“The human body and mind are tremendous forces that are continually amazing scientists and society. Therefore, we have no choice but to keep an open mind as to what the human being can achieve.” – Evelyn Glennie
The knee bone connected to the thigh bone. The thigh bone connected to the (everybody join in) hip bone. Dem bones, dem bones… We would all recall various ways over the years we tried to learn or were taught about the various workings of the human body. When I was PE teaching in a Primary School, many years ago, I used to love having the students learn about the muscles in the body as we physically prepared for the activities we would participate in during that lesson. There are many things in our lives, like our incredible bodies and minds, that we use constantly but may not (at various times, stages of growth and development or ever) fully understand, comprehend or appreciate.
“Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Some of the things that I have seen and been apart of this week had me thinking about our adductor and abductor muscles. Adductor muscles are ‘a muscle whose contraction moves a limb or other part of the body towards the midline of the body or towards another part’. Abductor muscles do the opposite. This weeks reminders came as I witnessed thoughts, words and actions (my own and others) that deepened connection to self, others and/or the world around each individual or group, and thoughts, words and actions that did the opposite. This metaphor of adding to or taking away from came flooding in to my mind. Most of the time these connections had to do with joining in.
“You’re frustrated because you keep waiting for the blooming of flowers of which you have yet to sow the seeds.” – Steve Maraboli
At times as a facilitator you are given specific information about a particular student/s who may need extra support or understanding within the learning environment. That happened this week with one particular girl. She was enthusiastic and engaged within the first part of the activity session, and then half way through something changed. My observation was that not much had happened in her interactions with those around her at the time but her body language and attitude towards joining in completely altered. She removed herself from the group and appeared to have decided that nothing would change her mind. Then, 5 minutes later, with us as a group having transitioned into a new activity that brought a different energy into the space, she was back joining in, enthusiastic and engaged. She remembered, rather than being told to or forced to, that joining in opens up pathways to fun, contribution and growth.
“Drop by drop – a whole lake becomes.” – Bulgarian Proverb
Another example came as I was eating lunch in a staff room this week. A teacher and Assistant Principal were discussing strategies that were being trialled and reviewed to support a relatively new student’s behavioural and emotional needs; and the associated ripples being felt within the school community. As they discussed these issues others were coming into the space. What happened next was that a collaborative conversation broke out. We all shared small pieces of thinking that weren’t aimed to fix or judge a problem but rather open pathways to most effectively navigate the challenges and empower all those involved. What I loved most was when in the conversation the initial teacher involved commented that ‘she hadn’t thought about it in that way before’ as we spoke. We all remembered, rather than being told to or forced to, that joining in opens up pathways to fun, contribution and growth.
“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Finally, a conversation I had with a recently ‘retired’ gentleman. We were discussing many things but then it narrowed in around his involvement as a volunteer with a local not for profit. He commented that he wished he had of started this earlier in his life because of the fulfilment and connection volunteering had provided him with. He was so enthusiastic and engaged as he shared how he had been ‘successful’ through his working life, as well as raising a family, but deepening connection to self, others and the community around him had not been made a real priority until now. He remembered, rather than being told to or forced to, that joining in opens up pathways to fun, contribution and growth.
“The key to life is not accumulation, it is about contribution.” – Stephen Covey
What daily thoughts, words and actions add to your ability to deepen connection to self, others and the world around you, and which do the opposite?