My husband is now off for the summer, one of the perks of being a teacher. Over the summer he has to read a book about choosing one word to be his guiding principle over the next school year. It is familiar to me since this has been my approach the last two years. Choosing one thing and focusing on it and seeing what happens. The first year my one thing was meditation. Quite simply just do it, imperfectly, but consistently. Sit everyday, even if just for a minute or two. As discussed previously this has had so many reverberations in my life.
That small focus helped me clear clutter physical, mental, and emotional. It helped me be clearer about my purpose and led me to renewing my commitments to volunteering and vegetarianism. It helped me try to learn to say no.
This year my word has been presence and it has been more of a struggle than I thought it would be. I do believe I am making progress though it is painfully slow. It is also revealing some things about myself that I am not thrilled with, but I am trying to accept. I wonder how many of us really like control and really like feeling that your worth is a little tied up in your status and in being the “go to” person. That was not a terribly attractive realization for me. Also simultaneously I noticed that does not make me happy.
In an effort to be more present and battle my arch nemesis, the cellphone, I started doing something to help me separate work and home. A friend and I were talking and she mentioned a mentor she had that told her something she did to be able to effectively separate from work, and to set a reasonable expectation for those she worked with. At the end of her day she put her out of office response on her phone and email It was simple. It was clear. I decided I would try that. I wanted it to be kind of end of day ritual for me as well as providing those trying to reach me with the necessary info they needed. The message is not long. It has had an instant impact. The message is simply says, “I am gone for the day I will return day at 7AM.” All it does is set a reasonable expectation. I have left work and all work behind until I return. I do sometimes find myself checking email. I also find I am doing this less because I have set the expectation. It is sort of an actual physical act of disconnecting from work. In our always on society I think this can be very powerful. I anticipate as I continue this habit I will check my phone less and less once I am home. This will give me more time to be fully here with my husband, kitties, family, and friends.