"Finding Bright Spots" Photo Taken by Dana Cope on Finnell Road in Yountville, CA
In search for my morning bright spots I came across the Audrey Hepburn quote, "Nothing is Impossible, The Word Itself Says 'I'm Possible'!"
It reminded me of this photo that was taken in 2009 by my friend Patti Wessman of our dear friend, Ruben Godinez. Ruben was one of the first artists that worked with us when we were creating an art integration program at Salvador Elementary School. I was able to see the impact he had on students each day, but it was during my visit to his studio, where I was taken by his portrait of Audrey Hepburn.
Since Ruben's passing, this photo has hung in my room as a reminder of the impact that one person can have on our lives. Ruben inspires me to live authentically and reminds me how using imagination and creativity can make what seems, impossible, possible!
This bright spot was created using Audrey Hepburn's quote, Patti's photo, and Ruben's portrait in a free photo editing website called Be Funky. Thank you Ruben. Thank you Patti. Thank you Audrey Hepburn. Thank you Be Funky. :) To find more bright spots please visit our Finding Bright Spots page.
When I woke up on election day, I felt a deep wave of change that was upon us. I have felt this wave before as my life has been a journey filled with dark times. During these times, I have questioned my own survival and wondered if I could possibly go on in a world that hurts so much. I now understand that going through these dark periods has given me the ability to see strengths where most see challenges and the ability to see bright spots where most feel lost in darkness.
I have learned that in order for me to see the light, I have to be committed to my practice of staying balanced. This helps me to not react and be fearful of the stories that darkness can bring to me. Also, learning to listen to my body has been important, as well as finding strategies to regulate and calm me when my body begins to feel a wave forming beneath my feet.
On this election day, feeling the tide coming in, I read through my Buddha Doodles by Molly Hahn. I then looked through pictures of my loved ones. These "Velcro Moments" help me see the connections and light when I feel a cloud of darkness surrounding me. I also had the opportunity to participate in an amazing guided meditation titled, "Accepting Change" by Sarah Blondin. Westwood Hills beckoned me to explore with my beloved dog, Bow. So quiet and peaceful with the brilliant sun shining upon us, we enjoyed the sights, smells, and sounds of nature. At that moment we were fine. All was well and as I write this, the same is true. Staying in the moment is the key to learning, growing, and moving forward.
Before I knew the results of the election, I felt compelled to write this. After I wrote it, I asked myself if I would feel the same way, if the candidate I voted for won or lost. Looking it over today I can say, "Yes, I feel the same."
Today is November 8, 2016, election day in the United States of America. It is the culmination of a race that has been driven by fear and worry about our future. In order for change to happen, a glass ceiling must be broken. As I reflect on this presidential race, both republicans and democrats have chosen candidates that have defied tradition which open us up to new possibilities for the future. As women we can now see ourselves as a part of the dream of holding the highest office in the United States of America. We have also seen through this election that it is possible to run for president even if politics was not your chosen career path.
Breaking a glass ceiling moves us into an unknown way of being in the world where we seek predictable patterns for comfort. Our mind attempts to understand and make sense of change so it looks for the predictable, even if it is not happy with it. When we realize that falling apart must happen for growth and movement forward, we can change our perspective from seeing change as something to fear, but instead as something that is an inevitable part of life.
It makes me think of the writing process. Once a draft is completed it is often difficult to imagine it being different, because it is done and seemingly complete. Sometimes, though, our document doesn't save and we are forced to start again. After the panic subsides, the work of rewriting can begin which often leads to new ideas that wouldn't have been a part of the original work. That is what this election is bringing forward.
When we surrender to what is out of our control, we can then observe the light and dark moments that come forward in times of great change. All may not see it yet, but start observing and noticing, you will be surprised to see the small positive shifts that are happening around you. Yes, there will be darkness, but deliberately shift your focus to the bright spots that surface. When you find them in places that you wouldn't have expected, gratitude will fill your heart. These moments in time help us to trust in the journey and the love that connects us all together.
What I am learning is that I cannot control what is happening in the world beyond me. Trying to do this only ends up hurting me and does not change the reality of what is. But I can choose the perspective I take on how I interpret the changes I am seeing. I choose to reflect on past experiences where I was sure darkness would prevail, but to my surprise life moved on and light emerged despite my fear that darkness would persist into eternity.
Can you think of a time in the past where you were sure darkness would prevail, but light emerged?
I have found that choosing to see the light that comes from darkness and embracing change with love and not fear allows my imagination to dream big! There are many pathways to a desired destination. We don't all have to agree on one, but together we can see these unsettling times as opportunities to examine our systems and make changes that will support us all.
From my perspective, I see two parties that have broken through a glass ceiling which is a shift that connects the two parties together. The system has been shaken up so it can change and evolve which will inevitably impact and further our progress together as a nation. I choose optimism. I choose to believe in the inherent goodness of life and the universe. Please join me. Together we can make what seems impossible, possible!
Recently I was asked why we have chosen a purple heart shaped stress ball as one of the symbols to represent the work of Cope Consulting LLC. Purple is my son, Jack Roy's favorite color. Every time I see the color of purple, I am reminded of the love I have for him and all that he teaches me each day. Purple also stands for a sensitive understanding and compassionate love of yourself which needs to happen first before you are able to share that same love and understanding with others.
When you squeeze the heart, it offers a reminder that compassionate love and understanding for yourself conquers fear. Fear of change and fear of failure often holds us back from changing systems that aren't working for us. Squeezing the purple heart helps us to quiet down the voices of our worries so we can notice the new door that is opening for us. As we gain the courage to walk through, we see the possibilities that await us. It is at that moment where love conquers fear! We know that we are not alone because change is coming from a place of love and we can trust that we will meet people along the way that will support us through this time. Together, we can make what seems impossible, possible!
Learning how to regulate our emotions is a critical skill that can help us in all areas of our life. We cannot control things that happen to us or the actions of others, but we can learn strategies to control and calm our reactions to them. The earlier we are able to practice and learn this important skill the better. Often when we help our youth to develop tools for self-regulation, it improves our ability to do this as we navigate our relationships with other adults.
At school and home we can develop a framework that encourages children to notice and name their feelings which then lays the foundation for this important skill. Using favorite characters in children's areas of interest, makes this work meaningful for them. Once children know how to name their feelings, they can then develop a toolbox of calming strategies that can help to bring them back to balance.
Please visit our Self-Regulation for Success Page for some resources to support your work in teaching and developing these skills in the classroom or as a family at home.
Dana Cope, President of Cope Consulting LLC is taking the leap from Summit Center to focus on her educational consulting practice full-time. Summit Center was her first experience working as a consultant in the private sector after spending 20 years as an educator within the public school system. She is appreciative of all that she has learned and the connections she has made during her collaborative partnership with Summit Center. If you would like to contact Dana, you can visit her website at www.danacopeconsulting.com or email her at email@example.com
Cope Consulting will have a table at this NVUSD event on Saturday, April 16 that celebrates all of the resources our community has to offer. Together We Can Make What Seems Impossible, Possible! Please stop by and say hello.