Making Change

Fall has arrived. Mike Thayer welcomes it in this lovely, provocative piece.  I am welcoming it by making changes in my routines, at least one of which has been with me since 2000. And after just a day or two, not surprisingly, I am struggling a bit. The ultimate goal of the change is to become more active in my professional learning network by reading and writing publicly. There are some secondary personal goals as well but, for now, this is the one on which I am focusing.

The routine I am giving up was called Morning Pages and was an idea I borrowed from Julia Cameron. Three hand written pages first thing every morning. For nearly 14 years. I have piles of spiral bound notebooks tucked into boxes and bookshelves. These pages got me through some tough times, saw me through the transition from public school teacher to ed tech professional developer and, more recently, to part-time farmer. But I’ve had a sense for some time that they have run their course, served their purpose and now were often nothing more than an extended to do list, less about hopes and dreams and more about finances and dirty dishes.

Meanwhile, smart people were having even smarter conversations on the web, and I was missing them because once I finished the pages each morning, the world was waiting: dog walks, pig feeding, email, meetings, course checkins, reports, and so forth. The stuff of life that left me tired at the end of the day with little energy for sorting through social media for gems, reading longer articles and then facing the blank blog page to analyze and synthesize. Lately, I have ended up in Minecraft, building a house, exploring the terrain and learning to build things. It was fun but not getting me any closer to professional learning. I talk the talk of PLN to the educators I work with but I wasn’t walking the walk.

So, the plan is to do these things first the way I used to do the pages. Of any habit I have ever adopted, the pages stuck. I love writing by hand, I love journaling, and the pages were a way to come into the world slowly, pushing back the work and the stresses for just a little while. I am a fan of routines as they help us organize our lives but I also understand how they can become crutches. My pages helped me believe that I was writing even though they never saw public scrutiny.

I’m still not sure about this new habit. Honestly, yesterday I plunged right into work after only a few minutes of browsing Hootsuite and Feedly. I never even considered writing a blog entry. This morning obviously went a bit better. It is a chilly morning here at the farm, and Mike’s ode to Autumn inspired me to do my own reflection on change and the difficulties it can present. I am putting first things first, making sure my personal priorities don’t get lost in the daily fray.

It isn’t going to be easy…despite my ultimate success this morning, I somehow blanked on my user name for the blog and retrieving it meant ending up in email. I’ll admit to answering one or two. I am wondering about doing this work on a different device reserved strictly for reading and writing rather than working. Break the habits associated with the MacBook Air.

Plus, Tim Stahmer includes me on his blog roll and I want to live up to his expectations 😉


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