Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.
I’ve gotten into the habit of finding inspirational videos online and listening to them as I work out in the morning. This was something that I started doing when I first began teaching in Memphis, TN and has become an important part of how I choose to try and always begin my day – with words to sustain me. Voices of people such as Les Brown, Wayne Dyer, and Tony Robbins ring in my head as I wake myself up with exercise after exercise. My routine these days usually consists of around 300 pushups, 200 sit-ups, 100 squats, 100 calf raises, planks, handstands, twists, stretches, and curls with an old deflated bike tube. Back when I had more space and the ability to turn my speakers up a bit louder, I’d play some beats and get a small session in. Dancing though has not been a priority of late. Instead, my mind has been filled with lesson plans, strategies, and materials for use in the foreign language classroom …
And so these are the things that are running through my head day and night.
What am I going to be doing tomorrow during assembly? How can I make this lesson more effective? Who is going to be doing the teaching? Where do I see this activity working best? When can I implement this new idea I’ve been working on? Why aren’t things going as planned?
5:30 has become 4:30 which is slowly becoming 4:00. Slowly but steadily, my morning hours of mental preparation are increasing. This was the case during my years in LANCE as well. I had gotten into the habit of setting my alarm for 4:15 because I knew that I’d snooze until around 4:35 and be up by 4:45. By no means am I a morning person. To say so would be as far from the truth as a person could get. It is a struggle waking up. Always has been and I’m guessing that it always will be. Sure I know my dad is a morning person. He gets up at 4 am every day and has done so for years. Yes, I am his son, but no, I did not inherit those genes, I am not a morning person. I’ve only just molded myself into the image of one by sheer force.
Arreegh! The alarm already? I swear I just closed my eyes. How is this even possible?
After working out, I usually go through my emails, take a dump, get some water boiling for coffee, and hop into my little water closet for a bath. Since I do laundry by hand, I try and do a little load then and there, scrub the floor around my squat toilet with bleach, open my front door and back door for circulation, and sweep. Breakfast consists pretty regularly of muesli soaked in soy milk, bread with either canned fish or peanut butter, and black coffee with honey. When I’m finished eating, I go into the back to wash my dishes, and sit down for a bit with my coffee to read and think through my lessons for the day. Sometimes, I act or sing them out (after I’ve closed my doors of course). By that time, I can start to hear the footsteps and chattering of students outside since I literally live right at the entrance to the school.
Mornings have become my most consistently productive time of day.
Odd as it may seem, there are some nights that I go to bed in anticipation of the things I will be getting done when I wake. Feelings definitely do change as dark turns to light, but overall, there is a sense of accomplishment even just with the rolling out of bed part. Only problem is that as the day progresses, the clear-cut vision I had for it starts to become cloudier and less perspicuous. I begin to chase things that are not there and avoiding that which is right in front of me. What I want and how I am going to get it becomes more of an unintelligible nightmare, when it should be a lucid dream. Thus, I have decided to write things out …
What do I really, truly want and why?
- I want to be a good, effective teacher.
- I want to have healthy, happy relationships.
- I want to be able to express myself uniquely.
I want these things because I feel like they are what make my life meaningful.
How are you going to achieve these things?
For starters, by reading this post every day and thinking about these three goals I have. Never before have I taken the time to write out what I want and I feel like this is as good a place as any to embark upon a journey in search of how I can make my days match that of a person in pursuit of something specific rather than running away from vague generalities.
Being at peace with the process knowing that there is a worthwhile destination in mind.