Friday, November 15, 2019

Somebody Stop that TRAIN!

Looking for Peace. 

I've been trying to get this train moving. My Wellness train. I don't know what it is about Fall, but I fall. Last year was pretty bad, and again this year, I felt myself slipping. Looking back on the last 6 months, my career, mom, wife, life train was moving at full speed, but my wellness train was DERAILED. Non- existant mindfulness practice. No Yoga to be seen. Keto diet, but not enough veggies at all. Aches and pains in my joints were creeping in more consistently. Feelings of overwhelm getting too familiar. I wasn't well again.

Being the self-aware person that I am, I noticed.... but I didn't do much.... until once again I was desperate for some peace, quiet, and perhaps the solitude I have today. Right now. Just me and this keyboard. The boys are at my parent's house, my husband is at work.

Today I prayed for peace to fill my heart. I was hoping that would lift the heaviness I felt on my chest as I woke up. I tried tea next. Then my meditation app . I recently paid for the full year because I was feeling some success having meditated each day multiple times through my 7-day trial. Nope, that didn't bring the peace I sought. Then I turned to a book. I recently stumbled upon Shauna Niequist's " Present Over Perfect-  Leaving Behind Frantic For A Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living" The first 2 chapters felt like Diary pages she surely must have stolen from my mind. That was nice, heard a couple good nuggets and decided to go for a hike.

Image may contain: people sitting and foodI often escape (with my boys) to Oak Glen, a little apple town tucked 15 minutes away from my house, at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains. I went into a little store, grabbed a good hug from a girlfriend I have that works up there, and went on my hike. I took another book with me. Eckhart Tolle's " A New Earth; Awakening to Your Life's Purpose." You know, a little light reading. As I hiked through a ton of field tripping primary age students, I breathed in peace and breathed out love, trying to mindfully walk. Nope. Couldn't find the stillness, still. I went on just past the kids, then saw the construction of a much longer deck over the water...that will bring peace surely once it's done. And to so many, not just me. I passed the rock with the quote " Meditation and water are wedded for ever. - Herman Melville" I continued on and the noise faded slowly away with each step. There was finally some quiet. Now that mindful walking started to work. I found a sport by a thin running creek, sat, and opening my book. I prayed for that elusive peace again. Prayed for a sign. Please God, louder, I can't hear you.

What do you know? Right there on the page I had opened up to, screaming at me was the word PEACE. Here is what I read:

How to be at peace now? By making peace with the present moment. The present moment is the field on which the game of life happens. It cannot happen anywhere else. Once you have made peace with the present moment, see what happens, what you can do or choose to do, or rather what life does through you. 

I paused there, and meditated for three maybe four minutes and made peace with the moment.  There, there it was, the present. I had arrived. What's that creeping in? Peace. I took a whole breath, the kind that satiates a hunger inside. I continued my reading:

...One With Life. being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don't live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance. 

I need not continue. I am the dance. Complete spiritual connection at that very moment. I always preach body, mind, soul... always care for your body mind and soul. Today I took the day off work, erased my to-do list and gave my body, mind, and finally my soul the nurturing it needed.

I'm back on the right train. I'm not the conductor, I'm the journey!


Thursday, September 19, 2019

13 Days into the school year!

August blindsided me. I didn't transition well from my very short summer break into the new school year. This year there were two significant changes. One is the new curriculum and program design for our online k5 scholars at my school which my partner teacher and I are designing ourselves. The other is that I am homeschooling #myboyzmyjoyz this year.

Well here I am on the 13th day of the school year and I'm taking a mental health day already. I called in sick because I could not work for another minute. I needed to not look at emails, not feel the weight of my duties, disconnect from the urgency to create a plethora of supports for my students and parents embarking on this new pilot program with us. They are fine It's just me trying to cover everything, and be proactive. My days have been very long and weekends no exception. It's been nothing but education decisions one after the other, and then all over again. Starting, stopping, questioning myself, wondering if I can really do all this. 
It has become exceedingly apparent that this teacher wellness advocate has not been engaging in ANY wellness rituals AT ALL. But wait, there is more. I also have been volunteering my time to other organizations, presenting, #TeacherLoveTribe, on Social Emotional Learning PD, supporting my Essential Oil clients ( I'm a Doterra Silver Wellness Advocate for those that didn't know) and doing everything for everybody. Well, I hate to say this, but I like to tell it like it is. I'm going to allow those that I've served for quite some time now to learn to be resourceful. This may sound not so SEL-ish but, you're on your own people. It's my season to receive. I need the support now. I have depleted my cup, and I have no energy to give right now. My boys, my family, and my job are where my efforts will be focused on. So I have one last SEL presentation Oct 12th, and then I'm hanging my presenter hat for awhile. ( Dang I just got my new Spotlight Remote from Logitech) I'll find a way to use it with my boys' homeschooling.

I will be putting an indefinite halt on all things #TeacherLoveTribe. I fully intend to return, as this is my passion, but only once I am fully well. I am a new teacher to my children.  I am learning a new online curriculum on the back end, building a new online educational experience on the front end. I will continue to post periodically about my homeschool journey with the hashtag #myboyzmyjoyz and I'm sure I will post about my return to my wellness routines. Turning inward for a while, all in the name of teacher wellness.


Monday, July 29, 2019

#DitchSummit 2019 Teacher Wellness

It's pretty unbelievable to think that in just a few short days, my interview on Teacher Wellness will be live for over 3,500 educators to view. Yes, of course I'll share the link. Register here for DitchSummit I was so nervous the day of the recording. I made sure the camera, lighting, and my face were as good as they could get. I do not have any fancy equipment, and I rarely wear makeup or get all put together. I work from home and take full advantage of all those comforts possible. My boys, age 6 and 4 were playing just outside my office with no babysitter in sight. I explained to them the importance of this meeting I was having and hoped that I wouldn't end up like the CNN guy whose kids walked into his live broadcast. ( Although that was hilarious) My kids regularly come in while I'm teaching my online classes so I was pretty sure they'd be in to interrupt at some point. Luckily they played well the whole time.

It was a great day digging into SEL and why Teacher Wellness is such a big part of any implementation of SEL. Speaking of SEL, Matt Miller asked me to describe the CASEL SEL competencies and my brain completely paused. I don't know what the edit will look like, but I know I stumbled my way through that part. I'm human. I do in fact know them and here is a visual for those of you wondering what they actually are. Self- Awareness ,Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills along with Responsible Decision Making.
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I'm excited to see what will happen to the #TeacherLoveTribe after 3500 educators hear about it. I hope the right message, falls upon the ears that need to hear it. We never know how our words and stories will impact others. I don't remember saying anything profound, but what's my normal now, might just be extraordinary to someone else. The younger woman I was 15 years ago, may have been interested in hearing what I had to say. She needed a good talking to, a mentor.

I'm forever grateful to the CUE Inc community and Matt Miller for their support in my journey and passion to bring SEL and Wellness to the spotlight. It truly takes a village and this #PLN has made all the difference for me.

I hope you'll consider joining the #ditchsummit
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Thursday, July 11, 2019

I was a Guest on a Podcast, WHAT?!?!

Bitmoji ImageWhile guest moderating a twitter chat with #CueLAchat a few weeks ago on the topic of Teacher Wellness, Brent Coley sent me a DM and said he'd love for me to be a guest on his Podcast "Teaching Tales." I immediately accepted my first podcast invitation.

You see, I serve on the Inland Area Cue Board and Brent was recently elected to the Board. He also recently released his book " Stories of EduInfluence: 10 Life-Changing Powers to Unleash in Your School"  which I'm currently reading and loving. Brent is all about telling the stories and I love the stories. Some people are all about the data, research, results. I love the people, their stories, my stories, that show those results in human form. I understand and appreciate data and research, and my left brain loves and values that information. My motivation though lies with the human connection and all the feels. Here is the podcast if you want to hear a few of our stories about our wellness journey, and some tips and tricks to uplevel yours.

Check out Episode 65: Crystal Chavez & The importance of Caring for Students ( and Ourselves) June 27th, 2019
"Teaching Tales" Podcast

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

#TeacherLoveTribe Where are you?

I can't help but wonder where they are. They registered, they retweeted my post, but nobody is here. Here I am in my Teacher Love Tribe Zoom session alone, again. I'm going to be interviewed by Matt Miller for #ditchsummit very soon about #TeacherLoveTribe and so far, it is a tribe of one. Me. Alone. I get a few  "sorry I can't make it tonight" texts each week. I know everyone is busy. I know we are on summer break. I myself sometimes want to send out a " sorry I cant make it" message as well. But I don't. And I won't . If you build it, they will come. That's what Kevin Costner' Field of Dreams professes right?

Well,  even though I can't be sure, I have a pretty good notion of what might be going on. Personal Development like this, can be a look in the mirror that is hard to swallow. Once you open up and get vulnerable even just with yourself, there can be emotions triggered and you have no clue where they may be coming from. And sometimes, you know exactly where they are coming from, a place you have chosen to steer clear of. I have been there. There were very ugly times in my life when I couldn't look in the mirror metaphorically, or even physically for that matter. I had very little grasp onto anything stable and felt like I was being tossed from nightmare to nightmare. It wasn't overnight, but one step at time, I began to get a better grip on my life, and make the changes I needed to wellness. For me it took some pretty scary and devastating moments to turn things around. I'll leave those stories to the book I may write one day. Shoot, who knows, if I get the hang of this blog thing, you just might hear a story or two here.

With that said, I want you to know #TeacherLoveTribe that what I want to build is a community of support with as much or as little engagement as you are ready for. You can come to a zoom session and simply listen. You can leave at any time. You can stay. You can contribute. It's a short 30 minutes. We begin with a quick breath, guided relaxation of movement, to get us centered and grounded, move into a small thought for the day and then we workshop it. An activity for you to do right then, or when you're ready is proposed and that's it. You can stay and chat about what resonated with you, or leave and work on it as time allows. It's a start. And you deserve it! If you're ready to join register here.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Introductions are in order!

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Here I am, Crystal Chavez, 40 years old, starting a blog. I am a teacher. I am a wife. I am a mother of 2 sons. I am officially a blogger. I have lots of thoughts, strong opinions, and tons of passion. I also have a voice. I am a champion for student voice and push hard for my students and children to know how much their voice matters. I had to take my own advice and use my voice. To be completely honest, I've been thinking about blogging for awhile. Others have asked me to guest blog and I have respectfully declined quite a few offers. I thought on more than one occasion to myself who would read it anyway. As I read my colleague and friend Brent Coley's book the other night, "Stories of EduInfluence..." he spoke about the power of sharing.  He mentioned that there may just be that one person that needed to hear what you have to say. It was the nudge I needed. Thanks @brentcoley. So I begin this blogging journey to share my story in hopes that it may touch someone, help in some way for my readers to fell peace, love, joy, or comfort. I don't know the ins and outs of blogging. I actually rarely read blogs. I prefer verbal communication. I was a communications major in my undergrad and public speaking was a big part of that. You may even see me opt out of blogging and throw a Vlog in, here and there. Is that allowed? I really should go read up on Blog rules, but then again, I'm not typically a rule follower. I'm the one disrupting the status quo, to push progress forward, and take risks to see what might work better. I'm the one who asks uncomfortable questions. I'm sometimes loud, I have quite a bit of energy, and I love to talk. I karaoke to release stress, and love to challenge myself. You'll probably get to know my self talk battle well as I take on new challenges. A common phrase lately has been " What did I get myself into?" If you've made it this far, thanks for sticking around. Let's see what happens next.