Friday, June 29, 2007


I live a life that is blessed.

I am grateful. I am not sure where this huge "Thank You" is directed (God, karma, myself) but it surges through me constantly in deep gratitude and awe. I know that I have worked extremely hard to find the peace that I now enjoy but that does not diminish the desire to ponder the path that has brought me here. I have spent quite a bit of my life happy in one respect while unhappy in other. Lately, I am happy all around.

There's nothing you can do that's more important than being fulfilled.

You become a sign, you become a signal,

transparent to transcendence;

in this way you will find, live,

and become a realization of your own personal myth.

-Joseph Campbell in Pathways to Bliss

This past week has been a time of endings and new beginnings.

I completed my 11th year of teaching on Wednesday. Teaching is true bliss for me. I may sometimes head off to work at 6:00 AM exhausted and wishing I didn't have to go to work, that I could stay in bed for just a little longer but once I see the children with their unbridled enthusiasm running up to greet me, smiling, full of stories I forget everything else but tuning into what they have to tell me. This is where I belong. It was difficult to end this school year, it always is. While others count down the days with anticipation, I count down the days with dread. I do not want to let go of the children I have grown to love.

This school year we really took advantage of NYC; four trips to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, two to the Whitney Museum, six trips to Central Park, three to Madison Square Park for their fantastic summer show series for kids, a water park and exploring the neighborhood around our school.

Student interest led to an in-depth exploration of Greek Mythology that I found SO amazing. On the last day of school the father of one of our students thanked me for all I did and related a story to me. It seems that he has some friends with a young boy the same age as his son. His friends like to brag about the knowledge their son has and how smart he is - to which the father of the boy in my class just listens. He refuses to compete. However, last weekend his son was talking about the show he was going to be in about The Trojan War and that he was playing Odysseus. He rattled off the story of The Odyssey, characters, events, etc. His father told me that he secretly relished their amazement at the fact that his son learned all of this in first grade. For the time being they were speechless. I got a kick out of that story.

On Tuesday I completed my 8th doctoral class, Curriculum Models: Bilingual/ESL Programs. So I am now slightly more than half way to checking off the Dr. box on a standard form. The class really kicked my ass but in the end I kicked right back. The instructor thanked me for taking the class because she learned so much from me! Thankfully I felt the same way, meaning I too learned so much.

Those were endings. A beginning came on Wednesday (directly following my last day of teaching the little ones) when I went to teach the big ones. I started teaching a college course entitled Reading Skills for Children with Learning Disabilities for Cohort 8 of the Hello Friend/Ennis William Cosby Young Readers at Risk program. Saying that I am thrilled to be part of this program and to be teaching such an incredible group of educators is an understatement. It fills me. I have found my bliss and I appreciate the opportunity to share what I know with them. And proud to realize that I know quite a bit.


Squirrel said...

you are a truly wonderful man. i am lucky to know you.

lettuce said...

it does sound like a wonderful life Gary.

you do sound like a wonderful man.


(nice header too)

Reya Mellicker said...

You know what? Your life really IS blessed. How great that you can recognize and appreciate it, that you know how hard you've worked to get to where you are, and you know how lucky you are, too. Wow!!

I'm so thrilled to be your friend. What a GREAT post. FABULOUS art and the notes from the kids are just so perfect, too! Happy weekend, blissful one!

Pod said...

why did you take them to the whitney houston museum? and why did you take them again!?
are you crazy?
i like the cookie jar

Christopher said...

May the happiness continue & be infinite!

I LOVE the artwork..don't those letters from the kids just kill you?...I'd be a mess!


Joy said...

Sweetie, you know We're All Blessed with Something And in 15 days we'll both be blessed with MEXICO! Wheee!

Gary said...

Squirrel - Thanks. Likewise I'm sure (except the man part).

Lettuce - Thanks. The header was made for my by Cade in Australia. I love how blogging brings us all together.

Reya - Thrilled to be your friend as well. Our minds are in really got this.

Podman - I know but they really love The Greatest Love of All and as they are the future I had to do what they wanted. I'm not getting any younger.

Clever - They do kill me! The handwriting, the spelling, all of it together makes me a mess for sure.

Baby girl - right back at ya!

Patricio Schmidt said...

Gary, thanks for stoping by my blog, your place is very interesting too, You know I like NY, is very different from the place I live, I live in the countryside outside Santiago, the capital of chile.
I travel a lot shooting commercials, and I`, doing a shortfilms that starts precisely in NY, it is the real story of a Kawesqar, an soutern indian of patagonia that decides to return to the south..
Greetings from the south of the planet

marxsny said...

When you spend your life working as hard as you do, you soon come to realize that "luck" has very little to do with the success/achievement equation. I'm glad we agreed on the rephrasing. ;-)

florecita said...

Hi Gary, yes you are blessed with your life and your dedication to children. You are an inspiration too! I am a dance movement therapist, and I work with children with special needs like autism, microcefaly and so... and its a blessing to look at God's eyes everyday at work.

Greetings from Santo Domingo!

MONA said...

This is so wonderful. to be able to do what one loves. & yes it rulfills you like no other thing! It is like living your love out!

The letters you recieve must be such a joy! You send love & so you recieve it! It is not just given, it is well earned. What is given can be taken away, but what is earned shall be forever yours!

Dumdad said...

It's uplifting to read a post about someone who is so happy in what they are doing. Children are the future and what you teach them today will stay with them for always.

I look forward to reading more of your blog.

Great header too. I'm trying to add a photo to my own but the bloody thing won't line up properly!

Gary said...

Patricio - The photos on your blog are quite stunning. I advise everyone to go and check out the whale pics!

Mark - You are right, what is luck anyway? Preparing for opportunities when they come along? Being ready or in tune? Making things happen?

Florecita - Well said "It's a blessing to look at God's eyes everyday at work". Thanks for stopping by! I am honored.

Mona - Forever poetic. You can't help yourself. :)

Dumdad - Click on the link I have on my sidebar for Cade and shoot him an email. He asked me to spread the word and is happy to help with banners. I'm sure he could figure out your sizing issue. BTW, great blog. I'll keep checking it out.

Pod said...

ah, i see. i get it now......good thinking

la bellina mammina said...

Hi - I came over from Lettuce. WOW! I'm so impressed and happy to have come across your blog.

MONA said...

Hi Gary! :) :)

Happy Independence Day to you & all the lovely young darlings out there!

I just love that cookie jar & The artwork of the young artist.Not to forget the smart retort :D

Have Fun!! & this time & have 'normal post' not poetry out there! :)

Junk Thief said...

I suspect the people that know you are as blessed as you are. Your posts are always so upbeat and touching. I love the kids' artwork too. It reminds me of the line in "Six Degrees of Separation" where the art teacher says that the trick to having students be great artists is "knowing when to take their work away from them." I'll miss seeing the work through the summer.

WAT said...

Every time I come to this blog I leave feeling more inspired and joyous than when I first came to it. So yes, I too shall declare that I have a wonderfu life as well and am grateful to be here.

Thank you G.

Gary said...

La Bellina - Thanks for stopping by. You are always welcome!

Junk Thief - You know I often think about that quote but could never recall how I knew it. Thanks.

Wat - You leave me speechless (or wordless?) Thanks.


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