Explorations and Reflections

on awakening the true self  in education

  • Mick Scott

“Mick and Amy, your superpower is Acknowledgment.”

At our outgoing meeting as the lead couple on a board of directors, my wife and I were thanked for reliably bringing our “acknowledgment superpower” to our work with the organization.

Acknowledgment is a creative expression of gratitude for what another brings or has brought; not what they've brought as a thing, but what they've brought as a way of being. Acknowledgment is also a gift and an opportunity to both giver and the receiver.

This Thanksgiving holiday, however, I want to share the source of our acknowledgment superpower: Presence, Gratitude, and Love.

Love and Gratitude are two sides of the same hand - if you Love, you’re Grateful; if you’re Grateful, you Love. In all of the following statements, you can replace Love with Gratitude.

Though Love seems like a feeling we “catch” from our circumstances or external conditions, Love actually flares up from within.

Love doesn’t need a target; we can Love for the sake of the feeling itself.

Like learning to create music with an instrument, scenes with a brush, or language with a pen, we can learn to create Love with our body and create Love with our mind.

Fear is designed to protect something we Love; seeing the Love behind the fear helps dissolve the fear and connect us with Love. We can foster Gratitude for the gift of fear.

Our Love is a gift to others, and it’s also a gift to ourselves.

Love is our destination, our vehicle, and our road.

All we ever need to do is find something in this moment to Love. There’s always something present that’s worthy of our Love.

Love only ever exists in this present moment.

Thank you so much for joining me on this blog journey each week. I’m grateful to get to do something I love and to share it with interested people. Thank you. ❤️

  • Mick Scott

From learning new technology to additional work responsibilities and more, the pandemic has been challenging for most of us in multiple ways. What’s compounded our problems, however, is that most of us are very well conditioned to live at the effect of our circumstances. So when our circumstances began to go haywire in March 2020, so did our already-tenuous sense of clarity and well-being.

Living at the effect of our circumstances allows blame, burnout, dissatisfaction, and worry to so easily take over. When living at the effect of our circumstances, we await permission from leaders and colleagues to be well and enjoy ourselves again. When living at the effect of our circumstances, we are living life from the outside-in.

None of us have ever been through a pandemic like this before. Our students and their families haven’t, our colleagues haven’t, and our leaders haven’t. Despite understanding that the pandemic has universally challenging aspects, it remains so temptingly simple to blame someone else for our experience, as if this would all be going so much better if our leaders were more competent, caring, and compassionate.

Except it’s not school leaders who are making this a tough time to be in education. It’s not our fault either. We simply haven’t yet learned how to thrive in the midst of a storm, to either dig firm and grounded roots or to lift off and soar.

Most of us adults tend to lack the foundational insight, grounding, and resilience to thrive in life no matter the circumstances, so it’s not hard to see why the last 18 months have been so challenging for some of us.

Burn out, frustration, and unhappiness happens at work when we allow our job to dictate our quality of life and sense of well-being. What if instead we elevate our quality of life and sense of well-being and then have that dictate our experience of our job?

It’s not a complicated process to live this way, but the first step is often quite daunting: be willing to take radical responsibility for your well-being and quality of life. Doing this gives us reliable access to living life from the inside-out and thriving no matter the circumstances.

We work too hard and we care too much to let circumstances continue to distract us from what really matters: our families, our friends, our students, our colleagues, and our own well-being. The people in our life deserve so much more than that, and so do we.

We don’t need anyone’s permission to transform our experience of life in this moment. We only need to be willing to try on radical responsibility to live from the inside-out right now. Trust me, once you’ve tasted it, I don’t think you’ll ever want to go back to an outside-in way of life.

I’m so grateful for you, my audience. Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a great Thanksgiving week. ❤️

  • Mick Scott

I was talking with a friend last night, and he had an insight that I want to share with you.

After sharing everything that was on his mind, we did a brief meditation/grounding exercise. (This is such a simple yet powerful way to get us present to so much more than our own thinking.) Then we jumped into a conversation about his relationship with a colleague. The relationship has been good and professionally productive, but he’s been noticing that it’s not as personal, supportive, or connected as he would like, and he feels like there’s a missed opportunity here.

His insight during the conversation was that bringing curiosity to his relationship with this colleague could be an access to a more meaningful connection. It seemed obvious once he said it and then saw it. “Right, why haven’t I asked that question yet?!”

Insight can’t be forced. In fact, insight nearly never comes from our trying to figure something out, which is our analytical or focused thinking mind. Insight arises when we settle ourselves more fully into complete awareness of the present moment and allow our focused thinking to settle. Insight is the type of thinking that comes to us, not the kind of thinking we “do.”

In our conversation, I then offered an observation - that thing he said about his relationship with his wife earlier, would curiosity make a difference there too?

Life seems really complex, yet our approach and our being can simplify it in a beautiful and effective way. For instance, grounding ourselves in a single intention or two each day can simplify our attention and allow us to focus in a meaningful way.

From my perspective, curiosity itself is always a powerful intention. Curiosity is an openness and willingness to explore despite how much we think we know. Curiosity allows us to see the people in our life newly, with fresh eyes, and seeing people newly allows us to connect with the person who’s actually there instead of just the stories about these people in our minds.

We teachers want all our students to be curious in the classroom - it’s a powerful access to learning. What most of us fail to recognize, though, is that we should also want curiosity for ourselves. There’s so much more hope for ourselves, our students, and others in our lives when we engage with them from curiosity instead of from already knowing. That's the difference between insight that arises and thinking we "do" - there's not room for insight when our mind is full of what we already know.

At the very least, as teachers and parents it models curiosity for our students and children. At the very best, it gives us access to unconditional love, understanding, and engagement in the present moment.

Thanks so much for reading. ❤️