Saturday, January 25, 2014

Do Good

A beautiful latte in a beautiful land.
Excitement is brewing- ideas, connections, creations.  Cups of coffee coming up to talk about a huge project at Many Glacier, plus guest-writing opportunities, new music for VSA, a student-teacher, AND album-recording has excitingly commenced for Jamily!  (we saw our littlest yesterday, more on Mtn Mama soon....)

My wheels are rolling, as they do.  A favorite writer recently asked, "how do we do exactly what we feel like because it is also our soul’s greater good?"

I want to be good, always have.  Mom tells me she rarely had to discipline me as a toddler, I was so SORRY when I'd done something wrong.  Somehow, my struggle formed between wanting to be good versus wanting to be good according to everyone.

In my Middle School days, being good became an anomaly.  A strong and talented student, I was baffled.  Why did everyone like the people who weren't being good?  Why were they cool?  I wanted to stand out, be more than just a goodie-two-shoes.  Uncomfortable in my skin, unsure of my talents and passion, placing so much importance on social life.

I needed more confidence then, and really, who doesn't in adolescence?  With more confidence now, maybe I'd be better at following my gut instinct.  Inherent do-gooding backed up with, "yes, I trust myself on this" is powerful, and it takes practice.  When I do good, I feel good.  

I'm questioning my do-gooding after this week in choir.  We took a trip to Bozeman for Celebrate America on Monday, a pretty easy trip, as I've done it several times.  I think the kids had fun, they were well-behaved, focused, and sang well when it was time.  Over the past couple weeks, I've lost several important students.  One in particular completely blind-sided me yesterday, especially after this trip.  I can't help but take it personally when talented, crucial singers decide to leave.  I can't help but think of what I've done wrong- and my first reaction, even after four years, is to be defensive and hurt.  After the exchange, I always wish I had just made the student feel more appreciated.

These past four years in the choir room have been hard- balancing social dynamics of small groups, planning lessons for six very different classes, envisioning & executing performance after performance.  Striving to do the position justice can seem almost impossible when held to the standard of choir teacher I've idealized, as I often fall short in one area while excelling in another.  Part of me wants to recoil into my turtle-shell, give up.  I know, as my grandma would say, I am too hard on myself.

It's time in my career to step back and synthesize.  Share my perspective and created materials with my student-teacher, and with other teachers, too.

If I could visit teenage me, I'd encourage myself to follow my instincts. Meditating on how to do that better in my job and in my life.  I think this is a start:

This weekend, taking a little self-declared unplug...maybe to become a weekend ritual.
Shut the devices.  Do more good.  
Laugh.  Create.  Get outside.  Write in pen.  Read.  Sleep.  Gaze.  Play.  Sing.  Cook.  
Focus on my loved ones.  

I hope your weekend has some of the same.  

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