Saturday, September 28, 2013

Equinox Rocks: All in Balance

My husband rocks! And I don't mean just on stage, although he definitely does that, too. I'm talking about rocks that come from the earth. He speaks their language.

Back in February, I wrote a post about Michael Grab, an artist from Boulder, Colorado whose gravity-defying rock balancing impressed me greatly. I wanted to learn how to balance rocks after discovering his work and felt it would be right up Jack's alley, too. So for his birthday last spring, I gave him a book called Center of Gravity: A Guide to the Practice of Rock Balancing by Peter Juhl, which Michel Grab had recommended on his "Gravity Glue" Facebook page. It was one of the best presents I have ever given Jack, for he has been balancing rocks ever since, and it has opened him up to a whole new artistic direction and world of possibilities. He is passionate about it. And I should mention right off the bat that, unless otherwise noted, all of the photos in this post are of rocks he balanced.


Balancing rocks is meditation, science, and art. We have towers of balanced rocks all over our yard, around our dock on the riverside, and everywhere else we go. The towers of balanced rocks elevate the spaces around them into art and draw our attention to balance.


Jack keeps a basket of rocks in his van and seizes opportunities to balance rocks when he is out and about using either his own rocks or rocks that are already in the environment. One benefit of this is that he doesn't mind waiting for me as much as he used to. He balances rocks while waiting for our water bottles to fill at the spring. When he picks me up from work (if my car is being repaired), he balances rocks next to the playground while I finish up. If he's with me when I walk the labyrinth, I don't need to be self-conscious about walking too slowly because he occupies himself with whatever rocks he can find. When he accompanies me on nature photo shoots, I don't feel rushed, for the same reason!


I've gone to the "school of rock" a few times myself and enjoy working with rock energy. When you really tune in to the rocks, you can perceive their subtle energy. It reminds me of playing with blocks as a child - which, for many of us, is our first experience with balancing something external to ourselves. There is something highly gratifying about achieving balance. You learn to focus intensely and cultivate patience and resilience. The rocks are going to fall at times, and you have to be okay with that and just keep going. It also helps to wear shoes because rocks are heavy when they fall!

When you balance rocks, you try to find the center of gravity at which the forces acting upon the rock are cancelled completely by opposing forces. There's more to it than that, but I never took physics and am not even going to begin to describe the mechanics involved in balancing rocks. That's what the book is for!


Michael Grab's use of the term "gravity glue" describes perfectly the reaction people have to rock balancing. When Jack balances rocks - either in person or when he puts pictures online - people inevitably comment that he must use glue. The seemingly impossible positions of the rocks suggest the use of some kind of adhesive or sleight of hand, but the truth is that it's simple mechanics. Gravity is the glue!


Here is a tower Jack balanced the day before, still standing at sunrise.


And here it is the next day at sunrise:


Today is the end of the first week of fall. Autumn equinox is a time of balance between light and dark. Jack has made numerous videos of himself balancing rocks this past week, unaware of the significance of balance at this time of year. Below are two videos he made within days of the fall equinox. I love how everything comes together at the end of the first video: the rocks, the waves, the music. (It wasn't planned; it's just the way it worked out!) Watching his videos is a meditation in itself, and you probably can sense how deeply he is in "the zone."


Email subscribers: Click HERE to view video.


Email subscribers: Click HERE to view video.

Watching Jack's videos got me in the mood to do some rock balancing this beautiful fall afternoon. Here is one of my attempts:


I like to balance the rocks I collected on the beach at the ocean this summer, even though smooth, rounded rocks are more difficult to balance than rocks that have "character." But even simple rock stacking is pleasing and brings a sense of balance to the mind:


Inspired by Jack, I look forward to doing more balancing and not just being the photographer! This is powerful stuff!

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The photographs in this blog and in my Flickr photostream are available for purchase as prints or cards through my Etsy shop by selecting a "custom print" in whatever size you prefer and indicating either the name of the print or the blog post and order in which it appears. 

 © Susan Meyer and River Bliss, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all text and photos, without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss (www.riverblissed.blogspot.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Webs, Mist, and Light

Every morning - even if I get up late - I look forward to 15 or so minutes of dwelling with the sunlight before heading off to work. I live for those moments at this time of year! If I can discipline myself to get to bed early enough (still working on that...), I can get up in time to savor the rich, colorful first act of the sunrise.


If I miss that, there's still the brighter second act when the sun climbs the island trees or the bridge (depending on what time of year it is) and beams out its first rays.


This week, there has been a lot of morning fog and mist, and some mornings the sun didn't really emerge until after I left for work. So I had to take a closer look to find a visual treasure to carry in my heart and feed my soul throughout the day.

This week, it has been spider webs. I have been fascinated nearly to the point of obsession with spider webs made visible by the light of the sunrise.


Spider webs are all around us, although we might not notice them until we inadvertently walk into them.


Even with spider webs on my mind, it isn't easy to see them at first. You have to train your eyes to find them.


Sometimes it's a matter of stopping, becoming still, and either defocusing your eyes to take in the broad picture


...or focusing like a laser on just one spot.


By mid-week, I had to question why I was so fascinated with spider webs. I think it has to do with the idea of putting out a web to catch what spirit longs for. Soul food.


To catch ideas drifting through the air. To catch light.


You begin with an intention, use your intuition and senses to find a good spot, and start weaving your web, perhaps quietly and almost invisibly.

Aesthetically, I adore the intricate woven patterns of the webs and how they interplay with light and water to create the appearance of a spiral of glistening beads. Webs of dew and light.


It's all about catching the light. And that includes moonlight!

The full harvest moon was this week, and each night I headed to the river and waited for it to appear over the trees on the opposite shore. One night, I noticed it rising above the river as the sun set.


Later that night, when the moon floated high above the river and the moonlight shimmered and waved on the water, I spent some quiet moments on the dock first with my husband and then with my son. I had a lot of "work" work to do, but nothing was more important than sitting under the moonlight. With my husband, it was more of a quiet appreciation of the moment and of being together. When my son came out with me, we talked the whole time. Memories are built out there under the moonlight. I'm sure neither of us will remember for very long the topics we explored - goals, philosophy, relationships, school schedules, what it's like to be a teenager - but surely we will remember that we had moonlit conversations on the riverside. Quality time at its finest.

The next evening, my husband and I were kayaking as the sun was setting. He had balanced some rocks upriver and wanted to show me. On the way back, it was getting dark, and all of a sudden I glimpsed the large, orange moon orb glowing between the trees on the eastern shore. It was spectacular! We paddled as fast as we could to get back home so I could get my gear and photograph the moon while it was still low, large, and orange. But the moon moves so quickly! By the time I had set up, it was no longer orange, but it was still breathtaking.


The next night was Friday, and I had a plan to photograph the low, orange moon just beginning to rise across the river. We can't see it from our house until it gets higher, so I decided to be adventurous and paddle to where we first spotted the moon the previous night. I knew the exact time we saw it and planned to be all set up and ready around that time. So I got set up and waited. And waited... It grew quite dark - much darker than it had been when we were on the river the night before.


I knew the moon would rise a little later than it had the previous night but didn't realize it would be close to a half hour later! It was nearly pitch dark, and I was standing alone on a tiny shore area big enough for my kayak, tripod, and me. I listened to the sounds of wildlife and waves lapping the shore and then finally noticed a very faint rose glow hovering just above the treetops directly across the river. The glow expanded and brightened ever so gradually, until I spotted the orange-toned curve of the top of the moon. Moment by moment, more of the moon itself became visible.


From there, it became more luminous as it climbed the treetops and floated above them. It was very challenging to photograph with my equipment in such low light, and this is the best I could do:


When I decided to pack it up, I had the intense pleasure of paddling alongside the moon, which was still low in the sky. Moonlit paddling is an exhilarating experience. It really makes you feel alive. After a long, grueling week at work, I needed that!


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The photographs in this blog and in my Flickr photostream are available for purchase as prints or cards through my Etsy shop by selecting a "custom print" in whatever size you prefer and indicating either the name of the print or the blog post and order in which it appears. 

 © Susan Meyer and River Bliss, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all text and photos, without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss (www.riverblissed.blogspot.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Happy Stories

It's Sunday night, and there's nothing I'd rather do at this moment than write. However, what I need to do is sleep! So instead of writing a lot, I want to share a very inspiring video instead.

I'll introduce it by saying that the year before I landed my teaching job, my husband and I were in a very high place spiritually and emotionally. In the fall of 2007, we decided finally to get married near Ithaca, NY the same week His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama spoke at Cornell University. These two events were part of an exciting, spiritually intense week that seemed to kick off a long chain of goodness and blessings.

Right around that time, while working at the local public library, I came across the book, A Complaint Free World  by Will Bowen. The premise of the book is that if you train yourself to curtail the complaining habit, you will be a much happier person, for your words ultimately create your life. How do you go about doing that? One way is to take the 21-day Complaint Free Challenge. You can contact A Complaint Free World, Inc. via the website http://www.acomplaintfreeworld.org/ to obtain a purple bracelet (or, alternatively, use any old bracelet or even a rubber band - though I like the purple bracelets). You wear the bracelet on your wrist, and if you catch yourself complaining, criticizing, or gossiping, you move it to your other wrist. This simple action makes you more aware of the complaining habit, and awareness is the first step in transforming it. The goal is to go 21 consecutive days without moving your bracelet. Although I never made it 21 days without complaining (despite trying for about two years), this simple experiment completely transformed my life and my husband's as well. We developed a more positive attitude and felt much happier and more empowered. It was pretty amazing. I have no doubt whatsoever that shifting to such a positive frequency helped me to land my teaching job. And find our home-sweet-home on the river.

Will Bowen has written more books since A Complaint Free World that focus on practical approaches to happiness. His most recent book, Happy Stories: Real Life Inspirational Stories That Will Raise Your Happiness Level, is being released in installments as a Kindle Serial. Over the summer, I came across the author's call for stories of people whose happiness inspires others. I instantly thought of Lorenzo, who directed traffic through a local construction site last fall. (I wrote about him in former blog entries HERE and HERE.) I filled out the form and emailed it to Will Bowen and let Lorenzo know that he might be contacted about it. Sure enough, he was - almost immediately! And I knew he would be because he is one of the most inspiring, charismatic people I have ever met, and his story needed to be shared with a larger audience. Lorenzo was interviewed by the author, and his story is among the inspirational stories in Happy Stories. The experience has been incredible for Lorenzo, who is filled to the brim with gratitude. After talking on the phone with him and receiving a copy of his story, I found it quite interesting that the title of his story is the exact same title of my very first blog post: "Bloom Where You Are Planted." I did a Google search and came across a video in which Will Bowen shares Lorenzo's story with his congregation. (He is a Unity minister.) Watching the video moved my husband and me to tears. It is profoundly inspiring. (I must warn locals that he mispronounces "Greenwich," so you'll have to get past that!)

I urge you to do yourself a favor and make time to watch this very special video and be inspired.


Happy Stories - Bloom Where You are Planted - 07/28/2013 from InVision - Will Bowen on Vimeo.

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© Susan Meyer and River Bliss, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all text and photos, without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss (www.riverblissed.blogspot.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Livin' on the Riverside

I just couldn't resist. I'm still a little giddy from seeing America in concert 18 days ago and created a video of one of my very favorite America songs, "Riverside," with some of my favorite images of "the river that runs by my door" (to borrow from another, much later, America song). It's my little way of honoring founding member Gerry Beckley's birthday. Since the song is only about three minutes long, I had to be very selective with regard to the images, which was no easy task!

Due to copyright restrictions, if you go directly to YouTube, the video can't be viewed on mobile devices. However, it should work if you play it here within this blog post or if you're on a desktop computer. Or you could click on the link below to add it to your playlist so you can watch it later when you're at a desktop computer. If you're able to view it, I hope you will enjoy!



Click HERE to view video (desktop computers) or add it to your YouTube playlist (mobile devices).

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© Susan Meyer and River Bliss, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all text and photos, without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss (www.riverblissed.blogspot.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Presence, Preparation, and Magic Moments - Part 2

This morning, I woke up without an alarm at precisely the same time the alarm goes off on work days. Although I didn't get the ideal amount of sleep and considered going back to sleep, I sensed there was a gift awaiting on the misty morning river and went to the dock.

The pastel tones of the developing sunrise were pretty enough. But after snapping one picture, I remembered the missed opportunity from yesterday: the great blue heron that had been so close but that I hadn't noticed until it squawked and flew away. I turned my eyes in the direction from which it emerged yesterday, and sure enough: There was my friend, the heron, standing like a statue maybe 30 yards away in the mist.


I spent the rest of the sunrise observing and photographing the heron, noticing its energy and focus and how it reacted to all the work boat traffic passing by and generating a lot of turbulence on the water.


Having missed the heron yesterday, I was grateful for another chance today and seized it fully. The gift hidden inside missed opportunities - if we choose to unwrap it - is increased awareness and presence. We realize there is more going on than meets the eye and can fine-tune our intention, vision, and determination to pay fuller attention next time. Or this very moment.


I'm sure there were plenty of opportunities this morning for sunrise river landscapes, but that's not what I was interested in. It's not where my heart was. To quote Paulo Coelho again (this time from The Alchemist):

"Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure." 

I think many of my best photos originate from that heart space.

I meditated on the heron for the half hour or so we were sunrise companions and can't think of any better attunement to begin this new day.

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© Susan Meyer and River Bliss, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all text and photos, without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss (www.riverblissed.blogspot.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Presence, Preparation, and Magic Moments - Part 1

"Stay present: every second, every minute, and every hour. Every day of your life is full of present moments of infinite value." - Dr. Wayne Dyer

This morning, I experienced the most intense riverside sunrise in a long time. When my alarm chimes in the morning, the sky over the river is the first thing I see when I step out of bed. Next to the window that offers this view is a framed and matted print of the great blue heron I play hide and seek with on the river. This morning, through eyes still heavy with sleep, I saw a streak of cotton candy pink in the sky above thick, dancing mist and knew it was about to be extraordinary. I was on the dock with my camera and tripod within in a minute.


I must have sat at the end of the dock photographing the sunrise mist for a good 15 minutes with the mist dancing and lifting all around me before I noticed lights moving up the river toward me.


I exclaimed softly out loud, "Yes! It might be more interesting with something moving through the photo!" Just then, the great blue heron who had been very close to me (although I'd not noticed) lifted into flight and did just that. (Notice the small, dark figure at the center of the photo below.)


Wow.

I am constantly looking for the great blue heron on the river. And there it was all that time, so close. I didn't notice because I was focused on something else: the mist formations reflected symmetrically by the water when I faced north. But not noticing the heron doesn't mean it wasn't there.

I've been thinking a lot lately about opportunities missed due to a lack of mindfulness.

Nearly two weeks ago, it was 100% within my power to meet my favorite band, America, but I blew that opportunity as well because I was not paying attention at a critical moment. A man right in front of me began handing out bright yellow "Meet and Greet" passes when I was fiddling with my gear, and when I looked up and realized what was going on, it was too late; he had moved on, and I couldn't leave my gear unattended to catch up with him. When my husband returned to our seats, I was pouting and told him what had happened. By that time, the man had returned to the stage area, and my husband asked him if he had just one more pass because I wanted so much to meet them. But he had handed out every last one.

The great blue heron speaks to me of awareness and opportunity - of being on the lookout for opportunity first of all by believing that extraordinary things are possible! When opportunity arises, it is essential to be both prepared and present. Act swiftly and assertively when opportunity presents itself, as a heron does when it pursues prey. That is the lesson I take from my recent experiences. There seems to be a clear theme lately that I keep encountering.


On Labor Day, as soon as I walked out of the house to go on the river, the heron that I love so much was flying high in a large circle in front of our house as if to get my attention. As I got in my kayak, I watched its flight and followed even though I rarely paddle in that direction. But sure enough, that's where the magic was that morning. A red-tailed hawk was part of it, too. And I eventually met up with the heron and would have gotten a great picture of both birds...if only my camera batteries were charged. In the midst of photographing the red-tailed hawk, the battery died.


Charging our batteries, both literally and figuratively, is part of being prepared.

I love trusting intuition and seeing where the signs lead.


In By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, Paulo Coelho writes about magic moments that make all the difference:

"This moment exists, a moment in which all the strength of the stars flows through us and allows us to perform miracles."

I agree! Such moments do exist, and there is a depth to this beyond simple wishful thinking.

Preparation + Presence (+ Magic Moment) = Engaging the Magic!

On the other hand, when we are resistant to the manifestation of the present moment, we shut out opportunity and truncate our power. In my experience, it seems the magic is more readily engaged when I am open and receptive rather than closed and resistant.

What magic moments do I miss when I hit the snooze button, or when I am rushing or sulking? When I am abiding in a contracted state of weakness and limitation much like the fog on the river through which I cannot see what is virtually right next to me - and when I mistake that limited perception for "reality?"

The real reality is that shifting into presence can change everything!


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© Susan Meyer and River Bliss, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all text and photos, without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss (www.riverblissed.blogspot.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Moon, New Year

This morning - my second day back at work - I started the day on the river gliding through the changing colors of the sunrise with light mist dancing in the distance all around me.


A bald eagle (the first I've seen all year) soared overhead as the very first rays of sunlight beamed like lasers over the treetops across the river on the eastern shore. The sunlit eagle flew lower than usual right over my kayak. I interpreted this as a favorable sign.


A few minutes later, the rising sun climbed my favorite cottonwood tree, shining through his branches. Another first, for I'd never seen the sunrise in that location, and it felt like the tree was beaming such warmth. I always feel that Patrick Cottonwood and I have an energy exchange when I glide past him in my kayak, but this time it was visual and glorious.


Paddling back home to get ready for the workday, the sunlight glistened on my paddle as it lifted rhythmically from the water. There was a lot of traffic from work boats and barges, but it didn't matter, for this early morning on the river was spectacular.


Filled with yes
And illuminated with sunlight,
I turn to greet this new day
Shining, shining, shining...

It is a new moon, a good time to start something new.

Today was the day I met my students and their parents. I showered every one of them with love as I greeted them, beaming the light of the sunrise. Ten years ago, I took my son to meet his kindergarten teacher the day before school began, and I envied her. She was the woman to whom I was handing my dear child, and I prayed that she would recognize and appreciate all that I had come to love about him. He was my baby, and I wanted more than anything to know he was in good, loving hands. I felt she was doing the most important work in the world.

From that day on, my mind was made up. I wanted to be that person to whom parents handed their babies. I wanted to be the bridge between home and school, or the ferry that carried them across. It is an awesome responsibility.

I will never forget how it felt to be the parent of a new kindergartner. And that is why I gave both the children and their parents 100% of my attention and all the time they needed this afternoon. I was able to assure parents that their children are in good hands and that I will give them all the love I possibly can - for I was once in their shoes and remember. Despite the rigor of the curriculum, I will fill their days with music, art, and kindness, weaving these elements throughout all the content areas. I will keep them safe by providing boundaries and limits. I will be the Compassionate Mother, seeing the good in each child.

I ended up falling in love so many times today - with shy girls, sweet-faced boys, parents blinking back tears. It is a big deal when your child starts kindergarten. It is a big deal to start kindergarten.

The other night, I dreamt of this day. In the dream, I was meeting my new students and their families, and it was very crowded, almost claustrophobic. In the midst of it all, I stopped and truly connected with the children and realized in that connection that I was doing the right work for me. All my dreams over the summer about the upcoming school year have been positive. I have a good feeling about this year, despite everything going on in public education. I am hopeful.

As the new school year begins, I wish all teachers, students, and families many blessings!

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© Susan Meyer and River Bliss, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all text and photos, without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss (www.riverblissed.blogspot.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Elevating Work into Art

It's September. Time to shift into high gear and really get prepared for the new school year, which starts officially in two days. I think I did an excellent job extending summer vacation for as long as possible this year! It was so sprawling and free - a time to recharge, reinvent, dive into passions, and focus more attention on developing talents and skills that aren't related directly to my job but ultimately enhance my teaching practice nonetheless. It's always a transition when the new year begins and I have to readjust to the routine and workload and to the physical and emotional demands of training a new crop of kindergartners. But this, too, shall pass.

I will miss having the freedom to write essentially whenever the inspiration hits. Time once again to carry around a small notepad to jot down ideas to develop later when I have a chance - and hope that some of the energy and spirit behind the ideas will still be there at that time. On the other hand, I will appreciate getting steady paychecks for the next ten months!

I often envy my friends who are full-time artists and wish I could take that leap of faith and do it, too. Jump out of the bureaucracy that sucks the passion out of the best intentions, and work on my writing and photography full-time, thus expanding the walls of my classroom. I imagine how liberating it must be to have the freedom of greater mobility and the time to create without having to compromise sleep, for there are only so many hours in a day.

But I also understand the realities of the artist lifestyle. Creative professionals have deadlines, writer's block, and an assortment of other pressures and realities to contend with. One example I am intimately familiar with: My husband, who is an independent musician (both with his band and solo), is always busy booking gigs, maintaining his website, developing new material, fixing equipment, traveling to gigs, setting up, performing, breaking down, doing follow-up work after residencies, and trying to find time to practice and develop more fully as an artist. It's irksome when people think he only "works" when he is playing a gig or that the fee he gets for a gig is merely compensation for the time he actually performs and doesn't take into account the countless hours of unpaid work and bills that lead up to it. Like so many other artists we know, he does not receive health insurance (except through me), retirement, or paid vacation and sick days. His work day and work week never really end except for when he is sleeping. Marketing alone is an endless task. Seeing this up close and personal is a large reason why, so far, I choose to continue teaching rather than doing creative work full-time. I love the creativity, but the flip-side of the coin is the self-marketing piece, the uncertainty, and the constant pressure to produce, book gigs, etc.

Recently, I read an article about how modern concert technology on a larger scale leaves many musicians feeling that their creativity and connection with their audience is stifled because the visuals on stage need to be synchronized with the music, and everything is pre-programmed. Similarly, many teachers complain that the rigor of the new Common Core standards compromises freedom, creativity, and their ability to connect with their students.

Structure seems to be infringing on creativity and authenticity in many professions and industries. And what I'm realizing is that true artistry in any field involves the ability to express creativity and freedom through structure. The work is to balance technique and expression, discipline and creativity, structure and freedom - to integrate those polarities and elevate our work into art. It can be extremely challenging. A few examples come to mind: haiku and other poetic forms, musical composition, calligraphy, and - once again - teaching standards. It's all pretty much the same. There is a structure within which you create, and the better acquainted you are with that structure, the more freedom you ultimately have to create. That in a nutshell is probably a large reason why the last school year was so difficult and unfulfilling for me - why I felt last year's students didn't get the best I had to offer. They got the best I could give given the circumstances, but it was nowhere near the potential of what it could have been. The structures (plural) were all new. We didn't yet understand them. For our work to become art, there must be freedom for interpretation and personal expression, and that comes from a deep understanding of the rules and parameters.

Even with regard to exercise, I find that I am more disciplined when I have a schedule to adhere to. When my days are less structured, I tend to procrastinate, at best.

It's all about balance and integration. Yin-yang.

This summer, I went really deep into the spiritual and mental dimensions of my being but largely neglected the physical. In order for my spiritual energy to be expressed more fully and effectively, it is important to attend to myself on a physical level as well - beginning with a good night's sleep! Engaging the magic needs to be balanced with caring for my body and home, as shown in the graphic below that I created to help keep me on track.


As I head into the new school year, I've already experienced some moments of anxiety over the rigid, bureaucratic structure within which I (and all other public school educators) must do my job. However, the anxiety comes when I lose sight of my real reason for being in the classroom. When you strip away all the extra stuff, teaching is, at its core, about the relationship between a teacher and a student. I intend to really focus on that connection this year. If I find myself feeling disheartened or anxious, I will need to return to the here-and-now and attune to my connection with my students and with nature.

And the only way to do that:

Be.

Here.

Now.

It's all about presence. There is a great blue heron that seems to show up on the river when I am in need of "heron medicine." To me, the heron represents the presence and inner knowing that arises from stillness. It feels important to keep "heron energy" activated this year, which is why I have a picture of my friend, the heron, on the cover of my planning notebook.


So with the best of intentions, I once again turn my attention to my job and believe (as a few friends have urged me to consider) that the children in my care this year are with me for a cosmic reason. And throughout this year - whatever it may bring - my goals are true presence, remembering why I chose to teach in the first place, and keeping alive those vibrant, fun, exciting parts of myself that I discovered or became reacquainted with this summer.

To sum it up: I intend to live an extraordinary, artful life and to allow my true work to be channeled as fully as possible through what I do for a living.

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© Susan Meyer and River Bliss, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all text and photos, without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss (www.riverblissed.blogspot.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.