It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is a constant tug between being in the world and retreating into my own. I work for balance.
I write morning pages when I first wake up, then prepare to visit a sixth grade language arts class. After a 45 minute drive down the interstate, I enter the carpool line at a middle school I’ve never been to before. I need to find visitor parking, the office, and the classroom I am to observe. I’ve gotten lost several times in the last few weeks, but not today.
The lesson is predictable, but not very dynamic. As I work to stay present, I notice the students seem to have the same problem. In my notes to the teacher I suggest ways to monitor and encourage student engagement. An hour and a half and a page of notes later, the class is over. Soon I will be back on the interstate.
Now I have another appointment in an hour and soon after that I will teach two hours of after school “word games” to a couple dozen children.
In and out, out and in, and all the transitions in between. I’m forever paying attention to what is going on around me and within.
Does anyone else think this much about it?