Today is the first day of school. I don’t think I have ever begun a year with such a roiling sense of uncertainty, even my first year. My room looks ready. My slideshows look ready. I seem to have lesson plans in place. I have practiced Zooming and recording and publishing the Zoom.
I just have to trust that it’s all there, all in place, because something inside me feels like I am trying to stand on water. Or, as someone posted in a meme this week, building the plane while it’s in the air. Yeah, that.
One thing that I am certain of is this: The support and prayers and good energy I feel from my beloveds is so strong, it is almost palpable. Without that, without the good humored and earnest colleagues and administration and custodial staff, without the knowledge that I will be back among my students today, I don’t think i could do this. But these human circles make it possible, and even delightful, to step in and see what happens. This is my entire gratitude list for today.
If you’re looking for some concrete ways to be energetic support in these anxious times:
First and foremost, pray for the safety of students and teachers and staff at the schools in your area, that we and our families will be able to mitigate with enough intention and care that we will not make each other sick.
Then, perhaps just as important, pray that we will FEEL safe, that we will be able to re-establish school as a place of belonging and wellbeing. That we will be able to establish strong and healthy community. We’ll never be able to make it through the twisting pathways of the brain past the protection centers toward the higher level critical thinking skills if we can’t first feel safe.
Then pray that we will learn together, that we will be able to engage each one, especially those who are remote.
Thank you for being part of the village that raises the children of your community. In a year when it seems that every answer is the wrong one, we need to step in and BE the answers.
“All the wonders of life are already here. They’re calling you. If you can listen to them, you will be able to stop running. What you need, what we all need, is silence. Stop the noise in your mind in order for the wondrous sounds of life to be heard. Then you can begin to live your life authentically and deeply.” —Thich Nhat Hanh
“When you have to make a choice, and you don’t make it, that is itself a choice.” —William James
“What do you promise your distant ancestors you will bring back into the world? What do you promise our cultural descendants you will bequeath them? Amid the ruins of a dying civilization, let us be clear and intentional in what we plant.” —Sean Donohue (FB post)
“Educating yourself does not mean that you were stupid in the first place; it means that you are intelligent enough to know that there is plenty left to learn.” ―Melanie Joy
“I hold the most archaic values on earth. . .the fertility of the soul, the magic of the animals, the power-vision in solitude. . . .the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe.” ―Gary Snyder
“The words were on their way, and when they arrived, she would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain.” ―Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow: and without trees, we cannot make paper.” ―Thich Nhat Hanh
“The study of silence has long engrossed me. The matrix of a poet’s work consists not only of what is there to be absorbed and worked on, but also of what is missing, desaparecido, rendered unspeakable, thus unthinkable.” ―Adrienne Rich
“Be ready to be surprised by the crazy, wonderful events that will come dancing out of your past when you stir the pot of memory. Embrace those long-lost visitors.” ―William Zinsser
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.” ―Bob Marley
“Bare your soul of all mind, and stay there without mind.” ―Meister Eckhart