Sunday, August 18, 2013

Giving and Receiving

“Gracious acceptance is an art - an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving..”
-Alexander McCall Smith

Especially in the first weeks in the classroom, with new children, and children returning from weeks in a different kind of order, I find myself getting caught in a mode of giving. I am observing and responding, and most of the energy is going out in giving: instruction, hugs, reminders, non-verbal communication, in showing how, in connecting and helping. I sit back and observe, sure, but my interactions are focussed a lot on getting things headed in a certain direction. Influencing. Modelling.

I was thinking about the opposite of what I have been doing. I am spending so much time giving that I'm forgetting to take care to receive fully. In beginning again the balance should be tipped this way: to listening, and welcoming, and creating space, and being available in the moment to acknowledge what the children are sharing. I see that they have so much to give, so many ideas, and words, and silent successes, stories, questions, and love. Especially when we are meeting for the first time, or again after a long time of absence, I imagine how nice for them to find an adult that is ready to receive them. I remind myself to graciously wait, quietly, and receive what they are offering.

“Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart.”
Brené Brown

Thought for the week

Go out into the world today and love the people you meet. Let your presence light new light in the hearts of people. ~ Mother Teresa

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summer is for making things

 This summer was for making things. I reconnected with an old love (clay) in a most happy place (Tuscarora, Nevada) and made pots and whistles. Spent time in the woodshed with Yair and built a table, and a meditation stool, and a pasta drying rack. I made new friends. I pickled kelp with my grandmother. I made some jewelery. I folded paper. I cooked and read and had a good time.

And now the summer is over, and tomorrow the children come back to school.

Today I was wondering why I was feeling an absence of nerves. Usually there is a building wave of anxiety that begins to gather momentum before the new year begins... "Do I still know how to do this?" I wasn't feeling it this week, I'm not feeling it now while I write. I was curious enough that I almost summoned the tension by too much wondering.

Perhaps all the presence gathered up in the summer by working with my hands and being a beginner at so many things  is helping me learn that there doesn't need to be a dramatic crescendo of emotions. That tomorrow is not yet, and to trust that I'll know how to respond to whatever happens when the time comes.