I don’t know about you, but there is something about teaching that keeps me conscious of my younger self, and how much I’ve grown and changed since those grade school years. Large seemingly intractable problems have shifted away…no longer am I concerned about the size of my nose, attention from random I am deeply embedded in experiences that seemed so foreign and impossible…marriage, motherhood, home ownership. Or sometimes I remember back to my first year of teaching, when I would lie across a line of desks at 7pm and cry, overworked, overwhelmed and insecure. Now, whenever I get stuck or confused or struggle, I remember that time and think, “Well, at least it’s not like that.”
Taking time for this reflection, a moment to pause and consider the changing nature of our experience, can help us get unstuck. It can help us value the moment that we are in now, replete with the obstacles we have overcome and the lessons we have learned.
Our mindfulness practice, too, requires a longer view to see clearly the subtle ways it may be serving us. Sometimes I sit and my mind seems a flood of thoughts, other times it seems more placid, but these are not the markers of change. They show up in subtle ways, in the way I can watch the flood of thoughts and not become obsessed with removing them. The way I can notice when I am being judgmental and let it go. The way I can sink into moments of awareness throughout the day without effort that once would have been lost on me.
We’re playing a long game, my friends. Play on.