My favorite time of day to meditate is in the late afternoon. But after two sleepless nights, I fueled up with a giant cup of coffee early this morning, then sat myself down to do what needed to be done. Here's the word that popped into my head: overwhelmment.
As my to-do list swirls around me, everywhere, I duck and weave and it clobbers me. Worry paralyzes and makes it tough to spar. Tasks are left undone and the worry churns harder, bruises me and tosses me around. Breathe, I tell myself. You can do it. Try again. I bring my thoughts from my head to my heart. Try again. Expel the worry, let it disintegrate, evaporate. I forgive myself. My third eye comes into focus and something in me opens.
A clearing and a pop of insight. Just like that. Yesterday, I read an article my friend, Matt Bell, posted on Facebook and it directly addressed one of the things I'm worrying over. In February, I'll be teaching my first lecture class. The article clarified for me what I need to convey in a lecture.
The core purpose of a great lecturer is not primarily to transmit information. To this end, other techniques, such as assigning a reading in a textbook or distributing an electronic copy of the notes, can be equally effective. The real purpose of a lecture is to show the mind and heart of the lecturer at work, and to engage the minds and hearts of learners. Is the lecturer enthusiastic about the topic? Why? Could I get enthused about this, too? How could I use this to take better care of my patients? Is this the kind of doctor or nurse I aspire to be some day?
Something becomes clear. It's just one thing on my list, but it's an important one. I have the focus for the literature class I will be teaching in February. Fiction as tikkun olam or fiction as a way to repair the world. I believe in fiction. That is a core belief and is my focus and the focus I can bring to a lecture class on the stories of Nathan Englander.
I've still got those worries haunting me, knocking me down again and again, but I've also got a little insight and that makes me happy.