Saturday, January 22, 2011

Seeking Serenity

I'm back.  Back with new efforts towards self-improvement and new challenges with said efforts.

Here's the thing.  You may realize that I have a slight tendency to be easily annoyed by others and to be a little bit controlling, so lately I have been working on that.  I recently learned a whole new vocabulary word...dun dun duuuuunnnnnn: "serenity."

The idea behind this word is that if you can "let go" of worrying about the actions of others, no matter how irritating or idiotic those actions may be, you can achieve a sense of inner peace.  If you "let go" of thoughts of revenge, of concern for others opinions, of a desire to change other people, and only concern yourself with yourself, tranquility will fill the space formerly reserved for aggravation, frustration, irritation and self-doubt.

So, I'm plugging away - breathing deep - repeating the mantra "let go" over and over - reminding myself that I cannot control others - yadda yadda yadda.  I was doing O.K. with the whole serenity thing, so yesterday I decided that for one day, I would not make fun of anyone (a huge challenge for me), say anything negative about anyone, or act judgmentally towards anyone.  Naturally, though, with every challenge comes obstacles - and God decided to present me with some whoppers.

My class is in the midst of a "museum" theme.  So, I, in all of my awesomeness, traveled to the city where I then went to the museum and pilfered maps and museum guides from every information booth, stuffing them all into my bag so that my two classrooms could study them and use them.  My classes have enjoyed looking at and discussing the maps and we were preparing to use them for other projects next week.

So, anyway, we had this huge, annoying, meeting yesterday.  Considering the extreme nettlesomeness that these meetings bring about, I was sitting in a state of meditation, concentrating on my personal serenity, when a teacher from another class said "thank you so much for the museum maps, that was so cool!" This somehow peaked my interest, so I opened my eyes and looked in her direction, thus realizing that the comment had been directed towards me.  I answered "I didn't give you any of my maps."

She apparently didn't hear me because she and her aide continued to happily chat about how their students had cut up the maps and made collages.  So I repeated, louder, "I didn't give you my maps!!!"  Again they didn't appear to understand my words as they kept smiling and chirping on about the success of this project.  I then directed my words towards my aide, who was sitting between them "I didn't give them my maps!  Are the maps still in our room?"  She asked the person next to her "Did you take the maps out of our room?"  That person answered, "No, they were just in our classroom when I got here this morning."  So, my serenity space was about to explode - I snapped my mouth shut, scrunched up my eyes as tight as I could and, breathing heavily and loudly through my nose, furiously repeated the words "let go" and "serenity" to myself.

Later in the meeting, another teacher's aide, who is not much older than twelve, claimed that she had better classroom management skills than me or pretty much anyone else in the school.  As I had not yet managed to "let go" of the whole map incident, this comment easily put me into a quiet, calculating, revengeful state of mind.  This little girl had no idea how difficult I could make her work day.  She didn't understand what being on my bad side could mean to her.  Then, while I was busy calculating my payback plan, that damned "serenity" word popped right back into my head.  So, I was like, "WTF, inner peace means I have to let this go too?  You're kidding, right?"

Some weird, tranquil, Ghandi-esque voice answered "I'm not kidding.  Just let it go."

I looked around the room and nobody else seemed to be tuned into the "placidity channel," so I supposed the voice was speaking directly to me.  I thought "You're nuts - there is no way I'm gonna let this go!"

Again, the annoying voice of inner peace filled my head "Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off track by every nutshell and mosquito's wing that falls on the rails."

I answered "You stole that from Thoreau!  You're just as bad as them!  Besides, I don't even know what that means!  Now get out of my head so I can make some plans!  You are seriously getting on my nerves!"

I was hoping, at this point, that nobody else in the room had noticed I was having this inner conversation.  Then the voice said "Let it go and I will leave you alone."

I said "Fine, just shut up already!"

The voice responded "Be still and know that I am with you."

"WELL, THAT"S JUST GREAT!!!!!" I answered.

I looked at these co-workers, and decided it wasn't worth it.  I would just do the best job I could do, and let others dig their own holes to crawl out of.

Then, that stupid inner peace voice stated, fleetingly, "What hurt could it do thee if thou wouldst let it pass and make no account of it?  Could it so much as pluck one hair from thy head?"