Monday, December 26, 2011

post Xmas & pre New Year

How were we affected by events this holiday season?  Leading up to, Xmas day itself and looking towards 2012? 

Did the actual experience match all the anticipated expectations?  Pass or fail?  And how does it then affect what's yet to come? 

Much to reflect on and contemplate indeed!  Pros and Cons?  Highs and Lows?  What worked and what did not? 

What new experiences have we racked up?  Any new relationships?  What was that like?  How did matters go?  What mattered the most? 

Whatever the outcome are our hearts filled with wonder, delight and appreciation?  Do we welcome this new year? 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

holiday countdown

Five more days until I see my beloved child!  Although I've been counting down looong ago for this date as it draws closer I witness myself going into hyper-reality. 

The buildup is further augmented by the holidays and all the attendant history over The 12 Days of Xmas.  Christian, commercial, or secular overtones seethe and roil around us - blowing smokescreens that cloud any clarity. 

Living and working in NYC amps this all up.  As the cheer crescendos over blaring horns, show windows, twinkling lights and frost in the air the hustle and the bustle are no longer a grind.  Instead they lighten us all up. 

Happy Holidays! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving vs. Black Friday

On this special day we give thanks for our countless blessings - a life well lived and filled with love. 

Only in America do we then rush off on a mad shopping spree the day after. 

Instead of immersing ourselves and imbibing of this bountiful cornucopia - we flock like lemmings toward sales of just about anything and everything. 

Spurned on by lack we get all aquisitive and competitive for material things of no consequence. 

Yet we act like they should matter the most.  Ah the inate insanity of the human being.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

a life simply & fully lived

miss someone? . . . . call
want to meet? . . . . invite
want to be understood? . . . . explain
want understanding? . . . . share
have a question? . . . . ask
want something? . . . . declare it
don't like something? . . . . say so
like it? . . . . express appreciation

it's best to express ourselves, rather than wait in expectation

we have one life. . . .live it well

Saturday, October 22, 2011

the stories we tell ourselves

What is your story? 

Do you have a story you call your very own?  Is your story so much a part of you that it is what is running you? 

With every breath we take we hold the power to create that which we step into and live to be. 

Our drive and desire are powered by our passion.  How it is expressed is crucial to how it manifests. 

Do we worry, angst and obsess?  Or do we allow, appreciate and collaborate? 

Are our heart and spirit healthy, hale and happy?  Or are we operating from toxic psyches and dysfunctional behaviors? 

Do we inspire confidence and trust?  Are we confident and trusting our wisdom and understanding? 

Can we worship at the altar of our Truth? 

Be light, delight and enlighten. 

This is how we honor our self, each other and live a blessed life. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

life lessons

In honor of Teacher's Day and in praise of all my teachers thru the years. . . .

Count yourself miraculously blessed indeed if at any time in your life you have had the sheer good luck to have a teacher push open the doors to your possible probables - awakening your awareness and igniting your spirit thru other ideas and perspectives. 

Hooking your imagination and drawing you into magical mysterious worlds so that - in however imperfect but distinct a voice of your own - you learn to grasp, formulate, and express your self, your hopes, your aspirations, and your desires. 

In my idyllic island paradise the first AHA! moment I experienced that moved me out of my fixation with myself as the center of my universe was at 13 when I started high school.  I was enrolled in classes with two English teachers who were polar opposites - inside and out. 

One class taught the lyricism in literature and writing.  The other class taught the mechanics of language and grammar.  Both teachers demanded the best and were strict disciplinarians.  One taught what she loved and the other worked as a teacher. 

When we struggled with the convolutions of Olde English, one teacher had us listen to Shakespeare's plays narrated by Sir Lawrence Olivier.  When we mutilated conjugations, the other teacher would shame us with her snarky sarcasm. 

We bloomed in one class and were shaken to the core in the other.  Either way, like young saplings we weathered thru and grew up.  Some better with the wear than others. 

By their example I learned from both teachers what worked and what did not.  The experience taught me how to approach life - happily or not. 

We can choose to learn our life lessons from a school of hard knocks.  Or we can illuminate life with the wonder and delight of discovery, change, and challenges. 

Either way the choice is ours completely. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

free falling fall

In the three days since I've been down this road the trees have begun to turn.  So much can change in just a matter of days or in an instant.  Who we are, what we do and how we evolve can all happen at any moment.  Why then do we go about our lives believing otherwise? 

We go about our lives pretending that being ok is good enough and even worth being grateful for.  Instead of focusing on blessings and consecrating our lives in sacred ceremony we put one foot in front of the other and fall into mindless routine. 

All along the way three days ago there was a languorous misty rain falling.  Lots of birds flocking overhead migrating south with the weather change.  All along the way I thought lovingly of how this route has entranced me for life.  How delightful it is to be back. 

Boundless energy and irrepresible joy fill my being with bold daring for the fate and destiny I careen towards.  I am propelled forward by a raptuous sensuality that awaits.  In tense anticipation and voluptuous expectation - I feel tingling ripples twanging tightly all over me. 

I give free reign to the physical desire that drives my dementia.  Reliving the sensual abandonment of previous torrid encounters.  Willingly held hostage by my beloved thief of hearts.  I am made aware of being vitally alive - that life is full of wonder and surprise, that hope brings possible probables. 

As long as I have this sacred space I have a refuge for my soul and a haven to express my spirit.  For succor and relief from pettiness and triviality.  So I don't fall for the urge to sweat the small stuff.  Taking my beloved self to distant realms, off to dream in pursuit of bold adventures, ineffable visions and heady interludes.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Reflections on My ARP Process

Completing the process of writing my action research project (ARP) was a journey of self discovery, reflection, contemplation, and realization.  With the final segment of the course winding up for the class, this adventure continues to unfold and reveal facets and perspectives that contribute to my ongoing learning and expansion.  The development of this ARP for my Masters in Adult Education and Training (MAED) led to the enhancement of possibilities, potential, and myself as well. 

As a result I have undergone many changes.  In the process of advocating for evidence based practices and practitioner as researcher approaches, I shifted from behavioral to constructivist in both learning and instruction.  As an adult educator and training facilitator I have developed a holistic and collaborative approach in my learning environment.  Instead of sharing what I know I would rather design and create a healthy and inclusive space that nourishes, nurtures, and empowers diverse learning opportunities - for my learners and myself.  By providing a safe environment that honors and respects exploration and experiment more sharing and exchange can occur among stakeholders. 

Applying this educational constructs in instruction gave me the experience of leading by example and collaborating with my learners in discussion, dialogue, expression, action, and implementation.  This was a powerful and successful means of encouraging and empowering learners to explore and expand their own discoveries.  This contributed and led to changes that affected us all in positive ways.  The more my learners took ownership of their performance and achievements the more accountable and fulfilled they were about their attitude, learning, and themselves - as was I too.  In our collaborations between community centers in the United States and the Philippines we all became more eager, enthusiastic, and enthused by our collective teamwork and synergy. 

Incorporating and integrating technology also added benefits and advantages especially in enhanced accessibility and convenience.  It allowed each learner to explore and progress at their own pace.  It helped tremendously when dealing with participants from diverse parts of the world and working from different time zones and distinct cultures.  The andragogical methods of this constructivist and holistic learning system we built together greatly improved, supported, and strengthened our communication and interaction.  It also helped us stay in touch with each other more immediately during sessions and even after graduating from enrolled programs.  In the process I have been able to clearly develop and designate benchmarks that sustain my original vision for incorporating technology to enhance, extend, and expand existing curricula. 

The whole experience of completing this ARP has been such a roller coaster of highs and crashes.  Too often while grappling with my ARP it felt like I was wrestling with all my demons and angels in the process.  I am grateful to our instructor for keeping us clear and walking us thru the process, which really made a huge impact and difference to me. One I hope to live up to when in class with my learners as well.  

Unlike my previous classes, where I would grapple with individual facets and components - too concerned with getting the technical stuff handled and working right - the direction and support in this class gave me the perspective, precision, and persistence as each piece began to fall into place and I was able to reconnect once again with the vision and purpose of why I wanted to do this particular ARP.  Just like the Mr. Holland character in the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” I deeply and sincerely offer my abject appreciation and profuse gratefulness for the assistance, care, and support I was generously accorded to come up with a stellar opus.

Lessons Learned and Insights Gained

1.      What have you learned from the completed Action Research process? 

As a student, lifelong learner, adult educator, and independent consultant the tools and techniques I acquired to build my online portfolio have been valuable and multiple.  Personally and professionally I can track and review my own performance, progress, and presentation more immediately and hands on.  The information and statistics I have accumulated these past two years have deepened my knowledge, understanding, and reflections on my learning and progress.  Keeping and updating a digital portfolio is a precious tool I have grown to appreciate and will continue to apply in my work and in my life. 

The research provided a fresh perspective on how participants learn, absorb, and adapt the concepts and theories presented.  Working on this ARP clearly documents and illustrates the application and implementation from theoretical learning to actual manifestation.  I am gratefully appreciative of having had this wonderful experience and I look forward to its continued unfoldment. 

2.      What would you do differently? 

I would have reviewed the series of ARP courses more closely at the beginning of being enrolled in this MAED Program.  I would have collaborated more with my assigned academic adviser, enrollment counselor, and academic board to preview and schedule classes and instructors that were the best fit for my learning style and chosen ARP topic.  I would definitely have scheduled my first ARP class more closely to the second one.  I also would have chosen to take my chosen elective in between the second and third ARP classes instead of taking these classes back to back as I did.  That would have allowed me more time to reflect, absorb, and contemplate so I could have come up with better adjustments to my ARP. 

3.      What would you recommend to students who are entering this process? 

The student can only prepare as much as they can as well as they can within the parameters dictated by the program and the institution.  Based on my sole experience my recommendations for improving the preparation process for students would be directed at UoP in general and its academic board in particular.  Considering the ARP is the lynch pin upon which the MAED Program is anchored - currently how the three ARP courses are set up individually (for both instructors and students) and its independent implementation are ineffectual at best and lame by a worst case scenario for instructional fulfillment and success of outcome. 

Because there is no or very little prior coordination or ongoing collaboration between the three classes, many students end up trashing what they created in ARP1 by the time they get to ARP2.  Or if they choose to keep the same topic, much time and effort is invested revising and adjusting their material to match it up with crucial requirements.  The pressure and stress could be greatly reduced if the workload between ARP1 (which at present is too lightweight and inconsequential) and ARP2 (which is too technically heavy and not more clearly defined) could be more equally distributed.  This may call for extending ARP1 into a six week session instead of its current four week time frame. 

4.      What would have helped you to be more successful with your action research project?  

The whole ARP curriculum is too theoretical in approach overall.  Providing students with written requirements beforehand is not adequate enough.  I believe UoP would have higher satisfaction rates on the ARP program if preparation workshops were incorporated as program prerequisites.  Otherwise the gap between what ARP1 provides and what will actually be required for ARP2 is totally inadequate in preparing the learner and addressing their ARPs. 

5.      Did you discover new resources or skill sets that will help you to continue to grow or to develop in your professional or personal life? 

Yes, I definitely appreciated being taught the intricacies of grant application and proposal writing.  I am also grateful to the many instructors and teams I had the privilege of working with.  Their contributions (both positive and challenging) have greatly enhanced and expanded my world and experience. 

6.      What were some challenges? How did you overcome them? 

I learned early on that although I enrolled in the MAED program for my own reasons, objectives, and purposes this only worked when I was matched well with like minded individuals who shared or understood what I was working toward.  I had the opportunity to come across an inflexible and highly dogmatic instructor in one class that just about killed all my interest in pursuing this MAED program to its end.  How it was so ineptly handled by UoP’s academic board only further soured the experience.  Good for me that I had high enough grades and performed well enough in other classes to not have had too adverse an effect on my overall output. 

It did not assist me in the least that the academic advisor assigned to me was also enrolled in the same program I was taking - only several subjects behind as I had started the program a few weeks ahead of her.  I think my expectations and complaints only managed to scare and intimidate her.  Too bad really as I had hoped to continue on with a doctorate after this.  It is clear now that enjoyable as my MAED experience was here at UoP it is not where I would return for more advanced education.  I need an educational institution that fosters a more creative and expansive attitude. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

overused, misused & abused

Who are the loved ones we would die for? 

What price do we pay for the love we wish for? 

We love the most the ones who love us the most.  Or do we?  Do we not instead overuse, misuse and abuse those we are closest to?  What price do we pay in this fatal dance? 

I love.  You love.  We love. 

Practice paves the way to perfection.  Investing in it more raises its success rate.  Why not allow it to nourish and nurture us then? 

Why do we expect love to come naturally when we are neglectful?  We desire but are we willing to invest all for the immaterial and intangible that hold no guarantees? 

In earnest or in fancy what do we depend or rely on from our loved ones?  How do we express our love?  What do we do to be loving, lovable and beloved? 

Is our dance coordinated, collaborative, co-creative?  Is our step light, love and delight filled?  Are we in sync or at odds? 

Do we possess the balance, focus and clarity to commit to our chosen dreams and direction? 

Now?  Always?  Forever? 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

a wedding, a funeral & finding love - all over the place

These past weeks have definitely been a roller coaster of emotions played out in the arena of life. 

A dear friend was married back home.  While another was buried. 

Beloved friends were over looking for their prodigal son.  Glad to report all's well that ended very well. 

I flew cross country on a hellacious 12 hour adventure with consequences I will only hear from in 30 days. 

All this and more and I am back home - in love and loving my life as it unfolds as it was meant to - with purpose and direction. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

achievement & fulfillment

All done with the first four chapters of my ARP - already I feel like a champion!

This action research project is the second to last class of my master in adult education and training. 

I had to write four chapters of research based on over 25 literature reviews. 

Creating the charts, graphs and tables to substantiate this just about drove me to destruction! 

In the final class (which begins next week) we write the fifth and final chapter and publish the approved paper online. 

puff! PUFF!!! final home stretch - four more weeks and I am done and graduated. . . .on to bigger and better stuff! ! !  the real thing 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

wild & vulnerable

I listened to the Eurithmics song, 17 Again.  Love that Annie Lennox! 

The YouTube video reminded me that yup!  those times where like negotiating thru a war zone and mine field of an untamed heart and primal instincts.

Today I am comforted by the wisdom in Rumi's ecstatic poetry. . . .

Love came, and became like blood in my body.
It rushed through my veins and encircled my heart.
Everywhere I looked, I saw one thing.

Love's name written. . . .   
on my limbs, on my left palm, on my forehead,
on the back of my neck, on my right big toe. . . . 

Oh, my friend, all that you see of me
is just a shell, and the rest belongs to love. . . . 

Mawlana Jalal Al-Din Al-Rumi
Philosopher, Sage & Sufi Saint

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm back. . . .

I took a longer break than planned - figured turning 55 was a good enough reason to return " ) we shall see. . . .

Time to reflect and recollect - especially on the blessings and challenges in our lives.  Seasons and occasions have an energy and a feeling to them and whether we realize it or not, we too are affected by this. 

We celebrate and prepare for birthdays and holidays in different ways.  Birthdays are occasion to celebrate new things, new beginnings, birth and rebirth - promise come to fruition. . . .or not.  

Half a year  has gone by since my surgery and at 55 I can gratefully laugh that other than this I am in perfect health.  Yet my body has changed dramatically.  One thing I noticed is that my processing, though more heightened in sensitivity, is slower and less efficient in unfolding - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. 

All too often in the daily grind of our lives we forget ourselves.  We are so immersed in the mundane world - doing our lives as ordinary human beings - we have become so removed from the fact that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience. 

This world that we think of as so real and tangible is in fact transitory and an illusion of our own creation.