One Little Word (OLW) for 2015

My first thought when I awoke was my word for the year.  I thought, “resistance,” but quickly realized, without the aid of my pot of tea or setting feet on the chilly floor, that word implies polarity and defiance.  So I thought more.

Building up resistance to a disease, then, a word would be immunity.  After I posted yesterday about countering a lack of vision with art, I read on Nova right afterwards that attitudes, happiness, and even body weight can be “caught” like a virus. That the condition of people around a person will increase the likelihood of a condition occurring.  This is fascinating in itself, and provided an intuitive confirmation that I’m on the right track to inject gratitude for parents into our family literacy work, not so much because the parents need it.  They deserve it yes, but the staff needs to do it.  We need it.  And this metaphor of there being a contagious disease I don’t wish to contract works with the OLW.

So, with my tea and nan, here I am at my writing desk checking out Dictionary.com:

In Science:  The protection of the body from a disease caused by an infectious agent, such as a bacterium or virus. Immunity may be natural (that is, inherited) or acquired. See also acquired immunity.

Word Origin and History for immunity n.  late 14c., "exempt from service or obligation," from Old French immunité and directly from Latin immunitatem (nominative immunitas) "exemption from performing public service or charge," from immunis "exempt, free," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + munis "performing services" (cf. municipal ), from PIE *moi-n-es-, suffixed form of root *mei- "to change" (see mutable ). Medical sense "protection from disease" is 1879, from French or German.
2. freedom from obligation or duty, esp exemption from tax, duty, legal liability, etc
3. any special privilege granting immunity

IMG_1659

Well, the taste of freedom from unhappiness in my current job position has happened on and off as I have studied and meditated daily.  The injection or antibody for immunity is to SIGN OFF.

Yep, just sign off.  I can unplug my own discontent with my workplace.  I know that discontent narrows my attention.  I know that my happiness is not truly dependent on anyone or anything outside of me.  Cultivating contentment with the way things are, and the way other people are, will strengthen my immunity.
It almost begins to sound like a spiritual New Year’s resolution.  I’d say it is a direction, an intent.

In November I sat down in the morning service at CSE and wrote in my journal, “Still working on patterns of caring so defensively what others think of me.  Dirty looks from a peer at work still affect me with hurt, a feeling….”

And then the lesson started.  I took notes and drew lines from my statement of problem to the solutions being offered by Ellen O’brien.

Caring too much [about what others think] is comparison.  You are not working from your own true self.  (I know this is a bit of a “Duh” for some, but I didn’t realize that my sense of belonging to a staff was bundled up in this mess.)

Self-discipline is really doing “what pleases my soul” — it is not denial, not punishment, not forcing myself to be good.  My authenticity crisis…I don’t need to be good.  I need to be authentic.

Well, when I first got this — really took it on board — there was such a wave of relief and gratitude.  Like I’d been healed of cancer without the chemo.

I have had the privilege of working, creating, contributing.  I work among people who know my faults and weaknesses.  They have seen me fail and succeed.

I am grateful to serve kids and my peers.  I wrote as if I were giving my retirement speech, because I have believed for several months that I need to go somewhere else.  The environment really is toxic.

I really do need the vaccination.

So, in the New Year, what I’m doing first, daily, is signing off from discontentment, even if I work on the same campus until retirement.  I want to enjoy life, care for my aging mother, work in more creative ways, and continue to inspire teachers/students with my love of writing.  Perhaps even, some other position may appear if I don’t go into remission.

Ha, ha, I really like the third definition: any special privilege granting immunity

Keeping my connection to my true self, 
being the artist I am, can keep me healthy 
even in an environment polluted with unhappiness.

That’s my word.  Acquired immunity.

Happy New Year, to everyone, and especially to my teacher friends who write together.

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