Back to School I Go

Back to School I Go
Frankie and I visiting Longfellow Elementary school in 2010
Frankie and I visiting Longfellow Elementary school in 2010

It’s hard to believe this photo is from over five years ago. One of the first of many school visits I did while Frankie was alive.

When Frankie passed away in June of 2012, while I loved visiting schools, I was burnt out having made over 400 appearances in a little over four years.

I did do a school visit with Joie, my second dachshund in a wheelchair, after adopting her in the fall of 2012 – a way in which I thought I’d carry on Frankie’s message. But then as many of you know, she passed away ten months later. We only made one school visit.

For a few years I felt lost and wondered what was next for me, while at the same time afraid to close a chapter that was so near and dear to my heart – even though in many ways I wanted to move on.

I did move on and am moving on in new ways, but remain open to opportunities that come my way.

So when a friend of mine, Jodee, who is now a principal at a school she loves, contacted me and asked if I’d do an author visit for K-4th grade students I was open to it, but a bit hesitant.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done this. And while I felt nervous if I could do it without my sidekick Frankie, I also found that I was excited about the possibility.

After talking with Jodee and what her reading team is looking for with bringing in an author, I knew I wanted to do this.

I’ll share some of the same messages I did as when I presented with Frankie, but will also have the opportunity to talk about how an idea is born, how it then becomes a book, and where that can all lead – just like it has done for me.

So back to school I go in either January or February – they are deciding on a date yet. But who knows, perhaps this will have me wanting to do a few of these a year.

Looking forward to embracing this visit and seeing how it goes!

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Who Says it Has to Be this Way?

g and flowers e

Maybe it was the poem I read last night by Mary Oliver, What I Can Do that inspired me to follow my impulse today, which then led to another impulse to write this journal post.

I’ve been working on a writing project on and off since November 2013. Making more progress with it lately which has me feeling so alive and eager to greet each day.

This morning after finishing my ritual of standing in front of my mandala, reviewing my desires for the year and conditions I wish to live by, I then picked one of my SoulCollage cards from my deck, an angel card and then an animal card. I posed my question to the cards and found answers in them that lit me up inside.

This does not always happen and I have to search deeper for the meaning, but when it feels so right on and so clear, well, that to me, is magical… and inspiring.

I did my yoga practice and as I was moving through each pose I heard my inner voice suggest that after I was done I should go right to my writing desk and work on my writing project. It felt so freeing to think this. But then the other part of me, who is so conditioned to follow “rules” of which I’ve for the most part imposed on myself, showed up.

And the loop began, “You can’t write first. You have to first get ready for the day, put your make up on, curl your hair, eat your breakfast,” and on and on the list went of what I normally do – my normal routine.

Thank goodness my free will side was stronger today and it was having nothing of what my conditioned self was trying to tell me.

I fought back. “What do you mean I have to do those things first?  Who says? I want to write first. Who cares if my hair isn’t curled or I don’t have make up on. Really, does that matter?  I want to follow this impulse and see where it goes.”

I was challenging that part of myself that has to always have things in a neat orderly fashion and it felt incredibly liberating to know I was going to follow through on what was calling me to do.

And I did it. I rolled up my yoga mat and immediately plunked my butt in my chair. My fingers flew across the keyboard, much like they are right now, eager to share my voice with the page.

There are so many “rules” and how society says we should live our lives that our inner voice gets lost in all the noise. I don’t want to live like that. I want a life that is meaningful to me. One that matters most to me.

What I can do is follow the path that is right for me. What I can do is live from the heart and center of who I am. What I can do is be an example of what it means to follow our impulses and see where it can lead us.

While there may not be fireworks going off in the sky announcing that yes, Barbara Techel, just went against the “rules,” and followed what felt right to her, I must say that there a is a welcome and warm fire burning inside of me that feels delicious.

That flow of life, that when you are in it, you never want it to leave. But I won’t worry about that now. Because what I can do is ride this wave. Enjoy it. Savor it. Recall it when I need for next time my conditioned self tries to win a battle.

What I can do is life by my own inner light of desires.

Though it is expected to be well below average in temps this week and another blast of cold air on it’s way Wednesday and Thursday, what I can do is think Spring — and so the photo of Gidget above I share from last summer after a successful day shopping at our local Farmer’s Market.

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