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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fumbling along my quest

There were moments when I was frozen, stuck in stagnation that knew no floor or no ceiling. I am a blind soul infatuated with the idea that true content can be found. I am in fact fixated on the idea. Perhaps this is a trap, for in this notion is also the notion that I will find what I seek if I just listen closely enough to my innate intuitions.

I have spent so long being driven that now when I come up for air and find that I have somehow changed, I am without root. I find myself on this quest to find my truest self and yet the deeper I look, the more questions are raised. In many ways it was easier to be driven as though I were chased by demons because now that many of my ambitions have been set aside, I find myself asking, "What more is there?" The self I have unearthed seems dreamless. This self struggles every day to get up and do it again and wants nothing better than to get home and snuggle with my pets and my husband. This emerging self does not care for the same validation and recognition that has spurred my actions for so long.

I read the comments on my last blog and feel almost like a fraud. Yes, I am good at what I do, I care about what I do and yet every day on the way to work I have to psyche myself up. In the darkness when my alarm sounds, I want to curl up in a tiny ball, crawl under the covers and snuggle into the darkness. I get to work and during my planning period, I dream of a day where I can curl up on my yoga mat and rest, even for fifteen minutes before I see the kids. I just am not so hungry anymore. I am exhausted by the same obstacles, the same hills to battle. I am exhausted.

The exhaustion is not just in my body, it's in my mind. My ability, no my desire to solve problems is diminished. I just want to fold up my cape and be an ordinary citizen now but I am not sure how ordinary citizens live this long life. Work, eat, sleep. Work, eat, sleep... The weekend is like an oasis in the distance. Then it arrives and I am spent. I can barely remember why I wanted it so badly.

At the back of my mind is the thought, "There must be something more." I have been reading "Yoga and the Quest for the True Self" by Stephen Cope. In the part I just read he was at a meditation retreat and he found that during the practice his mind kept drifting to the furniture that he wanted to decorate his house with. The teacher told him to "cut out that chicken shit." He later realized that we come to see ourselves as the identity we have forged. He had decorated his house with thoughts like, "This house reflects who I am etc..." Cope then went on to note that we come to see ourselves almost entirely through how we believe others perceive us. I think that this must often lead us into delusions about our worth or lack thereof. We may build an identity for ourselves that is entirely based on calculations of how others will view us. I fear now that much of who I thought I am was based on a calculation about what others expected me to be.

I am not wrapped in self-pity, I am reflecting that I do not even know myself. I wonder about what I really want, where I see myself in the future and what I value and so far I have no answers. There seems to be a part of me that would like nothing more than a large change in how I spend me time. There is a part of me that wishes I never had to work again but on the other hand, so much of what I believe is based on the idea that I am happiest creating things. Sometimes my creations are my students. I guide them from one place to another. It used to bother me that few people seemed to notice my successes but now I find that I would rather stay under the radar and dream of all the things I hope the kids will learn under my tutelage.

I long to be still but then when I am, I find that I am nagged by the notion that I should be accomplishing something. I am not sure how we can seperate ourselves from our actions or our creations. So long I have sought and yet I do not know how to find what I seek. I fumble on, sometimes in darkness, sometimes in light and still I wonder--


Jen said...


Have you considered the option of working part-time? If it's financially doable, it might be an idea for the future. I'm not sure about where you are, but I know a lot of those specialty subjects--ESL, speech pathology, special ed, reading specialist,etc--- are part-time as well as full-time positions in my area. I realize sometimes it's an issue of health insurance, because we loved my husband's plan when he was a teacher. Or of course finances in general. Believe me, we're still barely above water right now. But possibly in the future, if you can, maybe reducing your hours by just a small fraction could help you get your mojo back.

Hang in there and try not to lose faith..


Jen said...

PS: I'm sorry I'm so practical in terms of working! I think it's the former health care worker in me: think practically and try to solve or at least diminish a problem. But I do have thoughts about what the hell I'm doing here, too!

Anyway, get a good night's sleep, ok?

Joan said...

Boy can I relate to this one! Again, you hit the nail right on the head.

Let me know when you find the answer, cause I'm looking, too!!!



I think that those of us whose identity is so tied to our profession have a challenge in separately ourselves from our work.

I understand completely what you are saying. But I have no offerings of advice. It is your journey and your's alone.


Denver Refashionista said...

Jen, I think you are right. it would be great if I could do half time at school and then spend some time writing and teaching yoga. I can't now because of money and insurance but in a few years this would be a dream for me. I also would love to become an instructional coach who teaches and helps teachers.

Denver Refashionista said...

Joan and Lisa, I'm so glad that my post actually made sense and that you get what I am saying. Stephen Cope mentioned that we often think that we are the only ones who are uncertain about our true needs or identity but that almost everyone is searching on some level. Although it is hard to be untethered by my old image of self, I want to let it go and find a new way of being that brings me content. Lisa, you are right, we must walk this path alone and that's ok.

Diane J Standiford said...

I think an unexamined life is not worth living. These are ongoing ponderings. nornal and healthy. Can even be fun. look in the mirror and decide who you want looking back. Think about how you see others, ask why, why do I see them that way? Gives you a jump off point for changing what YOU want to see in that mirror. Yhen begin seeing other's eyes upon you as mirrors. Surround yourself with the reflections of the you that you want to be, that makes feel good and thrills you to get out of bed each day. We all can relate. I disagree that we must do it alone. We need others. Part time work is a great idea.

Denver Refashionista said...

Diane. You're right. MS really showed me that we can reinvent ourselves all the time. Before I had a million excuses. Now I have the incentive to say, "Why not?"