated, but not necessary at this point.  The goal wasn’t to punish my son, but to do the things that would help him to best succeed in the future.

This is probably the biggest parenting win I have ever had.  That D- was an opportunity for me to prove to my son that what mattered more than a grade was who we needed to be in response to the disappointments in life, even and especially when we have some responsibility for them and can take action to address them.

It was not all a week of wins, but this was a big one, and it showed me that peace is possible in the process of parenting, even when you hit major bumps in the road, and there are always bumps with a toddler and a teenager in the house.

The Frenzy of Multitasking: A Recommitment to Focus

I have been resisting the third exercise, Observing Multitasking, from the book Mindful Tech, for at least a month now.

At first, my resistance was grounded in the fact that I hadn’t yet started the semester and felt like my multitasking habits weren’t at their peak.

Now that I’m fully in it, however, and feeling the strain of multitasking, I’ve transitioned into a full blown refusal to look in the mirror and realize that the multitasking that I’m engaged in is a response mechanism, and not a healthy one.

Multitasking allows me to feel “responsive,” but I don’t feel productive, focused or intentional.  This leaves me completely drained and unsure at what I’ve accomplished.  It also puts me in a state of mind where I am no longer reflective (but, again, responsive) and in denial that I put myself into this frenzied state through overcommitment.  I can’t get everything done, so I feel like I need to respond to everything immediately or I’ll be aware at how far behind I’m falling.

I guess, in a way, I have been “doing the exercise” after all, just perhaps not through video-recording my screen captures.  I’m definitely more aware of all of the ways and times in which I’m switching my focus.  Even in writing this blog post, although I intentionally shut off my e-mail, I’ve responded to three text messages (in two different conversations), one of which, also buzzed on my Apple Watch (distracting me twice even though I had already responded to the message on the iMessages feature on my computer); opened 3 browser tabs (2 related to the blog–pixabay for the opening picture & amazon to link Mindful Tech and one related to one of the text messages–google maps); and I’ve glanced at my phone which notified me about a tweet from a friend that’s getting noticed. It is not even 8am.  I am not even technically “working” (although, because of my overcommitment and poor boundary setting, I seem to be always working).  Many of these distractions are actually technically “leisure” as I’m arranging meetings with friends and family, blogging and engaging in social media practices.

Without a mindful start to my day, without an awareness of the way my day is set up to breed distractions and shift my focus, I know I will end the day frenzied and exhausted.  I am already starting the day, feeling how tired this pace will make me, is making me, has made me, in the 3-4 weeks since the start of classes.

So this morning, I am admitting that the multitasking is a problem, and (re)committing to more mindfulness and intentionality in my technology use, and in life.  If I can’t get it all done, it almost certainly is a sign that I’m doing too much.  There is no badge of honor for a frenzied state.  I am likely not even getting more done because it is hard to focus on any one thing I’m doing.

One thing at a time. One step at a time.  Pushing through resistance towards greater learning.

Take Good Care

It’s been a rough weekend.

When I think about it, it’s just been a busy weekend that wasn’t much of a weekend.  I had a work commitment from 9-3 on Saturday then went straight to church then stayed for a Social Justice committee meeting.  All of this was great and would have been fine except that my husband, who rarely gets sick, was ill, and even sick, had to take my son to Tae Kwon Do practice and my daughter to a birthday party.  By the time I got home, he was down for the count, leaving me to do his usual chores (dog walk, dishes) in addition to my chores (folding laundry) and, of course, because I saw my brother’s post about doing his taxes, I realized that I should probably get my own done.

Sunday was a little better, but with my husband still sick, I shuttled my son to Chinese school, took my daughter to Target, took care of all 3 meals and 2 dog walks, made sure to confirm interviews for a research study this week and student teaching appointments, had a long talk with my son about an inappropriate comment at dinner, and finally settled in to finished our taxes, which, not completely unexpectedly, show that we owe the government quite a bit more than last year because of changes to the tax laws. Sigh.

I still cannot run as my hip flexor area continues to bother me up and down stairs and when I walk too fast or put too much weight on it.  I suspect that I have bursitis, but am hoping rest will help me to avoid a cortisone shot to relieve the pain.  In the meantime, I’m still half limping around and not getting the exercise I so badly need.

I haven’t been blogging much either and I’ve been spending a lot of spare moments lurking on social media.

I know all of these are yellow flags — signaling a warning that I’m overcommitted, overwhelmed, and looking for mindless escape.  The yellow flags remind me that, in spite of not having very many breaks in my schedule all week, despite it being Valentine’s Day week, Nate’s 13th birthday week, and Gospel Fest on Saturday, I need to create some space for rest and reflection, again, even if the words aren’t so profound.

So, as I planned my week this week, I have one goal: Take better care of myself.  I need to check in, take the time that I need, eat better, sleep better, breathe. Go slow to go fast.  Access those resources on letting go that my friend reminded me about.  Focus, pray, breathe, eat, rest, let go.

Take good care.

Striving Towards Imperfection

Tonight, at family dinner time, I posed this conundrum to my son and husband, “Since I used to work 12 hours a day, and now, I work, roughly 8 hours a day, and am trying to do better about work-life balance, it’s physically impossible to cram the same amount of work into that much less time.  Yet, I still have so much work. What should I do?”

Their answers were roughly the same.

My 12-year old said, “Just do what you can and don’t stress about it, if that’s possible.”

My partner said, “I think you’re just going to have to let go of some things and be okay with imperfection in some areas of your life.”

They are wise people, my son and husband, and so I asked, “How do I not stress about not getting everything done since I’ve built my life around productivity…or rather, how do you guys do it?”

They shrugged.

My husband said, “We started early. Lots of practice.”


I got my first Chinese test back today — 97.5%. On both homework packets (pictured above), I’ve gotten 96%.  I know this “not stressing about things” and “being okay with imperfection” is going to be a journey since an A (instead of 100%) still annoys me.

But, I think what they’re saying is really that it’s a shift in perspective for me.

I am so, super excited about the research I’m doing and the people it’s allowing me to connect with (as collaborators and participants).  Doing interviews and hearing people’s stories gives me so much life.

I am loving learning Chinese.  I can feel my brain growing and am so grateful for the way it’s allowed my son and I to work together. I’m so grateful for his help, support and tutelage.

I am loving that I am not a slave to technology ALL THE TIME. I appreciate turning off my e-mail program multiple times a day.  I love family dinner time.

I still often work 12-hour days.  It’s not like I’m slacking off.  I’m just changing my pace.

And, I’m happy because I feel like my time is aligned with my values, with my commitments and with my goals.  My work has been intentional even if it hasn’t (exactly) been as externally as “productive.”

It’s time to tuck in my 3-year old for bed so I’ll go now, grateful for the imperfections of a too-full life, and the perspective to appreciate it.

Turning Writing Into Practice

My last few posts have been pretty heavy, and very emotional.

While things are looking better for my family and myself, in so many ways, after the past week, I sat down this morning in front of my computer thinking about one blog topic (another heavy one on xenophobia, the “blindness” of people to how “English only” type rhetoric is imperialist and thereby problematic, taking a toll on one’s social-emotional well-being by asking immigrants and ethnic minorities to disconnect from their cultural and linguistic heritage, and my frustration at the whole thing because it holds up white supremacy), but I just couldn’t.

I just don’t have the energy today.

So, then I was thinking that I would not blog.  This thinking was helped along by the fact that I couldn’t upload a photo when I started this post. I have plenty of writing projects to work on and other things to do. Not blogging would not be a big deal.

What to do? My friend, Em, quoting Yogi Berra, says, “When you reach a fork in the road, take it…”

Instead, I took a deep breath, always helpful in deciding what to do next.

Since I still can’t run, blogging is my “keystone practice.” It is my habit, first thing in the morning, that allows me to begin my day with time to reflect and time for myself, before the work of meeting everyone else’s expectations begins.

I quit my browser to see if restarting it would help the photo upload issue, which it did, and I began on this blog.  Not heavy or deep.  Not profound. Just practice. Just a commitment to start my day for and with myself.

And perhaps that is profound.  Perhaps, it is important to reclaim my right to my time even if it doesn’t always look the way that I think it should.  Perhaps, it is important to step away, occasionally, from the heavy conversations when I just can’t listen or educate from my depleted emotional well, knowing that it will leave me more ready to have those conversations from a place of compassion and openness later.  Perhaps, it is important to practice this type of slowing down, of non-traditional self-care, of listening to what would serve me best.  Perhaps, indeed.