The past year of pandemic panic has brought the staple of a morning routine into my life, a perception of superficial control to commence each day. Without consciously realizing it, my routine has shifted by the season. The summer roused with early morning roaming before the humidity blanketed the sidewalks, the fall moved by yoga and mindful meditation, and the winter awoke with a shower and immediate cocooning of blankets in bed while reading, sipping coffee, and a sun lamp burning optimism into irises to prevent seasonal sadness.
With the start of reporting back to school this month, my routine is hatching a new facade. I tried to maintain my early morning book immersion but the commute time does not allow for the ease of escape, no matter how much earlier I set my alarm. I cannot help but wonder what will become of my new morning routine, if anything at all. Life feels a little safer and I find myself tentatively optimistic. It may be time to bid adieu to a staple of the past year, shed a layer of armor, and take a small step into the realm of a festive future.
Last week I learned the word shoshin, which means a beginner’s mindset, a serendipitous lesson I applied throughout the week preparing for concurrent teaching. Any time I felt a twinge of stress, I’d let myself experience the emotion and then remember I had a reset. Oh yeah, there it is again, shoshin! I’d say to myself. But today, this week, the remainder of this month, is where I REALLY need to apply shoshin. While it’s easy to parrot the definition, what does a beginner’s mindset really mean to me today, my first day of concurrent teaching?
As a perfectionist trying to distance myself from the label, I undoubtedly need to tell myself right now, Nothing will be perfect and that’s okay!
Stress will occur, and it can also be brief, it doesn’t have to frame the entirety of the day
It’s okay to laugh at my mistakes
Change is uncomfortable
Growth because of change is uncomfortable
The feeling of being uncomfortable is brief, and again, it doesn’t have to frame your outlook of the day or week
Like the amazing educators I know, I am resilient and I will bounce ahead, eventually
I might remember these declarations today, I might not remember them until after the moments of stress, but I am hoping to give myself grace and learn a lot as I jump into a new experience.
Today I am having trouble zeroing in on what I want to write about. A rare moment of convoluted brain clarity, I’m so overwhelmed with concurrent hybrid teaching commencing tomorrow yet contain just enough beginning-of-the-week energy and self-judgement that I want to write a thoughtful, creative piece, but I just cannot focus in on doing so. My thought process is a ball pinging off the sides of my brain, moving at lightning speed, catapulted by springs of anxiety.
I think back on my day, and my mind zips to meeting after meeting, a maze of a conversation with colleagues and administrators, preparing for the week ahead. PINGGG my mind zags to the creative juices I expended this afternoon, lesson planning for hours. As I reflect, I chuckle, realizing now how my creative reserve was utilized. My mind zigs to my at-home to do-list, painting walls, cleaning, spring landscaping, and zags to my concern for the week ahead, back and forth, an endless game of winning and losing.
I can score as many points as possible, the advantage of annoying anxiety and endless thought mazes but for now, I think I’ll take my high score and try again tomorrow.
My life has been stitched together with explanations
Men do not feel
Old habits die hard.
*Trying out Suleika Jauoad’s Isolation Journals prompt for today- elimination/blackout poetry on my own quick paragraph (below).
Last night I was composing an email to a foster puppy mom, stating my partner and I would like to adopt her foster dog after meeting it briefly earlier in the day. In the original draft of the email, I felt the needto justify myself, explaining that although I wasn’t an experienced dog owner, I have faith in myself and my resources to give this puppy the best life it could have. My partner, whose line of work resides in the business world, told me I did not need to justify myself, instead, I could state we would like to adopt the dog and that was that. I was blown away- my life has been stitched together with explanations and justifications. Men do not feel the need to sew their thoughts into emails as I do? I just could not fathom how much anguish that eliminates. Old habits die hard.
During pandemic teaching, I inevitably reach a point of no return on Fridays, my brain’s wires short-circuiting after too much usage. Emails have lost their coherent response opportunity, students’ assignments sit to be graded in the Canvas ether, loved one’s texts are neglected until I can re-wire.
This Friday, however, has left me feeling like a neglected, punctured tire. One reason my depletion is more present than ever is today is the final Friday before students come back into the building. Endless decisions have been processed, executed, and debated this past week. Rooms and demeanors are expected to be sparkling and joyful to greet our bright-eyed students Tuesday morning.
The pressure is on to patch and inflate, to roll with the potholes of the newly resurfaced road ahead.