Sunday, December 7, 2014

Be still

I recall the feeling of that first teaching offer, and stepping into my classroom, and experiencing that feeling akin to being deity.  I knew exactly what I was going to do and how was I going to do it.  Yes, I had it all figured out.  And then the students came...

I quickly realized I didn’t even come close to having it figured out, and 20 years later, I’m not sure that I’m any closer. Yes, I’ve learned a few skills and had meaningful experiences (wonderful & rock-bottom), but trying to figure it out and be relevant in an evolving world is so difficult. And I don’t think all of the outside noise and push for collaboration helps me process it.  So what one thing can I make time for every day?

Be still.

I recently watched the Ted Talk by Pico Iyer, and an interesting statement stood out to me: It is in stillness that we prepare ourselves for the realities around us.

When do we make time for personal reflection and planning? When do we make time to be still, to cut the outside noise off, and deal with the own noise in our head?  A common encouragement we hear from health professionals is take time to exercise 30 minutes a day for our body.  We know the value of physical fitness for mental, physical and emotional health.  But do we take equal time each day to be process? In this age of constant movement and connectedness, perhaps we would be better if we joined a mental health club to disconnect from the outside and visible segment of our life, and give some daily strengthening to the invisible portion of our mindset. I think it’s okay to be a bit more selfish with a small fragment of our own time, which directly increases our effectiveness in our roles and influence.  It may also help us understand the difference between making a living, and making a life.  These are very different directions, and it is important that we model this difference.  We can’t model behaviors we aren't authentically living.

So spend some time in stillness.  Take time each day to close the door (figuratively and literally) and listen to the voices in your head and figure things out.  The world is changing daily and there is a need to calibrate accordingly.  Then give yourself permission to change for the better, and use your influence to better the world, or at least, your corner of it.