A Sense Of Accomplishment


I did it.

I wrote my first paper stemming from the classes at the retreat I was at for my graduate school program–the ICPW Intensive program at CIIS last week.

I wrote my first graduate school paper!

I sited lectures, articles, and excerpts from the text-book.

I interweaved experience from the class and my own personal histories.

My first paper is done!

Not just a sense of accomplishment, but fuck, a sense of relief too.

The damn thing is due the 23rd of this month, today is the 19th, and as I looked over the various syllabi for my courses, I realized two things, first that I did not want at all to write this particular paper and second, fuck me, it was the first one that was due.

Due before I leave for Burning Man, which is basically in a week.

Due like really fucking soon, and I did not want to write it, it was the most challenging of the papers I felt.  The paper that I thought was going to be the hardest, the one that freaked me out the most when I was given the parameters to be held to and what I had to discuss therein.

The feeling of relief is huge and also that I did do it, and that it did not take me as long as I thought it would.

Six pages.

1,864 words.

I write that every day.

Granted, not in the format I used and when I went back and re-read it out loud after I had finished spell checking it, I was pretty impressed if I do say so myself.

It reads like graduate school work.

There’s some smart stuff in there.

Of course, I may get back a poor grade and change my mind, but I believe I wrote a really thoughtful, cohesive, intelligent paper.

And now I have three left to go before I hit the dust.

My aim is to have all the papers I need to have written before I go to Burning Man.

It’s a tall order, but if experience plays out the way it has tonight, I can extrapolate forward that I will be able to get them all in.

I have to write, like have no option not to, it’s due the 26th, one other paper before I go out to the playa on the 27th.

That paper is probably the second hardest to write and I will attack it tomorrow.

I am also pleased that I resisted the impulse to willy nilly send out my paper to my Human Development professor tonight.

Wait.

Pause.

Go back and re-edit, make sure it makes sense, that it reads well, that I don’t have any glaring, silly mistakes or misquotes.  I don’t want to send it off just to have it sent off and out of my head.  So tomorrow, I will take another look at it with fresh eyes, probably in the late morning or early afternoon on my break and if it stands, I will then send it out into the ether.

I have found a little routine that is helpful with my pattern of working with the family.

Up two hours before I need to start with the boys, read, pray, write, eat breakfast, check some e-mails, make my bed, dress, put on my face, gather myself and then off into the wild wooly world of the three-year old and the five-year old.

Today was a day of much imagination and love and I felt really blessed to get to work with them, which so often was playing with them or sometimes sitting with them and talking about what they are seeing.

One of the things we did today that just made my heart sing, was sitting on the front patio overlooking the valley and watching the birds fly by.

Both boys had pretend cameras–some sort of peg board for an old-fashioned lawn game–that they used to capture the birds as they flew across our line of sight.

A bird would fly by, they would take a photograph of it and I would tell them what kind of bird it was–vulture, red tail hawk, humming-bird, nut hatch, raven, gold finch, blue jay–and then the oldest would tell me a story about the bird and where it was going.

Who needs to watch videos?

Then lunch–homemade quesadillas with jack and cheddar cheese and the leftover bacon from breakfast, fresh avocado, carrot sticks with humus, grapes, and milk.  Afterwards the boys went for a hike with their parents and the dog and I prepped for dinner–spaghetti and meatballs, pan roasted vegetables, tossed salad, with hand-picked tomatoes from the garden–and I finished my own lunch and made some tea and then got on the phone with a few folks.

It’s been a little challenging, not being in my home, being isolated, but I have tried to keep up the good fight and keep my sense of humor and grace.

It was a little wanting this afternoon and I found myself slipping into fear about money, school, making ends meet, would my job have enough hours for me, would I have to look for more work before going to Burning Man?

I felt overwhelmed, sad, and afraid.

I started making phone calls.

Then I prayed.

Then I set a timer and I flipped through a reader which I have already read, to outline some ideas for a paper.

I took a phone call and realized that the best thing I could do was to sit.

Sit.

Meditate.

Get the fuck into the present moment.

I set the timer on my phone for fifteen minutes and got right with God.

With my body, with my self.

I got back to the present and did the boys laundry.

And when they got back from the hike and eschewed a swim in the pool, we went for a walk to pick blackberries instead.

Despite the many pricks on my fingers and the stains on my pants, including a gnarly scratch I got from a bramble that bled like crazy for a few minutes, I had a blast with the boys.

“Put it in my mouth!” The three-year old demanded, pointing at the container of black berries.

I laughed.

I popped a fat blackberry in his purple stained mouth and watch his little eyes close in bliss.

“Me too!  Me too!” His older brother exhorted me.

I obliged.

“You guys, we’re not going to be able to make blackberry crumble if we eat them all!”

We ate them all anyway.

But.

We found a huge patch that were not decimated by the deer and managed to collect enough to bring back to the house where the mom was waiting with swim suits and goggles, fins, and snorkels.

The boys striped into their birthday suits, hopped into their swim suits, and on into the pool.

While the family swam I organized the dinner and made the blackberry crumble.

I also made my own dinner and ate with the family, knowing, in the back of my mind that I had to do the deal.

I had to at least start on one of the papers.

And not the smallest or the easiest, or the one that I wanted to write the most.

Nope.

Get the big bad one out-of-the-way.

And I did!

I still am a little in awe that I sat down and did it.

Demonstrating to me, once again, that the most important thing I can do is show up.

I sat down, I opened my books, I re-read my notes on the class and I dug in.

When I looked up it was only two and a half hours later.

I still have time to blog!

Yes.

Life is good.

I know this is just the beginning, and I know that I can’t rest on my laurels.

But.

Man.

It feels good to have this finished.

Sit down.

Show up.

Write.

Rinse.

Repeat.

Story of my life.

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