First Day of School
My neighbor’s daughter will be starting first grade this year - so exciting!!! While my boys are well beyond that day, I still recall when it was a big deal to go school supply shopping, that nervous excitement about taking the bus and their first day at such a big place. A rite of passage, really, to take the bus and navigate your way once you arrived. I remember being nervous all day, hoping they would come home smiling, saying that the first day went well - that no one made fun of them, or pushed them or hurt their feelings, etc. I recall my youngest came home after his first day of first grade, quite disgusted. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Two problems” he told me adamantly. “First, the desk is way too small for me. My knees won’t even fit under it!” I explained that his older brother had the same challenge in first grade – he didn’t fit either - and maybe he could ask if they had a taller one. “And second,” he said, “there are no toys in the room! Mom, what am I supposed to do all day??”
We all enter into new environments with a certain expectation, only to realize that our resulting experience may not be exactly what we thought it would be. A new volunteer position, a new job, a new town or home…nothing is ever exactly what we expect, but that’s alright. It’s only different from our expectation because we painted that picture in our mind of what the experience would be like without really knowing. Our egos are what make us paint that picture. They do that so we feel more comfortable walking in to a situation – more in control. Egos like control. The brain, however, loves novelty. In fact, our brain favors novelty over pretty much anything else! So sometimes we have to move our ego out of the way to allow for that new experience to happen – and enjoy the experience of something new!
One of my friends shared a quote:
“Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it – that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.” - Stephen Fry
Why imprison ourselves by painting a picture of what things should be like when the real experience could be even better? Being open to what is new requires two things: a feeling of groundedness, so that the shift won’t make us feel thrown off, and the second is to feel open to receiving. I recently led two meditation classes focused on those exact two obstacles. I’d be happy to share one with you. If you’re interested, send me a message through this blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your email address and either “grounded” or “open” in the subject line. I’ll send you a 30-minute video of movement and guided meditation.