The week before winter break is never easy for a middle school teacher. The combination of high energy and anticipation levels of the students juxtaposed with the need to finish units, projects and assessments makes for an exhausting experience. Add to that the needs of my own children at home, the cards, gifts and holiday cheer and I am not sure if I am coming or going.
Late last night as Leno wrapped up his monologue, I catch myself in an unsettling space between gearing up and winding down. A kaleidoscope of ‘to-dos’ spins through my mind. Fortunately, sleep kicks in, and eight short hours later, I have a flash of clarity.
After driving through the mountains in the predawn hours, my son and I pass Donner Lake, and in that moment, as the water and sky met and steam hissed from its surface, I quickly stop the car. My brain pauses and we drink in the tranquility of the water before us. Silently I breathe deeply, wait, and shift back into gear with a new sense of calm.
Try it. Breathe. Pause. Wait. Shift.