I am a teacher and I know that I am not alone. The inside of my mind has not been unlike a pinball machine as of late. So many questions dinging around in my head like the random noises and lights of a pinball machine. At times I feel like I have no control over anything when it comes to going back to school. Then I see my hands on the buttons. I realize that I DO have some control in how I respond to these rowdy, unanswered questions and underlying anxiety. I can choose. I will choose. I do choose. Here is my top 5 list of what to do during these pinball times. Each item has a common theme: Reclaiming my body, mind, and spirit.
1. Extend grace.
Have you ever asked yourself these questions?
Why haven't they said anything yet? Why aren't they communicating more? Or made these statements in your mind:
S/he/They should have let us know. S/he/they should be emailing us. S/he/they are not doing what needs to be done.
I have. I am put out by what others are NOT doing. Let me repeat that. I am put out by what others are NOT doing. Be I right or wrong about the situation, it is uselessly spent energy to dwell on that line of thinking. I am confident in saying I never know the whole picture. While it would be nice to know more, I am going to trust that we will be given the information we need when we need it. I am going to extend grace and forgive others, even when they don't know it.
2. Avoid overload.
Distraction, distraction, distraction. Just recently I have been distracting myself with Facebook videos. Not the funny cute cat kind, but the COVID 19 and political kind. And the repetition of what I watch is frankly, embarrassing. I am trying to distract myself. If I flood my mind with endless drivel, the questions in my mind aren't noticed. But here's the ironic piece. In watching those kinds of videos, I am only stirring up unrest in my mind. I am not against escaping this madness with a good book or a good TV binge. What I am against (for myself) is gorging mindlessly on videos commenting on the state of things. I got the gist. It's bad. I am choosing lower my "news" intake. If I want to distract myself, I'm going to do it right. I'm going to do it so I can re-enter with a clearer mind and a calmer spirit.
3. Live now.
Until it was announced that we will be going back to school on the originally planned date, it had been my most relaxing summer yet. I did not know what was going to happen in the fall. I skipped the professional reading and my mind wasn't thinking of a thousand things to do better next year. It was a weird phenomenon that I didn't choose. It just happened and I was grateful. Once I learned when we would be going back, I kicked back into pinball mode. My mind clattered and I was pulled out of the now. I am choosing to come back. In the now I can choose to research online learning. In the now, I can share my thoughts on my blog. In the now, I can enjoy what I am doing. In the now I can feel all my feelings. It's a bit of a relief.
4. Trust myself.
I have the strength, smarts, creativity, and ingenuity it takes to start school again. No matter how it looks. I need not waste another minute entertaining any other notion. Period.
5. Embrace disquiet.
Embrace what, exactly? The challenges that lie ahead of us. The normalcy of not knowing. The problems that wait to be solved.
Challenges, uncertainty, and problems make way for my grit, creativity, and spunk to shine.
grace, now, trust, embrace