Category: teaching

life is a spell so exquisite, everything conspires to break it.

life is a spell so exquisite, everything conspires to break it.

| January 18, 2016 | 5 Replies

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., here is a letter I wrote to myself in the fall.  _________ 22 October 2015 dear Hannah, Please remember the day you bought this card. It was July, and you were picking up gifts for Greg & Jamaica to thank them for Company. The colors of life had looked […]

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the kindness of Kim

the kindness of Kim

| March 8, 2015 | 6 Replies

The day I heard of Kim’s passing, I rode my bike to the beach and let the wind chill the tears on my cheeks. The pain came over me in waves all week long. I know her children far better than I knew Kim herself, and my heart ached to think of Sage, Lila, and Toby motherless. […]

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back-to-transformation

back-to-transformation

| September 26, 2014 | 9 Replies

September turns my heart to school. Not just the school where I teach now, but all the schools I’ve taught in and all the schools I’ve attended. In August, sales circulars paint a perennial picture of rosy cheeks, pigtails, and shiny lunchboxes. I appreciate pretty folders and fresh pens as much as the next person […]

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restoration: part one

restoration: part one

| August 16, 2014 | 3 Replies

In May of 2013, I unwittingly lost a glove from my bike basket on my ride to yoga class. When I discovered my loss, I stood in the yoga studio holding the lonely leftie, thinking how good and serviceable those gloves had been over many years. One glove was little use without the other. On my […]

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the intersecting space

the intersecting space

| May 12, 2014 | 4 Replies

When Cora asked me to help with Girls Group, I almost said no. For one thing, I earn money by teaching after-school yoga classes and voice lessons. Cora and her cohorts graciously offered to schedule the high school girls’ art group for my one free afternoon of the week, but I worried about missing an […]

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after the burning

after the burning

| May 6, 2014 | Reply

Here’s the guest post I wrote for my friend Catherine’s blog: some of the gifts of this challenging year in Wichita. http://catherineannehawkins.com/hannahs-in-between-guest-post/ Special thanks to James Nedresky for permission to use this photograph. Find many other breathtaking images of the prairies at his websites: http://www.jnedreskyprairie.com http://blog.jamesnedresky.com/?p=138

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wedding dresses and windows

wedding dresses and windows

| March 14, 2014 | 2 Replies

When you find your wedding dress, you want to feel beautiful. You want Yes to bubble up from the depths of your being. You want to hear trumpet fanfare as you meet your own eyes in the mirror. Alas, I was in too much pain to conjure fanfare that March morning in 2013. My body had […]

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stay in tune (and other love advice from children)

stay in tune (and other love advice from children)

| February 14, 2014 | 4 Replies

Stuart the duck perched atop the valentine David made. I walked into the kitchen this morning to find all three of them (Stuart, the valentine, and David) grinning brightly at me. David and I like to make each other cards. Call it creative or call it frugal; it’s our tradition. Weeks ago we agreed to […]

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space for sadness

space for sadness

| February 11, 2014 | 8 Replies

Before I tell you about the gift I gave Laura, I should tell you about the gifts Laura gave me. A hug each time I passed in the hall. A raised hand for every question I asked in class. More songs than I can count: songs I taught her, songs she brought from home, songs […]

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conditions for joy

conditions for joy

| January 30, 2014 | 12 Replies

High time I fess up: my plan for the year failed. I came here with the dream of investing time in my writing: submitting essays, getting published. I knew that getting published is hard, but I didn’t fret: I can be persistent as a jackhammer. What I didn’t foresee was how disheartening the process would […]

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2013 Thanksgiving newsletter

2013 Thanksgiving newsletter

| December 2, 2013 | 10 Replies

It’s the second morning of December. True to form, I started a Thanksgiving newsletter before Thanksgiving but didn’t finish it in time. I’ve cherished grand ambitions about the scope and detail of the letter, but today I want to write something short and sweet. Today I want to write about the Christmas cactus in bloom, […]

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the winds of homecoming

the winds of homecoming

| November 22, 2013 | 3 Replies

Ah, not to be cut off, not through the slightest partition shut out from the law of the stars. The inner — what is it? if not intensified sky, hurled through with birds and deep with the winds of homecoming. (Rainer Maria Rilke) I fly above the broad waistline of the country on my way […]

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tree roots and laundry

tree roots and laundry

| November 13, 2013 | 1 Reply

My friend Ralph Eckhardt sent this picture the other day. He wrote, “I had just been thinking about your latest Breathe Deep and praying for you when I saw it, and it was a picture to me of how complicated life is that produces the wonder of who we are.” My mind keeps wandering back to […]

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groundlessness and tea

groundlessness and tea

| October 31, 2013 | 5 Replies

Waking up in the morning feels like the hardest thing I’ve ever done; maybe the hardest thing anybody has ever done. I might always feel this way in autumn, as darkness presses in from both sides. Our mornings spill over with common kindnesses. My husband lets me sleep twenty minutes more while he takes a […]

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not yet

not yet

| October 1, 2013 | 3 Replies

Two weeks ago I rode against the wind to teach my second yoga class at Truesdell Middle School. News flash, Toto: sometimes in Kansas, the wind blows really hard. At moments I wondered if I should get off my bike and walk. I pushed the pedals and the pedals pushed back. The river appeared to […]

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Hafiz, hula, and surrender

Hafiz, hula, and surrender

| September 18, 2013 | 14 Replies

So I’ve been teaching this yoga class. My beloved friend Jennie bequeathed it to me shortly after I met her, which was shortly after we moved to Wichita. (I showed up at her yoga studio, two hours later she came over for tea, I gave her granola, we went for a swim in the pool, […]

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dear Quentin

dear Quentin

| August 12, 2013 | 21 Replies

Dear Quentin, Happy August! I miss your songs and stories. Remember how we used to find luminous, common things on the playground at recess? I will always remember that. You are one of the best people I know at finding luminous, common things. I’m happy that you and your mom e-mailed me. You asked, “What […]

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how do you solve a problem like yourself?

how do you solve a problem like yourself?

| February 23, 2013 | 2 Replies

When I signed on to play Maria in The Sound of Music, the decision was a no-brainer. The iconic musical has been dear to my heart since age eleven, when my dad played Captain von Trapp and I played Louisa at the Aloha Theatre in Kainaliu, Hawaii. Six years ago I teamed up with my friend […]

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books were never the point

books were never the point

| February 16, 2013 | 4 Replies

Driving to Suzanne’s for Book Club took forty-five minutes longer than it should have. I suppose rush hour is as good a time as any to close down roads for snow removal. Silly Somerville. As we inched our way along the detour, a middle-aged man in a Eurovan kept bleating his horn. Oh, how we […]

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the blog entry I planned to write

the blog entry I planned to write

| December 14, 2012 | 3 Replies

The blog entry I planned to write today was about my lost earring, the silver flying pig earring that disappeared while we were in Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. I’ve had those earrings since my pig-collecting adolescence (inaugurated by my star-studded turn as Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web the Musical). I consider them lucky, mostly because I’ve held […]

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in pain’s classroom

in pain’s classroom

| December 8, 2012 | 8 Replies

The month of November was shrouded in misery. Did teaching feel impossible because I was sick all month or was I sick all month because teaching felt impossible? There were three consecutive colds (well, it might have been one long cold with two brief intermissions). My hips were sliding out of place every couple weeks. […]

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a lesson from Lydia

a lesson from Lydia

| October 29, 2012 | 4 Replies

This weekend I visited my family in Pennsylvania. I went down to see a CD release concert by Constant Recourse, Ben and Jess’s band. I went down to see their daughter Lydia, whose presence I’ve pined after since July. I went down for family dinners and walks with Mom. I went down to admire Dad’s […]

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trees, sparrows & jackhammers

trees, sparrows & jackhammers

| October 21, 2012 | 2 Replies

A few years back, I started walking the labyrinth at my school. In the midst of a bustling teaching day, taking ten minutes to walk and breathe feels courageous. It’s how I remind myself that presence is more essential to my students than productivity. I plod between painted lines on the cement patio, crunching leaves […]

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source

source

| September 19, 2012 | 2 Replies

In honor of the new school year, I offer an essay I wrote last spring at a writing retreat offered by The Sun. Thanks to the great Alison Luterman for the prompt; thanks to Elin’s mom Deb for the picture; thanks most of all to Elin for the inspiration. Six-year-old Elin has a new song to […]

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freedom of the blank page

freedom of the blank page

| September 9, 2012 | 1 Reply

I’ve filled up dozens of journals over the past twenty-ish years, and in the first entry of each one I’m inclined to write how lovely it feels to hold a book of blank pages in my hands. I like to wonder who I’ll be by the time I fill it up with words. No, that’s […]

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summer slips away

summer slips away

| August 26, 2012 | 8 Replies

I’ve been carrying the sadness of summer’s end on my shoulders like a shawl I’ll need in winter. More than any other season, summer intimates eternity: the long hours of light, the effortless warmth. More than any other season, summer seems to slip away before I’m ready. I gaze at the dying flowers on my […]

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messy desk zen

messy desk zen

| August 23, 2012 | 4 Replies

Today I will clean my desk. Since I live in a one-room studio, I endeavor to keep visible surfaces clutter-free. I rarely let my desk look the way it does right now. This morning I woke with my brain abuzz like a beehive, zipping through all I hope to accomplish before I go back to […]

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how to find your voice

how to find your voice

| July 4, 2012

Start as soon as you slide down the birth canal. Be loud and unaware. Alternate wailing with intent listening. Coo a little. Make all the sounds your body will muster. Be delighted. Pay close attention to those who listen to you and respond. If possible, store up their wonder for future nourishment. You’ll need it. […]

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