The morning is cooler. I can hear Thursday’s cold front rolling in from the North. I heard it from Crow, who heard it from Mockingbird, who heard it from Cat, who heard it from another Crow, perched at the top of the Australian pine: Hawk, hawk, hawk. Hawk says not a thing, but like this great wise and winged #moment, perched upon my fence, eyeing me with #confidence. She heard it from Me, who heard it from Crow, who heard it from Cat, who heard it from Mockingbird, who heard it from another Crow. The morning is cooler. I can hear Thursday’s cold front rolling in from the North.
It’s Saturday, and I’m sitting down to plan. I had the opportunity for a planning day at school yesterday, away from the constant hums and bangs of the classroom; this being one of the first ones in 5 years or so that involve me carving out personal time, which–since Covid–has seemed so precious. Planning next steps felt a little easier than during the huge uncertainties of 2020, the election of Biden, my husband’s retirement, and hybrid digital format, but the “survival” line of thinking habit is so hard to break. It’s hard to shut down the necessities, self-created in a bygone error for a system that wholly operates digitally now. Learning is, indeed, all about connections, inter- and intra-personal ones. Learning with “survival” thinking–for both the student and teacher–is fodder for getting the same results, declining test scores, especially now that 2021 has brought a new set of uncertainties.
To break out of survival thinking and #moveforward, I’ve been setting myself up with a new set of skills, trying to think away from the idea of higher certifications (although I am pursuing them currently) and into other realms. I learned to do this fluidly last year, creating realities (in this crazy hybrid virtual and realtime, synchronous S&#! show) where there were none for #compassion and #listening so #needs and wants could be heard. I also learned what NOT to repeat from face-to-face past school years, and carry this into planning for the academic school year and retiring common core standards (more to come after training on the NEW new standards once again–my third cycle).
Teachers know the realities of any regular year–the traumas we experience or observe in others, but try to ignore. Once you are aware of an injustice or a circumstance, how can we just ignore it away? The public school systems of the United States have perpetuated many injustices, which cannot be ignored or silenced. Covid laid to bare this at an alarming rate, and we just didn’t have time to argue too much about academic excellence and dress code. Nor plan.
This greater issue for me personally was, and still is, sustainability. I’m constantly looking for an even #exchange of energies here, and constantly reminded we are a business transaction, a human resource (which is smaller in my district than the money dedicated to digital infrastructure). Yet, too, as a teacher and learner, I’m reminded here that I have agency. I try, instead, to learn new skills and explore outside of the box, moving forward. We have to learn how to give and take ourselves, and how to model this #balance in a world under great change. It’s a huge step forward for me to carve out time to plan, to understand its importance, and to be focused in something I once felt a great deal of #passion for, even though its #burdens are not sustainable.
Skill-building is just a fancy way of saying #practice (in my opinion) with a little planning. Here’s some actions I’m currently using as I #plan for opportunities:
Planning – Dream, List, Break apart, Chew On, Brainstorm, Revise, Reflect, Analyze, and Stick To
Getting outside – Camp, hike, sleep, hang out, take pictures, watch the skies, dream
Building intra and interpersonal skills with the goal to be connected to others. To hold and be held in their love. There’s sustainability in this :). What’s your attachment style? – One survey for this here.
Learning a language (or two) – I wrote my first one in German (it’s Haiku–the structure provides me much without getting into my own inner patriarchy) – might share it here.
Reading, writing and creating – A blog, a book, a poem, a video, a website, a masterpiece, a doodle.
Moving – move earth, pick up things, move air, flow like water, breathe the sky, dance, shimmy, move
Learning – Take a class (even if you don’t want to) – Anything! Today’s for me are mostly for professional development but I believe there’s always something to learn and #practice. I practice #NVC in those times of ennui and complete disbelief (there are times when a sense of humor comes in handy and #abandonment is a better course of action).
Practicing with awareness, #NVC, Yoga, Meditation. Turn it into #daily #ritual.
Putting myself out there – EarthmotherYoga is transforming into a business.
Listening without Judgement and Teaching with that in mind and #heart
Here’s one of my favorite videos on how to make #connection and building skills of #listening. May we all be blessed in our #abundance and #practice done and shared in Love.
something else hidden in the musclesRuth Stone, “The Wound” from Simplicity
of the face, something the throat wanted to say.
Today everything but the soreness from lifting you the rawness in my throat quarrels captured and salty tears everything but triaging our afflictions dressing words and what is not there silence and no quick cures unknowns romance here except this Tomorrow is everything but alienation your rights and rites practiced skills everything but my words once in allodium i stay to suture harm stitches say its my fault, too (& maybe it is) this the unraveling of that once which opened festers repaired itself unto today everything except dusty ghosts & empty bandage wrappers the world of gain and political correctness true to tradition everything but what you ask of my days and I ask of my days yesterday i plunged into trauma headlong and wounds became everything but scars
You belong to the Air
always pointing there
Howling at my doors
Your winds of warTiwaz fragment 4-12-21
This has been a fragmented school year. The familiar routines still feel uncomfortable. The ringing of bells off and on, picking up students (and teachers) in unexpected places. So many, many hurry-ups and whoopses and much profanity and bold ennui. We practice words we never knew until a year ago but they don’t help us learn. Well, maybe some of us knew the educational jargon before, but memory has been another fragmentation, and of this I write in some kind of long-awaited space, which defies education altogether. The existence of words can make them so. And each morning I study these, like some ancient map or unread dusty book (there are many this year). Literacy and learning fragmented by new words and new Science and (even) here in America, new Civics.
The nonexistence of someone’s beliefs fragment us; it can’t be done or had to be done yesterday. School language is rough and sputtering–fragmented–throughout the day until great intentions need a nap (by lunch time). Fragments of learning evidenced everywhere in my classroom closet full of 17 years of children’s books and classics and hands-on activities. But like some great wall, which may never really be built except what already exists in our nation’s head, beliefs give us comfort, a neat and tidy border from which to cross or turn and go another way. I can almost taste it in the Air. Change. For better or worse. We’ll be writing about it forever, maybe with a little humor.
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.The Destruction of Sennacherib, Lord Byron
I wish to purge and be light again. It’s time. The long fragmented year (and a half) is coming to an end; I wish to read and remember, and empty myself of fragments, writing kennings and highlighting that something can be done, has been done, will be done, about the struggles here–in this space and time of pandemic–in its nonexistence which dictates we must push on through testing, and Saturday school, and special programs to help the learning lag and mind fragmented by impossibilities and directives (ad infinitum). I wish to regroup and find a way back to what I remember, but memories are fragmented, too.
I toyed with words early on, abandoning this blog and my journals, to add big sweeping strokes of color and narratives, upon my backyard fence. Meadow and swamp grass grow through the boards now, speckled with paint of last Spring. Reminders everywhere on my return Home from school where here hours grow and grow and grow, fragmented. And after the inevitable fight for normalcy, what will remain? Testing? Old ways of doing school? Memories? And is my stamina and strength so fragmented as not to be taped together with duct tape, my pandemic friend for fences, computers, and chargers for our learning?
Here now fragmentation gives us imperfect organizational cell called public education, splitting off into new life without mention of what worked in the old one, tidied up by memorandum of understanding and PDFs covering i-cloud assignments and on-the-spot withitness. Here exists fragmentation of all that is real: budget, time, students, teachers, learning, reading, words. Our books piled high and in misuse and border control. I miss just reading, and I know the students do, also, but…
The hour is late, and I have some fragments to sweep up and out the door and into my car so I can drive away, never really knowing what the Day is until it’s over. I wake to sleep and sleep to wake, fragmented from myself and dreams. And writing my blog has that same deja vu; a chance for irresistible circumstances to collapse in its own silence and return to unknowing and unknown as a pleasure. I’ll leave the fragments of incompleteness and ubiquity to my memory.
All the Elements Came to play Danced and sang And went their way Fire in Moon Moon in Fire The South whispered secrets Of North's dark desire Bring me your frankness Your spices and ice Weave in the lemongrass Bundle this tight Walk all the quarters Crouch on the ground Fill sacred space With a Leo's Moon Sound. All the Elements Came to play Danced and sang And went their way.
In previous incarnations, prior to the imminently eminent momentary unknowns and everyday survival modes of 2020, I was a sloppy #yogawitch. Not a person to methodically organize my life was I, any facet, focused more on the only structure I learned: language. Going through the motions of life while learning the rules through reading and writing #teaching and #practice’s purposeful mistakes, splitting infinitives deliciously aimed at irritating my perceived naysayers. Breaking small rules was an unconscious act of intention awry–a small wickedness and hidden pleasure. Over time, I let this go, confronting and discarding these darknesses hidden to me.
Shadows still dance in my inner realms and these, my familiars, I have learned to organize and call upon to move me past my disorganization and anxieties (I simplify here–there are many helpers involved). I can find these readily in myself and, as such, I began to see them in other places, outside my purview, in the collective. Last night’s full moon allowed these to dance and sing about us in our Full Moon circle. I hear and see those beautiful poetic birds of mystery; you can see them, too, maybe? They are here and here and here and here and here and every morning on my morning playlist (maybe you’ll find comfort and strength here, too?). The sound (not the words), as #memories fills my sight, organizes my Day and Night; my flow feels genuine and intuitively organized.
This is not to say I don’t recognize the sharp oppositions in play in the greater world–only my tiny justification of how presented before I saw my inner chaos. In those “other” roles and realms, those of mother, wife, teacher, daughter, sister, friend, employee, adult, woman, shadows pooled: a stack of dishes; a pile of laundry (clean and folded–or dirty); #practices scribbled down in the wee hours of the morning to do again (as if); a teacher closet with an #abundance of learning unused and a file cabinet of empty files which commiserates; a grocery list with items circled and forgotten; a bottle or two of lotions and perfume I’d never put on (the glass extraordinarily, iridescently filling spaces). Abundance of words and worlds I possess and reflect upon–light bouncing off every corner of my mind; the fast pace of my physicality finally caught up to me, and my body had to slow down, creating a new spaces and organizational flows.
Death is a real thing to me now. There. I said it. I wrote it. Death is a real thing to me now. Understanding comes from experience, I think. What was 2020 but one long catalog of lessons in being alright in the moment while doing what is epically needed to be done? And I understand I get confused, I get things wrong, I make typos, I run around in circles (literally) while I think of what I am doing, and I fucking procrastinate every hard task (as I am doing today), but I understand that each moment is predicated on the words I say to myself–spoken or carried within my thoughts (an element in myself). Beautiful organization takes time, and that same messiness in discovering this, carried me through 2020. Processing in new ways (and historical ways to me on Erika-Standard-Time) allowed me to handle death in the classroom.
My day-to-day as a teacher in a hybrid classroom during the pandemic is predictably challenging; we all do the best we can in our levels of awareness to #balance and ground and survive. I return to language here–mostly poetry (in all Her forms) and runes (ancient communication). And then, I enter our classroom and continue to practice the appropriateness and preciseness which convey the standards as equitably and compassionately as I am able. This is #goodwork, and this is happening all over our building–some teachers have multiple areas to teach (#gratitude for how they still do the same in separate spheres of realities). As I, too, run for the bigger classroom for my bigger face-to-face classes with my computer screen projecting my shirt and lanyard, with mouse and sheets of paper in tow, always one dropping to the floor), I’m learning to quell the words of self-doubt in mind which causes us to waffle in indecision at the most critical time for language–6th period!
I know I am not alone. I feel the energies move through me as shadows, pooling and accumulating in great abundance; warnings to be careful what type of #abundance one calls. This organization destined to fail: “Turning and turning in the widening gyre/The falcon cannot hear the falconer;/Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;/Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”. The pace is harried and my husband reminds me at home I don’t need to run to bed, and in his calm way, guides me to see my organizational spaces work both ways: to let out as well as in.
Here I linger on a blog. I let my mind get lost in those words that bounce around and catch in the shadows’ dark pools. I let the greater picture captivate my inner sight, the soft rhythm of a needed day off (one which I promised would involve grading). I am no longer a sloppy #yogawitch; today’s plans include my abundance of #dreams and #goals. This, the continued practice of letting Death’s presence remind of Life’s import, helps create and maintain #irresistiblecircumstances wherever I go.
What remains is Divine.
This a rambling blog on #irresistiblecircumstances, ones that I create in my life and all the roles: (earth)mother, wife, lover, mover, dancer, teacher, #yogawitch. I’ve been mostly writing poetry in between the lesson plans, the shuffling of one thing to serve another, and the naps. Poetry helps me strip down to language to essence and in doing so, beckons me to ask hard questions of myself and the answers
I digest spit up chew upon swallow whole What remains?
What remains of me today sounds like angst and feels like chaos and more uncertainty. I push down the urge to shush my intuition, and my confidence shakes: existential crisis arrives in every crisis of the day, hour, minute; I use this rollercoasterness, the power of the up and down, to hover a moment or two on a concept in class students are perplexed about (today, the word “troops” as in the French and Indian War). I wonder do they see great parallels in history and the now? Sweeping questions to yet be answered (or not) on some other day. Thus, stillness and clarity born in this #practice (and others) can be counted in great bursts of #gratitude for the opportunity to teach and share this unbelievable time with others. I want to say: I understand, but instead I ask: What can I do to help you?
The great and terrible thing about adrenal fatigue is that I can’t access the word I need to grapple and explain things, such as lessons, or solid learning and remembrances to aid our learning in the classroom–the labels and names for specific things and people (of which I used to be encyclopedic). Even as simple as why I am sailing forth in my own huge ocean of tears. Being silent and sliding down my face all on their own, I take pause. I slow down.
What remains can be anything; I use some #tags to help me sort through the biggies: #grief, #abundance, #pain. Gold star for #anger of which I have little. I have #enough for this Covid time, probably #enough for a lifetime (for which I say a secret prayer that I’m around to see it).
Today I felt #shame and #guilt for what remains and my confidence shakes again and again and again:
am i depressed am i crazy am i sick am i wrong am i fat am i stupid that i can't see what remains? should i be shamed i work through #tags i see the sun i feel the winds i know unrest and chaos within and without (at school in each greeting-- eyes shift, look down, smiling nonetheless) Today was hard. Should I shame myself i'm not alright today but in this moment I okay? For that, #gratitude.
I can count on my experience, both inner and outer places, and the insurmountable gets done in its own time, in its own way, and greets the Universe’s cycles, not mine. My choice to seek #balance through a #handstand, a #song, or a moment of mindfulness or a laugh with the students. It helps. The birds sing, the sky opens up, and I catch the whispers and echoes, weave a spell or two in rhyme (or not). Like dance, it moves me.
I look to the left I look to the right But sometimes the obvious is clearly in sight. Stay the course Hug those dear Keep your chin up The Day is near.
In the great stilling of the year, we walk in woods, marked with evidence of winter who, like a tourist, visited and departed in a great sky river I witness above last night's fire out under the great Moon and Clouds unfolding stories: the cow jumping over the moon the speed of a cargo plane landing the bite of a wolf a lesson in what is uncontrollable and perfect just so. We move counter-clockwise and step into tomorrow, just a step between continents. Between action and inertia the ice thaws the sun cools the shade lingers delicately not necessarily as from oak branches adorned in great Spanish moss and fallen pine needles nestled within a moment's warmest hug. Though we wake, sleeping still among the thorns of 2020, the point is we wake remembering the moment where spiders find such irresistible haunts delightfully full of prospect. Today's Lesson was in how to link a live video from FB in EMYoga to my YouTube Channel and add captioning (access to all). I have not perfected this task yet, but small steps...The first video in a series for January can be found below (another step in 2020 to rebuild professional competence).
Nec reditum Diomedis ab interitu Meleagri,
nec gemino bellum Troianum orditur ab ovo;
semper ad eventum festinat et in medias res
non secus ac notas auditorem rapit, et quae
desperat tractata nitescere posse relinquit.
December’s almost-predictable roller-coaster ride leads me to a beautiful #abundance of creative ideas and promised into 2021. The quarantining process brings with it a shift of #perspective with learning new tools, such as #mindfulness, through a turbulent 2020. At school, we literally had opportunities to re-invent the teaching wheel (and that’s as close to autonomy as you can get in any content). As with most of 2020, great scarcity and unknowing brought #irresistiblecircumstances to discover the important people in our lives and places of refuge, along with how to receive and return Love. Revisiting and tagging thought categories has been useful in seeing #whatis, essentially the #practice of yoga with all that is available, any time and in any place, with the difficulty and uncomfortableness of 2020 snuggled right up against #pain, #grief, and #catharsis; working through resistance requires hard work. Who is to say whether it is the work of 2020 that makes us weary or 2020, a tag itself in omnipresence.
Today, the proverbial 2020 train creaks and clacks slowly up to its pinnacle, and I sit here, stuck between past and future. Experience dictates caution (just like a teacher). Intuition advises my adrenals to scream and get off the ride, but healthy curiosity reconciles with the dose of knowing or, rather, acceptance. Daily walks in Florida’s #skog in the perfect Season among the miles of sandhills, prickles, and humorless humidity has uncovered Nature’s own inherent wild ride–a message to perhaps slow down the pace and look around in the #irresistiblecircumstances which one has created for oneself.
What is Walk
Whether through the miracle of birth
This body Earth
holds host to the catalog of dismissed #abundances:
the water oak, the cypress, the wild sages and cassia,
the thistles and duckweed, the blooming poison ivy,
the water lettuce, the tickweed and asters of the brush,
the sweetgum and inkberry, the ribwort plantain,
or through the death of 2020;
This body Earth
returns to inner fertility of a Florida mid-winter:
moss carpeting the realms below the roots
home of ant, snakes, spiders, and little birds
(a recurrent theme) while
Spanish moss dangles fat and lazily from canopy
and across the pale dead grass,
a pair of hawks glide to dinner
along with vultures and their darker intents
(Not a look of someone doing someone else’s work)
A rotting log from a bird’s eye view.
Blistered feet will write the story of thorny 2020:
Whether it is the instrument
through which Gods play
or words playing Gods
Here I walk with what is
In media res
Dæg byþ drihtnes sond, deore mannum,
mære metodes leoht, myrgþ and tohiht
eadgum and earmum, eallum brice.
We are almost 16 weeks into this 2020 edition of a Covid school year; school is still more about adrenaline than passion. As drive myself through adrenal fatigue and increasing #pain cycles, there is still much comfort in seeing students participate in all the various forms. There is routine in examining the old texts, seeds of our Constitution, and discussing fresh perspectives of Enlightenment. Inequities present themselves, easily imagined as we live the reality of our ancestors. Rich and poor, the work of school is useful to all.
Self-management hangs heavily in a synchronous learning environment, from discussions of leaving something on the stove (when working from home) to managing the impossibilities of impromptu Internet glitches and patches while all at once some magic learning happens. In any case, there’s hardly a time to pause unless we make time for this release. And, just like physical pain, mental anguish and stress takes a toll. Were our forefathers (and foremothers) not the same in their dreams, fears, and internal dialogues? Did they take a moment to seize an opportunity for gratitude (the mindfulness strategy today)? Did they trace the Night’s path across their backyard sky, or take a nap in the emerging sunlight on a cool day, or savor a hot cup of tea in quiet contemplation, and find hope there?
Of late, without much ease in movement, I find myself processing the words, words, words, in a such way I never anticipated in my half-century. Could the younger me have envisioned a day I wouldn’t remember vocabulary or concepts or need the constant reminder of my stumbling and bumbling access to the more common areas of my brain? Likewise, did I intellectualize the day I couldn’t lift the weight of the world and a barbell locked and loaded to squat beneath or push overhead?
School becomes a challenge, tripping over the next item to do, procrastinating the great and honorable task of grading (and grade-entering to create irresistible mixed-media digital content); however much I love to craft a lesson, the sheer amount of energy to make any decision has taken flight to darker realms, suspended.
Survival depends on Day and Night, a marriage of predictable opposition. I am held by spaces between polarities, and Day’s quiet appearance transforms Night’s #abundance into actionable steps toward the future. And while little of life outside of school setting presents itself in the traditional way, each Day has offered fresh #perspectives. Brought into a classroom, our community is light of hope itself–we will survive. Rich and poor, the perspective of familiar cycles is Hope.
I hear them all.
The voices of my students
past and present
echo in this circus
stripped from the natural place
where learning should go
into the words of best practices
and waivers and emails, and wait!
don’t move from your computer (like that’s healthy),
and here’s a 100 page document to read yesterday, and
we have your back (we’ll work together)
if (not when) you die (Shouldn’t we always have people’s backs?),
but don’t be dramatic because we’re all in the same boat,
even if the student don’t know what an idiom, metaphor, or simile is.
That’s my job. I know.
But I hear them all.