Zen Meditation: “Is this a good place to stand?”


As I wrap up another school year and stand at the center of the storm that has been brewing all year – gaining strength, building to it’s crescendo (current location), and to finally to die down and dissipate into another successful year done.  It doesn’t seem like a success yet; it is still a couple of weeks to graduation.  I have watched young people struggle through 5 weeks of high stakes testing, seniors wrap up their childhood and final school year – some in style, a blaze of glory.  But most are valiantly, albeit not in style, pulling themselves across the finish line with teachers, parents, and countless others pushing from behind.  And then there is the saddest tiny group that crawl across the field with a whimper and a whine and a slew of burnt bridges, but at least they finish.

Every year it is the same.  It is messy and stressful.  Everyone’s nerves are frayed and they’re “patient” reserves are on empty.

I am participating and at the same time I am not participating.  It is their moment to shine or fail, expand or implode.  As one teacher in a group of many, I showed up everyday and did the work everyday on my end and and as students they either did the same (?) or did not and now it is their reckoning hour.  I must stand back and let the chips fall were they may.  It is very stressful as I have become personally involved – their success is my success and their failure is my failure.

As an art teacher standing amidst the fellow players (students, teachers, parents, counselors, administrators, orcs, and dragons), I feel much like Bilbo standing in the middle of the Battle of Five Armies asking Gandalf, “Is this a good place to stand?”

At this point in time, I probably need council from the Dali Lama, but sadly I do not have him on speed dial.  As I try to recuperate this weekend and rebuild stamina for the weeks ahead (mad dash to the finish line), I find myself struggling with my own life.  I have to wash a glass for my morning coffee as I notice the mess of my kitchen and the huge amount of dirty dishes that need to be washed.  I remember that I have mounds of laundry to do as well.  Proceeding on to breakfast I break both of the yolks in my eggs-over-easy, burn the first batch of toast, and overcook the ham.  All of it is just a metaphor for my inner and outer struggles.

On a happier note, the coffee was delicious. 🙂  And perhaps I should thank the universe that I did not burn down the house.  But, the day is early yet…

I need a “pep talk” meditation.  I have no words.  Must resort to pictures:





Meditation Assignment:

  1. Grab pillow.
  2. Sit or lay.
  3. Relax.
  4. Regulate breathing.
  5. Focus:  I have no ideas for focus today.  I will burn a candle and stare at the flame.
  6. Guided:  At the end I will envision myself on the field (graduation or battlefield – the metaphor is the same) celebrating with a bunch of smiling people.  It is bittersweet for the accomplishment / battle came at great effort and cost for all involved.  Even though the invitation has been stated, I know that it is the last time I will see most of them.  It was a good place to stand.

“If any of you ever pass through Bag End, tea is at four. There’s plenty of it. You are welcome any time. Don’t bother knocking!” ~ Bilbo Baggins


Live long and prosper.

Post by Monica Gaylor


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