This simple little mandala is sweet, I think. Kind of a centered place to begin this post, after a pretty off-center day. I don’t know what the deal is with the kids this week…it’s like Halloween and Daylight Savings Time just sent them into orbit. But we persevere – a long weekend is coming up. So, once again I begin a list. Have you noticed that each item keeps getting longer? I suppose that means I’m digging back into writing, which was the purpose of this exercise. Yay! Thanks for continuing to come back. It’s nice to believe that someone is on this little ride with me.
1. Monday. My orange tree is so loaded with fruit. They are like little gems hanging from the branches. Tonight I picked a (small) basket full of them. I think I have so many I want to share them with everyone! Organic Tangerines!! It feels like an embarrassment of riches. Once I get going at picking and eating and giving there will not be as many as I think, but that’s okay. I don’t want a single one to go to waste. Take a look:
2. Tuesday. This post has been a couple of days in the making. For some reason WordPress will not open the photos in my iPhoto, on my laptop. So I have to upload them from my phone and then come back and write about them, or about whatever. Somehow this seems so labor intensive that I languish. I watch the Property Brothers on TV or sit in the hot tub and then go to bed early. Why is it, I wonder that if a thing involves extra effort it seems like too much trouble to do it? It seems like I’d rise to the challenge, doesn’t it? Or not. Guess that explains my not writing much lately. Ideas are sparse, and seem like a hurdle to overcome, for some reason.
3. Wednesday. Oh my, the natives were restless today. The kids just couldn’t focus for anything – no amount of input from me had any influence over them. It was icky. Yesterday I was in a goals meeting with our Vice Principal and one of the new teachers I am mentoring this year. The teacher had set behavior management as one of her goals for the year. The VP explained that at her stage of teaching she is just discovering her way of managing behavior. He reassured her that in a couple of years she’d have it figured out, and would know what works best for her. I felt like crawling under the desk because after 23 years I still don’t really have it figured out. Truth. I guess what I do understand is that kids aren’t things or jobs to be managed, and the way to soften the flow in the classroom changes with the group of students you have each year. This year I have some really loud kids. They are smart and do their work but they are so loud and they move so much. Puberty has struck and their focus is not on their English class!
4. Friday. I’m at school now, laughing a little over one of my students. He’s a guy who is always just a little out of step with things. He wears thick glasses and learning requires extra effort for him. He is a sweet guy who usually tries pretty hard, and has a pretty good handle on his progress. Today he told me, “God, Ms. Jacobs, I’m so screwed on this week’s packet. Hardly any of it’s done.” No self-chastising, just “Dang! I didn’t do my work!”
Then he went to the ringtones setting on his iPad and played his favorite ringtone about five times in a row, bouncing his head as he listened. He said, “Bro, this is so swag! It’s my music.” It was hard to keep a straight face. It is a ringtone. Fifteen beats of “music” over and over. So swag. Now that he has it memorized, he sings it without benefit of the iPad accompaniment. “Doot doodle-oot toot…” over and over. In case you’re wondering which jazzy ringtone it is, it’s the default one called “Opening” on an iPhone. Yes, that one. So swag. Sweet, because although he’s laughing at himself a little, he really does love that sound. (I’ve never heard anyone use that word as an adjective, by the way.)
5. Saturday. For the past two weeks a Tibetan monk has been creating a healing mandala in the student union at Chico State. This has happened several times in the past. He works painstakingly placing every grain of sand just in the right place, and then at the end of the time, after it is all made, he and his volunteers hold a mandala class and blessing ceremony and dismantle it all. I’ve seen it being made but have never attended the dismantling ceremony, so today I did that. The completed mandala was so intricate, so three dimensional, truly a work of art.
I got there early enough to stand in the front where I could see everything. He gave a “mandala class” in which a volunteer read paragraph of an explanation, and then he interpreted it. He was so delightful. Funny and self effacing and he gave so much meaning to each part of the mandala. It took a long time, and I got sick of standing in one place, but it was worth it. He spoke of compassion and joy and truth and love. Humility and peacefulness within ourselves. It was beautiful.
After he finished I noticed one of the volunteers taking a great deal of ownership over where the fortune cookies were placed for the crown to be able to offer a prayer and take a cookie.There was a quick bicker with another volunteer over their placement, with the winner saying “he said to put them there.” End of argument. Later I observed three women coming to the front with wooden trays which obviously had something to do with the dismantling of the mandala. As they tried to get through the crowd, I observed a tall man refusing to give them passage, waving them over to the other side of the table. He did this twice, before he realized that they were connected to the event. In a setting like that, the normal foibles of humanity were so very noticeable, much more so than on a normal day, in everyday situations. I was a little embarrassed for them, except I wasn’t really. I mostly tried not to judge them. And in that effort lies yet another human foible, the judging of others for no good reason.
Okay. This took me too long. And it is too long to boot. So there we go. I’m losing attraction to my new listing genre. We’ll see if I maybe find something else for tomorrow. Hope you’re having a great weekend. It’s almost like a four-day weekend for us, only it’s not. Still, I’ll take it! Here’s the goodbye photo for the day: