Our religious education year has begun. My spiritual practice this semester in teaching is to join the Jr. High youth to explore UU Identity and History. I can tell already that I am in for a great deal of learning. Already I have been entering the year with a bit of trepidation. My familiar desire to nurture the deep learning of our youth and children is teetering and toying with the growing realization that, in this environment, it would benefit me to loosen up a bit and be flexible (maybe even humorous). In uncertainty I tend to get more firm and more rigid as if this way of being will hold me up when I encounter a place of unknowing…a place of possibility, a place that feels too open, too full of wonder, too loose. As I move into my practice this year, I find myself wondering: how do I stay engaged when I encounter that moment? How do I enter into and see that moment as the possibility of a new adventure, an opening into relationship, or a chance to stretch? How do I hold the space and let go of the agenda so I truly encounter the moment that is happening? These are questions I ponder as I enter into community with my class.
When we reached the part of class when we started focusing on our Principles, I asked the youth if they knew them and something wonderful happened. About half the class recited the bedtime prayer together in the room. It was beautiful moment. And it was only about half. So we went back as a group and said them slowly so we could gather the rest of our friends into our knowing. Unlike the get-to-know-you games and the covenant making, the class was one together either contributing, or paying attention to what was happening in the room. It was a brief moment that shifted and moved as I mentioned a proposal for an 8th principle and received the response that somehow we’d have to create another day of the week to go with it.
As I have reflected this week I find some comfort in the fact that my teaching team is there with me and the class in some ways is already there for one another. I would love to sink into that knowing and into the being that is and will be our class as we co-create it together the next few months. I can already tell that truly what will hold me fast in those moments of chaos or question are those connections and my ability to lean into and allow them to embrace me. My own move to grasp something firm in the middle of the shifting attention and movement of our time together only serves to shore myself up and create some distance from the group, but I hope what I come to learn is how to move together like a wave no matter how fluid or full of mystery.