Sunday, September 25, 2016

On living simply

Timing is everything; this morning the chaos of student papers to grade makes me want to hide. And so I grab my yoga mat, go out into my building's courtyard and take cover. (Photo: view from the mat)

As the choreographer of my life, I own the fact that I messed up big time--note to self: never again have papers from four classes due at once. The good news is that this work sent me to the mat and (capital And) drew me from a chaos far worse, the election nightmare. I will say no more, dear Reader; from hereon consider this blog your safe space.

Deep sigh. I have once again (this is a biyearly event) begun seeking out a teacher training program for yoga. Each time I enter this phase, I'm called by a different yearning: learn the poses perfectly, an income source, philosophy immersion, injury management. Today, it is an amalgam of all the above, plus my yearning for knowledge. I want to throw myself into a fresh subject, one I'm already intrigued by, removed from my English teacher self, my New York City self, all the selves and personas I've inhabited in life and on the page. And this calling feels the realest.  The one, hopefully (it is dangerous to post this, I know), I will heed.

Once upon a time, the thought of teaching on a college campus sent shivers through me. I still recall the first morning I walked across a leafy campus--it was all I'd imagined--sprawling lawns, benches filled with students clustered in conversation (pre-texting mania), and me, holding my books, a hazelnut coffee, inspiration! I was incredibly happy. My first weeks unfolded in a breathtaking dream-come-true way. And then. So many (many!) and thens. There were all the Academic writing rules I hadn't learned in grad school, rules that are anathema to creative writing innocents. There was the grading itself; how in the world (in my world) did one figure that out? Ah...did the paper have a workable thesis? (Thesis?) That first college, first class, they go down in my book as one of my most grueling lessons in learning on the fly. (Not Always Good.)

Today. I still carry into school (not aforementioned school) my coffee, my books, my inspiration (note: no exclamation point). I know the rules. I understand, give or take, my students. My job has a reality to it that could never match the dream of a person who never thought she'd go to college, much less teach at one (actually three). I like it (minus the papers). Especially those magic moments when we're learning from each other, when I'm not always the expert. Students delight me when they have insight into a piece of writing I hadn't seen.

And then there is my need to learn more. The long arm of Yoga reaches out to me. My mat is one of the places I go to settle. To stop the whirl of papers, of must do's, of self-recrimination (my greatest flaw). I almost write it is a place of healing, but truly, it is a place of living. much to say this gorgeous Sunday morning. Thoughts of Prague, of returning to a place that felt simple and easy. (Photo: Bridge Band on the Charles Bridge.)

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