Aug 17, 2015

Find Wonder Every Day

Several years ago, I came across this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert. If you are a fan of either her or TED talks, I'm sure you've watched it at least once. I come back to it yearly, when I'm full of doubt, when I need a little inspiration, when I need a reminder that there are things I'd like to accomplish beyond the get up go to work come home soul-sucking cycle that can so easily become our lives. 

Knowing this, it probably won't come as a surprise that I'm a fan of her new podcast, Magic Lessons.
A couple of weeks ago, I was listening and heard the advice to find WONDER in everyday things. It resonated with me for several reasons. 

1. I applied for a job earlier this year that I didn't get. 

It was a job I would have been awesome at, and I found out, after, that I was third. But really second because they courtesy interviewed someone already at this institution. Finding out where I stood is both exciting and frustrating - it's the almost, so close, but not quite that lets me know I'm on the right path, I'm doing the right things, and for whatever reason, it's not my turn. 

2. I'm going back to a job that I love and get frustrated by in ebbs and flows

I LOVE teaching, love interacting with teenagers. I don't love that I will have nearly 200 students in six classes, that the workload nearly buries me at times, and that every Tom, Dick and Harry seems to have a theory and an opinion about why education in our country isn't awesome. I'm passionate about education, follow updates and theories, brain-based learning and best strategies, and at the same time, work very VERY hard to not see any of the comments sure to follow any of these articles because it is flat-out hurtful. 

3. I'm querying a novel

I've been working on this book for a long time. Part of it was so I could find my writer voice, part of it was to figure out the necessary structure of the book. Twenty thousand words into the book, I broke my hand - then had it reconstructed. 

In January, when I was setting my New Year's goals, I wrote "Put my whole self into The Light Behind the Clouds." I felt then, and still feel, that this is a book that conveys what I want to say to the world, the does it in a manner that is true to my writer self. But the tricky thing about querying is there are going to be rejections - it's the nature of the beast. 

The first dozen rejections were form rejections, with one being simply a sentence of declination "Send from my iPad." 

Through this, I'm trying to find the wonder. I'm trying to maintain joy in the journey. I refer to these experiences as character builders, things I'll be able to look back on with a smile LATER, when I have my dreams. I have reason to believe this will happen because it's happened before, but that's a difficult thing to remember when I'm in the middle of it. 

But now, I'm working on wonder. That might be in a poignant poem, a song that stills my soul, a hug from a child after sixteen million eye rolls, or even holding hands with the guy who I continually fall in love with. These are things that can still bring wonder, things I can hold to when the wonder of other aspects isn't quite so prevalent. 

How have you found wonder in the every day things? What do you know you can count on to help you feel happiness? 


JeffO said...

I suspect most of the problems with education in America start with over-administration, which I think is a problem throughout America in general. I have always been amazed at the amount of work and dedication that most teachers exhibit. It's a demanding job, and it's terrible that we as a society don't respect teachers as much as we should.

Best of luck with your query, and with everything!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

As a former teacher, I understand what you're saying. No one wants to blame the problem with American education is that kids don't come to school wanting to learn. The problem is at home and schools keep trying to come up with ways to overcome that and it's not possible.
Good luck with your book query.
I'm struck with wonder nearly every day about how beautiful it is outside. All the green, the wildlife and birds, the clear skies and fresh air.

Susan Says

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My wife is really good at finding wonder in things.
Two hundred kids is a lot.
You do need a sense of wonder for this publishing journey. Because the journey is half the fun.