Monday, December 31, 2012

happy new year to you

See how beautiful life is... there are so many beautiful things in the world.

I wish you all good things...

Live your life... live your life... live your life

Friday, December 28, 2012


Full Moon in Cancer, December 28th.

“This is the final Full moon for 2012 and it contains some strong energy for transformation and healing. 

“The Cancer Full Moon message is to release the past. Let go of what no longer serves us be it a relationship, a job, a living location and/or a lifestyle. This is a favorable moment to release self-limiting beliefs.  We create our reality through our thoughts and feelings. If we want to change our lives for the better, we must first change ourselves.  Albert Einstein believed that a problem cannot be solved at the same level of thinking it was created.” Thus, we must climb higher and/or go deeper in our consciousness to find our answers.  Old solutions cannot solve new problems…”

For more information on the final full moon of 2012, click here, here, or here.

Monday, December 17, 2012


We expect our children to grow old. 
To have lives, wives or husbands... 
and perhaps even children of their own. 
That's what we expect.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

nobody gets to be you, except you

"No one can make the art that you will make. No one can change people and change the world in the way that you could change it." - Neil Gaiman

Saturday, December 8, 2012

understand your motives and reassess your aims

"I will not let an exam result decide my fate..." ~Suli Breaks

"If there was a family tree, hard work and education would be related. But school would probably be a distant cousin."

“If education is the key, then school is the lock. Because it rarely ever develops your mind to the point where it can perceive red as green and continue to go when someone else says ‘stop.’ Because as long as you follow the rules and pass the exams, you’re cool. But are you aware that examiners have a checklist? And if your answer is something outside of the box, the automatic response is a cross. And then they claim that school expands your horizons and your visions.” 

Friday, December 7, 2012


The revolution of human relationships...

Empathy Museums: experiential and conversational public space. 

How conscious are you of the world around you?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

for you...

More beautiful than you think.
Worthier than you believe.
More loved than you can imagine.

Be strong. Be Confident. Be you.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

a desire to belong... a sense of security

A moment with a good teacher can give a lifetime of hope.

What kind of human being do you want to be?

Ms. Reifler = HOPE

I choose
to have
a good life!

Friday, November 16, 2012

read books - not assigned - mostly for pleasure

I read an inspiring book this week, 
Book Love : Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers, by Penny Kittle

The power of this book is how it can inspire educators to think differently and move middle schools and high schools forward... creating passionate, voracious readers.

Pleasure reading has suffered under the assessment hysteria of the past decade and as a result adolescents are reading less. According to a 2007 NEA report, "Nearly half of all Americans aged 18 - 24 read no books for pleasure." Penny Kittle writes that the way forward is for young people to see themselves as part of a community that values reading as an enjoyable, lifelong activity.

What students read in school is important, but what they read the rest of their lives is most important. The highest priority is to inspire lifelong reading.

Some great points in Book Love: 

  • Every student needs to know the power of a reading life. 
  • Controlling what students read stifles readers. 
  • Assigned reading is a very narrow door to a reading life.
  • The measure of success is how students talk about themselves as readers.
  • When we learn to read well, we read differently.
  • Rereading is an opportunity to see more.
  • The purpose of personal reading is joy, curiosity, and interest.

By transforming a school culture to make reading engagement job one, you have the power to improve education, build communities, and quite possibly change the world.

As a side note, as I read this book I couldn't help thinking of Michael Pollan's catch phrase for his book In Defense of Food: eat food - not too much - mostly plants. And I kept changing that in my mind to: read books - not assigned - mostly for pleasure.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

find your gift

My favorite mayor...

Every young person has a gift, a unique genius. Don't let the world 'level' you; look within for your definition. Live your life as if you couldn't fail, as if you could have your greatest dreams. It's the pursuit that will expand your world.

love letters to strangers

The World Needs More Love Letters 

What the world needs is really basic. Simple. Bare-boned. What the world needs is often forgotten in the race to get followers and “Likes.”


Pure, old-fashioned, never goes out of style, Love.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

a citizen of the world

Born in Latvia, educated in Russia, after his repatriation to Israel, Mischa Maisky considers himself as a citizen of the world: "I'm playing an Italian cello, with French bows, Austrian and German strings, my daughter was born in Paris, my older son in Brussels and my younger one in Italy, I'm driving a Japanese car, wear a Swiss watch, an Indian necklace and I feel at home everywhere where people appreciate and enjoy classical music."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012


And with that, I'm off to New York City.

This book was left here intentionally and specifically for you to read. When you are finished, please leave it in another public place where someone else might find it as you did. In any case, I hope it changes your day for the better. 

"Sometimes you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book."  - John Green, TFIOS  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

election day

"Always vote for principle, 
though you may vote alone, 
and you may cherish the sweetest reflection 
that your vote is never lost." 
- John Quincy Adams

Vote !

Monday, November 5, 2012

rally the troops... boots on the ground...


To make democracy work, 
we must be a nation of participants, 
not simply observers.

  I encourage you to exercise your right to vote...

The ballot is stronger than the bullet.
Abraham Lincoln 

Vote for what you believe in.

election eve

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting. 
Franklin D. Roosevelt 

Thursday, November 1, 2012


each star a prayer
as they flew through the air

to remember this day
we watch and sparkle along the way

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Let us be kind.

Let's create a society where even if the governments and corporations work against us, we still have each other.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

our most important problem / our most exciting opportunity

Today I saw 10 TEDx talks to watch before election day. 

This was my favorite:

My favorite bits:

We get the government we deserve. We need to work to deserve better.

Benevolently Irrational. Good people doing good things for no good reason.

Building power around ideas, not just building ideas to appease power.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

ripples of positivity

If we work harder we will be more successful... and if we are more successful, we will be happier.
But could that be backwards? Could success actually be a byproduct of happiness, instead of happiness the byproduct of success?

Check out Shawn Achor's book, The Happiness Advantage.
“Each one of us is like that butterfly in the Butterfly Effect . And each tiny move toward a more positive mindset can send ripples of positivity through our organizations, our families, and our communities.    ~The Happiness Advantage

Try the 21 Day Happiness Challenge

Thursday, October 25, 2012


My son is beginning a new unit of inquiry at school.

The central idea is:
People's perceptions drive actions that determine how communities function.

One of the lines of inquiry is:
Why should we care about the past?

picture by Victoria

This got me thinking of a quote by President John F Kennedy,
"History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside."
It's where we are in the world today. To remain in the past is impossible. But there are those who try to stand still, to cling tightly to what was, never changing. To live is to flow with the current of history. You have to ride the top of the wave or be swept aside. 

What is school for?

My "Seth love" grows by leaps and bounds today!

My favorite Seth quotes from this Stop Stealing Dreams TEDxYouth@BFS:

"Are we asking our kids to collect the dots or connect the dots?"

"Grades are an illusion. Passion and insight are a reality."

"Persistence in the face of a skeptical authority figure is priceless."

"Fitting in is a short term strategy that gets you nowhere. Standing out is a long term strategy that takes guts and produces results."

"If you care enough about your work to be willing to be criticized for it, then you have done a good days work."

"Your work is more important than your congruence to any answer key."

"If it's work we try to do less, and if it's art we try to do more."

8 items to change things completely:

     1.  Homework during the day, lectures at night.
     2.  Open book, open note all the time.
     3.  Access to any course, anywhere in the world, 
          any time you want to take it.
     4.  Precise focused education 
          instead of mass batched stuff.

  • no more multiple choice exams.
  • measuring experience instead of test scores
  • the end of compliance as an outcome.
  • cooperation instead of isolation
     5.  teacher's role transforms into coach.
     6.  lifelong learning
     7.  work happening earlier in life
     8.  the death of the famous college

2 Myths:
  1. Great performance in school leads to happiness and success.
  2. Great parents have kids who produce great performance in school.

Go out and do something interesting!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

drenched in enthusiasm

I listened to "A Thousand Mornings" with poet Mary Oliver on NPR the other day. Her poems in this treasure of a book are full of the transformative power of attention.

I Happened To Be Standing
by Mary Oliver

I don't know where prayers go,
or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
half-asleep in the sun?
Does the opossum pray as it
crosses the street?
The sunflowers? The old black oak
growing older every year?
I know I can walk through the world,
along the shore or under the trees, 
with my mind filled with things
of little importance, in full
self-attendance. A condition I can't really
call being alive.
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
or does it matter?
The sunflowers blaze, maybe that's their way.
Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not.

While I was thinking this I happened to be standing
just outside my door, with my notebook open,
which is the way I begin every morning.
Then a wren in the privet began to sing.
He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,
I don't know why. And yet, why not.
I wouldn't persuade you from what you believe
or whatever you don't. That's your business.
But I thought, of the wren's singing, what could this be
if it isn't a prayer?
So I just listened, my pen in the air.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

a perfect book for International Day of the Girl

The Mighty Miss Malone is the wonderful story of our Darling Dear Deza. I left a copy for public space library on the bench outside the Newseum in Washington, DC.

The Mighty Miss Malone is funny and smart and thoughtful and deeply loyal to her family. She’s not going to let anyone mess with the people she loves, whether she’s up against a schoolyard bully or the Great Depression.

Deza's family motto is “We are on a journey to a place called Wonderful.”

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I'll meet you there

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing 
there is a field. 
I'll meet you there."

~ Rumi

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

pursue the passions that bring you happiness

I've posted a clever animated bit of Alan Watts and his Zen wisdom by the creators of South Park. Here's a new video I found where Watts challenges 'money making' at the exclusion of passion or purpose.

Ask yourself... What would I do if money was no object?

Monday, October 8, 2012

giving away Wonder

falling leaves
by charles coon
we know
that falling leaves
speak of death
in a season..
then we wonder
are we falling
as  the leaves..
falling also with
autumn beauty..?

similarities abound
we and the leaves..
fearful we are
with our hidden root..
yet we wonder
have we found
vision and courage..
beholding anew
creation's falling beauty
light's filtered colors...?

Over the weekend I left several copies of the book Wonder by RJ Palacio around Washington DC. Wonder is one of my all time favorite books. It's the book I give as a gift to nearly everyone I know... and many people I don't know. 

What's the reason I love Wonder so..? 

Wonder gives us a chance to see deeper, to look closer, and to reflect back. Perhaps once we’re all friends with August, we will be more willing to embrace others who don’t fit our vision of beautiful or cool.

Wonder returns to the public space library:

  In the sculpture garden, Washington D.C.

At the bus stop on 7th & G Streets

and finally, can you guess where?