Sunday, December 18, 2011

Focusing on the positive

Some of you might know this, but I go to school. Here is proof, my school gear:

My recycled notebook paper, a pink argyle folder scavenged from my kids room (they were done with it), my current study book (found on the book swap at my co-op!), my water bottle, my coffee cup (you can't see that) and a tin cup for snack time so that I don't have to use the paper cups to put my snack in (yes, we have snack time.) I found the bag at a thrift store, but it's made by this awesome local company called Blue Q and made mostly of post consumer recycled waste. 

I'm sure you could really care less about my thoughtfully waste free school gear, I bet you are wondering what I'm doing going to school if I really claim to be as busy as I am. Well, I go to a place called Alkion and I'm studying to be a Waldorf teacher. Now, I know that there are some of you that feel one way or another about Waldorf education, just know that I am not here to talk you into it. (However, I would be happy to talk to someone interested in learning more on the side - email me directly.) I am halfway through my second year of the foundation program at the school and currently plan on doing the teacher training year next year. I am not really sure what I'm going to do with the training - I might pursue becoming a class teacher... but the more I do the training, the more I want to pursue art again... and maybe being as art teacher at a Waldorf school would be ideal. Who knows. But the good thing is, I don't have to decide now so I can just go with the flow and enjoy what I am learning.

Ok, so what the heck does this have to do with focusing on the positive? Well, I'm getting there.

One of the classes that I am currently taking is called "Inner Practice". It's really a great class that focuses on the six basic meditations taught by Rudolf Steiner to help gain more control over your thoughts, feelings and actions.

The six exercises

1. Control of thought aims to gain control over what you think.

2. Control of will aims to gain control over your actions.

3. Equanimity - the exercise of feeling - aims to be aware of
your feelings, to weaken strong feelings and strengthen weak
ones and to balance them.

4. Positivity aims to see the positive in addition to the bad and
the ugly. In this exercise thinking and feeling are combined.

5. Open-mindedness aims to be always open to new
experiences. In this exercise feeling and willing are

6. Inner harmony: the sixth, in which the previous exercises
need to be practised in order to create harmony between
thinking, feeling and willing.

(To learn more about each exercise, check out this blog that I just found that has a brief description of each.)

Yesterday, we learned about the forth exercise. I have been thinking about this quite a bit because out of all of the exercises that we have learned so far, this is one that I wish more people around me would work on (disclaimer: I work with the public and interact with hundreds of people everyday, so you can imagine how different things would be if everyone tried this more frequently).

"In many situations you encounter, you see the negative and ugly
aspects quite clearly. In this exercise the aim is that you always see
something positive, too, without denying the negative. When
something is negative, you can emphasize the positive within or
besides that. There is always something beautiful or good that lies
concealed in everything. The exercise should not lead to an uncritical
attitude and a vague "everything is good and beautiful" or to denying
the negative.

During and after this exercise you still see the negative, but you try
to find something positive in it. Sometimes this only succeeds when
you look back, which may be days or even years later. As you
observe more and see the situation from different angles, you will
restrain your opinion at first and you become more open and will
observe more comprehensively. Therefore the exercise leads to
greater tolerance. Ultimately, there is almost nothing that does not
have something positive in it."

I am going to leave you with that, and those of you that can take from it, please do. Those of you that think I'm crazy... well, I hope you will hang in there for my next blog post. I will try not to make it so heavy.

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