A small moment of mindful appreciation

Can I just be honest for a minute? Finding the time to write this blog post has been really hard for me. It’s not that I don’t love blogging; I actually love the process of organizing my thoughts and reflections, writing them out, and opening up a conversation about some topics that I’m passionate about. Since the October F2F session, I’ve had several ideas for posts. But I have not been able to squeeze in a single minute for writing before now. Even now, there are about a hundred other things that I should be doing. Plus, I haven’t yet had a chance to do the homework of my interviews with my learners to determine their needs. But, an email from @adamcaplan to all coaches this week included this as a to-do list item:

Write a blog. Any blog! Possible topics: How did the last F2F go for you? What have you been thinking about this past month? What three things would you change if you could snap your fingers? Do you have any ideas for an action plan this year? What is new for you this school year? Which book or article has most resonated with you since school began this year, and why? What do you hope for of participants in the next F2F?

So here I am. What’s new for me this school year? I’m so glad you asked.

In the middle of August, coming off my maternity leave, I started in the job that I’ve been working toward for a very long time: technology integration specialist for the Middle and Senior Schools. Although the school had this position in the past, when the previous person left the school unexpectedly, the position wasn’t filled, and I unofficially took on some of the responsibilities of this role as part of my job in the Middle and Senior Library. I was thrilled when the school reposted the tech job after five years and I was the successful applicant. While I enjoyed working in the library, deep down I knew it wasn’t my true calling. This is what I was made for.

We’re now one quarter of the way through the school year, and what a ride it has been so far. I absolutely love my new position. I am working with teachers and students, and even some staff, trying to make technology work harder for them and facilitate their learning. I’ve learned so much already and challenged myself with completely new (to me) projects, like the grade 8 3D printing project that just wrapped up. I still have so much to learn, and an endless list of possible projects and partnerships that I want to make happen.

But wow, has it ever been busy. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so strongly the sense of treading water trying to keep from drowning under the amount of stuff I have to do every single day. And throw a 15 month old into the mix and I just don’t have the same time that I once did to work during evenings and weekends.

How I’ve been feeling lately.

Lately I’ve been finding myself getting stressed out on my drive in to work as I go through all of the tasks and priorities for the day. But Tuesday morning, as I drove down some of the few remaining undeveloped roads in my region, I was struck by the beauty of a surprise overnight snowfall. Every tree was coated in a thick layer of not-yet-melted snow, and the morning light was just beginning to rise.  And so I tried to put aside the stresses and the pressures, if only for a moment. I tried to slow down my racing brain and just appreciate the beauty of my surroundings. And you know what? Although I arrived at work and got right down to business, and likely didn’t have the chance to even look out a window again until dusk was falling and I was heading out to my car for the evening commute, those few minutes of mindful appreciation made a difference in my day.

8 Comments

  1. Good for you @jweening ! There is so much here … I empathize with your feelings in a new (and similar role) … so much excitement and so many new ideas to percolate! It can be overwhelming. That you took that moment for quiet reflection in the midst of what mindfulness expert Jon Kabat Zinn calls ‘Full Catastrophe Living’ is a win, and sometimes all we need to just re-focus and keep on keepin’ on. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow and hope to speak F2F about your ideas around facilitating learning opportunities for your staff.

  2. Those are beautiful photos, @jweening! I am both happy to learn that you are finally doing what you believe to be your calling and sorry to know that it is so hard to juggle it all. The struggle is real for parents who are also key players in dynamic work ecosystems. It sounds like those few moments on the side of the road appreciating nature hit the spot. Will you be able to include that in your drive more often? Beautiful nature and taking pictures of it is sometimes what keeps me afloat. Mine are seven- and nine-years-old now and I can assure you that it does get easier, even on a snow day! Take care.

    1. Thank you so much, @lfarooq, for taking time to comment and for your encouraging message. I am lucky to have a beautiful drive every day, though sometimes it really does just take your breath away. I’m sure you have that experience up at RLC on a regular basis!
      I’m looking forward to the energy boost of seeing my tribe again tomorrow. Can’t wait to catch up. Safe travels!

    1. Aww @edaigle you’re the best. Also, I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to comment but your spinning plates blog post resonated with me! Can’t wait to see you tomorrow and have some of your brilliance rub off on me by virtue of proximity (fingers crossed).

  3. Yay for you! I completely understand how easy it is to get lost in the busy or a new role, plus the added responsibility of being a new-ish Mom. Taking those few moments to breathe is a great thing to do, and perhaps a daily 5 minutes of mindfulness in the car on the way to work could be a small thing to give yourself. Also, remember its ok to be where you are right now, doing what you’re doing. You will continue to grow your expertise and next year at this time you’ll be an even bigger rockstar who might even be finding time to work out. You did an amazing thing (you made a person) and then you took on a new job! Wow, high achiever ( I say this with love). Keep being awesome and know things will slow down. Until then keep up those mindful moments.

    1. Thanks @lbelanger for your kind words – sorry for the delayed response – somehow this comment got lost in the shuffle. It is so good to know that I’m not alone — everyone has survived this same stage and managed to thrive. And the support from everyone is so amazing. The #noguilt from Cohort 21 makes it possible to keep trying to do the things I love even when they seem impossible. 🙂

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