“Freed from a self-imposed sense of separateness, we experience a visceral sense of belonging in a universe held together by love…It is the calmly abiding center from which all right action finds its source, and from it spring the acts of loving-kindness that will define our adult lives.”
Meditations from the Mat (Day 320)
Day 321 – The opening quote today quiets me and inspires me; it reads: “By nature, Mercury and the mind are unsteady: there is nothing in the world which cannot be accomplished when these are made steady.” Aptly and serendipitously, today’s reading is about Rolf’s work as a residential counselor at an adolescent addiction program, which he describes as “about the hardest place…to work on God’s green earth.” He describes burnout and how yoga and meditation as an escape opened him to so much more.
I know most people have tremendous challenges at work. Combine our daily emotional and task-oriented challenges at work with an overstimulating, highly-charged, time-sensitive modern world, I am often drained at the end of a day. So, too, does the daily grind begin to feel like a prison. It’s been incredibly beneficial to be off devices, walking in the woods, taking naps, and doing hours of belly dance, yoga, and pilates for this short Thanksgiving week.
Always my idea is how to couple intuitive out-of-school habits with in-school activities. Rolf describes this as “manifestations of grace moving through…pactice and out into the world.” I think I have spent weeks contemplating this all and thinking of a product (or process) to share with the world that leaves a lasting impact. Teaching in public school is definitely an unknown quantity. There is no way to know if I will really make a difference; there is no pat on the back or accolades for many of us.
Quite frankly, I often feel alone in my curiosity and wonder, waiting for my students to become the sky. If it weren’t for the challenge of teaching, I’m not sure I would have lasted as long as I have. I know that students there need me, but not to learn, just to be there, as it is the safest and most surest thing they know. I can’t justify that I will help them succeed in high school because I have no assurances that they will be able to maneuver the complicated pedagogy and bureaucratic (and highly politicized) standards and climate, and maybe that (in the end) will make them more resilient and successful because they will know that there is something better.
I do know that from visiting and revisiting this quiet universe, judging not the book by its cover, but considering all that passes through my mind and letting it go, creating and sustaining this quiet space in the dance, the movement, the time spent on the mat, that I do not feel separateness from the rest of the world, even if I am in tune with my students’ feelings of separateness in a new way. Feeling the world against itself is powerful and it is easy to numb oneself and be somehow quietly desperate. I prefer to walk out like someone born into color.