On Thursday evening, I took part in a Conference of Independent Schools (CIS Ontario) Women’s Network event. This network was set up to unite and connect women from CIS Ontario schools, and to provide participants with opportunities to meet new people, make networking connections, and have meaningful conversations about their careers.
The event on Thursday, facilitated by Alive Outdoors owner Jalynn Bosley, was described as an evening that would be “low key.” I was very close to opting out after a day of Zoom meetings but am glad I didn’t. The hour and a half reminded me that as women and educators we must practice what we preach: find time for ourselves to reflect, to celebrate authenticity and risk-taking, and to support each other during times of challenge.
The event was wonderfully low key. We were provided with five writing prompts, three minutes to respond to each, and then time in breakout rooms to share our responses if we wished. At the outset of the evening session, I wondered whether I had it in me to reflect, write, and articulate my feelings; but these prompts were catalysts for reflection. As I reread my responses this weekend, it was clear to me that I had needed the time- not just for the writing, company, and conversation, but to take stock of where I was after a year of “shifting”, “pivoting”, “iterating”, and dealing with “unprecedented” times.
Below are two of my reflections with the prompt in bold.
I am holding a space for hope. I am reminding myself that regardless of the ups and downs, the frustrations and the unknowns, hope is a beacon to which I must turn. I am holding a space for hope because it keeps my eyes looking forward, my mind optimistic, and my belief strong. I am holding a space for hope because it sustains me and keeps me from yearning for completion even while knowing that I will get to a better place as will those around me. I am holding a space for hope because hope is good.
I have changed my mind about many things. I have reframed decisions, opinions, assumptions, and perspectives. I have challenged myself to let go of certainty, to reflect, to learn and seek new learning. I have changed my mind about changing my mind. To articulate uncertainty, to express vulnerability is to grow stronger. To accept this of others is equally important. Rigidity causes breaks, flexibility allows for stretching.
Other prompts included I am forgiving myself for; Honestly, I just want to say; and I am strong because.
Regardless of whether we feel like it’s the right time or not, taking time for reflection is important. I invite you to find time to consider the prompts above to take stock of where you are.