Saturday, May 21, 2022

Freewrite on a Saturday in May

Walking this Route with Students Was So Fun!

I have 15 minutes to just write freely about what is on my heart. I love that we are being intentional about making our Saturdays free. I may meet with working people one Saturday a month but only if we totally clear Sunday. I had one woman who wanted to meet on a Saturday, but I suggested that we meet before our group/church gathering on Sunday afternoon. And this was great. So, the last two Saturdays have been totally free!

This Saturday, we are going to the new Downton Abbey movie. We were going to go for the matinee yesterday, but my meeting with someone went long, and I looked down at my watch, and it was 10 minutes past the movie start, but it was a busy Friday. So, it was good to just rest for the late afternoon and evening.

Yesterday, the map for the class I took over was for the Dog Park in Corvallis. I just didn't feel comfortable having my students walk by themselves through that part of town. So, I waited outside and encouraged everyone to walk in groups of two or more, and so I was part of a group of about six of us. It was very fun to find out about the different students in the class and what they were all about. It was also only our second semi-sunny day! This spring has been so overcast and raining. I just have been amazed. So, this next week (including today) is supposed to finally be sunny and good thing since we only have five more classes.

That's right ladies and gentlemen (is that even politically correct to say anymore?). I am five school days (13 total days) from being done with my OSU teaching career. I have 10 more classes to teach or walk! I am over the moon. I finally let go of the anxiety I had about this fitness walking class by making 12% extra credit. You have freedom as an instructor to do this or not, and I just felt like he had no cushion days (I give two for my Pilates regular 20-session class and one for my 15-session class) for his students or extra credit make up in his syllabus. But one of his previous students said he did that unofficially later on in the term. Why this guy did not have it in his syllabus I will never know. So much in his syllabus was really non-specific (no late policy, clearly defined absence policy, or attendance policy) that it was hard to take over. Also, he had so much to upload that first week, and students (and myself) had such a high learning curve! I finally just sat down all morning on Thursday and pounded out a Mindfulness Extra Credit Walk. I also gave them the option to do that combined with one make-up walk they might have missed or two make-up walks. I felt so relieved afterward to give them that option since, by golly, people get sick! He had no allowance for that in his syllabus. Note to self, look at the class and the syllabus before you commit to a class you thought would be really straightforward and simple. 

(I am putting WAY more hours into this class than I was contracted for, btw. I am only contracted for 7.5 hours of administrative, and I have already spent 13 hours just on the Canvas site, and that has not included all the back and forth with students on email. I have probably put in about 20 hours administrative, and it is only the third week of class.)  

So, I think I am finally over the stress of this class (let it go and have not fretted anymore) and LOVED walking with these students on Friday. That is where I shine and where I most enjoy the time teaching. I wish it was more of that than the administrative headaches and sitting at a computer answering emails and grading assignments. It is WAY more of that now than it is teaching, especially for this class I took on. So, I will miss the students but not the administrative headaches (especially with all the COVID stuff from last term - it was when I decided enough!). I will also miss my colleagues, but I think I am probably the oldest instructor they have now (or maybe second to oldest). Anyway, I am still hoping to develop Prayer and Praise Pilates (because my life is about alliterations from God :)).

So, today, I will walk this morning. Get TOGOS sandwiches with Goerge and enjoy Jackson Frazier wetland. Then I will go to see Downton Abbey: A New Era! 

Update: Barbie and Tim might come down, and we might go out for dinner after we go on our date. Things are looking up! (Also walked the labyrinth with George and RELEASED my fear of not finishing well at OSU. I am finishing well!) 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Friday-Saturday Freewrite

Technically, it is early Saturday morning, but I started writing this in my mind on Friday just before midnight.

I have not written a freewrite since April 27th. I had something for attendance in one of my classes. I had a student say that I marked her absent when she wasn't, and I avoided checking all evening, turned out the light, and then I couldn't sleep until I checked it, and I HAD checked her absent in the grade book accidentally. I deducted points from her when it should have been for the person below her in the alphabet. An innocent mistake that, believe it or not, I had never done in 20 terms of teaching! So, I got that out of the way and decided to listen to Pray as You Go (John 14 meditation) because I didn't listen this morning. I was supposed to meet with F at 6 am, and she moved it to 7 am. So I went to the Friday prayer and meditation time with the Jesuits in Glasgow, and it was lovely and caused me to journal a LOT this morning rather than listen to Pray as You Go. I went to meet with F at 7 am, and she was stuck in traffic in her home country. So, we were going to meet once she got home, but I decided that it would be better to just meet next week. This way, I will be in a better every-other-week schedule since I cannot meet with her two weeks from today because of the final retreat for the 2nd Half Collaborative. 

I am going to do it in the second year. When I asked whether they needed me, they had D call me immediately to tell me that there was no question that they would need me. Since both my discernment times with two different groups were inconclusive about whether I should continue, I prayed more into it and decided that it would be good to do it a second year since I learned a lot about leading that group. They have an excellent curriculum, and I highly recommend it!

What I realized is that I will probably not lead an OMS Cohort next year. This one is pretty special, and I like the international flavor of it. I don't think I know anyone who is going to be doing it from my realm next year. So it was more a matter of cutting back on the groups that I lead. So, I decided that would be the one.

I think I will be amazed at how much more time I have now that I will not be leading classes at OSU. I took on this other class at OSU because the instructor had emergency surgery, but it is SO MUCH MORE WORK than my Pilates classes! My Pilates classes are pretty much teaching classes I had taught HUNDREDS of times before. So, other than Pilates with weights, roller, and Bender Balls (all of which I do more infrequently depending on the ability of the class), I don't have any preparation time for them. I have the attendance down to about 15 minutes after each class and about 2 1/2 hours of correcting assignments that are due in the middle of the term and about another hour of grading extra credit. 

This other class is HORRENDOUS in terms of how much time I have to spend at the computer grading assignments. It is not based on attendance in class. The students can do the walks any time they want, and then they enter a LOG and a screenshot of their MAP for three walks every week. So for 30 students, that is going through 180 submissions every week! And the first week, they had an extra submission of a VO2MAX calculation. So it was 210 submissions! It is a nightmare! It is so inefficient, but I am powerless to change it because it was set up for me before I agreed to take over the class. The syllabus was an old one written during COVID with no policy for late assignments and the absence policy was very nebulous. So I did change that, but the assignments were all set up in Canvas. I would have made it ONE weekly submission of all three maps and logs! That would mean I would go through 30 a week as opposed to 180-210. So, needless to say, this has caused me a lot of fretting because so many of them did not do the assignment. I haven't heard BOO from some of them. I did hear from one of them who said he had a problem because he got a job in Portland and it was going to affect his GPA for his sport if he didn't pass the class, and what can I do about it?

I don't think that is my problem, sir.

So, it has been frustrating for me to have to deal with all these emails from students. I did have one who missed the whole first week of class but showed me a doctor's note. So I extended his deadline, and he got everything in with 18 minutes to spare! That really was the highlight of my week. Truly. I will say that the students who are faithful to the class have been delightful! So, once again, I do love teaching, but it is time for me to go. I need to be done at OSU. I think I love teaching, but I don't love all the computer work. It is almost as though they found out all the cool things that you can do through CANVAS during COVID. So there is more based on the computer and even academic stuff rather than just doing physical activity with the students. I think we are losing something in the process. I would have preferred to have everyone meet at the front of the building and all walk in a group together (spread out as we walked). I could have gotten to know the students. I think next week, I will walk with a couple of the faithful students instead of doing the backward route. Most are doing them at different times, but the Southeast Asian students tend to do it together, and they would be fun to walk with.

One fun thing about today was that on the route of the walk, the Native American Cultural Center was having a Salmon Bake (see picture above)! So, I stopped on my walk and talked to people there. How fun. This is what I will miss: the buzz of the campus! I will also miss my students and working out with them. 

I MUST work out on my own now. So I need to really commit myself to doing Pilates as hard as I do it with my classes.

I think I am ready to go back to bed now. This was about a 30-minute free write but fun! (Update: went and cleaned up papers in my study and did not fall asleep until 2:50 am!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Tuesday Freewrite

Late Night Walk through Amsterdam on Layover

My timer is set for fifteen minutes. I rarely do these now since I am doing Morning Pages on actual paper. I might go back to this. I love the act of writing, but I don't like all the extra bulk that happens. Saving a tree by doing it on my blog. Of course, I cannot write my deepest thoughts or mention any names in this blog format, but for the most part, I am pretty transparent. 

We are back from our epic adventure to Northern Cyprus with stops in Istanbul both ways and Amsterdam on the way back. It was lovely. We had so many obstacles on the way there. Twelve to be exact. And we only had one on the way back that had nothing to do with plane travel. Traveling there really made me see that even Delta, who we have flown exclusively internationally (other than Icelandair one time) for the last 10-15 years, has even lowered many of their standards since COVID. I had many opportunities to practice "Welcoming Prayer" that I call "Centering Prayer on the Go." I didn't have a single meltdown the whole trip there, and that could have been a real possibility with all the obstacles. 

We had an excellent time, and there is really nothing that I found wanting in the conference we went to. Good prayer and time with friends near and far. So, yay! We are glad we made the journey. It was also really nice to be with my Georgie! He is the best traveling buddy! We had a good time together. 

So my heart is warmed.

Now, I come back to two classes. I took on another class, and it is a TON of outside work. All these assignments to look at! YUK! I had no idea. Well, it is my "swan song" at the University. So I will do my best. I am not very excited about keeping track of 29 people, and their walking. I thought I would meet them outside of Langton, take attendance and walk with them. Oh well, I should have asked more questions of them.

In a few hours, I meet with my first directee about the connection of Body and Soul. So this will be really good. I am going off a book called Intuitive Eating. It should be really good! 

My eating is so much more emotionally directed than anything else. The busier I am, the more I disengage from my body and emotionally eat. I am not overweight. So that is the tricky part for me. I want to eat when I am hungry. I am pretty good about not stuffing myself, and I am proud of how I did at an "All you can eat" hotel in Northern Cyprus. There were opportunities for food every hour we were there, but I didn't even go to the snack table at break times! I am pretty sure I lost weight there. That was great. 

So hard to type with these nails of mine. I won't have them for the summer months. 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Friday Fifteen Freewrite Continued

Isn't this picture just GORGEOUS? Love the trees in my neighborhood.

After a busy morning with spiritual direction appointments at 5:45 am and 8 am with 30 minutes of peeking in with the Ignatian Spirituality Center Glasgow weekly Zoom meditation, I am free the rest of Friday. 

The first order of business was to set a date with my Sweetheart George. When I do a weekly Examen, that is always at the top of my list of life-giving things is time with him and time with the family. It is pretty nice that one's immediate family is the most life-giving. That is important! I also scheduled a time to walk with my best friend in town, Kim. That is always life-giving for me too because she gets me, and it is an MBR kind of relationship (Mutually Beneficial Relationship). 

That was the topic for the month in the 2nd Half Collaborative: Collaborations! I guess that is in the name, and it is good for me to evaluate this. 

I think it coincides with me realizing that I am a Social Type Two on the Enneagram, and since I am teaching on the Enneagram (halfway through with my last talk at 7:30 am tomorrow morning), I realize that my social instinct, which is instinctually more collaborative than the other two instincts of self-preservation and sexual, has me in somewhat of a pickle because I collided in all my worlds realizing that I have too MANY collaborative pots. I needed to cut back. So I did cut back (and that is part of what I processed on my 43 year anniversary retreat, see my freewrite below on March 1), but I agonize because I LIKE everyone! That is always my problem. I liked people in the Renovare Institute and knew that it would maybe cut off collaborations in the future with them. 

So evaluating whether March has been that REPENT, REST, RESTORE that I heard at the end of February. Hmmm. 

I am cutting and pasting that part of the post:

REST and RESTORE - I plan a Day of Prayer on the anniversary of my surrendering everything to him on March 17, 1979. I cannot believe that was 43 years ago! I plan an overnighter somewhere. 

Yes in dee dee. That is what I did. I was able to book a SUITE in one of the houses behind the Queen of Angels Monastery for $60! It was so perfect from beginning to end. I made a crucial decision to pull out of one of the collaborative spiritual formation groups I belonged to ten minutes before my retreat started, and God confirmed over and over again that I made a good decision! I am glad I made it before I went into it because that burden was lifted. Sometimes you just KNOW! I was ALL IN with this group until I wasn't. It was so clear that I wasn't to continue, but I think we will meet up at a later date when they can utilize my skills and experience as a spiritual director! Until then, I have other dreams I have been postponing. And this picture says it for me:

Oh, I also met with Sister Joan, and that was very life-giving for me. The week before that, I met with Cammie, and that was good. So good. 

I also have so many fewer "duties" other than... 

1) OMS Cohort leading - fun for me
This is a really good group of women. I told Andrew I have a pilot "Contemplative Cohort," and this is it even though it is also for preparing to take the vows in the Order for the Mustard Seed. It is what I was born for! I had this idea in the shower to invite Anne to gather two other people for a monthly dive in all of this having How to Pray as the spine. Maybe?

2) Breath Prayer Blog Post - fun for me
That was surprisingly wonderful and easy to write. I am due for another one coming up. I think I will write about prayer walking since that is what our OMS Cohort will be doing in April. 

3) Submitting my grades on March 10. Then I am free until May 2nd other than putting up the Spring term Canvas course and some university classes (more time at the computer) required for my job by April 1. - not fun for me
I gutted out the OSU-required courses. They were easy, and I learned some things, but it is unpaid time (about three hours) that I just don't want to do anymore. 

My students really liked my class. I am happy about that. I had wondered if people would sign up for my Spring term one and didn't want to commit myself to a new syllabus (points for 15 days instead of 20 days) and Canvas course if that was the case. I looked two days ago, and it is FULL and two non-credit students on top of that. So, I published it and am definitely teaching for a month! Then I will be done. 

4) Preparing to lead to classes on the Enneagram Instinctual Variants for two cohorts of Spiritual Directors - fun for me
It still continues to be really fun for me. The Bollers are the bomb, and I enjoy doing this even though it always makes Spring Break NOT a break, but since I have a longer break, I hope to take much of next week off! I have one more time to teach it, and I made some nice changes: I do the repeating exercises in the midst of each instinctual variant followed by an Examen of thankfulness for that instinct in their lives. Sandy said that went really well. So, they don't go away to do it by themselves, and they stay for a half-hour afterward to ask questions. It worked well, and I will do it tomorrow for the second time and be done. 

5) Finishing up my Supervision course for Spiritual Directors (March 22 is the last day) - life-giving! I love to learn.
Wow! So enriching. Lucy Abbott Tucker knows her stuff, and she gave me the confidence to say I can now supervise other spiritual directors. I was in a group of three for three weeks in a row, and I did it the last time, and it was so great. I am done and so enriched by the experience! 

6) Breaking up my Exercises for Everyone book into sections for a new directee who wants to go through the Spiritual Exercise - so fun for me. 
Surprisingly easy for me to do. I have another person inquiring about doing a ten-week version, and I offered this option to her. She was going to let me know. I like having an off-ramp for my directees since 32 weeks is a big commitment. 10 weeks is much easier. My current directee will evaluate in 8 weeks! 

I think it did involve elements of rest and restoration. 

Freewrite Friday

I have been writing my morning pages every morning since December 31st. That means I don't write on here as much, but I miss it in some ways. I do like my Morning Pages though. I really do. So, I have an extra hour because of the time change.

I just met with a person from another country. She had some decisions to make in two instances, and I was able to introduce some Ignatian discernment principles of "Imagining yourself for a day having made one decision, and then imagine yourself on another day with the other decision." Then she can observe her feelings. I think in both decisions, she made a wise choice! Sometimes, people just need to verbalize their predicament without pressure. 

Speaking of pressure. I think I have felt some pressure lately. I don't think it is because anyone is pressuring me. I just feel it in myself when people ask me innocent questions, but they don't know that many others are waiting to hear from me. My life is in a "when it rains it pours" situation, and I know that I am anxious because I eat when I am anxious. So I am paying attention to my feelings in this one, and I have to understand that no one is pressuring me to do this or that. I just pressure myself to respond to people. 

I better get going. A little of a freewrite is better than none! 

(No proofreading of this just sending!)

Tuesday, March 01, 2022


Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels

I added the REPENT part of the title of this Freewrite. Mainly because it is Ash Wednesday tomorrow, and I am reading and meditating on the Scriptures in A Lenten Journey with Bill O'Byrne. It just seemed like the right group to join for this Lent. Pray as You Go, Lectio365, and Ignatian Spirituality Center in Glasgow all have Lenten devotionals. This one was calling my name. I meet with a group every Saturday morning for two hours to reflect on everything. Bill is such a nice person that I thought it would be lovely.

I had a weekly Examen with Andy from OMS and 16 other people (mostly new candidates to the order), and one of the questions we were to ask God was:

What are you inviting me to in the future? 

I felt God saying REST and RECOVERY from FULL FEBRUARY. 

It really was a very FULL February with two things hanging over my head (well really three):

1) Reservations for our trip to another part of the world for a huge prayer gathering.

2) Speaking on Breath Prayer at my church for two services - one short message of 3-5 minutes is always more difficult for me to formulate than an hour-long talk. How do you convey something really important in about 200 words? 

3) COVID students - making sure they got all their makeup work in by last Friday (and correcting all the Extra Credit that was also due last Friday). So much more paperwork and time at the computer because of COVID. COVID aside, it has increasingly been more and more hours of work sitting at the computer. So it is time for me to leave since my goal was to get paid to exercise. The extra time at the computer is canceling out what benefit I receive from exercising. I can exercise on my own or with my own class here and spend no time at the computer! 

REST and RESTORE - I plan a Day of Prayer on the anniversary of my surrendering everything to him on March 17, 1979. I cannot believe that was 43 years ago! I plan an overnighter somewhere. 

I also have so many fewer "duties" other than 
1) OMS Cohort leading - fun for me
2) Breath Prayer Blog Post - fun for me
3) Submitting my grades on March 10. Then I am free until May 2nd other than putting up the Spring term Canvas course and some university classes (more time at the computer) required for my job by April 1. - not fun for me
4) Preparing to lead to classes on the Enneagram Instinctual Variants for two cohorts of Spiritual Directors - fun for me
5) Finishing up my Supervision course for Spiritual Directors (March 22 is the last day) - life-giving! I love to learn.
6) Breaking up my Exercises for Everyone book into sections for a new directee who wants to go through the Spiritual Exercise - so fun for me. 

Perfect. I have 36 seconds to go on my 15 minutes Freewrite. 


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Freewrite before the RUN TO THE NUNS

I am so happy to have just this 15 minutes for a freewrite. Something I have not done for quite a while because I have been doing "Morning Pages" ala The Artist's Way. I am not going to lie, the discipline of writing three handwritten notebook size pages every morning has been SO GOOD! (I know you probably thought I was going to say that I was not going to lie about it being super tough, but NO! I love it. Kinda' like I'm not going to lie, prayer is a joy and delight for me. Suffice it to say that I won't be speaking at any women's retreats because I don't struggle like most people do in things most people do struggle. I acknowledge that the struggle IS REAL FOR MOST PEOPLE, and I have great compassion for everyone. But I digress - But this is MY freewrite, and I can digress all I want. Tee Hee.

So here I am writing away until I join the nuns of East Mosely (near London - I think) for their 8:30 pm Centering Prayer period. I was not able to join that for Monday and Tuesday because the last two days have been somewhat hectic. But I don't mind. I don't feel guilty if I miss a prayer period. 

I led a 2nd Half Collaborative small group this morning for 90 minutes. Those times just take so much out of me. I have to be so honest about that (That is where I can say, "Not going to lie - it is tough for me to lead small groups. You would think after 40+ years of leading small groups - my first one being 1979 - It would be easy. I am capable, but it is not easy for me. Spiritual direction one-on-one - a synch though.) I am tired from the time. I love all those people. I think I just long for a longer conversation than just a snippet of 10-15 minutes, and I don't like rushing people through the time, but I have to because there are 6 people who need to share in 90 minutes. So, it is sort of stressful for me. I am much less stressful about the other group I lead: The Order of the Mustard Year of Preparation Cohort. I have four people to share in 2 hours. That is so much more manageable, even though I have quite a bit more content to get through with the Order of the Mustard Seed people. 

I think I am medium nervousness about the group that I lead on Friday mornings. I have different groups of people doing it. I am taking a break though until after June! 

I gotta run to the nuns for Centering Prayer!

Freewrite on a Saturday in May

Walking this Route with Students Was So Fun! I have 15 minutes to just write freely about what is on my heart. I love that we are being inte...