When I was teaching, occasionally my classes would get a little away from me, as though activities were sort of happening by themselves and I was simply following along. I always carefully planned my lessons, but on many occasions I felt like the lessons were running me instead of the opposite. It wasn’t a good feeling. I felt like things were out of my control, and consequently I felt like a failure as a teacher. This usually led to this thought: “I have to get control of things tomorrow!” – but then, thankfully, another thought usually came to me, an opposite one“Maybe I need to give up a little control instead of constantly struggling to maintain it.” Perhaps the learning that occurred in my classroom on those ‘out of control’ days was deep and powerful, only I didn’t notice it because I was too absorbed in my own personal issues concerning control. While I was worrying about keeping track of all the pieces of my lesson plan (as well as all the students), perhaps the kids were quietly learning. Picture a man standing at the seaside trying to control the winds. He’s dashing here and there, wildly waving his arms, and, of course, the winds constantly escape his grasp. That was me in my classroom now and then. I realized, again and again, that I needed to stop all the obsessive nonsense about control and just loosen up and be thankful for what was happening in the classroom. I always made a meticulous lesson plan, and my students were well-behaved, so perhaps I just needed to let the plan do its work. I trust the wind to blow where it must, and this morning, on our walk by the Mystic River, I saw this rower moving smoothly down river, obviously trusting the oars and the river to reliably move her along. Back in my classroom years ago, I just needed to trust my lesson plans, too.

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(Andy H., 70, Blessings, CT)
He knows
the universe works well 
without his help. 
The trees in winds can work their waves 
and bends with no input from him, 
and clouds float soft and light 
without his crackerjack advice. 
Good breath lifts up his lungs 
with ease and poise,
and he’s amazed 
to feel them rise and fall. 
He knows 
he never has to take control, 
since life does all the work. 
He only has to be, 
and let, 
and trust.

From our walk yesterday in Canonchet Preserves (RI): stones trusting each other …

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