As the year draws to a close and I switch off the light and lock the classroom door for the final time for the year, I am filled once again with a blend of emotions: a little sad, for the kids that have been with me most days of most weeks whom I will miss; excited for the RE-LAX-A-TION that is about to begin (surfboard and yoga mat here I come – big time!); triumphant for surviving the year (particularly strong this year as I almost didn’t); bewildered at how fast the year came and went; and reflective upon the highs and lows of 2014.
I have often heard the saying:
‘When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
And I have always been very open to seeing people and situations from a new perspective but never has this quote come so fully to life as this year. Nothing in my external world has changed…..but my whole world has changed. We “look at things” with our heart and mind but the mind has its own agenda so in order to change the way we look at things, we have to change our thinking – which of course is a lengthy process and one I’m undertaking on a daily basis. I’m also trying to look with my heart more because it is where the wisdom lies.
The understanding I am beginning to truly experience is this (as Donna Farhi describes):
‘Every high and every low arises out of and returns back to a potent, neutral place…’
Life and so too teaching is all about highs and lows but often rather than ride these we try to block the lows and cling to the highs. Our breath reminds us of the place inside that is always stable and the more we use our breath as an anchor, the less extreme the highs and lows become.
My holiday wish for you is a more lengthy connection with that neutrality – less stimulus makes that easier!Take time to celebrate the successes of your year – there were no doubt many that you’ve forgotten or brushed aside in your busy-ness. Our job is one of giving, encouraging, inspiring, guiding, moulding and loving – never forget that. If yours (like mine) has been a hard year, consider this:
‘Those who seek the easy way do not seek the true way.’ Dogen
Teaching is a very hard job but we often make it harder on ourselves. Treat yourself with loving-kindness these holidays and celebrate another year of changing people’s lives. Amp up those Self-Nourishing Acts, find what gives you energy and avoid or minimise energy drains, tap into what you truly value, rest, make some healthy changes – maybe change the way you look at things! And above all find some stillness so you can listen.
Happy holidays everyone!