Thanksgiving Food for Thought 2017

We had a thoughtful philosophical round table here on Thanksgiving led by my daughter who’s questions were served up like amuse-gueule. Listening to the sometimes frayed sometimes fresh inter-generational similarities and differences within each response filled me up, the way hors d’oeuvres always do.

As always, I continue to ‘digest’ what went down… turkeys

The elders are satiated, the parents are getting there, and the youth altruistically want to save the world through education and service…unless they’ve decided it’s insatiability leaves it beyond hope and saving oneself may be the most reliable course of action.

 

And for dessert…

Phil Town talks of a mentor who insists that being thankful 1000 times a day is the road to happiness. Joe Vitale teaches the methods of Ho’oponopono, a Hawaiian tradition grounded in loving kindness. As a parent, my greatest hope for my children is that they are happy and fulfilled and I know they will find their way to it down different, self-determined paths, just as I and my siblings are. Life is a journey, not predictable, but neither, arbitrarily measured.

 

As my longest career comes to an end, I am beginning to reflect on and appreciate how my way of doing the work so wholeheartedly filled me up while depleting me.

Teaching is relationships. When I reminisce, the relationships I enjoyed with colleagues and students will always make me smile. Teaching is also documentation, assessment, substantiating, professional development, counselling, volunteering, crisis management, bookkeeping, event planning,… and I took it all on with seriousness and conviction. It was a way of life for me and my family.  It was the greedy child that was never satiated.

When David Whyte said wholeheartedness was the anecdote to exhaustion, I’m sure he was excluding B.C. public school teachers during the last round of Liberal governing years. Wholeheartness drove many of us to the physical and mental edge. While teaching gave me joy, the enormity of the task depleted me and the “no new shoes for you” budget years, backfired.

The aperitif:

  1. Remember that working harder doesn’t make us happier.
  2. Set boundaries for your work life and stick to them.
  3. Linger in aspects of work that fill you up, avoid languishing in those that don’t.
  4. It’s the love, the kindness, the laughter, and ultimately, the gratitude of giving and receiving those experiences that matters.
  5. Striving and money are likely highly overrated so recognize ‘enough’ and enjoy that as a touchstone for all the freedom and joy it can provides.

 

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