- Ursula K. Le Guin
Sound familiar? Maybe you haven't experienced a long, hot drive like that, but I think we all can relate to going through a difficult time in order to meet a goal or arrive at a particular place in life. I do agree that we are more apt to meet our goals if we "begin with the end in mind"; i.e., we keep in mind what we want to achieve or where we want to be to help us keep going. But there is that space between the beginning and the end—the middle—where the newness may have worn off and the end seems unreachable.
We are almost to the end of what has been a truly unique and challenging school year. I imagine that some of us began this online/homeschool journey with a pretty good attitude--Hey, I get to sleep late, stay up late; have more time to do less work; avoid people I don't like or who don't like me... until we get back to school. Only, here we are, still at home doing the online thing, with no end to quarantine life in sight. Feels like a long, hot no air-conditioned car ride with no hotel/pool—or school—in sight.
At this point in our journey, our thoughts are probably on repeat: Are we there yet"? How much longer? What's the point in trying? It's natural to be at that place, just don't stay there. Keep the end goal in mind, whatever that may be for you, but think about how we get through this middle part. If we aren't careful, we can become so focused on just getting to the end that we miss out on some valuable lessons and insight along the way. I cannot speak for everyone, but I have taken this time to inventory not only my house, but myself and my relationships, getting rid of things that no longer serve me. I've donated clothes, furniture, and knick-knacks and dumped insecurities, bad attitudes and perspectives—stuff that just takes up space without adding value. I am keeping my husband, kids, and dogs though.
As you come to the end of this 2020 school year, I hope you will take some time to look back on the past couple of months as a reminder--you can do the hard things. I hope that you will challenge yourselves to acknowledge and appreciate at least one positive thing you've experience or learned about yourself or someone else. Finally, know that each day, each moment, each step you take will get you to the end. It's up to you to decide how you view the journey.
Set the tone for a good start to your day by doing one thing at a time—as soon as you wake up.
When you wake, start doing your "first thing of the day", then slow it down a bit. With each thing, focus on what you're doing and notice the simple joy or stillness in it.
To keep your mind from wandering to the past or future and remain in the present moment, tell yourself, "I am now ________" (fill in the blank, whatever you are doing in that moment). You may be brushing your teeth, vacuuming, walking the dog, etc.
Minimize what you allow into your head early in the day—negative thoughts can lead you into a loop of negativity.
Stop, no, no, no: Recognize and redirect negative thoughts by saying, "stop", or "no" (inwardly or out-loud) and notice with all your senses what is happening then and there. Replace with positive thoughts.