I just wrote a bunch of neurotic musings. I got it out of my system, so I'm not going to post them. It's not that interesting, anyway. Onto the result of detoxifying by writing a psycho draft and saving it for another day...
Grateful bits: I can breathe through my nose! I can lay down when I sleep for the first time in years! I can smell more than I cannot! Yoga is much easier now that I can breathe, as is any exercise, including the intimate sort!
I am very much looking forward to going to Ethiopia. We're still waiting on our travel notification. We're still hoping for late April. I find myself thinking about the boys a great deal, which probably comes as no surprise to anyone. I stare at their pictures a lot (again, I'm sure you're not bowled over by this info), and wonder what they are like. "Who are you?" I remember American Family asking that as she looked at the referral photo of her new daughter. "What are you doing?" Right now I imagine they are close to waking up for the day. They'll have breakfast, wash up... play? I hope they're feeling comfortable enough to be playing with the other children.
When I have these thoughts, I slow down. My breathing gets slower, and my mind stops reconnoitering. Like many Americans who live a life of privilege, I am a selfish thinker. I think about ME, and how everything that is going on affects ME. Part of my work is to deflect this "small self" and let the other, broader-minded self take over and think about everybody and everything else. When I think about the boys, it happens automatically. Parenthood, as I am learning, (without even being a parent yet, mind you!), makes you think of someone other than yourself. Most of the time. This is a positive development for me right now. I've been using the images of their faces as a focus during my meditation, with some good results.
In a sort of related way, I had dinner with a friend and former boss of mine in NYC last weekend. I'll call her Ms. Tapdance (Yes, she taps, too!). She is a preschool teacher, one of the most wonderful teachers you will find. She was talking about how her job got easier as she got older and progressed in her career. She prepared less, especially with art materials, doing a lot less pre-cutting of shapes, for example. "It takes time and thought away from the individual children. Not only that, but it places my own expectation upon the kids about what the art project should look like. So I just lay out the paper, paints, glue, etc. and let them go to it."
That's my favorite way to prep for a preschool art class, too. It's not always easy to get the support you need in a school to do this -- parents and admin. often want a project that looks good at the end. There is a place for that, too. But I know what Ms. Tapdance is saying. When you allow the kids to just do what they will with the materials, with no expectations, you can attend to what is important, truly see the kids for who they are, rather than coming to conclusions about them and their behaviors. Most importantly, you can create an environment where they feel safe to be themselves, and can be the best selves they can. There are usually a lot fewer melt-downs in Ms. Tapdance's classes as a result.
I told her that this was the most valuable thing I had learned from her and kept. I'm hoping to transfer this to the raising of our sons. I imagine it will harder when it's my own kids, and not my students. Lots of opportunity for practice and growth!
I will leave you with an image from one of my faves, Paul Klee. His childlike images have brought me a lot of joy over the years.
Haven't found date or owner yet, sorry.