rethinking priorities

Summer has officially ended, the fog is rolling in, I’ve entered the new school year both as a teacher and a parent, and after several months of silence I’m trying to get my words flowing again.

The title of this blog, No mo’ flow, was meant to be a somewhat ironic reference to menopause: ironic because the words flow where the menstrual cycle does no longer. Yet I have of late been stymied, blocked, dried up … the irony has been lost these past few months.

My creative energies have been directed elsewhere: to photography, to family, and to my teaching practice. The social justice issues to which I have dedicated so many of my posts have overwhelmed me, leaving me wordless. The shooting and protests in Ferguson, domestic violence and the NFL reaction, mega-drought and other climatic events, continuing assaults on women’s rights to health care, abductions and disease in Africa, beheadings and bombings in the Middle East — it’s more than my overloaded brain can comment on.

I wonder where my reasoning powers went. It’s as if my emotional responses drove all cogent thought from my mind, leaving me either sniveling or scrambling for escape. Perhaps menopause is rocking my world more than I let on.

And perhaps the down time is a necessary pause, leaving the plot fallow for future brilliance, letting thoughts simmer so they blend more harmoniously. One can always hope…

In terms of priorities, I choose hope. The downward thunk of my heart at the possibility of yet another war cannot erase the eternal desire for peace I carry deep within. My frustration with students who disrespectfully disrupt in favor of their own immediate needs and wants doesn’t chase away my belief that they might one day bring about the change our world clamors for. My knowledge that my daughter makes the earth she walks on a better place gives me satisfaction that I’ve contributed positively in a big way.

Art and beauty keep my hope alive in the darkest days of the news cycle. Franz Kafka said, “Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” With all due respect, I would amend his quote to say “… never loses hope.” What became a trite campaign slogan in 2008 needs to be reborn in our spirit so we don’t lose ourselves in cynicism or escapism.

Here’s hoping for that silver — or golden — lining …

photo: afp 2014

photo: afp 2014

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6 thoughts on “rethinking priorities

  1. Your photography has been stunning. Go with that flo! But I know what you mean. I have been grumpy lately and I’m rarely grumpy. I think the beheadings, corporate greed ad political greed have taken their toll at a time when I am bewildered that humankind can be so shortsighted and cruel. I need to get back on track and be mindful of the moment. Thank goodness for sunny granddaughters.

  2. Sometimes I think we’re simply not meant to know so much about so many other people – and of course the news of the good is not as readily offered to us as the awful. I guess we have to go seek the balance for ourselves – as Polly said, remind oneself of the “sunny granddaughters.” As always, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Thanks for your comments. That’s probably one of the things that drew me to teaching: I needed to be one of the helpers! And to blogging, for that matter… 😉

  3. Sigh. Yes. I’ve turned away from the news the last month. I can’t stomach it, so I’ve focused on my own needs and that of the people I love. I know it is just an escape, but I needed the break. XOXO

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