“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau
Sometimes people and circumstances show up in unexpected ways. One moment everything is humming along and the next you are face-to-face with something that challenges the way you do things. This happened to me in the middle school lunch group this year. A group that was ideal for eight students was suddenly flooded with over twenty interested students and I did not know what I was going to do. On one hand, I wanted to serve as many young people as I could, and on the other hand the group was not designed to hold that many. I had to either cut out a large part of the group, or rethink my approach entirely. In this case, I chose to open up to a new vision of what the group could be.
The transformation of the lunch group has been inspiring to observe, particularly in light of how terrified I was feeling when the changes started. It all happened rather quickly. What was once a small gathering of students around a table has now become a large room, full of students, gathered around multiple tables, enthusiastically playing games together and getting to know one another. The perfect support team has gotten involved, including many of the staff from Valerie Hernandez’s classroom. Ms. Hernandez also lovingly provided board games which the kids enjoy playing. Assistant Principal Rick Barclay has also done a wonderful job of supporting us in having the best group possible. It is an inclusive environment, where students with special needs blend in seamlessly with the most outgoing of their typical peers. It is awesome to stand back and watch the students from all walks of middle school life getting along so well. This transformation started with a natural and unexpected influx of enthusiastic students, and continued because I was willing to open up to a new vision of what the group could be. It is a win-win situation because the new format is easier to facilitate due to the added support and increased interest from the students.
One of the things that helps me go with the flow is my belief that we live in an inherently friendly and loving universe. This is a belief that I have to practice because my first thought is often to run and hide when a daunting challenge presents itself. I continue learning new ways to step out boldly and find the silver lining in my circumstances. Sitting quietly in the morning, reading inspiring books, and being honest with myself about what is going on in my little world are all tools that help me go with the flow and adapt to conditions and relationships that take me out of my comfort zone. No matter what has happened in the past, every moment is a new moment. Each affords me the opportunity to experience love, always expressing itself in ways that I am not yet aware of.
I invite you to sit down and think about a situation that feels bigger than you, or that seems to have power over you. Take a few breaths and remind yourself that you are okay. Reclaim whatever power that situation or relationship seems to have over you. It might help to imagine yourself pulling the plug on the situation or relationship, and saying aloud, or silently, that you have the power. Also, remember that it takes practice to learn a new way of seeing things, so be gentle with yourself if the fear returns. Just remind yourself that you are whole and more powerful than you can imagine. Your job is to keep the door open so that when the answers and the help arrive, you are there to receive them.
Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District. He is also co-host of the popular radio show, Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed, live each week, Wednesdays at 3 p.m. on www.UnityOnlineRadio.org. Visit www.TappingIntoGenius.com for more articles and a free, inspirational parenting download.