Our nightly routine is a well-oiled (sometimes squeaky and tempermental) machine.
Tonight, my machine turned into a boat–two in fact. As I bounced from room to room picking up discarded socks, toys, and tossing dishes into the sink, I happened to pause in time to witness a moment between my two children as they made boats out of my throw pillows (sigh) and raced across the hardwood floor. What caught my attention was not the imminent threat of a boo-boo, but Will’s tone towards his little sister, Waverly. His “boat” had come to be stuck between the front door and his sister’s “island.”
“Can I go around you, Waverly?” Will gently asked, stopping the careening of his crazy boat at the edge of her blanket.
“Um…Mes [“yes” in 3 year-old speak].”
“It might bend this corner a little bit, but I’ll fix it, K?” He promised.
“Okay, Bubba….good job, Bubba! That’s it!”
Once Will’s aircarft carrier was safely around his sister, I sank down on the chair and started to breath again. I watched their regatta for twenty more minutes.
Scenes like this happen all of the time but with very different endings in my house. I’m usually somewhere in the background, halfway listening for the great War-of-the-Siblings to ensue. Tonight, I paused and held my breath, taking small sips of air until something new and unexpected occurred.
My word this year is possibility as I explained in an earlier post. I’m working on saying “no” and turning off the “shoulds.” The “shoulds” were loud tonight as they are most Sunday nights (should be doing laundry, vacuuming, getting pajamas ready for bath, adding to the grocery list before you forget), but I told them “No, you can wait” tonight and held my breath.
A couple of weeks ago, my amazing yoga instructor began class wtih a breating exercise–a critical segment of yoga practice. Before we ready our bodies for practice, we ready our minds and then our lungs. This time however, she instructed us to hold our breath at the top of the inhale for six seconds and then to take a few small sips of air, reaching the deepest pockets of our lungs as we filled them with possibility before exhaling to a count of six. The rhthym goes something like this:
Inhale slowly through the nose 1-2-3-4-5-6
Sip. Sip. Sip
In the pauses between breath, we open our minds, lungs, and bodies to possibilities in our yoga practice–an idea I brought into my practice that day and my daily routine with my family and my work these days since.
I’m one of those women who needs to fill the space. In my eight-hour work day, I work 540 full minutes. I eat while I’m prepping for the next class or creating a display, answer emails between classes, and pause only long enough to add to or cross off an item on the to-do list. I know I ran my class this way” “bell-to-bell,” they say. “Students should be tired when they leave you,” they say. “No down-time” they say…
Without the pauses, how are we making room for possibility?
This past week I attended TCEA. My first session on transforming high schools was led by Dr. Robert (Bob) Dillon @IdeaGuy42 who admonished us to consider how we are humanizing the learning experiences in our schools for both students and adults. “Small moments have big purposes,” Dr. Dillon reminded us.
And so, tomorrow is the start of a new week, full of possibility.
To the leaders:
Before that first staff meeting, conference call, or email, how will you set the example for those who follow you to set an intention, breath, and pause for possibility?
To the teachers:
How will you plan the small moments in your class for students to be mindful of their personal goals as well as learning goals, to pause and consider, reconsider, and then reflect on how their learning is impacting them?
To the individual human being:
Don’t let the boats go unnoticed.