Waking with Sand on My Skin

Long shadows of two people standing side by side. The shadows are in an expanse of sand.This afternoon, I read through a book of my handwritten poems from 2005 to today. I read them backwards, and when I got to October of 2005, I found this:

You’ll never know what the discovery of that day means to a sleepy traveler hoping to wake up with sand on her skin…

Sleepy indeed. I spent last semester reacquainting myself with teaching introductory psychology after a 5 year break from community college teaching. After completely my MPA program in May, I vowed to spend a year enjoying my weekends. Not to be, my friends. Only 3 months later, I found myself relearning neurobiology and collecting every relevant pop culture psychological happening I could find.

I love teaching, especially at the community college level. There is something about being a community member teaching other community members that feels…authentic, purposeful, impactful. Even with a monster of a travel schedule over the past many months, I savored every day of class until the very end and I’m grateful to continue teaching this semester. I was, of course, spent by the end of the year, but a gift from a colleague gave me just what I needed to keep going, to feel a little less drained.

For the 2nd year in a row, she suggested my office write “gifts for the soul” to those in both of our offices (north and south). When I opened mine this year, just as vacation began, I felt lighter, filled with something weightless that is hard to describe. So here I share my colleagues’ “gifts for the soul” to me, in hopes that you’ll glimpse just how powerful such gifts can be and maybe, just maybe, send such gifts to those who need them too.


Intensely Passionate

Influential Venerator of Pachamama and animals

Do whatever you do intensely. Robert Henri

Aside from food, you’re my favorite

“We come into this world with precious gifts that are meant to be shared, if each one of us takes the time to send healing and love to the world, we truly can change the lives of many and the world around us.” ~ Jasmeine Moonsong  thank you for your kindness to all living things and desire to teach us how to make our world a safer and healthier place to live in.


inspires us to think differently about our own ideas, very committed to this work, passionate about social justice issues, “Ashley is kind of a saint. She has none of the deadly sins and is kind to all the earth’s creatures.  You’d think that would make her sanctimonious, because she honestly is better than other people.  But it totally doesn’t, and that only reminds you how much you fall short.

It is gifts like these that allow me to wake with sand on my skin.



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