• Dorothy Vaandering

At this time... (4) Looking at myself in the 'mirror'

Updated: May 26

"At This Time..." - A Blog Series (Pt 4)

Life is all about relationships. What is different now is that the quality of those relationships is magnified, and includes either consciously or subconsciously, being jolted into reflecting on my relationship with myself. When this happens, I don’t really like what I see because I have lost/avoided connection with myself in the busyness of pre-pandemic life and I’m beginning to question who I am or what I believe. As I pose the questions for the variety of situations I now find myself in-- What is happening? What am I thinking/feeling? What do I need?, and then add What’s the hardest/best thing about this? What impact is this having on me/others? -- though hopeful for clarity, I am also nervous my answers might uncover more uncertainty.

However, at this time, this also reflects back to me that reconnecting with myself is a critical first step if I don’t want to create conflict by blaming and expecting far more from others than is reasonable and if I want to contribute to re-imaging a ‘new’ way of being for the world, education, health care, our families, etc. If I want to live in hope, that place where joy meets struggle (Palmer, 2017),I know I need to get used to applying the restorative justice framework questions first to myself and how I am thinking and feeling.

Having a conversation with myself is a visible, concrete action/practice that can bring me back to how I am living out my beliefs about humanity about my own worth and interconnectedness. Am I honouring myself? Or measuring myself? When I look in the mirror do I berate myself and tell myself I am ugly, impatient, selfish, slow, incompetent,… or do I look and say, “Dorothy, you did a good job of staying focussed today; great decision to go for a walk …”

The invitation: find one challenge to face and one accomplishment to celebrate and apply the framework questions adding two more to those introduced in the previous blog in conversation with yourself (in your journal, on a walk and talk, or in the locked bathroom🙂) :

Next blog: What do I need to do to make this better? … and What’s this got to do with restorative justice education?