Sensing Progress

This past Monday, I enjoyed a second consecutive monthly meeting of the CASE board of directors. And I really mean enjoyed.

The Center for Advancing Sudbury Education has existed for seven years as of this month, which is both a source of pride (that we’ve stuck with it) and embarrassment (that this much time has passed without more to show for it). Obviously I’ve had numerous conversations and email exchanges with my fellow board members over the years: yet strangely, only last month did we begin what I hope becomes a regular habit of meeting once a month to discuss priorities and projects, to assess our progress and readjust as necessary.

Our lack of real-time meetings has been due partly to our being scattered across different states and time zones. Yet with the emergence of free video conferencing technologies, as well as my recent dropping from full-time to part-time Sudbury school staffing, both the ease and the urgency of meeting regularly have significantly increased.

Yes, it was a true joy this week to see long-distance friends and colleagues—from my longest-standing Sudbury cohort (a woman who helped ease my way into this field nearly sixteen years ago), to an Alpine Valley School staffer I worked alongside through my 13.5 years in Colorado, to my newest coworker here at Clearview Sudbury School—gathered in one virtual space. As for productivity, no amount of email or one-on-one conversations could hope to match the synergistic magic of a group of people bouncing ideas off each other in common gatherings.

For me, these past two meetings have been tremendously clarifying and inspiring. Part of what makes CASE often appear to a vast undertaking is the daunting range of potential projects: having had to decide largely on my own what to focus on, what tasks are most useful and pressing at any given time, has tended to make the prospects even more overwhelming. However, even a few hours of talking things over with a group of friends, colleagues, and supporters—as well as seeing what they’ve accomplished between meetings—not only makes this work more manageable, but also inspires me anew to hurl myself into it.

That said, the real work of building CASE is still in the early stages. And my own personal work of reconnecting with my authentic self, my intuition and my courage, likewise has a lot of ground yet to cover, ground it seems in no great rush to explore. Too often, still, I find myself hesitant, fearful, confused and/or guilty. For example, I still have no idea what I’m doing with this blog, how to turn it into anything meaningful in terms of paid work, recognition, or connections. The mere task of updating it regularly often feels like a major drain on my precious time.

In general, I wonder to what extent—with Write Learning, as well as life in general—to be spontaneous versus deliberate. For the blog, I’ve created a spreadsheet to track my posts and statistics, as well as to organize my ideas for future posts. Yet I find myself resistant to the notion of scheduling days for posting and particular topics for each day. I don’t know whether I should maintain my current pattern, writing mainly when the mood strikes (inspiration and/or guilt), while following a loose scheme of not skipping too many days in a row and balancing longer, original posts with quotes and recycled material.

As I’ve said here a few times at least, I also don’t know how I’m going to live up to my tag line (“a viable life of creativity and mindfulness”). Can I prove myself correct and find some way to fund this crazy pursuit of a cake-and-eat-it-too lifestyle? Can I (literally) afford to work only when I feel more or less like working (understanding that simply waiting for the Muse to visit likely means never getting anything done)? I long to recover my the profound enthusiasm and confidence of my childhood. I want to be motivated mostly by the positive, not the negative.

Yet for now, at least, it remains an ongoing challenge, trusting myself and waiting for the process unfold, flowing with it as it does. Sometimes this even leads me to wonder if it’s not failure but success that I actually fear. On that note, I leave you with the following quote from Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love. Me, I’ve got a to-do list a mile long beckoning, with “pursue your passion” written all over it.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

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