Archive for the ‘teaching’ Tag

I just reviewed Elizabeth Warren’s book, Persist   2 comments

No doubt there will be those who refuse to read Warren’s book believing that they already know what she will say and that they won’t like it. What a shame to miss out on this well-wrought memoir of a woman who has experienced so many of life’s contingencies. From impediments to education for reason of financial difficulties to creating a successful plan to accomplish the goal; from refusal of a place at the legal table for reason of gender to loss of a teaching job for reason of pregnancy. From almost making it to the presidential nomination to following through on plans through her position in the Senate.  From recognizing (p. 167) that “You can’t fix a problem you can’t see,” through seeing the problem, proposing a plan, and acting on it.

If you are old enough to remember the days when you could be denied access to a job because of being a woman, or be removed from a teaching job so students won’t have to witness the “show” of your pregnancy, then you’ll get some of the “I’ve been there” feeling. Or maybe you’re young enough that you never had to imagine such a situation.  Either way, you will be exposed to situations you will not experience. And one page will draw you on in fascination to the next. In other words, If this were a novel rather than a memoir there would be raves for a fascinating story .

WHAT AM I TELLING MYSELF?   1 comment

When it comes to the big things, I don’t make decisions. I’ve found that I give myself clues to my direction by watching what I do. For example, when I buy a car (every 12 years or so) I don’t decide, “Oh, it’s time to get a new car,” Well, that’s not quite true, when I traded in my Starion in 2002 it was because it needed expensive repair for the first time in its some 16 years. But when I bought the Starion I realized that I’d been looking at automobile ads with special interest for some time. “Aha!” I said to me, “there must be a reason why you’re doing this. I guess it’s time to buy a new car.”

And then there’s moving, as in leaving Connecticut for Minnesota. Oh, I had done a lot of spadework – even bought a house here and rented it under control of a leasing agent. But it was 2:00 a.m. one April morning that I said to myself, “OK. I’m moving in November or December.” I started telling my clients that I’d be leaving. That’s when I learned that things can move pretty fast with a deadline. I also told potential clients my plan, offering to give them a referral if they wanted longer-term work. Only one person asked for a referral. One potential client even said, “Good. I hate psychologists anyway.” We did get things done in a hurry. On her way out of our last session she thanked me for being the only therapist who ever helped because “You tell it like it is.” (If you know me personally and want to ask in private, I’ll tell you how that worked.)

Then there was the move out of that first Minnesota home. Partly it was my own behavior, and partly it was the snow and ice that clogged my garage door at the bottom of the steep driveway. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” I thought, “just to see what’s available around here.” Smart real estate agent. She knew better than I did what I wanted. In no time at all I had made a deposit on my current home and sold my ice collector. I love it here.

But here’s my question. What am I telling myself now? In the past three days I’ve stuffed my recycling bin with the contents of twenty business-size three-ring notebooks and purchased $32.00 worth of shredding. Gone are my teaching notes and materials for the workshops I used to do on “Forgiveness,” “A Healthy Woman is a Crazy Person,” and “Stress.” Am I subconsciously planning to move? I don’t think so. Am I accepting that I’m retired enough that I can spend my time hanging out with good books and traveling? It’s a possibility. Am I clearing a path for more devotion to writing? It could be. Is some new career creeping up on me? Maybe.

As soon as I know the answer, I’ll let you know, whether you ask for it or not.

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