Sunday, September 21, 2008


At the end of every day, shoulders scream with pain from constantly feeling pulled towards the ears for hours as though gravity wishes the opposite fate for them. Back aches from the constant moving, sitting, standing, bending over to explain a lesson or to work out an argument. Feet burning so much so that it feels like you’ve been in heels all day. And the brain actually hurts if it thinks of one more small detail. Anything can put you over the edge.

No one will ever know how hard it is. Unless you have experienced it for yourself – stood in front of 50 watchful eyes for 7 hours straight constantly thinking of how to engage them, how to support them, how to encourage them, while trying desperately to keep them, and yourself calm - you never really know. The physical exhaustion is one thing, granted, but the mental and emotional exhaustion? Completely different. You play so many roles, wear so many hats, and are expected to know the solution to so many problems. It is a level of exertion unlike any I have ever witnessed or experienced. To say you are ‘tired’ on Friday afternoon is an undeniable understatement. For five days you fulfilled your role as educator, friend, therapist, nurturer, actress, counselor, and mediator. And your heart is often heavy.

But nothing will ever replace the feeling of total satisfaction that accompanies the exhaustion at the end of the day. That feeling of knowing that you did something today that will contribute, in the years to come, to the betterment of society. Your days never feel wasted, and in every one of those days, even the ones that feel like everything just went wrong, there is ALWAYS a morsel to remember. How her eyes lit up when she figured out how to spell a word, how his face beamed when he was told you were proud of him, how he learned that word, or she finally negotiated a problem on her own. Each day, however horrid it may have been, however exhausted you may be, ends up in the end, being a small gift to cherish. Those moments surround you and it becomes blatantly obvious that you have slowly fallen in love with every little human you have been in contact with. And their love is returned.

Happy but exhausted. Fulfilled.
You have to think about your life and the purpose of your life.
Do you think that you were an accident?
That you are here just to pass through your days, without meaning?
Do you think that you have been created by a special combination of genes and atoms. Of virtues, talents, and capacities - created to do something in this world.
That you are magic.


July 21, 2008.
It is a Monday and I am sitting in a Cafe whose name now escapes me, on Royal Arcade in Melbourne, Australia. Six months ago no one would ever have been able to convince me that today I'd be here - across the globe - in a quant coffee shop, writing. To have traveled so far on my own, to have used my own savings for something I knew my mind, body, and soul needed, would have been unimaginable back then.
The staff behind the counter laugh as they discuss the recent birthing of Aneglina Jolie's children. I eat a chicken and bacon melt, on Turkish pida. The cafe's here are incredible, all of them have delicious food, the coffee is impeccable. My world feels a million miles away.
It seems they just finished serving the lunch rush. A quieter, more serene calm seems to have filled this tiny, dark cafe.
The city feels less 'city' here. There isn't the same pulsating energy that moves Manhattan. People walk a little slower, they stop to look into shop windows, to look around, to take it all in.
I barely understand what anyone says. Although everyone speaks my language, it is done in a way that makes it very clear that I am an outsider any time I open my mouth.
And yet, I feel nothing but grateful for this experience. For having people in my life who, although may live on a completely different side of the planet, when reunited it is as though not a day has passed. I'm grateful knowing that the bonds I created while I was away on that sojourn are so deeply rooted. I have the absolute pleasure, the total joy of having so many good people in my life. People who inspire me and allow me to recognize every day that I am surrounded with love.
Ever grateful for the experiences that unfold.