Saturday, March 10, 2007

Walking My Path



This week, I have been feeling incredibly overwhelmed. My schedule has been, to say the least, in transition. A couple of weeks ago, I started an online course in order to learn more about teaching reading to students and to get a certificate in advanced literacy. From the outside, it made sense.

Now that I'm on the inside, I am being swallowed by a mountain of work. Last weekend, I had a long weekend due to a snow storm. I got ahead (or so I thought) in my homework, but didn't do any 9 to 5 work, which was so relaxing and deserved. This week, though, was a killer. I had to make up all sorts of administration work, not to mention all of the grading and teaching reorganizing I had to do. So, while last weekend, I was in my PJ's surfing MySpace, this weekend I'll be in my PJ's grading and doing next week's homework.

To top it all off, my younger male cat, has decided to reclaim his territory. He has taken to peeing on our bed. With us in bed. Often right on us or next to us. It's disgusting. We've had to wash our sheets and comforters dozens of times. In fact, one night, he had peed on all 3 of them, in order, and we had to sleep in sweatsuits.

On Thursday night, I was feeling especially overwhelmed. Over the weekend, I had signed up through my grad school, for a two hour workshop called "Walking the Labyrinth" with an instructor named Julie Neraas. This was back when I wasn't stumped on my response paper and saddled with a stack of personal essays to grade. I thought I was going to be done for on Thursday night. But, I went anyway, because I already paid 10 bucks for the event.

I am so glad that I went, despite the stress and extra work it caused me. First of all, I saw a couple of my old classmates, including someone who took a travel course to Greece with me in 2002. But most of all, it was an effective workshop. Julie led us on a discussion of vocation and calling. We discussed what it means to find meaningful work and how we can balance work with being artists. Then, she initiated a guided meditation, where we would find the question we wanted to answer in the labyrinth.

After all this, we walked a labyrinth identical to the picture above. It took about an hour to walk, because I was journaling and walking at the same time. Not to mention that there are 34 turns in the labyrinth, and that's only going in one way. You have to walk in and out on the same path. How's that for a metaphor?

While I can't say that I had any epiphany moments, the experience really crystallized some questions for me. It's funny, that when I'm searching, I only seem to find questions, rather than answers. The specific questions that I was asking myself had been burbling to the surface for the past couple of days (years), and they all centered around what my path really is and what things I need to do in order to find it and walk it. I'm often so tied down by obligation and responsibility, which I create in excess for myself, that I forget to ask if the task is necessary and if I have to be the one to do it. I also really wondered why I am so task driven, rather than relationship driven. I always choose work over joy, fun, and friendship.

Of course, all the stress came rushing in the moment I returned to my car. But, now I have some questions to ask myself and think about over the next couple of days (lifetime.) I don't know if I'll ever answer these questions, but at least I know that I can consciously ask them now.

3 Comments:

poet with a day job said...

9-5: first of all, you have to get one of those sprays from the pet store that discourages marking! They are usually apple scented or some such. Who knows: febreeze could work to. Otherwise, you're going to have to lock him out and nobody wants that! Been through this rigamarole before with a friend of mine. It sucks!

Secondly, you seem to be in a similar place as me:

"I'm often so tied down by obligation and responsibility, which I create in excess for myself, that I forget to ask if the task is necessary and if I have to be the one to do it. I also really wondered why I am so task driven, rather than relationship driven. I always choose work over joy, fun, and friendship."

Could it be a Capricorn thing? An Anneagram "six" thing? For me, I definitely know it is a co-dependent thing, at times: I need to complete and/or fix things in order to feel settled in my heart. I err on the side of taskmastering because I feel calmed by it. But, everything only in balance right? If I don't have fun, then the tasks stop settling me and start making me feel resentful. It's hard but balance is definitely the key. I am so good at explaining this. I am rarely able to implement it. I just keep trying though.

In terms of knowing what I want to do with my life and how I am going to get there? God only knows. But I do know one thing: the journey is the destination, especially in life's work. Again, better at saying than doing. Because once I get wherever the "there" is, I'm done. I try hard not to task master my life path, because I want to enjoy the getting there part.

Anyway, hang in there. It always passes. I know it is easy for me to say that: the weather here's been 75 degres for the past four days now.

poet with a day job said...

ps, our horrorscope from Free Will Astrology:

"It's more fun to be the painter than the paint," mused actor George Clooney in Esquire magazine. Usually I agree. I much prefer to be a creator who shapes raw material into a beautiful artifact than the raw material itself. But for the next couple of weeks, Capricorn, I'm recommending the opposite tack for you. I think you'll have more fun being the paint than the painter."

Jessica said...

Thanks for the cheering up pwadj. It's nice to know that there's someone else who has the capricorn craziness besides me. :) Love the Free Will Astrology, btw.