Commitment to Care

Photography by Bryan Farley

When asked what is the greatest ill in the world, a great teacher answered: self hatred. A bell rang in my body, Yes, that’s what it is. Oh, that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m teaching young people to love themselves. Yes. And then I realized quickly was that actually I couldn’t teach them that. I had to learn it. I had to do it. I had to be it. I had to love myself. Dang, that’s a longer journey! That’s like a lifetime journey for me
— Sarah Crowell

How can we imagine preparing our youth to take care of themselves, of each other and of the planet, if we are not modeling care to them by taking care of ourselves?

Join the conversation with fellow voices from the field  by sharing how you are taking care of yourself in the comment field below.

How I am taking care of myself

I enrolled in a Mindful Self-Compassion course at Spirit Rock in West Marin County, as a follow up to the inspiration at the 2015 Inventing Our Future for taking care of self, others and the planet. Each Thursday night, for 8 weeks, I drive out to the Spirit Rock meditation center with my friend, Mary Hurley. There we join with 45 other people in various exercises and meditations that help us to be aware of suffering and self-criticism without judgement. I am learning to be more aware of my experience and to be more accepting of myself. I have found that it opens me up in new ways to a compassionate understanding of others. I had been worried that it would be exhausting to take a class on a weeknight, but instead I am energized. I find that in the fifth week of the course I am benefiting from a calmer and more focused attention to my every-day tasks.


Louise Music is the Executive Director of the Department of Integrated Learning at the Alameda County Office of Education.  A visionary leader and bold advocate for equity in education, Music has developed innovative models for supporting professional practice and tapping creative capacities of educators for deepening and continuously improving teaching and learning.  As Director for the Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership of the Bay Area, Music is charged with implementing its strategic plan: “Mapping the Next 10 Years”. Recent publications include “Arts Learning as Equitable and Meaningful Education,” in Artful Teaching (Teacher’s College Press, June 2010), and the Foreward to the second edition of Studio Thinking2 (Teacher’s College Press, September 2012). 

How Do I Take Care of Myself?


Laugh often. Meditate & write often. Balance relationship & solitude. Repair broken things. Take photographs daily. Experience friends/family/animals/music/nature. Read, read, read. Remember wonder. Take risks. Write haiku:

Plant some seeds.
Water and tend.
No hurry.
They are blooming.


Carolyn S. Carr is the Program Manager for District & Regional Initiatives in the Department of Integrated Learning at the Alameda County Office of Education. She organizes the annual Inventing Our Future Integrated Learning Summer Institute. As a member of the Collective Impact Working Group of the Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership of the Bay Area, Carolyn works to engage a cross sector of stakeholders to collectively move the needle on public education. She has been an artist & photographer since her grandfather gave her his A-1 Kodak camera in seventh grade. She is the recipient of California Arts Council Artist in the Residence grant, Oakland Cultural Arts grant and her students were awarded Best Youth Mural by the Precita Eyes Center in the Mission, San Francisco. Carolyn has exhibited her work locally and nationally.