Sunday, February 26, 2017

Leading with Love vs. Breaking Spirits

There is an old-school philosophy summarized in the saying, “We need to break them down so we can build them back up.” It's common in the military and law enforcement and was common among horse trainers.  I've also seen it attempted by professors and romantic interests. The intention is to force the horse or individual to become "submissive" through heavy force, intimidation, fear, and punishment.

Fear vs. Love.

Rosbeth Moss Kanter is credited with saying, "Power may be defined as the ability to get things done," but I first heard it from one of my mentors, Mr. Cordova, a community organizing elementary school Principal. The quote resonated and helped me to de-stigmatize and de-mystify power. Zygmunt Bauman elaborated, "Power, in a nutshell, is the ability to get things done, and politics is the ability to decide which things need to be done."

As the rightful leader of your life, what's your go-to super-power - fear or love?

From Matthew 26:51-53: "But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest's slave, slashing off his ear. "Put away your sword," Jesus told him. "Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don't you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?

I believe that love is our greatest power. I have faith in our protection. I am full of power and I choose love over fear.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Publications, publications, publications

I love to investigate phenomena and write - it is one of the main reasons that I pursued a PhD and accepted an academic job. 

During the 5+ years that I worked on a PhD, I did not publish a single paper. I got close with one manuscript, which received a couple of "revise and resubmit" requests from a peer-reviewed journal. 

To be fair, in those five years I juggled co-parenting a teen as head of household, multiple part-time jobs, a separation and divorce, being a full-time student, and self-care. So I am not surprised that publications were not a priority. This limited options in my academic job search.

Now, I am making the time and creating the space to write - it is both a privilege and a pleasure.

Here is my productivity scorecard:

Publications
Acuña. A & Escudero, P. (2015). Helping those who come here alone. Phi Delta Kappan, 97, 42-45.

In press
Acuña, A. & Kataoka, S. (2017). Family Communication Styles and Resilience among Adolescents. Accepted by Social Work. 

Under review
Acuña, A. (2017). Back to Basics® Parenting Program in Urban Schools. 

In progress = 4+
Lessons Learned: Trauma Screening in Schools
The Challenges and Motivations for Academic Success Among Minority Male College Students
College Male Minority Mentoring: Interventions and Outcomes
Trauma-Informed Schools
Other papers in collaboration with mentors, colleagues or students

The milestones and expectations never end but I am lucky to be on this trajectory. I write to reflect on my goals and what I've accomplished. I write to de-mystify the process for anyone interested in pursuing this path. I write to inspire myself and others continually that it is possible - in fact, it is already happening.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Day 14!!

The 10-day sugar detox came and went and I am still going.

If it feels good, then why stop now?

I paired the detox with transcendental meditation (TM) twice a day for 20 minutes each. It was a one-two punch in my life. I feel clear, energized, focused, efficient, healthy, calm, creative and productive.

I am burning through my dream list of things to do. Things are falling into place everywhere - mind, body, spirit, work, home and relationships.

The research showing the impact of TM is compelling. It is deep rest that releases stress - both old and new - and rewires the brain. In this way, it is healing and makes space for incredible insights and creativity and energy.

Every year has a theme and this year my theme is a commitment to deep acts of self-love. Yes, life is supposed to feel this good.




Saturday, February 4, 2017

Day 6!

Today is Day 6 of my transcendental meditation practice (twice a day for 20 minutes) and of my sugar detox.

The two practices are complementing each other very well. While others in my sugar detox group complained about headaches and fatigue, I felt clear and energized. I think the TM helped.

I also think that paying attention to what I put in my body - not just sugar but what type of oils and other stuff - is helping my mind work better too.

Now I count the days but later I will lose track because I don't plan on quitting this good feeling.

Self-care is all about love. As babies, our caregivers took care of us and made sure we were safe, warm, fed and comfortable - that's how we survived. As adults, we are our own caregivers. And maybe we have to practice taking as good or better care of ourselves as our caregivers did.

I am committed to these acts of deep love - for myself and my daughter.

This week I gave my daughter the following rules:
1. Sleep at least 8 hours every night.
2. Eat breakfast everyday and take your supplements.
3. Do all your classwork and homework.
4. Feed the dog.
5. Clean up after you bake and pick up all your clothes from the floor.

I told her that I would take her phone away for the day (they are very attached) if she broke any of the rules. I also told her to make a list of possible rewards if she followed these rules for a month, six months and a year. She got very motivated.

My job is to love myself with my actions. I am her role model. My job is to teach her how to love herself with her actions. I do it because I love her. It is my joy to love her.