January 26, 2016

Unstructured time has always  been a challenge for me.  Even when I long for snow days and dream of all the things I could do, if I just had time, I’m at a loss when I actually do have time.

With the blizzard of 2016, I have been given a gift of time.  I have spent hours knitting a baby blanket for my daughter’s first baby; I’ve cooked from scratch; I’ve read in some books; I’ve played the piano each day; and I’ve worked on family pictures–an insurmountable mountain of memories of raising 5 children. I’ve walked in the snow, stared out the window, looked for the return of birds, and visited a neighbor.  These are all good things, but I wonder, is this the best use of my time?  Will I return to work wishing I had done more work?  Why does that question hang over me?  Where does it come from?

I wonder if part of it might come from age-old report cards, “Uses time wisely.”  Or perhaps from many Sunday School lessons about foolish and wise men, or from resistance to routines (which I have written about before.)

Here’s where I need to remember my OLW – NOURISH – and allow myself the permission to be nourished by the non-work activities that do give me pleasure and let go of the workaholic additives in my life’s diet.  Just as I need to learn how much is enough to eat for optimal nourishment;  I need to learn how much is enough of work and enough non-work for optimal mental/emotional health.  It seems like it should be simple, but sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to sustain.

I watched 2 TED talks recommended by a friend highlighting the power of classical music in everyone’s life (His teaching was brilliant – how do you know when you have your students?  By their shining eyes.) The second was about the power of conducting music and the many styles and variations there are among conductors.  I also found this instructive to my teaching–in every case, the conductor had power to bring the many elements together – orchestra, audience, music, interpretation, etc.  But the techniques were so different!  There was the dogmatic conductor, the playful conductor, the emotive conductor, and the conductor who knew to step aside and allow the musicians to make it happen.  So much like a masterful teacher knowing when to be each of those kinds of conductors.  In this writing, I think I re-discovered for myself that there is not work and non-work:  there is just life and all the experiences we have that inform and make our whole life’s work significant.

Here are the links for future reference:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9LCwI5iErE – Classical music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9g3Q-qvtss –Conductors





January 5, 2016 OLW

Nourish is the One Little Word I have chosen for many reasons.  This year is my 20th year of teaching and will bring my 8th grandchild.  I teach 9 groups of students each day (38 students in Grades 1-5).  I confess to a bit of fatigue and stress.  I know that nourishment is what I need to continue the journey joyfully and effectively.

There are many things that provide nourishment for me:  family, stories, music, poetry, friends, children, nature, knitting, birds, movement, even just being alone. When I have this full plate of vital, life-enhancing experiences (blessings) available to me, why am I starved for something to satisfy a hunger I can’t explain? It’s like when you open the fridge and it is full but there’s nothing to eat.

Clearly, working hard and being busy are not enough.

And, of course, nourish does rhyme with flourish.  That’s got to mean something.