I think I am getting older and wiser. Well, there is no doubt about the former, but I am hopeful about the latter. I have evidence. I have been in the tunnel the last week or so while I have been doing some serious prepping for the class I am teaching this fall at the local University. My frontal lobes feel like they are pumped up like Schwarzenegger’s biceps, as I have been living the Life of the Mind. This has caused me to feel a bit unbalanced, as at the same time I have been doing all this mind life, I have not been living so much my spiritual life, or my yoga life, or my dog walking life or my personal relationship life or my blog life.
But here is where the wiser part of this thing comes in…. while I am missing those things (a lot in some cases) I am not panicking, or otherwise freaking out as I am really clear that: a) this too shall pass; b) this is all a natural consequence of earlier choices and procrastination, and as such can be a valuable learning experience if I stay conscious and pay attention, and c) I am getting a strange sort of pleasure out of the process of observing the process moment by moment and noticing myself not panicking and freaking out, but rather talking myself through it in encouraging ways. The critical chorus who wanted to harp about “just desserts” and the “wages of procrastination” have been duly noted and sent off to play pinochle in the corner. The Meltdown of Certain Failure that that always accompanies big projects in my life was dispatched in about three minutes with a few gentle pats and a “there, there deary.” The desire to continue to put things off was gently dealt with and I got to it and "got-er-done." The good spiritual disciplines that have come to mean so much, and in the past that have become victim to these kinds of projects were maintained, albeit in a somewhat abbreviated fashion, and I have been able to be okay with that this time, with little interference from that distorted shaming voice that masqueraded as my conscience for so long. Finally getting the difference between humble and humiliation seems to have helped! There really is a world between black and white. WOW! Who knew!?!
There is light at the end of the mental tunnel. The syllabus is mostly complete; the course has taken shape in my mind in almost final form. Yes, there are a few more resources to be found, a few more lectures to be written, but for the most part the heavy lifting is done. I know, as I have been reminded, I will be glad during the semester that I did so much of this work up front. It will make the rest of teaching life so much easier. That too is part of the wisdom. Work smarter, not harder. Listen to advice from others, don’t reinvent the wheel. It's truly amazing how some of those old slogans have something to say that bears listening. And how I’m finally getting wise enough to pay attention.