Through the Eyes of an Educator: Choosing You (be where your feet are)

by Stacey Ebert /
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Nov 07, 2022 / 0 comments

It’s arrived! That time of year where life feels like it’s full speed ahead and nonstop glitter-filled energy. The educational year is in its groove, every week there’s a game or a concert or a special event, and even taking a moment to find your own breath seemingly involves a calendar invitation. We’re officially in that final quarter of the year when resolution inklings creep in, ‘to do’ lists pile up, and many of us feel pulled in multiple directions. 

In these final months of the year, how do you tend to show up?

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Choosing You (be where your feet are)

The moment the autumnal equinox hits, life shifts. In most of the country, the winds begin to whip, leaves fall, and the hours of darkness elongate. Many find excitement in this change of seasons, the harvest time period, and the onset of the holiday everything. Others find this change cause for chaos, alarming the nervous system to feel overwhelmed with the frenetic onslaught of all things colliding. Whether you enjoy all the festivities, sparkle, and juggle that is November and December or feel like a novice tightrope walker without a net for that entire duration, we see you, we hear you; you’re not alone.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Choosing You (be where your feet are)

One of my friends waits with bated breath for this time of year. As soon as the clock strikes midnight on November 1st, her fall decorations are back in storage and her winter holiday ones appear in full force. Another friend retreats at this time of year – she struggles with difficult memories and loss and the reverie not only stings but unearths a trauma response. While there are many who count the days till the time of cookies, cheer, gatherings, abundance, and merriment, some feel trapped by notions of expectations, experience financial hardship, don’t feel accepted, and the whole idea of spending any time with family members isn’t a thing in their book. 

While we may logically know that there’s no one ‘right’ way to experience or ‘do’ this time of year, sometimes the noise of society is louder than the voices in our heads.

If the grownups among us are still trying to find their own feet amidst the exhilaration and energy of it all, we imagine the younger set is doing the same. Some will model what they see in front of them. Others will block out the noise of the crowd and dance to the beat of their own drum. However, most of the flock falls right in the middle, right on that highwire doing their best to take in the joyful excitement, find full acceptance, trust the journey, get their balance, steady their breath, and enjoy or be at peace on the ride. Whether they reach the other side or take the assist of the net below, how can we help coach them up the ladder, be their partner in the air, and high five their every effort to give it a go?

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Choosing You (be where your feet are)

Whether your little ones are entering their educational journey or nearing the end of that traditional one, this time of year is all-around funky. How do we honor the energy of this final push while recognizing the effect it plays? 

Can we navigate the silly season, accept each other, honor our diversity, let all things have their place, and give ourselves and our young ones permission to step away from the fray when needed and dive back in when ready? 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Choosing You (be where your feet are)

Can we do our best to open our hearts and tables to those struggling or in need, and make that effort to lift someone else’s day? 

By modeling that patience, joy, compassion, respect, acceptance, and balance, our young learners witness adults doing what they can, valuing their energy, placing emphasis on mental health, knowing their worth, and practicing radical kindness

They learn that there’s a space for them at any table in whatever way they can and choose to show up at this time of year.

Our steps: take a minute, channel that breath, find your grounding, open your heart, decide where you want to place your energy. Sure, it’s possible that all of those will take place in the span of a nanosecond, but that pause is our choice and the lesson we choose to share with the next generation. Whether that’s when it rains on your once-a-year vacation, the frustration of everyday life is too much, someone needs whatever at midnight for a school project first thing tomorrow morning, or the hustle and bustle of November and December are an overpowering mass of everything, the perspective-filled pause is our choice. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Choosing You (be where your feet are)

Choose you, find your feet, share that with the young people of today. You may never hear the words, but as they grow into the adults of tomorrow, they’ll be grateful for the lessons. It just might change their story, as well as that of the young people who may one day be in their lives. Your choice today can be theirs tomorrow. 

Choose you, you’re worth it.

Four ways to find your grounding during the busy season

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Choosing You (be where your feet are)


Such a simple notion, yet one we’re so used to doing as rote that we forget to notice, focus on it, and use it as a guide. During this time of year, when we move from school to party to dinner prep to wrapping session to sleep to work and do it all again, finding even one to two minutes to focus on our breath can feel like another thing to add to the list. 

Eckhart Tolle tells us, “one conscious breath in and out is a meditation.” That meditative moment can lead to another, and another. That solitary focus can reset our mind, realign our every step, help us savor the moment, and give us presence to do that next thing. Breath is a guiding tool; use it well.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Choosing You (be where your feet are)

Take a Break

Some of us are still processing 2020 and in nearly two months’ time, it will be 2023. The last two months of the year are a whirlwind of constant motion. Baking goodies, preparing feasts, marking milestones, gathering gifts, spending time, and buckets of abundance take pride and place, yet they also take energy on top of all the regular day to day life stuff. 

Take a break. We know it’s easier said than done, but seriously, take a break. 

We’re not machines; we’re humans. We’re not made for constant motion. For our hearts to give and experience that joy, we need time to gather our energy and refill our own cups. So, whether it’s reading a page of your favorite book, snuggling with a pet, getting a few minutes of fresh air, napping, playing a game, sipping a good cup of deliciousness, or whatever does it for you, give yourself permission to take a break; most likely you’ll come back clearer and stronger than ever.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Choosing You (be where your feet are)

Manage Expectations

Before she smashed records, Katie Ledecky learned to swim. Before Picasso hit the galleries, he learned to paint. And, before taking on the peaks of Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary had to hike those beginner paths. Blame it on society, social media, or just that notion of keeping up with the Joneses; the pressure we place on ourselves at this time of year can often bubble over. 

If there’s no chance that we’d ever try to compare any of these legends to anyone else, why do we do that to ourselves? We are legends in our own right and whatever we can pull together at this time of year is enough. As a perfectionist, I often struggle with the concept that sometimes done is better than perfect. However, that lesson is priceless. 

We don’t need to break the bank, run ourselves ragged, or put on a celebration to outshine the fireworks of a Disney New Year’s spectacular. Our efforts, hearts, sentiment, time, patience: all of it, it’s enough. At this time of year, remember you don’t have to be the biggest party, or spend the most money, or put on the most over the top spread. You have to be you; your heart speaks for itself. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Choosing You (be where your feet are)

Shake it Out

Ellen danced down the aisle to start every show, Michael Phelps flailed his arms before every race, and Taylor Swift shouts it from the rafters reminding us to, quite literally, “shake it off.” In a time of year known for excess and abundance, sometimes that coincides with our energy. So, when you need a second, shake it out! Get up off the couch, stand up from the chair, put down the wrapping paper, and shake it out. Wiggle every part of you from head to toe, finger to finger, and ear to ear. 

Feel that extra energy fly into the ethos of beyond and leave you with enough. You’ll feel your smile reappear, the tension leave that space between your eyebrows, the tangles disappear from your knotted back, and the mind reset. Those few quick seconds of a full body wiggle will get you ready for whatever is your next. 

So before that family appears at your door, before the next party of the weekend, or before you take that last final before school break, dance, move, wiggle, shake it out, and watch your whole spirit take flight.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Choosing You (be where your feet are)


Please click the photo below for a collection of my Through the Eyes of an Educator columns:

Through the Eyes of an Educator: A Compendium


Stacey Ebert, our Educational Travels Editor, is a traveler at heart who met her Australian-born husband while on a trip in New Zealand. Stacey was an extracurricular advisor and taught history in a Long Island public high school for over fifteen years, enjoying both the formal and informal educational practices. After a one year 'round the world honeymoon, travel and its many gifts changed her perspective. She has since left the educational world to focus on writing and travel. She is energetic and enthusiastic about long term travel, finding what makes you happy and making the leap. In her spare time she is an event planner, yogi, dark chocolate lover, and spends as much time as possible with her toes in the sand.

Check out her website at for more of her travel musings.