Leaning Into the Challenge
Hello Educators. I hope you are well; that those you hold dear are well; and that you are finding a semblance of peace during this time. Here we are…another week weathering this storm together. So…how are you doing?
Last week I talked about seizing the opportunities and finding the silver lining of our current situation. I continue to hold fast to my belief that this very challenging situation can be used to push us towards a better tomorrow. Despite this outlook, I want to acknowledge that this time continues to be challenging and stressful, as well as, anxiety and fear producing.
This is hard. It just is. Yes…our approach can make or break how we get through it but I want to honor the reality of what is and acknowledge that there is a significant amount of fear, worry, and anxiety and sometimes it can be paralyzing. If you are finding yourself in this space and unable to shake it off or get over it…it is okay; you are okay; and…you are in great company. This is completely unchartered territory for the world. Did you hear that? The entire world is grappling with this new reality and it is a serious grapple. There is no book with perfect answers on how to get it right. It is being written as we go through it and there are many cross outs and do overs included.
This is not the time to demand perfection from yourself nor is it the time to expect the best version of who you are to shine through at every moment. There is a collective pressure being applied at this time to us all with a healthy dose of uncertainty. As human beings we desire routine and predictability. There is a comfort in knowing the reactions that our actions will provoke and we typically design our lives to foster a degree of certainty. This, however, is not where we are. There is no certainty where we stand at this moment. There is no known end date. It is simply the reality we are facing.
Are you accepting this reality and learning to flow or are you resisting and operating with immense frustration? Byron Katie has a beautiful quote that seems most fitting at this time:
If you argue against your reality, you will suffer.
I would like to propose that there is a leaning into the challenge that can be freeing. The reality has limitations and it is filled with obstacles and can be daunting but maybe what makes it feel out of reach and impossible are the expectations we put on ourselves. Is it possible that maybe this time isn’t about getting everything right but just doing the best that you humanly can. My sister recently sent me a post from Dr. Emily King, a child psychologist, who believes in the power of parental mental health. Below you’ll see a graphic of the full post but here is a snippet.
“Working, parenting, and teaching are three different jobs that cannot be done at the same time. It’s not hard because you are doing it wrong. It’s hard because it’s too much. Do the best you can. “
I continue to believe that this moment in time is an opportunity and we can emerge from this stronger but not if we push ourselves to the brink and demand perfection. I have a teenager who can fend for himself and he is beginning online learning this week while I am working full-time from home. I too am a bit anxious regarding what this might mean for him, for me, and for us. Many of you have little ones in your care but you are also still required to learn new systems to work from home, educate the masses, and ensure that students are given an opportunity to learn.
It is a lot and may I dare say that it is too much. It really is. It is, however, what we have right now so how would it look if you were to lean into the challenge and choose the path of least resistance? Can you take it a day at a time instead of thinking about everything you have to accomplish this week? Can you take a few minutes in the morning to identify what absolutely has to get done today and prioritize those accordingly? Anything that isn’t a priority and didn’t get done just gets moved over until it reaches the point of priority. Is it possible that we can be okay with not having everything just right this time around if it provides more flexibility for self-love, self-care, and more positive connections with those we love?
Focus on being…less on doing. On the other side of Covid-19…what do you want to be true for you? More and deeper connections? Increased health and physical fitness? Greater creativity and expression? Take a minute and jot down a couple that speak to you and post it somewhere nearby. What would be different about you as a result of this time you’ve been given? Whatever you wrote down, let that be your compass for the remainder of this time. When you find yourself having to decide whether to watch yet another press conference versus just sitting with your child or maybe even just taking a nap, make the decision that pushes you closer to your desired end. Everyday you will have multiple opportunities to move closer or further away and your accumulated decisions will help build the outcome.
Let me end by saying…this too shall pass. They always do. We don’t know when it will end but as history has shown us…plagues end. Viruses run their course. Humanity recovers and life begins again. For you…if you choose, it can begin again much better. Allow yourself the space to just...be. Give yourself the grace of “I am enough” that is not attached to actions, and what is most right for you will present itself. Stay well and be kind to you.
In Solidarity and Love,