This is not about religion, spirituality, or adherence to any doctrine or prescription. This is about neuroscience.
Specifically, my cortisol levels.
For weeks now, due to personal and professional life events, I experience mini ‘panic attacks’ just before I fall asleep. It doesn’t happen every night, and the frequency increases before work, like on a Sunday night or weeknight. I am just about to fall asleep, release my brain into sweet dreams, and I wake with a start, heart clutched, and go through a small mantra of calming, mindful thoughts. I remind myself of grounding ideas: I’m present, I’m breathing, I’m alive, and everyone I love is okay, too.
When I woke up this morning, I had one of those moments of peace: my efforts at this grounding exercise is paying off with mental health and agency. We, teachers, are facing too much now: we are being attacked on every front. Our unions are being dismantled, our districts are losing money, levies and financial health are at risk: not to mention the ridiculous and absurd conversation about arming teachers. There are some ideas that shouldn’t have any life breathed into them: they are monstrous, deformed creatures, rotten and destructive.
But I am taking my hope from students like David Hogg @davidhogg111 and Emma Gonzalez @Emma4Change. This is the generation I have been privileged and honored to teach. These are the students who have been indirectly and directly under my care, support, and guidance. If they can challenge and question the authoritative absurdities that face education now, so can we teachers.
Breath. Breath again. Shields up. Let’s go.