Wednesday, 27 May 2015

When you come out of the storm

'Once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through,
how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm
is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm 
you won't be the same person who walked in.
That's what the storm is all about.'

Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore.

The third post in just as many days. Something is changing here; I have not posted this frequently for a good while now. I think I am remembering that writing is good again. I am missing writing my PD Journal for my course, and think I will continue writing this journal in the sound knowledge that it will not have to be evaluated, summarised, evidenced, and graded. How one can mark such a personal and subjective process is beyond me anyway... But I digress. My point is that I miss writing it and will pick it back up again when the time is right. Hopefully I will return to posting these blog posts more often too.

I have been reading Matt Haig's new book, 'Reasons to Stay Alive'. It is written quite beautifully; I found it more endearing and philosophically engaging towards the end, but a very humbling and truthful narrative of his journey to the depths of the ocean and back up again. It is a reminder of what it is to be human, in other words, nothing (really, nothing) in this world is perfect, nor would we wish for it to be. We are both mighty in strength and power yet gloriously insignificant in our size and capacity to initiate change. We are made of the same; dust and stars and skin and bones, yet we exist alone. Matt is an honest reminder of these human facts and the essence of our existence, but also that although we all exist in the same ocean, it looks very different to each one of us. The bottom of the ocean is deep, the top is shallow, and at the top we can float and it is easier to breathe. Maybe even others are there too. But the details are mightily different. Always the details of the waves are different and the same one will probably never come around twice. Even if it did we would most likely not recognise it because we are then better equipped to deal with it. We have developed the protection and armour we need, and it no longer looks the same as the first time it came towering above us.

It feels like I am writing in riddles about waves and the depths of the ocean, but I am trying to write about how I found, in the latter half of this book, a collection of words that were more than just words on a piece of paper. I also found some beautifully selected quotes, one of which I put at the top of the post. It is too beautiful not to. And in a strange way the 'storm' in some respects, could signify many things, perhaps one day, perhaps an entire existence, perhaps a period in time. Perhaps the storm that exists in the depths at the bottom of the ocean. I am not sure; perhaps there is a storm that exists in each of us, and I know there is a storm that exists out there. The point is, is that the storms or the oceans and the tidal waves, they change us. They change a part of who we are. Without going into detail about the the storms I have survived myself, it is worth saying that I see them, I feel them, I work with them, and I know they are out there. I know that for some, armour of steel is needed to survive. In some ways, today has been somewhat of a stormy day. It has been cushioned. But  assessments, presentations and the intensity of watching and waiting and trying to mind-read and decipher facial expressions and singular words, hoping that they mean 'you were more than wonderful' whilst thinking that they really mean 'I really thought you were better than that...'

My writing could last for pages. I am currently wondering why suddenly I am experiencing the onset of losing my voice and swollen painful glands, and also considering whether I should be happy or nervous about today. I then see the time and the papers around me and think it is time I moved them away and got some rest. Before the weekend I advised somebody to take stock and take care; somebody I know who rushes around juggling more balls than I can count but somebody I do care about. I think taking stock is never a bad idea - I have just done it myself and it has worked a treat. The tea helped too.. But tomorrow's storm can be tackled now.

Monday, 25 May 2015

An accidental siesta

Happy Bank Holiday Monday...

The day when us humans nurse our delicate heads, indulge in a lie in, perhaps have a BBQ in the garden if the sun is shining, and wish that every weekend was this blissful three day period of joy. That applies to all of us humans who are not studying, self-employed, working in the emergency services or health care or hospitality, the list goes on... I wonder who really does get these glorious weekends that I hear so much about.

It was not so terrible today really, and I am ending the day now the sun has set feeling quite content having just eaten my soup with my Spanish pants on and wrap around my shoulders. I had a few students booked in today; one in the morning, one mid-afternoon, and one this evening. So work was spread out. I do enjoy my job(s) and they serve me well, so it is just fine that I didn't take the entire day off. I find that most of the time my students give me more energy than I had when I walked in, which says something about where my energy levels have been this year (pretty much on the floor!) At the moment most of my students are sitting their final A Level exams, and one of the greatest feelings is hearing their confidence grow and watching as they learn more about themselves and their passions. It is hearing their hopes for the future and their fears that it may not work out. I find that although my job is to teach them, it often becomes to believe in them or to trust in their process when they may not trust in it themselves. So, really it is no surprise that I find myself seeing some of my students despite it being a Bank Holiday. I will miss this work over the summer months until I have a new bunch of students next academic year.

Although I have been working today I have also been wrapping up and finalising details for my presentation assessment tomorrow, and (ironically as I was teaching one of my students about the body's circadian rhythms this morning) I took an accidental siesta. An accidental siesta... It was not the full 90 minutes that is recommended though, so I perhaps should consider this next time I subconsciously decide that it is entirely appropriate to take a siesta.

I am now going to send a few emails, do some reading, maybe have a glass of wine, and allow that thing called relaxation. I have an assessment tomorrow; I took an accidental siesta today, I know that speaks volumes about how tired my brain and body are, but it also tells me that I am prepared...

It was not designed to be easy

Anyone who has spent time with me over the last couple of weeks will probably know that I am approaching the end of my course, which of course means deadline time and tied into that is my awfully ambivalent and tangible relationship with 'letting things go'. The unfortunate souls who have spent time with me will have most likely been witness/on the receiving end of my rants about transcript woes and process notes chaos. I have finally reached the glorious moment when all 38 pages of transcript are complete and printed ready for assessment day on Tuesday. The entire thing is printed 3 times - the equivalent of what feels like a mighty oak tree's worth of paper. Hope the Uni feel positive about doing their part for the environment... Nevertheless, I think for once I feel ready for this. I am looking forward to hearing other people's presentations and getting feedback on my own.

I have lifted my head up from the computer and I see the world. Well, to put it better, my week has truly been more than this. I have been working with my students as they sat their Unit 2 AS exam this week, I celebrated Bry's birthday, said goodbye to a couple more students, the list could very well go on... But I am really just taking in this moment - it is a rarity. A rare moment that I have done all I needed to do and can take stock even if it's just for the rest of this night.I don't think this task (for this assessment) has been easy at all, but then I don't think it was designed to be easy.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

A few weeks and a little perspective

This is what I didn't want to let happen to this blog; it has been around three weeks and I have not even opened up my Blogger homepage, never mind thought about posting. I love writing this blog, but life is happening so quickly these days that I can barely keep up with my own diary and my to-do list and my work. Since the last time I wrote, it has been my birthday and I turned 26. I had a 5-day celebration, which was simply wonderful. I felt content, despite the impending work deadlines and those 'all-important' pressing things 'to do'. It turns out that life can still be pretty wonderful if you let those pressures ease a little. It also turns out that having good friends around to help you do that is helpful. Once those celebrations were over I then went to Barcelona and re-discovered a little piece of my soul there; the part of my soul that wears clashing patterns and knows it is OK not to set an alarm. it knows it is OK to turn up 5 minutes late and to wait until the next day before responding to an email. The trip was beyond wonderful (and hilariously entertaining) in many ways, from the tuneful fellow passengers on the flight, to the squad of Barcelona Bombers being called out to rescue us from a broken lift, to Chinese food and cheap Spanish wine (purchased illegally 'after selling hours') in the early hours of the morning on the apartment balcony. It was days of total lack of organisation but glorious sunshine and fun.

A different perspective can change everything, and I don't write that light-heartedly; a little perspective really does change a hell of a lot. I think without that trip I would not have gotten through these past few weeks. My students have been working towards their exams, they have been stressed, my client work has been tough, I have had decisions to make, and I have had deadlines and subsequent work returned to me. One of which I received the best mark in my five years at uni. I am still in disbelief.. But that was the confidence boost I needed in order for me to put my next research application in. That has been a big decision for me, and a big test of my trust in the universe (and in other people - probably most important trust in myself too). A lot is shifting in the right direction. The next year or so finally looks like it exists, after a long time of it looking like an empty void in time and space. It makes leaving the course feel less final, and like more of a transition. Providing nothing goes tits up, my research project should be full steam ahead. Providing these final deadlines don't go tits up, I should be a qualified practitioner and graduating, and providing I find a house, I should be moving as soon as possible. My new perspective has also shown me that I am not superhuman and my body will not keep me alive unless I make efforts to keep it healthy and alive too. So I have decided to take a 'writing break' for a month before my very final deadline, for my work, but also for my body mind and spirit. Who knows how it will be? All I know is where I am staying and that I know I love the place. The rest will unfold, and I trust that it will be the space and time I need to focus. As a friend wrote this morning in an email, this feels more like a test of resilience rather than a test of competency or skill. Pure resilience.

Perspective. I will remind myself of this word when I immerse myself back into writing my transcript tomorrow afternoon. Presentation day is looming and I need to keep this perspective...