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  • 2010 November 05
    From the daily archives: Friday, November 5, 2010

    As always, I have had a most enjoyable hour with the 2nd and 3rd graders at College Park Elementary School today.  On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, I spend 40 minutes or so with a bunch of kids who want to engage in theater during their lunch break.  The first half of the week is big kids (4th and 5th graders) and the second half of the week is little kids. I have two people teaching with me, Jeremy on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Kari on Mondays and Fridays.  They are both about half my age and I adore them.

    Today we played a new game with the little kids.  It’s called “what are you doing?” and it’s an improvisation game.  I noticed a couple of kids that were afraid to get up in front of their classmates and do it.  No doubt they were afraid of appearing foolish, besides being just plain shy.  Some of the kids got up there and froze.  This is a think fast game.  I could see the little wheels and cogs in their heads evaluating possible ideas, afraid to toss out the wrong one, or just drawing a blank.

    I recognize this problem very well!  I spent the last few minutes of class talking about the inner critic, which Kari and I renamed The Goof Up Goblin.  The Goof Up Goblin really messes with our ability to have fun, and he slows down the game!  The Goof Up Goblin can be male, female, big, little, green, freckly, have wild hair, whatever way the Goblin shows up.  We chatted about the kind of stuff the Goblin  likes to natter in our ears.  I introduced a little box where they can keep the Goblin out of trouble when they’re coming to drama class to have fun. It’s right by the door, and they can just put the Goblin in there.  She’s fine in the box, and doesn’t make it into our classroom.  I would love to just make the Goblin go away completely, but that is not in my power.  I don’t know what other people or situations are feeding those goblins.  I just know that no goblins are allowed in My Classroom!

    The Goof Up Goblin can really mess with you if you are being treated, or are surviving cancer.  What I tell the kids is that they really can’t mess up, because there is no correct way.  The rules are there to help you be creative, but within those rules anything goes!  Today we shopped for smelly cheese, sucked on giant gumballs, flew airplanes, salsa danced, walked through peanut butter, went to the moon, chased bugs, and more other wacky things than I can remember.

    When you’re taking care of yourself, there is no right way, just the right way for you.  Maybe you want to be social, maybe you want to cocoon.  Maybe you blog, or maybe you hate the computer and would rather read a book.  Your approach may be to seek laughter and take comfort in your friends, or maybe you need to get really mad!  I’ll never forget a woman I met on a couple of occasions, once at California Cancer Care and once at Mills Hospital.  She swore like a trucker.  This is just SO —-ed! This just SUCKS! She was mad!  I asked her what she did, and she’s an architect.  Rock on lady!  I saw her later as she recovered, and she was doing great.

    What I need to feel good and what you need to feel good is probably very different.  There really is no right way to do it.  When well meaning people tell you what you should be doing, take it with a grain of salt, appreciate that they care, and do whatever the hell gets you through it.  I did Guided Imagery, massage, acupuncture, healing touch, therapy, comedy improv, shamanic journeys, art therapy, and who knows what else.  I have been a professional massage therapist for over twenty years, and it felt right to choose these things.  I even got on stage with a major part and performed a grueling schedule while I was going through radiation, and it fed my soul so delightfully that the exhaustion that came after was worth it.

    Another friend I know took good advantage of Ativan (affectionately known as Attagirl) and someone else worked at her job all the way through, which I did not.  Everyone of us is different, and the right way to cope is the right way for us.

    The people who love you will of course share their opinions.  It’s one of the things they can do, and they have to do something.  That’s a beautiful thing.  And, the last word on what’s right for you comes from you!  It might take a little practice to hear that voice, but take heart! The more you listen to that wise, amazing voice the louder it gets and the more wonderful it sounds.

    Today I am 49 years old, and I wouldn’t go back to being 45 for anything.  The Goof Up Goblin was still strong then.  He still exists, but he’s tucked away in a corner of my mind, and he has become very shy. I have compassion for him and I know where he came from, but I don’t have to listen to him.

    The best birthday present for me is the sun, my children, my husband, the little kids and the big kids, that I get to blog, that I get to touch people, that I’m still here.

    Wishing you every treasure your heart can reveal to you.

     
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