Meditated at Van Vleck Gardens with flowers, pea pods, birds and perfect breezes. Suddenly, Jaguars appeared! It is "Cats in the Garden" day and Jaguars and owners spread noise, fumes and some rather obnoxious, loud behavior into my place of meditation. Found a deeper spot and stayed until shortly before noon when admission was going to be charged to see the cars adorn the Gardens.
Now, I have no excuse not to do my teaching, wash, and endless paperwork and cleaning. Or not. Not is winning; I must harness my energies and work. Soon.... Energies are somewhat diverted by an advocate-friend who is dying. She is young; in her 30s, and the cancer never really left. Still, she advocated, began graduate studies in public health, moved to California and sparkled. That Billy Joel song to New York, "...they tell me that a friend is dying, oh, New York City..." runs through my mind.
As a cancer policy reform advocate, cancer free for almost ten years, I should be able to deal with all of this death. Not really. I will miss Christine next year in DC, during the Congressional activities and afterward at one of our hours-on- end dinners and after times.
Okay, time to appreciate the rest of this day and all life! Tomorrow I am solo activities assistant in the Special Care unit. Solo times are usually tough; teaching after work. Time to read about cultures and values---obese, spoiled Chinese sons; interracial weddings, Amy Tan, and more. Why do I assign so much? Can I amend syllabus so soon? It is only the second class! Better get reading.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
A lot has taken place; however, if written it would seem as though not much has taken place. It is the subtle internal change which allows external change to manifest, I believe. Teaching college in the evening has helped get my spirit back; it was rather trampled among the layers of dirt and sadness that cannot be washed with disinfectant at the day gig. Still at the nursing home, finding moments of connection and love among human change and life debris.
One of my favorite residents is "going upstairs," which often denotes entrance into the end stage dementia unit. I will miss her wisdom, wit, and voice. Ida was so independent; a union organizer, college teacher decades before women were usually permitted, and a social worker in The Bronx. She was one of my Yiddish teachers in the Special Care unit where I work. Good bye, Bubbala.
I think of Ida when I teach, sometimes, then wonder what was it like to teach college over 50 years ago. Now, I would abandon this menial pay gig to part time teach four or more courses, most likely. Then I would be faced with the loss of my health insurance benefits; would I become a "charity care" case? Or will I find more work once I am back to a set schedule, more humane hours, and less exhaustion? I think so! Sending out resumes; going for one interview later in the month.
I have learned a different meaning of work and in the future will find it tough to tolerate academic or professional moaning about overload. I know overload; I am engaged in it daily--from "traying" tables at 8 am to ending teaching at 10 pm. I get it! I don't expect to return to becoming an intellectual dilettante, ever. I will appreciate. In the meantime, back to traying, transport, activity leading, exercising leading (a good thing) and teaching Qi Gong to a population that has been largely given up on as far as learning something new. I see differently.
My spirit is somewhat back; fighting bureaucracy at work, healthcare worker sickness, and general depressing atmosphere in my day gig. Finding the ability to laugh is welcome; it has been a tortuous five months. I am searching for free summer music, art, low price days at museums; adjusting to a rather meager existence and feeling somewhat more confident that change will come, or perhaps is slowly manifesting.
- New Jersey, United States
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