Saturday, September 4, 2010

Effort and Ease

In yoga, the word "asana" refers to the physical postures. Most of the sanskrit names for the postures contain the word asana, as in trikonasana (triangle pose) and vrksasana (tree pose). In each asana, the yogi seeks the balance between effort and ease.

I have been thinking about this idea in my "off the mat" life, specifically work. I need to find the balance between effort and ease in my professional life.
If you've been reading my blog, you already know something about my work and the changes that have been occurring at my school. When I compare the use of educational technology at the school today with when I started working there four years ago, I am pleased and a bit amazed.

Everything at work is great. We have a new head of school who really "gets it." I get to work with Silvia Tolisano, who is brilliant, and I learn from her every minute we spend together. I work with my good friend, Kim, the best technology assistant in the world, bar none (really, assistant is the wrong title for her, she is so much more than that). Our teachers are blogging on brand new macbooks, our website has evolved from a static site to a dynamic hub of communication, I am charged with the exciting task of working with students and teachers to begin the process of digital portfolios. I have increased my skills and abilities to the point where I could go almost anywhere from here. In short, I have gotten pretty much everything I ever wanted.
So why do I feel stressed and overwhelmed? And what am I going to do about it?

I need to find that place between effort and ease. There is so much to do. I have long lists of blog posts I want to write. My google reader overflows. I can not keep up. I want to do have the time to do things properly. Every task takes time. I feel rushed and pressured, and I feel that my co-workers don't understand why I can't always stop whatever I'm doing and run to show them, for the 50th time, how to reset an airport when the signal goes weak or rename a printer that has lost its network connection. And before you suggest I create a "how-to" sheet, please understand that I did that years ago.

I love my work. What I don't love is the feeling of anxiety that keeps me up at night, the feeling of being spread too thin, my energies scattered. My eyes hurt. I don't even know if I believe in the power of educational technology as much as I once did.

Effort- I work hard every day. I try to keep up, keep things working, and continue to grow. I learn from my mistakes. I reflect after every lesson, every encounter, every situation. I am there to help, and I try my hardest to respond with patience to every person who approaches me. I am a team-player, and it is not just luck that I get to work with people of the caliber of Silvia and Kim. My to-do list overflows. I do my best to prioritize, strategize, and share.

Ease- I remind myself to stay in the moment. I breathe in and out. I try to remember that, ultimately, my job is not so much about technology (try to tell me that when things aren't working, though); my purpose for being where I am is to build relationships. It is about helping people. I can only do so much. I need to have faith-- in myself, in the students, in my colleagues. I must make time (and space in my brain) for rest and relaxation. Worry has no place in the picture. It doesn't add to my productivity. If people don't understand what I do all day, that is not my problem.

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