It’s been a while since I had a nowtherapy session, but it’s time.
I want to begin with a given: teachers have anxiety-ridden, stressful jobs. Night and day, a teacher copes with the intricacies of the human condition with respect to past experiences, future worries and the present-moment quandary.
This is a given. There’s research and data and potential solutions in the form of taking on a beloved hobby as a regular pursuit, or making a deliberate break in the day to stop ‘working’ and devoting oneself to non-work thoughts.
This is true. All of it. Yet, what about teachers who also live in an environment under constant threat of explosives landing in their communities, or on their bike trails, or in schools and kindergartens? What about those teachers who live in an extreme location and have their nights interrupted by alarms of incoming rocketfire, or simply rocked by the earth moving after a bomb explodes?
What do those teachers do? How do they cope? How do they do the job of easing pupils into the fine art of opening their minds to learning?
Running the obstacle course of feelings and anxieties becomes second-nature. But just because we’re used to it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t do harm, doesn’t wear us out, doesn’t surprise us each day.
How much of our soul is being whittled away? How much of our heart is scarred from direct hits?
When we turn off our computers and telephones from regular media input, are we able to turn off our rocket alarm apps? If we do, are we able to sleep through the sounds of booms?
How do we get nourishing rest? When are we off the grid?
Is there a physical check-up that can determine how much we’ve aged, or have been malnourished from the tolls of the job on top of the tolls of living in a warzone?
In brief, it’s a problem.
Briefer still, there’s a remedy.
It’s called detachment through involvement. Build a puppet. Rehearse for a play. Create a bookcase. Paint a canvas. Delve into veganism. Master a perfect soup or cookie or sauce. Tend a garden. Dance alone or with others. Take up meditation, or mindfulness. Develop your voice.
Any of those or numerous other options are there for our benefit. We pick, we enjoy, we heal.
Wellness is a self-applied process. We can engage in our own therapy. Only we know what makes us smile inside. We know how much is enough, or not enough, or when we want more.
In my personal therapy, I apply haiku therapy. I engage daily and it’s a start to refreshing my mind. I meditate daily. I re-enter that inner zone of quiet. I make puppets and explore my quirky vision of human-ish creatures made of foam rubber, paint and glue.
These are mine. And even with these therapies, I still know that I require constant doses.
The outer world isn’t getting any softer, and as luck would have, this syncs with the phase when my inner world is softening.
Wellness is a self-applied process. Only I know how much puppet-making will do the trick, and only I can fill that prescription.
Note to self: if I don’t manage to sneak away into my puppet shack, I can pull out puppets in other contexts and have them speak out. The use of puppets in a mindfulness workshop helps to cultivate attention and enriches that reservoir of playful energy.
Any dosage of puppetry works just as well! Fortification from an unexpected source!
My inner smile confirms!