Saturday, 30 November 2013

Bliss Be My Guide

In 1999 I was teaching grade 8-10 in British Columbia.  I had taught for 8 years and was confident in my role, flexible in my planning and able to integrate new themes or material, growing and adapting the curriculum to the needs of the students as best I could. I had developed and executed on new courses for my district which allowed me to pursue my personal interest in Improvisation and Film Studies and I was feeling energized.
In English class we learned to read stories for meaning.  We got to experience the power of words and learn how to wield them in space to create pictures and emotion and mood.  We talked about how our thoughts were important, practiced sharing them and considered how critically looking at our world was crucial to navigating it successfully.
I read novels aloud, creating a shared experience with all students that allowed the reluctant readers to participate in a way they never could if left to "read" by themselves.
In Film Studies my curriculum included a history of film and animation and a lot of practical projects like flip, cell, stop motion and computer animation that attracted a lot of male students drawn to art but not to the existing art teacher.  Creative project outlets allowed these students to achieve marks they had never had before in more academic courses.
Drama, Theatre Arts and Improvisation allowed students a safe place to "class clown" or  be part of a big project were everyone had a crucial role. Kids who could not recount academic material for tests were often able to remember pages of dialogue for a  major role in a play, which left their other teachers scratching their head.

Today I meditated with Deepak and Oprah on the theme "Bliss Be my Guide".  I was surprised to see when I reflected on a time when I had felt bliss in my life, my time teaching was the first thing that came to mind.

I found teaching very stressful and the politics of the workplace sometimes overshadowed anything else.  It was and is for those who do it well, an exhausting lifestyle---not a job--a lifestyle, and it chewed me up and spit me out as I couldn't find the balance I needed to successfully navigate a balance of career and life. The year they cancelled the two courses I created was devastating.

But I don't think it was the act of teaching that was my bliss either.  I think that
it was the act of creating. 

I created new lessons to engage students, I brought plays to life, I created entirely new curriculum and all course content for topics that inspired me and in so being inspired, allowed me to inspire others. 

Kevin Cashman says: "Purpose is spirit seeking expression..." and for me, it is the act of creating that allows my spirit to express itself. 

Whether I am creating cookies or a play, a lesson plan or a scarf, this creative outlet brings me bliss.

So if bliss is my guide. I must tune into what brings me bliss. 

A short list of things I know that bring me Bliss:
Snuggling my kids when they snuggle me back
Warm, sunny days outside
A quiet, sandy beach
The ocean
Warm breezes on my skin
Steam rooms
Watching a long project come to a successful conclusion
Inspiring others
Helping someone make sense of something
Creative problem solving
Spending time with people one on one to help them see a better self
Seeing my family all in one room
I am surprised the list is this long.   There are clearly some things on here I have access to more than others.  The things like beach and ocean will require a bit more planning but that's ok. Others are easy to get, like coffee, meditation and crafting/drawing/painting and so I need to access the bliss they offer each day. 

As far as work goes: Can I bring more of these in to my current job that sits waiting for me?  Or, now that I am more aware, should I be seeking out a position that allows me to access more things on this list, my bliss, more often?  Or is there a combination of things I could do?

What is your bliss?  How do you bring it into your life every day?

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