No joy, no peace.
Know joy, know peace.
Perhaps this simplistic approach may lead some philosophers, I mean educators, to search for specific pieces of peace as part of putting their own life’s puzzle(s) together. Or maybe not. It’s good to have a choice in matters of this nature.
As simple as the adapted axiom above reads, it becomes much more perplexing when, as, and if pondered.
Call it YOᒐ
So what happens when joy takes a holiday when doing the work that you love, and all that you are left with is its opposite? Without this becoming a full on self help post, I will attempt to work out my thoughts in the paragraphs below.
At first blush, the answer comes with equal parts complexity, scheduled and unscheduled situations, and a litany of responses ranging from (over)reactionary to nuanced. I never said it was going to be easy, right. I also didn’t say it has to be difficult either.
Finding our own versions of JOY while trying to avoid YOᒐ might as well be like trying to distil our own definition for the meaning of life. And you can’t use 42, Adams already gave us that one. What brings us JOY or YOᒐ is personal, elusive, and evolving. We are humans after all, and our tastes and needs are subject to change or be changed whether from inside or out? Joy will look different from one person to the next. One person’s perceived worst day ever, may only appear to someone else as an opportunity to gain knowledge and grow from the experience.
The winter of my disco tents will lead to a rockin’ summer
Looking at JOY and YOᒐ as seasons instead of life sentences has been helpful for me.
In fact it has become very clear that each and every day has the potential for us to take a time warped trip through the seasons complete with blizzards, droughts, refreshing rains, and warming sunlight. Whether we wither or weather the storms depends on first knowing who we are at the core and what emotional strengths we draw from to meet the demands of each day’s tempests.
Will I be ready with an umbrella for life’s downpours or will I be looking for towels because I left the windows down in my car? Will I be ready to shield myself with a supportive network of caring colleagues from the cold of self-doubt and discouragement when things are not working in the classroom or I am feeling unsure? Will I be ready with sunblock, glasses, and a hat to appreciate those warm days? How about you? With so much of our well being anchored in our mental health, it is crucial we know how to prepare and where to seek a proverbial shelter.
The feeling of sipping your coffee or tea when it is still hot, warm, or from the same day it was made. It is having all of your students in the classroom. It is a week of uninterrupted school life at the speed of learning. Joy is seeing the eyes of students light up when they accomplish a goal. Joy comes from having a purpose? Where it gets really good in our lives happens when we can combine what gives us joy, with what we love, with our purpose, and talents. This in essence is the Japanese concept of Ikigai.
For me, there is joy in knowing I am working in a space that I love and using the skills/gifts/scars/lessons thus far to occupy my place as an educator. Over the past 15+ years there has been far more JOY than YOᒐ too. It doesn’t mean that we are on easy street until our final days, but that each day we are presented with JOY or YOᒐ will be an opportunity to shine brightly or strengthen ourselves or one another.
As we navigate this season of low daylight and high workload, I just wanted to remind you all that you are purpose and passion in action. You are the light to so many even after the sun goes down. Thank you.