Do you remember when you were a child in school? Were you ever this young?
Have things changed since the days you were in ‘grade school?’
Children, in the old days, would be assigned ‘cleaning the blackboard’ on the
classroom’s job or chores chart. That meant to erase the whole board, followed
by the activity of taking the erasers outside and clapping them together. I used
to like this ‘after school’ job. I would see the dust rising from the erasers being
pounded together and be filled with a sense of accomplishment.
I also enjoyed this chore, since sometimes the teacher would talk to us, along
with let us choose something from her treats jar or a stash she had in one of
When I taught sixth grade, the first year was 1979-1980. The “Board Cleaner,”
was how I wrote this particular chore on a magnet. Each of the children would
rotate this, with other ones such as “Line Leader,” etc. I would also have a small
bucket, to have the student fill with water. Using an old towel or ‘rag,’ the child
would wipe the remains of the dust off. It was a nice feeling, for me as a teacher,
to see that ‘clean slate,’ at the start of the next day.
Imagine your bad times, past hurts or difficult periods in your life.
Write them down on a blackboard in your head.
List them, one by one, remembering the pains, trials and sadness.
Take your mental ‘eraser’ and carefully, slowly rub each one of these away.
Rub the eraser up and down, or if you prefer, side to side. Make sure that all
you see, at the end of this mental exercise, is a hazy blur of grayish black.
Now, take a dampened rag and get a small stepladder, or if you are back in
time, a child’s wooden stool. Use the wet rag to clean all the remaining chalk’s
powder and blurred images off. If you need to, turn the cloth inside out.
Finish this process mentally, along with your imaginary blackboard.
You now have a ‘clean slate.’
Picture, if you will, the best times of your life.
Make a list of places, faces and beautiful images.
It is possible, I have done this process, in my head, too.
You can ‘re-invent’ yourself.
You may become a renewed person.
Your positive energy can ‘re-charge’ you and make you whole again.
Believe in unlimited possibilities.
Somehow, move into the present.
There are no ‘time limits’ or penalties, in this.
There are no ‘school bells’ going off.
There is no need to do anything but leave the board behind you.
Breathe in, breathe out.
You are free of the painful past.
How will the story of your life continue from here on out?
I have had friends who have asked me,
“How did you bounce back?”
In my case, I had a sense of purpose, to raise my children and make
their lives as positive and happy, as possible. I could not take any
more time on my own dissatisfaction or depression, I would not
dwell on what choices led me to the places I went. I just knew I had
to start over. I chose a town in Central Ohio, a college town, you know
it as Delaware, Ohio.
My parents were in Cleveland, later in Vermilion and my ex-husband
lived in Cincinnati, later in Dayton.
It was a halfway point, between the two cities, letting me able to make it
in either direction, without too many hours on the road.
I chose this place to ‘start over.’
I knew it was my children’s and my ‘new beginning.’
I knew absolutely not one soul here.
I later found some high school friends who had chosen to live here.
One was my children’s high school Biology teacher, another a swimming
and gymnastics instructor, and another followed me here, after her own
If you have caused someone else’s heart to break, let it go.
Try not to cause any more heartbreak, try not to crush or break a
Any mistakes you have made, learn from them.
Always think that there are more chances in life.
I believe in multiple chances or opportunities to start over!
Another way to handle strife and tough times is an interesting one,
that editorial cartoonist, Marshall Ramsey gives in an article in the
December, 2013 issue of “Prevention” magazine. M. Ramsey’s
suggestion is to look at your life and remember the “terrible twists”
that happened to you. He personally likes to list his own negative
occurrences and then, see them in a positive light.
Here are some examples found in the article called, “True Grit.”
“The way to get through tough times is to start with advanced gratitude.”
M. Ramsey’s list of Life’s negatives matched with happy outcomes:
1. His first job after college was as a high school janitor.
The job led him to his future wife, the daughter of a fellow janitor.
2. The recession forced him into part-time work.
Getting laid off gave him the time to start 2 new careers; in book
illustration and radio.
3. Melanoma diagnosis.
His cancer diagnosis helped him to decide to organize a series of
races to raise melanoma awareness.
4. People who did not believe in him.
All those naysayers were just ‘ill winds beneath his wings.’
Great words to live by, quoted from Marshall Ramsey:
“A good analogy is if you’re canoeing downstream and you hit a rock,
it can either sink you or push you in another direction. If you choose
the other direction, it’s a blessing.”
Advanced gratitude is explained in this article as:
“The ability to identify and appreciate the bad events in your life because
of what you’ve gained from them.”
M. Ramsey gives these steps and you may find more details in the article,
if you wish to look up “Prevention” magazine, 12/13.
This process is a three step one, which includes changing your perspective.
First, establish a gratitude ‘baseline.’
Then, retrain your own brain. Tying thoughts of
stressful events in your life may even change your neural pathways.
Reminding yourself that good things come out of difficult times, may
just pull you through the bad times.
Remember the hard stuff. What have you gained from sorrow, losses or
There were studies listed and other experts in different emotional
areas covered, including Dr. Robert Emmons, Dr. Rick Hanson, and
Dr. Richard Tedeschi. These authorities have done research and written
books on the subject of “Who am I? What kind of future do I want?
What makes sense to do with my time now that this event has stopped
me in my tracks?”
I have heard someone on television talking in my past about how we can
create our own destiny, change the course of time, and I have come up
with many times, the image of a blackboard with writing on it. Lots of
thoughts cluttered on it, sometimes I have made lists on it, but always
I like the satisfaction of wiping the figurative blackboard clean.
Starting today with a clean slate, just fits my notion of a happy beginning!