Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Do I have to go back to the future?

This morning (Tuesday, 9/23/14) in the studio classroom
Clearly,  I have not held up any bargain/promise/proposal I have previously made to resume blogging. I am not even going to try and apologize about it anymore because I'm actually not all that sorry.

I mean... this blogsite has been really important to me. (Don't get me wrong on that.)  It has (more than) served its purpose of connecting me with other art teachers and working artists and designers. It's also been a terrific resource for folks if/when they have really REALLY needed it - be it for lesson plan ideas OR set/scene design ideas/how-to's/graphics for the many theater productions of which I have worked. I have gotten some awesome emails and comments from readers (about all of the aforementioned) and with every single one, I'm constantly humbled and amazed that anybody else thinks what I have done here has been useful or good.

(Please don't read all of this as a cry for validation and passive-aggressive request to feed my ego. I just seriously feel like I am 1) not that great of a writer to begin with, 2) OK enough at sharing what I have shared and 3) still learning so much myself that I am hesitant to "consult" because I'm still figuring things out myself/for myself - basically, I know I don't have the "answers" so I'm not trying to give anyone anything that is "half-baked.")

Related to all of the previous, the "fasting" I did years back from social media and then eventually from my electronic devices at large, I have found that since I have tried to return from that fasting, it's been hard for me to have very much of an appetite to keep up this particular blog anymore. I find that what I really crave (and am drawn to do) is to be more present in my classroom and with the incredibly talented (and hungry) student artists that I have been blessed to come to know. Despite how contradictory this sounds (especially since I am sharing this with you via digital social media), I find that one of the first things I want to do in order to start and end my days, are things that are not digital/virtual and are as tangible as possible.

In the past I used (and hated) using a teacher planning book/notebook. While I had lesson plans, I disliked writing them and I preferred using any (even every?) number of digital mediums/apps to write and archive them. Over at least half a decade later, I'm admitting that "my way" - of doing as many things digital as possible - is not nearly as productive or useful as I once thought. Through much too much trial and error, I've discovered that actually WRITING lesson plans in tangible ways (on real paper) has made teaching and learning (for both myself and my students) that much more tangible and REAL than it ever has been in digital format. This isn't to say that I have now decided that technology is bad but just... I have a new understanding of what it is good for and it's no longer as good for me (and my teaching efforts) as it once was.

My very well used Teacher Planning notebook - NOT digital!!! Thank you, Erin Condren for this amazing teaching tool. 
I've applied the understanding of the need for tangible things and organization in other areas of my life too. While I still use iCal across all of my devices, I don't rely on it as my sole means to keep me on track and on time. I have alarms and reminders set for things but I don't require them because I am actually remembering things before they remind me to not forget them. This is all because I'm using a paper planner (also from Erin Condren) for my non-teaching life...

I have no idea how my life was ever functioning at all without this Life Planner. Seriously. How did I do it? (Answer: I didn't)
The above looks fancier and like it requires more work to maintain it (as seen above) than what it actually does and I'm so thankful for that. I've come to find that it is true that when I fail to plan, I plan to fail and this has a domino effect in every direction of my life. This isn't to say I've become this incredibly regimented and "by the [planner] book" type of person of routines that cannot be deviated from and structure that is so rigid it hurts. Quite the opposite, I'm more relaxed and at peace and fully present than I ever have been in all of my life. I don't get worked up over stupid things and I'm truly able to do things like keep little things little because I have taken the time to better know the size and weight and TIME that most things take up in my life. And if something unexpected arises? I know how much size/weight/TIME I have leftover (or not) in my life in order to be able to squeeze/fit it into the time and energy that I DO have because I can see it so clearly as it's laid out in my planning notebooks.

None of the previous was ever possible for me when I did things digitally. Perhaps there's something wrong with me that doing this digitally has worked like this but I have found I just can't do things digitally as much as I have thought I could. I feel like doing things digitally (and thus asking less physically and cognitively of myself) has ended up giving me less HEART and SOUL to actually LIVE life as I know I have been called to do rather than giving me "convenience" and saving me time, energy, or money the way I have thought it worked when digitizing is used to its greatest degree.

Anyway, all of this is to say that 1) I'm still not clear about what I'm to do with this here blogsite though I know I'm not taking it down and 2) I'm still choosing to be more present in my actual and physical life more which consequentially means I am also choosing to be less present here (on this blogsite) and until further notice.

I hope you all understand. I hope that even what I am sharing now (in addition to what I have already shared) is relevant and useful in the dreaming, Praying, and CREATING of your own decision. In the meanwhile, I am being still and remaining in a holding pattern where I'm praying for each and every one of you, this blogsite, and myself so that I can better understand where/what I should create next.

God bless you, all! Have a great rest of your week and see you whenever I see you...

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