Mindfulness and Gratitude: Bouquets of Sharpened Pencils

Mindful Monday

Words for a Mindful Moment with the Breath

“The Future is Now”

The practice of mindfulness doesn’t forbid us to plan for the future. It’s best not to lose ourselves in uncertainty and fear over the future, but if we’re truly established in the present moment, we can bring the future to the here and now, and make plans. We’re not losing the present moment when we think about the future. In fact, the present moment contains both past and future. The only material that the future is made of is the present… Handling the present moment with all your attention, all your intelligence, is already building a future.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Your True Home

Gratitude: Thankful for Back-to-School Season

photo credit: @Doug88888 via photopin cc
photo credit: @Doug88888 via photopin cc

I love the line in You’ve Got Mail when Tom Hanks tells Meg Ryan he loves the fall so much he wants to send her a bouquet of sharpened pencils. As much as I treasure my summer with my family, I love love LOVE back-to-school season. The excitement of a new school year, new students, new learning, and, especially, new school supplies! I have a love-hate relationship with Target for most of the summer, for when I pass by the school supply section each week, I cringe at the reminder of the dwindling number of days remaining in summer, while my powerful Type-A organization-loving homing device guides me, and irresistibly pulls me to browse among the pens, notebooks, and daily planners…

school supplies
The pull is too strong…

I am writing this on my last day of summer vacation. Though it is pushing 100 degrees today, the air already holds the powerful, loud winds that will inevitably sweep us into fall.

I’ve always thought that September should be the start of the New Year, not January. As a teacher, my life has continually revolved around September through June cycles, with the blissful rejuvenation of July and August. September marks the new routines and resolutions for me, not January. We will soon reach the autumnal equinox, the days shortening, the darkness turning us further inward for reflection and renewal. Yet September still has the life, greenery, cool breezes, and gorgeous color that inspire new commitments and fresh perspective to take us through the winter.

Fall colors

As I write this on my last day of summer vacation, I am pausing for gratitude for fall and back-to-school. I am thankful for…

  • New school supplies. Fresh notebooks, new pens, and new post-its for creating and revising lesson plans. A brand-new, yet old-school, weekly planner. I know the world has moved on to digital calendars, but I think actually writing down my commitments and appointments makes me more mindful of my time.


  • A job ~ a vocation ~ I love. Colleagues that I am excited to connect with again. A curriculum I love to teach. Students that are delightful to get to know.
  • A new dance season! New classes, new routines, new performances.
  • High school football games on cool Friday nights.
  • Seeing my children learn new things and ask new questions as they begin a new year of school.
  • Changing fall colors.

apple picking

  • Fall adventures ~ apple picking, hayrides, fall color boat tours, playing in the leaves.
  • Cool days outside, eating dinners outside watching colorful sunsets.

In fact, I only have one worry as I head back to work. My blog. I have had so much time this summer to write, to connect with other bloggers, and connect with readers through comments, Facebook, and Twitter. I will still write and connect with you ~ I merely ask for your patience if I take more time to respond, or if, for my fellow bloggers, I am not sharing as much on social media. I’m sure it will take some time to get into my teaching-parenting-blogging rhythm. Please know that I am here and reading all your comments and blogs and updates, even if I seem a bit quieter. I am an introvert, after all. :)


What do YOU enjoy most about fall and back-to-school?

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Sarah Rudell Beach
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Sarah Rudell Beach

Sarah is a writer, teacher, and mother. At Left Brain Buddha, she writes about her journey to live and parent mindfully, joyfully, and thought-fully in her left-brain analytical life. When not working, she enjoys dancing, reading, and hanging out with her little Buddhas.
Sarah Rudell Beach
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  1. says

    I am grateful for the smells of leaves in the drier air and the crunch underfoot once the leaves start falling. I have loved my summer of travel and hanging out with my 5 year old, but the return to schedules is also something I enjoy.

  2. says

    As a teacher, back to school time was my absolute favorite time of the year. I loved the rituals, the learning of new names, the introductory activities, the fresh supplies. As a teacher, I love how you can “remake” yourself and start off anew each fall. And I’ve wondering about you and what your plans were for your blog… You’ll make it work. You’re too terrific as a writer and a blogger to do anything else.
    Jessica Smock recently posted…What’s in a Name?: Mrs. or Ms., Married or MaidenMy Profile

    • Sarah says

      Aww, thanks Jessica…. It was great being back today, but also hard to be away from here! And yes, we can remake ourselves each year having learned from our mistakes!

  3. says

    Back to school is my favorite time of year! I’m not back at school yet, either as teacher or student, but up until 2 years ago, it was the best time of year for me, for the same reasons you mention.
    BTW, your intro quote reminded me how much I’m always living in the future. I need to be more present, for my own sanity.
    Natalie DeYoung recently posted…Different Versions of MyselfMy Profile

    • Sarah says

      Glad the quote was helpful. And I think after all our years of formal schooling, September always feels like the start of a new year, whether we are in school or not.

  4. says

    I agree the back to school theme is invigorating and the chapters absorbed by the young hungry minds can be so much to be grateful about.

    I am grateful that my kid started school today so, I can also concentrate on my reiki practice and writing.

    Have a great teaching year, Sarah.

    ruchira recently posted…Man’s IndependenceMy Profile

  5. says

    There is just something about the back to school season that is exciting and re-invigorating. Regarding the blog, I am feeling the opposite. Since I’m a SAHM, I am anticipating ore time to write and get organized, but we’ll see. :-)
    Lisa @ The Golden Spoons recently posted…One WordMy Profile

  6. says

    Wishing for a smooth transition back for you! I’ve always felt the same, even without working in schools, and now that my kids are in school, it feels like our pieces are back in place. I love so much about summer, but now we can settle.
    Anita @ Losing Austin recently posted…Kindness WeekMy Profile

  7. says

    You know, I completely agree that September should be the start of the year. When I think back, trying to remember how old I was for a particular event, I always think “Oh, that was junior year, therefore I was x old” rather than the actual year year. The apple picking photo is gorgeous. Happy back to school! My son doesn’t start again until after Labor Day so this week is our last hurrah. I’m ready. But not ready. Summertime definitely went by too quickly.
    Kristi Campbell recently posted…Thankful for my friend Courtney. And I want to help.My Profile

  8. says

    The Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, is in the fall – usually in September. This year it’s early – September 5th. I have always identified with that new year more than the one on January 1st – so I totally agree with you!
    Dana recently posted…A one hundred celebrationMy Profile

  9. says

    I love September and October- my favorite months of the year! There is something magical about this transition, I think. Best of luck to you finding blog/work/family balance as you head back to school- you have all of our understanding and patience! We all struggle with that, and I think we can officially agree to cut each other some slack when we fall off the face of the blog world for more hours/days/weeks than we’d like to! Enjoy back to school!
    Stephanie @ Mommy, for Real. recently posted…Mamalode: Play With Me, Mommy!My Profile

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