My entry today was to continue onward about rituals. I’ve described the warming of the room, the filling of the pen and my obsessiveness with having a notebook that subscribes to all of my preferences. I am a little persnickety when it comes to my habits.
Today was supposed to be an entry in my lighting of the candle.
But, I am suspending that plan.
I had my day’s plan scribed out in my Life Book. This takes place in the early morning of the evening before. Yet, I allow for flexibility. Today, the Universe has other plans.
My Mother calls and wishes to meet for lunch. A student meeting on zoom is cancelled due to illness. My slice of life was not yet completed. Arrows were already filling my page.
So, I checked my morning emails in this newly crafted space of time.
And there it was.
A Slice of Life from one of my former teacher education students. She, now a Teacher Warrior in the midst of this pandemic – her first year as Teacher.
I’d been floundering lately. AGAIN. Resistance towards the inner callings that my soul has been screaming for me to pursue. I’ve been here a number of times. It’s painful. A quiet desperation, as Thoreau describes. The path mucky. Distractions in abundance. Bills need to be paid and peace to be kept.
The more I ignored it, the louder it screamed.
My notebooks were filling again with questions to live, observations and unfolding bread crumbs to follow. There is no playbook, manual or script that can tell us how to or where to go to figure out how to live our own purposeful lives. We discover it on our own by living and doing and paying attention and then listening.
A teacher I have always been. First, of my siblings, then those darlings in the early childhood years and moving upward to elementary. Then, to teachers, as a literacy coach and now to preservice teachers, and sometimes in service teachers as well. I love teaching and believe it has always been my calling.
But, there is something deeper that rumbles underneath all of this. An itch I can’t scratch. An ache that won’t heal. A taunting that won’t leave.
I believe there are bigger callings we have beyond being “teacher”. A calling that works THROUGH us as “teacher”.
The past few weeks, I’ve been partaking in Jeffery Davis’ free Wonder of This Life workshops on Insight Timer. He so perfectly attached words to what it was that was gnawing at me as I tried to describe it.
He said something along this line. (Forgive me, I fail in capturing the direct quotes, although these might be. They are all scribblings in my notebook. I hadn’t planned on rewriting them here.)
“Genius is the capacity to retrieve and reclaim childhood at will. It’s a force of character that wakes you up to your best self and your best work in the world. It will guide us if we are awake to it.”
He goes on to remind me that “each of us is born with a distinct facet of character. A soul’s code. It’s presence is to remind us of our core unique genius. To reclaim it, we have to remember it. Our facets of life align with this genius. We are born forgetting. Others can mirror back our genius. We each are a gem, radiating from a facet of that gem – all together we are connecting and glowing. We are not alone. We are interconnected.”
It was revealed to me many years ago, through writing, that a one facet of my own “soul’s code” is to reflect others’ genius to them and tell them so they would hear it out loud and not forget. I had labeled this as “gifts”, however, rather than “genius”. I vowed to pay close attention to the notice the gifts of my third graders and tell them what I saw and attempted to create conditions in which they could tend to those gifts.
Nathen loved to talk. I told him he would be a voice for those who were afraid to speak. Nevaeh was a quiet gifted artist. I provided sketchbooks, artist books in the classroom library and taught her zentangling. Rayah loved to dance, so did Grace. We created a container of space for them to dance in the classroom when they felt called to do so. And, Jace, he was a natural when in charge. I told him he was a born leader – would maybe be a coach one day – so competitive he was. Soon, these third graders were noticing gifts in each other.
But, there is now ANOTHER layer yet! (All these bless-ed layers!) This facet of genius is to show others how writing can be a medium to reveal the facets of their own genius for themselves. Our own words that appear on the page in front of us can guide us through this messy life. The writing helps us remember who we are meant to be and our place in the world.
Imagine the world we would live in if everyone was living out their true genius – their soul’s code.
I dream of that world.
Those third graders of yesteryear have perhaps forgotten already what their genius is. I’m thinking I should write them letters to remind them.
But, today, I thank you, Caitlin, for reminding me of what it is that I’m here to do.
I keep forgetting.
5 thoughts on “On Forgetting: The Facets of Our Genius #4/31 SOL ~2021”
Written with some much thought. I love the idea of a soul code and what we have to give as gifts. I expect many of your past third graders do remember what you told them. They were lucky to have you! Thanks for share this today.
Shari, I can not even begin to tell you how deeply your words resonated with me today. This thirst you speak of is one which has been guiding my journey in self discovery and service. You address this with such a needed urgency in your writing. After reading your piece I turn to Jonathan and say, “she is so my soul sister.”
It seems to me that reflection is the key, and that for some writing unlocks it. “My notebooks were filling again with questions to live, observations and unfolding bread crumbs to follow.” The idea of unfolding bread crumbs caught my attention. Do we stick with the questions and observations we ask long enough to notice where they are taking us?
So much richness and complexity and wonder in this post. This line particularly haunts me: “The writing helps us remember who we are meant to be and our place in the world.” A more perfect articulation of why I write than I’ve ever been able to come up with. And how interesting that we are always forgetting and need to be reminded and relearn again and again. For me, writing is that way to remember and relearn.
I have been ruminating over this post for a couple of days now. I first read it in school this past week and began to cry. I feel so thankful for this connection and relationship we have built since the first class of yours I had. You are someone I see so much of myself in, just a couple years down the road from each other.
I couldn’t be more touched that my words were able to stop you in your day and move you in such a large way, especially because of how much I look up to you, not only as a writer, but also a person. The idea I was able to inspire you is such an honor. Thank you so much for sharing this and truly making my week. This gives me encouragement and validation that writing is something I should be doing. It is easy to make yourself believe that what you have to say isn’t important, but it simply isn’t true.
This post also made me reflect on my own meaning and purpose – something I have been wondering about ever since I was done being a college athlete. Something I will be reflecting on a lot during the remainder of the month…
Again, thank you Shari. 🙂