Tuesday Musings

Reflection and Silence: 2 Sides of the Coin – or Dough!

The act of reflection sits at the center of many of my recent endeavors. Usually this is energizing for me, but right now, I feel tired, and I’m wondering why.

School projects on lifelong and social-emotional learning, writing weekly (almost!) slices, working on my doomed Fulbright application, planning this fall’s resiliency activities, deciding what to make for supper, agonizing over what to say to a grieving colleague…everything seems to need reflection and contemplation… This active and engaged period of problem-solving and creation is like mixing and kneading the dough… we have to do the work and it can be hard!

But it isn’t enough.And I think this is why I feel tired…

At some point, we have to step away from the dough!What amazes me is thinking about what our brains are really doing as we chug along with our work… We think, we edit, we revise – and we think we are in control… but then we leave it for a bit to let it “proof” and “rise”. Just as important as the act of thinking, is the act of stepping away… to let it be… to do nothing… and to wait!!!!

In that resting and quiet space,our brains miraculously continue to build connections and bridges leading towards new insights. It is such a strange sensation.

Who is really driving the bus? I know it’s me, but it isn’t me – it is the collection of all the experiences, thoughts, encounters, classes, people, books, music, etc etc that have come into my awareness over time… and somehow, magically, with mixing, kneading, and then REST, insight breaks forth…

One of my favorite people, Paolo Freire, in one of my favorite books co-written with Myles Horton, called We Make the Road by Walking, says “…reading is a kind of research…studying means finding something, and the act of finding brings with it a certain taste, a certain moment of happiness that is creation and re-creation. No it’s not easy, but it is good to be done.” (p. 37)

To me, safeguarding the time for reflection is important – but it is only half of the battle of “finding” what we are looking for – being silent and letting the dough rise on its own is the flip side of that coin! I think I’m so tired because I haven’t been letting my dough rise!!! Time to walk away!

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