In the Weeds? Burnt Out? Blown? or Fired Up? Where are you at the end of 2021? Part 1

"The real preparation for education is a study of one's self.

The training of the teacher who is to help life is something far more than the learning of ideas.

It includes the training of character, it is a preparation of the spirit."

Maria Montessori,

The Absorbent Mind

Let’s be honest: 2021 offered up a ga-zillion challenges. Opportunities, too. How’d 2021 hit YOU?

Picture this: me in this moment, sitting in front of a blank screen, wondering: “Should I expose my vulnerable self? Will I be able to offer up any words of support to my readers in my own moments of uncertainty?”

A week ago, on the eve of the solstice, I was eagerly looking forward. It had been an eye-opening “holiday” visit squeezed into three busy lives’ empty days; even the ‘lows’ were filled with connection, fun, and the peace of being together. The solstice evening celebration that followed was filled with hope.

How’d I end up here…in this mental space just a few days later? Confused. Emotional. A little direction-less; a lot scattered. Exhausted…to a depth that I’ve never allowed myself to fully experience.

Sound familiar?

I’ve spent my life pushing through: Pushing through being tired. Pushing through feeling scattered. Pushing through the emotions.

Not this time.

This time, I’m giving in. I’m making space to heal. Sometimes I’m doing…more often, I’m not.

It can be scary for me to empty my days. To “not do.” In fact, even this meandering of thought I’m sharing with you today is just a reflection that popped up in my weekend journaling. When it did, I thought getting real with you might be something you would appreciate; support you might use to avoid pushing through whatever you’re feeling at the end of 2021.

No answers today. No wisdom to share; at least not yet. I trust I’ll move beyond this moment of uncertainty.

Until then, I’ll leave you with something from my reading…maybe you’ll find some guidance. I know there’s some (guidance, that is) in there for me. I can’t really feel it or embrace it as action yet, but I see glimmers of it in my journal entries. It comes from a new book, hot off the presses, by one of my favorites: Brené Brown. Her books never fail to lift me up, to reveal new understanding of myself and my motivations, and to encourage me. I trust that her words will guide me through this vulnerable time.

From Atlas of the Heart, it’s actually a quote Brené included from another of my long-time literary mentors, Harriet Lerner: “Throughout evolutionary history, anxiety and fear have helped every species to be wary and to survive. Fear can signal us to act, or alternatively, to resist the impulse to act. It can help us to make wise, self-protective choices…”

Montessori trusted the inner wisdom of the child. The quote this week shows us she also trusted the inner wisdom of the teacher’s spirit. Time to study one’s self.

Here’s to survival and the wise, self-protective choices that will come alive in us all.