A “ford” in a river is a place you cross because the water is often low and slow enough to. It is not a bridge. You will probably get wet. You need to use your judgement of the exact moment you are there to get across.
“Fords” are often where battles take place – they are important and they are vulnerable. They are powerful places where you take a chance with the world to get something precious and valuable to happen.
FORD is a four-step burnout prevention process: four steps that you can practice in order or all at once. They form a cycle of renewal that connects you to yourself, to the world around you, to the beauty that is waiting for you to discover it, and to what is wonderful about the time and place you get to work in today.
You will deepen your understanding and ability to practice FORD in the first course — but you can get started right now, for free!
It begins with a practice of locating yourself in the world, consciously, several times a day. Becoming aware of the many voices in your mind, both from inside and outside you. It does not mean controlling those voices, but it does mean finding a way to relax into coexistence with them. Adjusting yourself to their presence. It is a kind of meditation, even a kind of prayer — one that can become second nature to you. One you can start to do all of the time.
Open Your Senses
Many mindfulness practices encourage us to notice the world, and then let it go. In this step, we notice the world — and then go deeper into it. We listen hard to the brook in the park, and identify how it is not one sound but dozens, even hundreds. We get really into how different the colors of passing cars look in the rain. We all have natural abilities of noticing. — and we can get better at it if we practice. More deliberate. More in tune with the real world.
Regard the World
We sit back and wait on the world to show us its beauty. Beauty is partly natural — sometimes it just happens, and it surprises us. But sometimes beauty is waiting there for us to discover it. Decipher it. And sometimes beauty feels like something bigger than us, that gives us a just a glimpse of a deeper order, a deeper reason, in the world. As we get more skilled at regarding the world, we start to find more and more beauty in it.
Dwell in Your Place
There is no place and time quite like the place and time you now get to call yours. Your home. Your school. Your people. Your moment in the world’s great story. To dwell somewhere means to commit to it. To put down roots. To care about its history and become a part of its present. To care for its future. When we dwell somewhere, we make it ours — and it becomes part of us. Which gives us more to find when we find ourselves. And the cycle begins again.
Note the cycle these four steps put us into; we are returned to a new, deeper sense of who, where, and when we are – and better equipped to find ourselves anew.
We are flush with reality as we do these steps – which insulates us from the chronic, corrosive effect of stories we carry inside ourselves.
We are then uniquely able to choose what to believe. To cease listening to false stories; to learn the lessons of stories that may be hard to hear but still have something to teach us.
We become subjects in the world making choices, better than objects acted upon by forces beyond our control.
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