"Ships are safe in harbors. But they only sail when released from their moorings." --Mason B. Spahn
I know. Isn't he profound? I'll never forget the day he looked at me, and spoke those words. Almost seven years ago-- when I was in the middle of making a pretty big professional decision. And aren't those words true? We're so safe in our own little comfort zones, but it really takes some venturing out to make us sail.
Professionally, I've felt very 'comfortable' for quite awhile. I've done my job long enough to feel confident and not long enough to be completely burned out. Things don't surprise me too much anymore and it's easy for me to separate work from home. But over the past year or so, I've also felt a little stagnant when it comes to my professional life.
At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, I made a personal professional goal. I challenged myself to learn something new and apply it at school. The difference from previous years was that I was looking to learn something 'bigger', something more challenging, something that could reach a wider audience of kids than maybe learning a new counseling intervention or behavior plan.
I had no idea what my challenge was going to be and I was mid-way through September before I stumbled across a website outlining the therapeutic benefits of drum circles. I began reading and became intrigued. I thought, "Hmmmmm... I could see myself doing this! Except I know nothing about this!" So I ordered books, I read drum circle blogs, I tapped into music-therapy websites, I watched youtube videos. And then, when I knew next to nothing about drum circles, I applied for a grant to purchase drums.
Low and behold, they accepted my grant and my drums arrived just before spring break. So here I am, months later, learning a new skill-- leading drum circles with some of my most frequent fliers. I've only had time to host a few circles, but so far they have been a positive and rewarding experience. I notice the days I drum with the kids, I have more energy and spunk and a positive vibe. The kids ask me when the next drum circle day is from the time they leave the room. I think they're enjoying it-- and while I have no idea whether or not I'm doing it 'right' or 'wrong', I'm giving myself that pat on the back for just doing it. I challenged myself and rather than just think about it in my typical style, I jumped in and did it. As you know, trying new things is scary but this is turning out to be more fun than scary. And honestly, the learning curve has been fairly forgiving-- as you can't really screw up pounding on a drum.
The past year has been a year of rediscovering myself, and this is just one of the many ways I'm really starting to do that. I'm remembering that I can do hard things; things that require a bit of discomfort and a lot of learning. And these things, these new learnings, are what seems to keep things lively and avoid stagnation. So watch out P'burg Elementary, 2014-2015 might be the year of the drum!