In yoga, there is a phrase: Root down to rise up. Find your foundation. Find your center. Find your connection to the earth before you can begin to stretch for the sky. Otherwise, you will lose your balance; you will lose your connection to your center. You have to go inward before you can go out.
The world around me flexes and constricts in ways I never could have imagined, and it takes so little effort to drift along a path of hopelessness. The signs are everywhere; you don’t have to work hard to see the chaos and uncertainty that permeates the atmosphere. A quick glimpse of the headlines or a scroll through any media feed and I am easily down a rabbit hole that seems to only lead to more isolation and loneliness.
I am reading a quick-read YA novel (not a dense, change my life and must get into the hands of my students book, but a good one nonetheless) and I stop and think about how this book could find its way into my class. Once I stop reading to think, I begin to see the bigger picture come into focus: book clubs and craft discussions and mini-lessons on author’s voice. This inevitably leads me to picturing my classroom and I am stopped cold. My classroom may not go beyond my laptop for the foreseeable future. My classroom may not exist.
Somewhere between giving in to the worst and envisioning the best is me. I don’t know if I’m standing in a void that doesn’t really exist or if I am, simply, sharing the space that we all inhabit right now.
I am a teacher and teachers plan. We plan lessons, units, semesters and entire years. We plan for generic, nameless students and we plan for individuals. We look back and see what has worked; we read and talk and search out what works for others; we brainstorm and make lists, dog-ear pages & bookmark sites. We anticipate the future based on what we know about the past.
We root down into what we know in order to rise up and meet the challenges of what is coming. That is what the last eighteen Augusts have looked like for me….eighteen end-of-summer-beginning-of-falls that are failing me right now. I am trying to find my center, my foundation, my connection. I am rooting down into everything I know, grounding into my mere fifty years of existence, reaching for this future.