It seems fitting that I put my back out today. It happened innocently enough - I leaned over to make the bed and felt the spasm. It will work itself out, but it has been a nuisance all day. I can walk slowly and a hot bath helped. Now I'm watching the clock so I can see with my own eyes the start of a new year.
I am ready. The last four months have been beyond stressful. I want to make a conscious decision to start fresh the minute a new year arrives.
At the start of the school year I was working as a special education teacher. I was in over my head but did the best I could for students and teachers. When I learned about an opening for a classroom teacher I asked to be considered for the position. Two days later I heard that I had the job, and I started in the classroom the Monday after Thanksgiving.
I have been a second grade teacher for 17 days. After the first week someone asked me how I was doing. I replied that I am still drowning, but I know this pool.
I am the third teacher in the room since the start of school, and my task has been to begin at the beginning. Classroom management is my first priority. Getting a handle on curriculum is the second.
Taking care of myself is my third priority. To that end I have seen my osteopath regularly. She told me this week I need time to rest and to heal. There is a lot going on and my body is processing all of it. We talk about how to not take things personally, how to let emotions move through me, how to protect myself with love and compassion for myself and others, how to stay soft when the instinct is to turn hard, and how to accept what happens.
Support and encouragement show up at exactly the right moments ~ a friend calls to check in, another invites us to dinner, and a snow day is a welcome reprieve.
This week another sign came in the form of the daily meditation in Mark Nepo's The Book of Awakening for December 27:
Without hope for the future, without hope that things will change, with no hope of finding what's been lost, and no hope of restoring the past, with only the risk to crack open all that has hardened about me, what will I do with what I have?
At first, this might seem scary or sad, but as a tired swimmer comes ashore surprised to find pearls washing through his legs, I lift my tired head again and again to find all I need is right where I am.
But being human, I stray and dream of lives other than my own, and soon I am busy wanting something else, somewhere else, someone else; busy imagining something just out of reach to strive for.
It leads me to say if you are unhappy or in pain, nothing will remove these surfaces. But acceptance and a strong heart will crack them like a shell, exposing a softness that has always been, exposing a soft thing waiting to take form. It glows. I think it is the one spirit we all share.
Happy New Year everyone. The journey continues....