Work and Spirit

In choosing categories for this post, I chose both work and spirit. I feel that I have lost the spirit for my work lately, and it is bothering me deeply. Before I was a teacher, I looked around a lot at other people, and I wondered if anyone really liked their job, and actually wanted to go there each day. Then somehow I got the idea to become a teacher, and for the first time ever, I discovered what it is to have passion for what you do. For fifteen years I went to school each day with enthusiasm. Whatever was going on in my personal life I was able to leave in the parking lot. Family crises, school crises, I was able to meet them all with equanimity, at times with grief, and sometimes even grace. I felt like I was making a difference.

When I was asked to become an administrator, I felt like I could make a difference on a larger scale. Last year I worked hard and I did a good job. I connected with kids, teachers and school sites. I still felt the passion, if in a different way, still doing something that mattered. Then this year that changed. I was given a different job to do, one for which I had no passion at all. I have seemed to sink into inertia, and can’t imagine even having energy anymore. I can’t even remember what I ever liked to do, or think of what I might like to do. I used to fantasize about going to Cal and studying for a PhD. I would get so excited just reading about a program they offer in culture and literacy. Although I told myself it was impractical and too expensive, something for a younger person to do, I still thrilled at the thought of it. Even that has changed. I visited Berkeley the other day, and came away feeling like studying there was on the bottom of my life list. I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to do anything again.
It’s funny how now that the job that has taken my passion away has been eliminated, I feel depressed, and without control over my life. I don’t know what will come next~ certainly nothing I fear or dread. The worst case scenario is I will be returned to my passion, the classroom. I think I fear that I have changed, and that would no longer bring me the joy it once did. Or maybe I just fear losing the pay I now make. I think the key in all this, is the feeling of powerlessness. For some reason, I was put on hold this year, and now feel that I am a sacrificial lamb to the teachers’ union’s charges that too many administrators have been hired recently. I’m seen as expendable because I’m doing something that anyone could do, not the things that only I can do, or that I can do best.

I think the only way out of the depression, the robbing of my feeling of power, is to take control of those things over which I still have power. The condition of my home, the food I eat, the exercise I practice. I know that it takes only a small shift to make big changes begin to flow. I will start there, with calm and with joy and see what comes next.

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