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Testing mettle…

January 14, 2010

Yesterday was an interesting day for me…

like every other day isn’t…

I had a rough sleep the night before…

and as I lay there from about 2 am. until it was time to get up for the day I reflected upon the last ten years of my life…

I often say to my children,

I have no idea how I used to do what I did…

It seems like I was some other life form…

I remember someone watching me at the park many years ago as I pushed my two children in their swings, threw a Kong repeatedly for our big furry dog, and made conversation…

all at the same time…

after a day of commuting out to the suburbs and back to spend the day teaching, and caring for, other peoples children…

because I didn’t know what else to do…

The person said watching me was like watching this

All three angels at once…

I had to laugh…

even though spandex gives me hives…

sometimes I have felt like I am at least three women doing high kicks and splits in a great ball of fire…

But I’ve come to realize that how other people see me is arbitrary, and just a surface viewing…

I exercise my capacity to change with every new day…

and I don’t pull all of my magic out of my hat all at once…

A free wind is blowing through your hair...

We often think we have to go somewhere else to be happy…

or creative…

I used to think that if only I could move somewhere like the Slocan Valley and gaze at the Vahallas day in and day out I would feel relaxed and peaceful…

24/7/365…

for sure…

But we all know that wherever we go there we are…

Like yesterday…

I was at Science World…

After the first time I NEVER again booked a field trip for my class to go to Science World…

As a teacher responsible for other people’s young children this kind of an environment is a recipe for cardiac arrest…

But as a parent volunteer I was only responsible for six grade five girls…

piece of upside down cake…

I marveled at my inner calm…

While I kept an eye on these six girls I watched my body sensations…

As I learned about electrons and Van de Graaf generators I attended to my energy system…

with steady processing…

I danced in a dark room to Staying Alive, with three teenage girls who wanted me to be in their pictures recording our collective movements on a wall of light just minutes after my daughter Starshine (1o) told me that I wasn’t allowed in her general vicinity if I swayed with the music…

I played with water…

and a parachute…

I stroked beaver pelt…

and some mink…

And had great ongoing conversation with a beautiful young woman from Quebec City who has recently moved here with her partner just to see where life takes them…

We were like quiet magnets pulling towards each other and then pulling apart…

repeatedly over the course of the day…

And we didn’t make one moment of small talk…

I asked her if she expected this to happen when she woke up this morning…

She said,

No, absolutely not… did you???

I said,

No, I didn’t either but I don’t have conversations that aren’t like this…

when people tell me that they haven’t talked about meaning and purpose and a bigger picture for twenty or more years I wonder what they’ve spent their lives talking about…

and with whom…

We talked about our felt sensitivities…

and she told me how she had this feeling in her chest…

She covered her heart with her fist…

I was so happy because I couldn’t feel it…

I told her that this was a big thing for me…

I was so relieved that I couldn’t feel her…

unless I wanted to…

And as I asked her to specifically describe the feeling in her chest her fist opened up like a bird and flew away…

And she said, her words following her hand,

There it goes…

it’s gone now…

After all of the children from my daughters’ school left to return to school on the bus Starshine, Little Gem and I went to see this

We each walk our own path to ourselves…

and our holy place…

There is no one way…

And the voice we thought we needed, talking on the outside, was inside all along…

Just waiting to be heard, and remembered, in a dusty file folder…

In Science World I found Mecca by staying rooted in my ground…

and opening my heart to the strangers I was with, in that public space…

Choosing my religion…

When we got home I checked to see how everyone was feeling…

Starshine had motion sickness from watching the wrap-around film…

So we all went in different directions for some quiet time…

to empty out…

Starshine read some Nancy Drew…

Little Gem worked with Kid Pix…

I did the morning dishes…

Putting my hands in water puts me right in my body…

And it makes me think about the loss of all those water tables, and sand boxes, that no longer have a home in Kindergarten classrooms…

We prefer prescriptions…

for keeping kids still…

and focused…

Prescriptions are easier to write and fill…

with no messy clean up at the end of the day…

The first thing I’m going to do when I am a principal is order up a trailer load full of sand…

and a big water hose…

For carving river beds into silica…

and giving girls and boys something to sink their fingers into…

while developing Supra-skills, for post-2010…

Some day we'll get it together and we'll get it undone...

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