Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


the last time, or, separation anxiety ~

I’m taking early retirement this year. And it’s changed the way I view almost everything. For one thing, apparently it’s not retirement if you’re not old enough. It’s ‘separation.’ So perhaps what I’m having is separation anxiety…

Our culture defines us by what we do — our work, our roles. Now, I’m wondering what to tell people when they ask what I do… I could say, w/ all truth, that I write. But as the poet Mark Doty once told me, telling folks you write (poetry, especially)  scares them more than telling them your partner has AIDS. Having watched passengers on the plane, sitting next to me, sidle to the edge of their seats away from me as I read (or write) poetry, I have to agree.

Right now, I’m teaching. Teaching is a huge part of who I am: I do it for a job; I do it for a hobby; I do it for free. I do it for love :). And I won’t stop teaching. But as I wind down this chapter of my teaching career, I seem to hear a kind of refrain: last time last time last time.

There’s a rhythm to a class schedule. While I change things every semester, I always include what I think of as my ‘core values.’ Community building at the beginning, blank puzzles for new writing groups. Journals, always. A colouring day or 2 or even 3. The mid-semester talk where I remind my students that ‘it’s just school.’ As each of these has occurred this semester, I’ve found myself thinking: last time.

It means even grading (which I HATE) is imbued with the patina of separation. It also means that at least now, for this semester, I understand living as if each moment was your last.

My knowledge that my time doing these tasks  is ending gives them each a newness. It’s the actualisation of ‘live in the moment,’ I guess. So that I see each task as if it were, paradoxically, a first. That sense of excitement, the anticipation of the action. It’s both first and last time, if that makes sense. Each time.

So for the moment, I actually understand what Ram Dass meant when he said be here now. This afternoon, as I sat in circle with my students, I couldn’t help but think enjoy this moment ~ nothing lasts. And it made a perfect Tuesday class even more so…



Previous Posts

some periods you just breathe through...
At times like this, I don't know what I'd do w/out tonglen. When I'm grieving for a loved one's unhappiness, or breathing through my own, I remember: all over the world there is suffering. I know - how hokey is

posted 4:20:37pm Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »

the fragrance of peaches
I wish I could send out, over the ethernet, the fragrance of the peach tea I made today. I wish there was a way to bottle the steam spiralling from the cup, comforting on a worrying day. Often when I worry, it

posted 12:11:07pm Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »

with a little help from friends
You know that saying 'it takes a village'? Well, it does. For any endeavour worth remembering, it takes collaboration. Varied viewpoints, multiple hands, and a LOT of coordination. Witness my niece's shower. W

posted 5:00:00pm Jan. 25, 2015 | read full post »

talking to strangers
I know, your mother told you not to. But now you're a grown-up, and I beg you to reconsider. You're sooo missing out! Yesterday I had the loveliest conversation with two strangers -- two of the many I meet daily.

posted 10:30:46pm Jan. 23, 2015 | read full post »

more on time (and acceptance)
I was thinking today about how much I dislike meditating. Not the actual act, but the resistance I have to just doing it. KNOWING that sometime during the day, I should take out the time to sit down and breathe. N

posted 10:04:50pm Jan. 22, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.