While lots of folks are saying “NOvember, I’m saying “NEWvember.” Why? Because I experienced a new fear, new courage, and new success this month. Allowing this month to greet me with “freshness.”
Last Thursday at ACSA’s Leadership Summit, I presented - and almost cancelled. I was terrified. It wasn’t my first time, but it was my first time like THIS.
I was scared, and I did it anyway. In front of over 100 educational leaders I gently launched “Professional Spirituality” via the practice of Visioning Meditation. I trusted my gut when I submitted the proposal months ago that we needed a moment to pause. And yet, there I was going against the grain to be at a major educators conference and not doing a workshop where there's lots of do-ing but more be-ing. It was a leap of faith to even submit a proposal about it. But I took the risk on me, ACSA took the risk on me, apparently over 100 leaders took the risk on me last week. I am so grateful to all of us. In that workshop, there were leaders who wanted to slow down and courageously said, “Yes, we will. We will slow down and we will pause. Thank you for creating this space.” At the end of the visioning meditation activity, there were tears. There was relief. There was clarity. There was truth. And there was heartfelt sharing. People kept saying how much this was needed. How much this was just what they needed, but didn't know.
Almost a decade ago, people thought I was crazy for bringing meditation to educational leadership. And now I'm bringing what has been named and is now an official registered trademark: “Professional Spirituality.” The programming is going to be next level!!
Thank you for joining me and trusting me, folks. Buckle up. It's gonna be one of the best rides of your professional lives. Let's ride together and have a really good time. That’s the plan.
Committed to us all -
A Taste of Professional Spirituality Programming Coming in 2022! (and now’s a good time to mark your calendars!)
“VisionWerk: How to BE-DO Your 2022” - Jan 9, 2022 @ 9 - 1030 AM PST (details coming next month; will be virtual)
“The Sacred Pause with Tovi” - Silent Meditation Residential Retreat - October 7 - 9, 2022 in Menlo Park (details coming Feb 2022; will be in-person, limited to 20 leaders & you get your own room!)
This month’s “Standing Tovation” goes to….(drum-roll please) Brooke
Brooke’s courageous share made my day and I hope it inspires you as well!
This is my 24th year teaching on the Central Coast of California, between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The percentage of white students is 59%, which means it’s whiter than most California schools. Teachers and admin at the site are almost exclusively white. Although the district sent two teachers from each site to your equity training last year, the district's actual track record in equity is fairly checkered.
Last year in May, after a parent complained, the admin at my site forced me to take down my Black Lives Matter flag and my rainbow pride flag. After several weeks and many meetings with our union president, a representative from CTA, admin at my site, and the personnel director, admin at my site relented and let me put my flags back up.
I’m a fairly outspoken person in general. But part of this work has forced me to be quiet and listen - that mindful reflection and hearing the experiences of others has helped me as a mother, a teacher, and a friend. I thought, “What right do I have to lead an equity book club? What qualifications do I have?” In addition, I was reluctant because, in all honesty, I was afraid of messing up.
The way you led our equity meetings last year was phenomenal. You start with grace and quiet and balance. You force people to slow down and see other perspectives with compassion. You nurture kindness: kindness to self and kindness towards others.
It was the work we did last year that emboldened me to start this book club. We’re using the book Start Here Start Now by Liz Kleinrock. Finally this summer, I thought to myself, If I don’t do this, then who will? I’ve always loved being a teacher, but last year’s events (national, statewide, and at my site) left me feeling resentful and sad and burnt out. Planning this book club during the summer made the return to school, if not exactly joyful, tolerable. I am passionate about this work. It’s difficult and scary and awkward and sticky, but the breakthroughs are authentic and staggering. I know I will make many mistakes in facilitating this book club, but it’s happening!
Thank you for your guidance and compassion.