"Must make content with his fortunes fit,and similar words speaketh the fool Feste in Twelfth Night.
For the rain it raineth every day."
And so it goes with us who have been excessed, that the rain hath raineth, and doth raineth every day, and yet it behooves us to make peace with this situation because it ain’t going to get better any time soon.
To describe to the uninitiated what it is like to be an ATR, a day-to-day sub, at the very prime of one’s career is something I never imagined I’d be in a position to do. I had assumed in my salad days that the natural course of a teaching career would involve a good deal of preparation at first, then a long stretch, perhaps a couple of decades, of becoming really good at the job, then mentoring in the latter years and retiring gracefully at a time of one’s own choosing.
Alas, such was not the case for me or for the more than 700 other ATRs whose careers got truncated when the UFT leadership dropped the ball and unceremoniously “Fool-ed” us when they signed onto the last contract. In the words of Enid Welsford, Lear’s Fool — just like us ATRs — became “a vagabond caught in a storm, outside gates which men have most effectually shut against him.”
As I make my way through one incomprehensible classroom moment after another, experiencing not only the challenges of dealing with hordes of unknown and inscrutable pubescents for mere moments of time but also the diabolical stupidity of it all, I take comfort that Shakespeare and his Fools knew all about the vicissitudes of life 400 years ago. Feste had the ability, says one commentator, "to stay detached from the emotional and self-motivated acts of others," which is more or less the way I've been feeling these days.
But, detachment can take many forms, and I find myself returning to all these miracles of human thought, in Shakespeare and even further back, to the teachings of the Zen masters. And somehow the burden is lifted.
Detachment means being passionate about your work but dispassionate about its rewards.
Detachment is the perspective that allows us to enjoy the journey of life.
Be alert in the present moment, where all fulfillment occurs.
When our energy is in the present, we are in the presence of life energy.
We are the quality of our attention.
Success and fulfillment come from inside, and it is only inside that matters.
We achieve peace of mind only when we accept the wisdom of uncertainty.
Enjoy the journey.