Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Letting The Breeze Blow In

" But I will give you a breeze to help you on your way; it will never tire nor fail, but bear you easily over land and sea." (Louisa May Alcott)

"Life seems a breeze right now".  That thought has ambled softly around my brain the last few days.

I'm slowly learning to adjust to a whole new rhythm of life as the fact of my retirement sinks in.  Summer is over - its carefree idylls ended.  Yet, here I sit at home this morning, while all across the state 28,000 teachers are greeting 583,000 students for the first time and launching a new school year.  The winds of Life - breezes or storms - will take us both in new, unknown directions.  I wonder if they are all as eager and hopeful as I am.  I hope so.

For the first time in my entire life in September, I can choose whatever it is that I want to do.  No ABC schedules; no curriculum goals; no bells; no periods; no Learning Targets; no meetings.  No 50 minute lunches, filled with 35 minutes of helping kids.  No more PLCS, SLCS, LPAS, or POPS.  No more fire drills, earthquake drills, lockdowns, or Discipline Lessons.  I am free to define my day however I want to, and not have its meaning and tasks dictated by a calendar or agenda.  Today, after helping my wife head off to her job (brought her coffee, packed her lunch, kissed her and waved goodbye), I hopped on my bike and rode over to the club and worked out.  First thing in the morning.  Just because I felt like it. Just because I could.  Wow!  Hard to believe I could do that.

"Life is a breeze".  Perhaps that's why we all long for the breeze. It reminds us of what freedom feels like.  I bet if you closed your eyes and thought for a moment, you could probably remember distinctly a breeze that touched and tingled a part of you.  I know I can.

  • The summer breezes I felt sitting in my back yard.  Morning breeze - cool and fresh.  Afternoon breeze - its music gently rattling through the trees.  Evening breeze - soft and sweet, lulling me to sleep.
  • Walking along the beach with Deborah and feeling the ocean breeze whip past and around and through me, turning me teary-eyed in appreciation as it raced along the sands to destinations far away.
  • The welcome breezes that came last month and scoured our gray smoky skies clean and brought back the bright blues and greens of the Rogue Valley - and lifted our spirits.
We love the breeze and we long for its caress.  But why?  I think the answer is because it touches a part of ourselves - a longing inside us - a need that gets buried by everyday life and the schedules, plans, jobs, and tasks that fill our days.  The breeze, whenever I'm present to its presence, reminds me to reconnect to Life. That's the longing that busy-ness blankets and blurs.  

Life is meant to be like the breeze - moving, ever changing, fresh and new.  I know that over time it's easy to become habitual and mechanical - stuck in what I've always done.  I want to seek out Life's breezes.  

But contrary to our assumptions, all breezes are not easy and soothing.  Some disturb and lay bare that which has been dusty and dry.  Some breezes shake things up and make a mess.  Some breezes chill to the bone, and are precursors to a storm.  But that is what my Life is meant to be - ALIVE.  Filled with all of that.  That which soothes me, makes me happy - that which shakes me, but in doing so, reveals that which is unshakable within.

"The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.  Don't go back to sleep." (Rumi)

I'm grateful to feel Life's breezes stirring me today.  I'm happy to be able to set sail for some new experiences in my life:  being a substitute teacher for the first time, new travels with Deborah, meeting new people at the Club, learning new things, and all the other surprises that Life will present me with as long as I stay open as I wander this new path.

"Hark, now hear the sailors cry, Smell the sea and feel the sky,
Let your soul and spirit fly,  Into the mystic" (Van Morrison)

Me on top of Lower Table Rock last week
I know that's the Pearl that Life has offered me.  A chance to be alive, and to experience all that's fresh and new - and to grow.  Whether I'm scaling mountains, or just putting a flower behind my ear.  

Out to dinner at Taprock with my beautiful wife
I intend to be open to it all.  I'm a lucky man.

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