Fifteen–or sixteen–years ago when I was in the application process for my current teaching job, I came across a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn about meditation. I couldn’t see that I had time to meditate. But he insisted that it wasn’t hard. He suggested meditating while walking or driving. He suggested a tree meditation that appealed to me. Just look at a tree (I don’t have the book with me, but this is what I remember) or a group of trees and ask, “What is my path?” We had recently moved to our house on a greenbelt, and so I had trees I could look at. In the early morning, before my daughters woke up, before the day’s routine began, I would pour my cup of coffee and step onto the back deck, look at the trees, and ask, “What is my path?” I don’t know what role this meditation had on my getting a tenure-track teaching job, but I know it relieved my anxiety.
Fifteen minutes a day on the manuscript, no matter what else is going on. As July dawns–a new on-line class to teach (and a new on-line system to learn), trips to take, daughters and their birthdays–that is the path I intend to follow through these trees. I want to remember to enjoy the trees and the path. I want you to remember, too. Just stop, look at the trees. Ask “What is my path?” Breathe.