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Showing posts from October, 2017

Moving in Spirals

I've always said that my life moves in spirals, but I've only recently come to recognize that I can be on more than one spiral concurrently; this isn't to say I feel that I'm living a double life, but there are multiple aspects of myself that I want to engage with and explore. It's taken me a long time to realize that life isn't all or nothing (hello, grit and growth mindset!), but I think my biggest point of struggle has been between what I believe makes me happy and what I believe is the best way I can be of service.

The spiral I'm paying the most attention to right now is what I've come to realize is my dharma, my purpose: teaching. I struggled for a long time with what I perceived as tension between bliss (ah, Joseph Campbell, how I adore you!) and dharma or duty; for a long time, I created a dichotomy between the two, placing my writing in the bliss basket and my teaching on the side of duty. But although that dichotomy doesn't seem to be as cut…

Building Notre Dame, or How the Writing Life Prepared Me for a PhD

"Bricks fell in place. The boys leaped. And as they put a foot up, out, and down, a stair came under it, one stone at a time...the ran on emptiness...the ran on pure windy light only to have bricks and stones and mortar shuffle like cards, deal themselves solid, and take form beneath their toes and heel." Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree
 I have ALWAYS struggled with mindfulness. Even at my most zen, my most calmly stable, my mind refuses to sit for very long in the here and now. There's something inherently un-mindful about teaching, I believe; planning lessons and units, looking ahead and trying to find ways to predict where students may want to go or what issues might arise, forces us to be one, five, twenty steps ahead of the present moment, and planning has always been something I excel at.

One of the first pieces of advice I got about grad school (and one that I continue to receive, from other graduate students and mentors) is to take this journey one step at a ti…