Tag Archives: new year

Is it just me, or does anybody else feel woefully unprepared for the world we’re now living in?

Man, there doesn’t seem too much left to say about it all, because we’re all heavily addicted to our media of choice, telling us the version of the world around us that corresponds most to the world view to which we’ve already subscribed. Orwell’s Newspeak seems to be the lingua franca of this brave new world, and history is indeed repeating, though the stakes are higher, seeing as how the powers that be now have godly powers, the ability to take decisions about the environment or international conflicts that render the future of humanity and the planet as we know it obsolete.

Suffice it to say, for whatever number of reasons, I never thought it could get this bad.

I’m writing from a hostel in Jerusalem; tomorrow I’ll make my way to Gaza. The last several months have been a whirlwind of wonderful and terrible, and this place seems so appropriate to the narrative of my life this year. I’m still hopelessly in love with the city I’ve called home in 2016, though it’s looking increasingly likely it won’t be home too far into the new year. Work is excellent on so many levels: I’m working with the most intelligent, dedicated team I’ve ever had the pleasure to collaborate with; it’s an honour to call the organisations we work with partners; I’m constantly challenged and learning and realising how very much more there is to learn, how very many more challenges lie ahead.

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Step Two: Not just any list

Gosh – it wasn’t so very long ago I was feeling really rather proud of myself…I’d made all this space!  And I really had – just a few days of extra work got me well ahead of the game so that instead of feeling like I was doggy-paddling out of breath in icy cold water, I felt a bit more like somewhere in the middle of a long, challenging jog.

And then.

At the high school all the teachers have their own personal cubbyhole.  More often than not I can get updates about what the union’s got going on, which are of more or less no interest to a sub, so I use them to practice my articulation…progressives are wordy as hell.  A few weeks back, though, I happened upon a letter from the Rectorat (school district) informing me that I had training in January.

“Oh, bah!”  I moaned to a colleague. “Are we ever allowed to get out of these?  It’s on a Friday!  I teach 6 classes on Fridays!”

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2012: Feet on the ground, eyes on the horizon

“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

                                                                                                                                 ~The Red Queen

I’m shocked.  Appalled, really.  And I’m sure you’ll all agree that I’m anything but paranoid.

Time is seriously going faster than it used to.

Right?  Because no way has it been a year already since I wrote my last New Year’s post, right???  Jiminy Christmas, I’m getting old.

I thought I’d read through that year-old post…see if I’d kept my promises to myself.  I think the truth is that if I’m any further along, it can be measured like a few of the centimeters that comprise a marathon, but I don’t think I’ve moved back…so that’s good.  Oh, and I totally agree with year-younger-me…although I’m not sure I’m feeling quite so elevated spiritually this year.  Still, maybe that’s not true.  I’m not sure trying to measure the immeasurable is a recommendable place to start on one’s journey to mental and emotional peace.

Anyway (I’m steadily working my way toward the point of this post, I promise), there are some noteworthy changes to my overall circumstances, and therefore to how I’m thinking about the upcoming year.  Allow me another tangent.  There’s this thing about finding a state of “being” that’s made a whole lot easier when one is in constant motion, and one’s attention is mandatory.  So take jogging, for example.  We sometimes jog on a dirt path near Chris’ parents’ place.  The path is smooth, and we take it often, so there’s not a lot of attention needed, and my mind wanders and I think a lot of thoughts.  But a few weeks ago we went running in a little forest area a bit further outside town.  The path was rocky and many parts were covered in leaves.  Because I had to pay attention to every step, I soon found myself in the zone, focused, alert, and with a gloriously clear head.  Our life at this time last year was so much like the latter path, and that made it a lot easier to be present.  Now that we’re here, in Le Puy, and we know we’ll be here at least for a while, and we’re starting to lay some real bricks (if not planting roots) in the foundation of our really-for-real future, I wonder if it makes us less in-the-now.

And I guess that’s the challenge, really.  I want to have my cake and eat it too…I want to find presence and stability, spontaneity and rhythm.  So last year I did away with the New Year’s Resolutions and by and large it worked out swimmingly, I think.  And while I’m keeping that tradition, I’m hearing the Red Queen loud and clear and then some…this year I’ve somehow got to figure out how to run twice as fast as I can.  Is it possible to manage that feat whilst seeking presence?  Only time will tell.

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the new year is upon us…

2011 already…

last year i made myself this list of resolutions that quickly became more of a booklet…i’m seriously not exaggerating when i say that there were something like 30 or 40 resolutions when all was said and done…

a friend we visited on our road trip told me that she and her partner are the type of people who are always looking for the next big thing…that they always want something bigger.  but i think a lot of us are – i’m struggling with the notion that at virtually every point in my life i’ve been waiting for the next big thing…when i’ve finished this, or when i’ve overcome that – then what?  then things will be simpler, more fulfilling, more what-they’re-supposed-to-be…or something.

and of course, as great thinkers have been telling us for centuries, this is all the biggest part of suffering!  and yet…2011 is here and i’m not sure anyone i know has truly mastered the art of being present (apologies to those of you out there who may have attained enlightenment when i wasn’t looking!).  for crying out loud – this simplest of all things is by far the most difficult thing i’ve ever attempted, if my pathetic attempts can even fall into that category…and of course, therein lies the crux… Continue reading

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