September 17, 2011


Self-reflection is an integral part of my life. It allows me to walk a more authentic and sustainable path. Reflection, in general, is something we educators promote. Reflection about what has been learned, how it ties together, and how it applies more broadly. This type of reflection, which can be applied to academic topics, is actually useful in all aspects of our lives.

Yet true reflection requires space. We need space to breathe,to listen inwardly, and to connect with that place in ourselves that speaks--perhaps only whispers--our genuine longings, needs, feelings, and insights. Interestingly, though, that space need not be grandiose or sacred or for a long period. Sometimes I sabotage my own self-reflection by thinking it requires hours of time or can only be done in a certain location (the list of reasons goes on). In its simplest form, reflection merely requires I pay attention to my breath (or body or mind or feelings), perhaps only for 1 minute.

So easy to forget at the beginning of an academic year. This first week was filled with magical energy, connections with students, important conversations, laughter, creative pedagogical work, and worthwhile gatherings of the Lawrence community. Yet I also spent very long hours at the office with minimal reflection. But here's the great news: I can start again today. Hurray! Everything hasn't gone to hell simply because I didn't reflect as much as I wanted during the first week of school (oh, the stories we tell ourselves).

I celebrate self-reflection in all its different forms. And I celebrate the ability to start anew each and every day.

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