I am sitting here on a quiet Sunday morning with my coffee cup in hand. I have perused the Sunday paper, read the few columns that draw me in, checked my email, contemplated doing some work for school, and now have ended up here. I love to write and share the deep musings of my heart and soul. I missed Gratitude Friday, have never picked up the ball on 30 Days of Thanksgiving, yet still have a few days until 10 on 10! I am determined to remember that this month! This morning my thoughts and emotions are so clouded and feel muddled in my head. We have had several days of continuous rain and my dear “Aunt Molly” is visiting this weekend…need I say more? The older I get the more emotional and painful her visits get! 🙂 Ok – TMI!
Last week I had the privilege to sit with some amazing colleagues and friends for two days and explore our job as math coaches. We talked about what our job looks like and had the opportunity to reflect on how we are impacting the learning community around us. We listened to each other share our successes and hurdles, and took time to set some goals. The last afternoon I attended a session which centered around the book The Courage to Teach, by Parker Palmer. For two hours we sat in a room full of coaches and mentors and talked about things completely unrelated to math. It was amazingly refreshing…
The session started off with a poem about Autumn. My first thought was to post the poem here for you to read. I still might do that, but thought I might just write from the impressions the poem left on my heart. As I began to read the poem it reminded me of my last post in which I described autumn and what that season brings to us and prepares us for. The beginning of the poem talked about leaves dying and falling off the tree. It spoke of letting go of disappointments and failures. I instantly had a picture in my head of that tree that sits all through winter with a few dead, scraggly leaves that mercilessly hang on and on and on… You just want a big wind to come along and blow them away forever. Yet, they hang on and then you see them still there amidst the beautiful new leaves that appear in spring. I had a huge realization that I am that tree. I have some really ugly leaves that are still hanging on. In fact, they have survived almost 4 years!
We had to “hold our silence” for 15 minutes during this session. At first I was uncomfortable and didn’t think I could sit still that long. Before I knew it my life was unfolding before me and I was scribbling madly on my paper. My tree was staring me in the face! After our time of quietness, we got into groups of three. I had two people ask to join me and I didn’t know either one of them – one man and one woman. Great! I am an emotional pile of leaves right now and I have to talk for 6 minutes while they listen. Are you kidding me? I took a deep breath and began to share. My sharing turned into crying and looking into the eyes of two very empathetic people. We all agreed that it was almost easier to talk to strangers, as they have no preconceived notions about you or your dead leaves! After I shared, the gal asked me how I was going to get rid of the dead leaves hanging on my tree. Good question! I asked her if she had any ideas – she didn’t. I came to the conclusion that I need to do something symbolic – something physical that will let go of the emotional. I was drawn back to the book Eat, Pray, Love and her rooftop experience in India.
So, here I sit with my clouded and muddled thoughts, wondering what I can do to rid my tree of these dead leaves once and for all. My tree needs to be cut back so it can rest for the winter and them bloom beautifully in the spring – stronger and more beautiful! I am relentlessly pursuing God to lead me to that place of healing and wholeness… that place of letting go for good. I need room for all of the new leaves that will grow on my tree.
Parker Palmer also wrote a book called Let Your Life Speak. I began reading it yesterday and was deeply and profoundly touched. It is a compassionate and compelling meditation on discovering our path in life. He speaks of finding our true vocation – “that place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” This is another post for another day. So, today when I have a huge list of things I need to do, must do, and want to do, I am faced with a task of great importance – letting go and moving forward. My question for you is this… do you have any leaves still hanging on your tree that you need to shake off once and for all? In this season where things need to die, let’s search our hearts for our leaves; and purposefully and intentionally let them go, so when spring comes we have fuller and more beautiful trees!