Glistening spinach and Chorizo atop thick tender scallops arrive in front of me Saturday night. The plate sits next to the mason jar filled to the brim with Autumn Sangria. I take a sip of the blissful blend of cinnamon, cloves, apples, Cabernet, and brandy, inhale the gentle wind allowing it to wash it away–the transition, the fears, the questions, the frustration, the irritability. It’s late September, but it feels like early summer. It’s late September, but it feels like it’s the end of the school year. I’m exhausted, feeling burnt out and in need of a break and it’s only four weeks in.
It is the start of my 9th year as a teacher; my 7th principal. The new regime is filled with control, change, unrealistic expectations, and no time to complete the tasks that allow me to feel successful. I lean back in my metal chair and watch the sun behind the trees. It is yet another new school year. One that should be, could be, would be easy…if only. I’m still mourning the loss of my teammates, my classroom, my principal from last year. Yet, I am expected to ignore all emotions and move forward like a machine functioning at 100% all the time. Conclusion: change is [insert expletive] hard. I wish it wasn’t. I wish I could move from one stage of my life to next with grace and elegance and most importantly ease, but alas it never happens that way.
I remember ten years ago when everyone was talking about Global Warming. People were saying if we didn’t change how we lived our lives, our world as we knew it wouldn’t exist. I used to stew in worry about our planet. (I was in grad school and super activism mode.) During this time, I remember being comforted when I brought the concept of photosynthesis to mind. Plants–that’s the answer. They will help us with this seemingly insurmountable change that was occurring in our climate. One that I felt like I had no control over. *If I plant more trees, they will do the work and clean up the air on our plant. It allowed me to see that change is easy and graceful.
What then is my tree at work? What will clean up the atmosphere at my work whilst going through such turbulent change?
- Rest, rest, rest
- Laughter, laughter, laughter
- Letting go of unrealistic expectations; especially those of others!
- Taking my weekends back
- Singing in my car
- Writing for myself
- Spending quality time with loved ones
As I write the above list, it occurs to me that I am the tree. I can convert the negative CO2 into positive O2 for myself. The energy it requires, however, demands that I rest my body and mind. For the past few months, I have burned the candle from both ends, desperately searching to erase the negative by doing enough positive activities. Perhaps it’s just as important to stand in the sunlight and absorb it’s warmth as it is to dance freely in the wind. Standing still–it’s simple; it’s easy; yet, I resist it with all my might.
It’s now November two months after I started the first paragraph of this post. I sit still in my pajamas late after noon on my over-sized couch watching the luxurious autumn leaves outside the living room window. Once again reminded of the that September Saturday when I was still. I sit still allowing my body to process and turn the negative change into breathable air.
*To all my Scientist friends/readers: Forgive me for simplifying photosynthesis.