We have three cats. Two of them, Tripp and Bumper, only have three legs. We think they were both hit by cars
Bumper is an especially cuddly cat. He loves to sit in my lap and bump his face against mine hence his name. Unlike other cats, Bumper is very trusting. He loves to lay with his head on my shoulder, belly up, feet straight up in the air, and for me to rub his stomach. The ultimate sign of trust and a feeling of safety because an exposed belly makes animals very vulnerable to prey.
We live in the city, so we hear all kind of noises. Fireworks after homeruns at the ballpark, dogs barking at delivery people, emergency sirens, late night laughter from young people waiting for Ubers, and the roar of motorcycle engines.
We are surrounded by the sounds of the city.
Bumper doesn’t like fireworks, but he’s getting used to many of the sounds of the city after living here for almost a year. Sounds except for one.
The roar of motor engines.
Even while belly up in my lap, in a deep, purr-filled slumber, if a loud car, truck, or motorcycle whizzes by, he shoots up with a long neck, big eyes, and ears to the sky. His breath becomes short as his head moves on a swivel, scanning the area around him for danger.
All because of that terrible day when he was hit by a car.
We all have a story. Something difficult from our personal or professional pasts that puts us in that state of worry and distrust. It’s why some of us are less inclined to share what we are thinking or feeling in a meeting. It’s why some of us are skeptical of new leaders in our school districts. It’s why many of us feel our hearts skip a beat when someone does a walk-through or evaluation in our classrooms.
It’s why some of us feel scared. More than once. On a daily basis.
But what I’m learning from Bumper is that’s OK. Allow yourself to feel it. Take a moment and look around, catch your breath, assess the situation, and if you can see with good reason that you are safe, allow yourself to feel safe.
Allow yourself to say, “No, I think this is different than last time, I’m going to let myself relax into the present moment.”
There is no shortage of things to worry about. And I don’t see that list dwindling any time soon. So, if that’s not going to change, we will need to change ourselves in the situations we face.
We will need to find ways to nourish our own inner peace.
Because the world needs more people who can live in the present moment with calm care.
Our schools need calm care more than ever.
So, take a moment to uncover what might trigger those feelings of danger inside of you. And if seems reasonable to assume that you can lean into a sense of psychological safety, take a deep breath, and lean into it.
You deserve inner peace.
Our students deserve it too. Let’s do everything we can to help them get there.