Staffrm Transfer 14 – Jane Eyre Part 2, Wellbeing Digimeet, Jukebox June, Destiny, Food Meditation.

Jane Eyre Part 2

#womened

Lena Carter · 6 months ago

Last weekend I went to see the amazing National Theatre production of Jane Eyre. I have already written about it here staffrm.io/@lenabellina/gUueiq…

But for #womenedwednesday, I wanted to write another short thought burst.

Jane has been described as a feminist icon, a girl and woman who shows outstanding resilience and achieves success against the odds. The play version opens and closes with the line “it’s a girl” the first time heralding Jane’s birth and the second the birth of her daughter.

Jane’s story gives hope to women everywhere that they can challenge convention and find contentment if they follow their hearts. There is no convenient marriage to a pastor for her because she refuses to compromise and accept less than she will be satisfied with.

However, the story gives hope to men everywhere too. I read the book of Jane Eyre aged 13 and cannot remember my reaction back then to Mr Rochester. Possibly the play version portrays him in a way that the book does not. But in watching the play, I felt equally inspired by his story as by Jane’s because he too fights against convention and shows a vulnerability that must have been uncommon for a man of his era. He is certainly flawed and has made some potentially catastrophic mistakes in his life. Possibly the hardest to forgive is his attempt to marry Jane without telling her about his marriage to Bertha and were it not for the subsequent reversal of fortunes, we may judge him rather more harshly.

But as it is, he is presented as a sensitive, vulnerable and above all loving man who breaks the mould of masculinity, recognises his flaws and follows his heart.

Yes, then, in Jane Eyre we find a female role model who shows

strength and fights to become all she can be. But we also get a glimpse of the type of man who will support a women in that fight and allows her to be the passionate, flawed and authentic.

That’s pretty #heforshe if you ask me.

Oh crikey, is it my turn?

#wellbeingdgmeet

Lena Carter · 6 months ago

#wellbeingdgmeet

So first of all, I have to say that I am pretty amazed to see my name in the line-up of people contributing to today’s incredible wellbeing digimeet, organised by my heroine @cerasmusteach‍

(Imposter Syndrome addressed and quickly moves on.)

I write a lot about wellbeing. Teacher, pupil, parent, mine. I know a lot about it. I have experienced a lack of wellbeing for parts of my life and witnessed the same in many others.

I have regained wellbeing and helped others to do that too.

I have talked a lot, trained a lot and I can produce initiatives with the best of them.

This was a good one:

staffrm.io/@lenabellina/Qr1Wl1…

And this was another:

staffrm.io/@lenabellina/Y6JP80…

And this, just this week, got a lot of positive feedback:

lenabellina.wordpress.com/2017…

Last year I got really engaged over mental health and stigma:

lenabellina.wordpress.com/2016…

In fact, most of my blog posts relate to wellbeing initiatives in some form or another.

But here’s the thing.

Initiatives don’t get the job done. It is the spirit and culture in your school that matter. It is your behaviour that matters.

A year ago I wrote a post about the things we need to consider, if we choose to take on the huge responsibility and great honour of shaping the lives of children.

Today, I adapt this slightly and offer you my humble opinion on the five key questions to which we need to be able to answer “yes”, if we are to help create a genuine culture of wellbeing in our schools.

1. Do you like children and are you able to love each one as if they were related to you and may rely on you to be their turnaround adult?

2. Are you self-aware and self-reflective and have you worked on your own mental wellbeing?

3. Are you trauma-informed and do you understand that your behaviour can impact on the mental health of others?

4. Are you genuine in your belief that recovery is possible and that showing vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but of strength?

5. Do you take time to listen when someone asks “can I talk to you?” or look for the signs that they want to talk but perhaps can’t?

Life is complex. But that is its simplicity. If we understand that, we can experience and promote wellbeing.

Life is not perfect. Bad things happen as well as amazing things and we can’t always control events around us. There are good feelings as well as bad. But we can have control over our thoughts and our actions if we work together to understand, deeply, who we are.

We need to encourage children to see this. We need to talk about it and help them to live with complexity. Not to scare them, not to induce anxiety. But to prepare them for life and to help them understand what awaits them.

#JukeboxJuneHT plus one

#wellbeing

Lena Carter · 5 months ago

On Saturday I stood in a park and had my faith in humanity and the world completely restored.

Music is an incredible tool that can connect us on a deep spiritual and archetypal level with others. Those of us who took part in @HealthyToolkitHT’s #JukeboxJuneHT will know this.

For an hour and three quarters on Saturday I danced, sang, wept and connected as Green Day shared songs of hurt, hope, loss and love.

Billy Joe Armstrong reminded us of why he is truly a legend; he inspired the crowd to sing along and to join him in demanding “no racism, no sexism, no homophobia…” and more. He spoke of the magic and strength of London and the need to stay positive after the recent atrocities. And he encouraged us to put down our phones and live in the moment.

Perhaps his strongest message came when he pointed out how all of our lives our messy and difficult but that we can overcome the difficulties by sharing and connecting with one another and celebrating the magic of life.

In the incredibly beautiful “Ordinary World”, we hear the question

“Where can I find the city of shining light

In an ordinary world?”.

London was that city on Saturday and the music and connection made it so.

It was the best start to a holiday ever.

Destiny

#wellbeing

Lena Carter · 5 months ago

So Prince William is going to “embrace his destiny”, give up flying air ambulances and commit himself full-time to royal duties at the age of thirty five, according to BBC radio 4’s Today programme.

What a loaded phrase. I rather like it. Perhaps it would make a good school motto: “Embracing our destinies together”.

But what would it really mean?

What was the destiny of that babe born with blue blood? To become King? To experience the breakdown of his parents’ marriage? To fly an air ambulance? To lose his mother at a tragically young age? To become an advocate for mental health awareness?

What is my destiny? What is yours? What is the destiny of the next pupil you will teach?

To be anyone, go anywhere, do anything?

I was determined not to become a teacher. My parents and aunt had been and I grew up knowing the reality of the job and the strains and stresses that go with it.

But maybe it was determined that I would become a teacher because of my nature and nurture.

When I’m feeling tired or low, I slip into trying to believe that there is something pre-determined for me, in the stars, decided by some celestial force.

Alternatively, I find myself tempted to assign determination to my genes, an inalterable DNA road-map that I won’t be able to re-write.

It would be easier that way; to be able to relinquish responsibility and to deny that I can do anything about it.

But I know, once I have shaken off my fatigue, that I have and can make choices. That even when things are difficult, I can find ways to achieve them. That even when my mindset is causing me problems, I can find ways to shift it and get back on track.

For the last couple of weeks, I have felt like turning my back on education. I have felt like a victim, not a saviour. I had lost some of my enthusiasm. Maybe that is just a natural part of being a teacher on holiday; a part of the period of introspection referred to in this wonderful article: www.tes.com/news/school-news/b…

But the enthusiasm has returned now.

My destiny is to help children and young people embrace theirs.

I can’t wait to get back at it.

Food meditation

#appetiteaugustht

Lena Carter · 4 months ago

I have written this as part of @HealthyToolkit’s August focus on food and eating.

It is a variation on a mindfulness meditation and may be useful if you  are struggling to manage your relationship with food or hunger.

Notice how you feel. Are you hungry? Do you know what for?

Is the hunger in your stomach? In your mouth? In your mind? Breathe and hold the feeling. Think about what you need in order to feel satisfied. Do you know?

Take a fresh pea pod. Hold it in your fingers. Look at the imperfections on the outside of the pod and then split it open. See the bright, fresh green of the perfectly shaped peas and take a moment to breathe. Marvel at the sheer magic of a world that can create those peas. Slowly take one of the peas and put it in your mouth. Explore the shape, the texture and then bite on it and notice the flavour. Can you taste it? Maybe not.

Chew, breathe and then take another, maybe two or three together if you like. Notice how they taste, how they feel.

Breathe, notice and focus on what you are feeling and thinking in this moment.

Notice how you feel. Are you hungry? Do you know what for?

Is the hunger in your stomach? In your mouth? In your mind? Breathe and hold the feeling. Think about what you need in order to feel satisfied. Do you know?

Take a wrapped sweetie. Hold it in your fingers. Look at the colours and designs on the outside of the wrapper and open it. See the sweetie inside and and take a moment to breathe. Marvel at the sheer magic of a world that can create that sweetie. Slowly take the sweetie and put it in your mouth. Explore the shape, the texture and then bite on it and notice the flavour. Can you taste it? Maybe not.

Chew, breathe and then unwrap another sweetie, maybe two or three together if you like. Notice how they taste, how they feel.

Breathe, notice and focus on what you are feeling and thinking in this moment.

Neither the peas nor the sweeties are “better” foods in this moment. Neither food is a reward or something you have deserved. They are both there for you to taste, to enjoy or not to enjoy. They are both marvellous creations from this marvellous world.

But neither the peas nor the sweeties are as marvellous as you are.

Take a breath. Notice how that make you feel. Neither the peas nor the sweeties are as marvellous as you are.

Notice how you feel. Are you hungry? Do you know what for?

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