To My Readers

by Zhenya

Dear Readers,

You have probably noticed my silence over the last two months or so. Precisely, for the last 11 weeks. These have been really hard weeks for me. I lost a very dear person. A person I grew up with, a person who taught me a great deal about this life, whom I called daily or almost daily no matter how far from home I traveled. Someone I miss dearly. My Grandmother. RIP…

Immediately after that my Dad had to undergo a heart surgery, followed by another one within four weeks’ time. He is now back home, feeling considerably better.

I am sharing this with you because I need to. I am just not able to continue writing about the professional development and trainer reflections unless I process this part of my life, and what it taught me. Or changed in me. Or is the perceived change already a part of our learning?..

I think (I hope!) I became more attentive and caring to the people around me, my family and friends. I wonder if they noticed any changes. I started to consciously work on mindfulness practices (wanted to write ‘skills’), and the 6 weeks on the course called ‘Mindfulness for Well-Being and Peak Performance’ (with FutureLearn) brought some peace of mind to me.

The key learning for me was understanding that our curiosity to various aspects of life can be cultivated and developed into ‘deliberate attitude’. Also, that acceptance (of anything life offers), non-attachment (to opinions and ideas) and presence of mind form a ‘magic recipe’ for leading a more engaging (engaged!) life. Moment by moment. One at a time…

Inspired by the course, I took part in a running race in my native city in Ukraine. (Yes, I know, might sound strange to find any connection). Even though the race result was really far from winning (in fact, I was way closer to the end of the rating chart), even though it was just 7 kilometers, I felt much better on many levels. Alive. Alert. Happy?

And professionally? I wrote a post for iTDI Reflective Practice as a Way of Life (and felt endlessly grateful to the Editor helping me to make the meaning of my sentences more clear to the readers, at the time when neither L1 not L2 writing I produced could be comprehensible…)

This summer is quiet: I am not on a training course (which feels unusual). I am in my home city for the time being (another unusual thing about this time of the year). At the same time, things are progressing well: working on a couple of curriculum development projects internationally, started a couple of local projects on my own – so hope to share some ideas here in the near future. I remember about the promise to write more about the TESOL Convention 2016 I attended in April — and am still intended to so in the future. Those reflections will be more distant, but relevant, personal and meaningful to me. Hopefully, still interesting to read for you.

I am feeling grateful, actually: for the family and friends around me, for the work I am able to do, for the professional connections I am re-discovering and for the pleasure of writing these words in this space.

Thank you for reading (almost typed ‘listening’). I hope that things are going well in your parts of the world, in your families. I am wishing us all strength, courage and wisdom!