What do the words “only human” mean to you?
“Only human” signifies the only real qualifier that matters when describing another human being. We have so many opportunities to label ourselves and others, and while doing so can help compartmentalize, we can lose sight of our equality. Any human is a good human. All humans are worthy of love and kindness.
What are you passionate about?
As a teacher, I am passionate about revealing (pre-existing) greatness to my students. I joke with them that I rarely truly teach them anything, rather, I help reveal what is already available to them by giving them permission to be great- whatever that may mean to them. My students (and most humans) hear a lot of noise that speaks the opposite narrative. I am passionate about RELENTLESSLY revealing the truth to them.
What makes you the happiest?
I LOVE being in nature. I’m fortunate to have been able to hike in Zion and Arches National Parks and the feeling of being such small part of our massive world is exhilarating. Most recently, I have been hiking with my Husky/Lab rescue puppy and her excitement to learn and explore makes this even cooler.
In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
“I am not responsible for the reactions of others.” As a self-proclaimed “people pleaser,” “peace-maker,” and “high achiever” I have spent a lot of time bending and twisting myself and my feelings to fit the mold of what others think I should be, feel, and do (pretty human, right?). I credit some wise advisors for pointing out that making everyone else happy is not only impossible, but I lose my integrity to MYSELF in that process. I am becoming more confident in trusting my inner goodness and God’s gentle nudging on my heart. I am responsible for my contentedness.
How do you keep yourself positively inspired during overwhelming times?
I am the luckiest person you know- my friends and family lift me up. I am surrounded by the most supportive ecosystem of fellow musicians, teachers, and all-around good humans. My most special bonds are rooted in accountability to our purpose- enriching the lives our our students, community, and families through music and kindness. We also believe in the idea that “someone is going to figure out how to fix this, it may as well be us.”
If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes, whose would they be? Why?
My most honest answer is that I wish I could spend a day living in my Mom’s shoes. My mom is my superhero. She and my father adopted me as a baby and have given me the best life I could ask for. Fundamentally, we have different views and beliefs on many issues. As you could expect, some of these have caused tension in our relationship. I know her heart and I know her intentions are pure gold- I just wish I could live some time in her mind to better understand her thoughts and feelings.
What book (or books) have greatly influenced your life?
Untamed- Glennon Doyle
Outliers- Malcom Gladwell
Grit- Angela Duckworth
What’s your favorite quote?
I’m a bit of a quote hoarder, honestly. These three are at the center of my human and teaching philosophy.
“A rising tide lifts all ships.”
“At the moment of commitment, the Universe conspires to assist you.” -Goethe
“People don’t care what you do, they care why you do it.” -Simon Sinek
What is your most-used emoji?
The two wide open eyes, HA!
What would be your advice to a human who just graduated from high school and was about to enter the “real world”?
PROTECT THE GOODNESS WITHIN YOU. We face so much pressure to twist, change, and conform to endless expectations and ideas (this isn’t just a “now I’m grown” experience). When I speak to my graduating students, I want them to remember that all of that good already exists within them. Protecting it is an active and ongoing process and it is their responsibility to do so.