Sunday, March 27, 2011

MAC Week 4 Reading - The Art of Possibility, Chapters 9 - 12

Photo by Flickr user t0msk
This week I was hit smack dab in between the eyes by Chapter 9, "Lighting the Spark." I've been burning the candle at both ends with work, the EMDT program, and the school musical, which opens next Friday.  On top of the Publishing and Leadership Project, I had grades due on Wednesday, and tech week rehearsals.  Needless to say, I'm about ready to flame out, especially since the kids in the cast have been flaking out and missing rehearsals.

I've grown very frustrated with them for over-committing themselves and with myself for poorly managing my time.  To top it all off, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer last week as well, so my stress level was at an all-time high.

Now, I'm not telling all of you these things so that I can have a pity party.  My purpose is to illustrate why I may have lost sight of my passion recently.  But, when I read this chapter, it reminded me of why I do the things I do, and that means all the things I do.

The steps for this chapter's practice were outlined on page 126 as:

  1. Imagine that people are an invitation for enrollment.
  2. Stand ready to participate, willing to be moved and inspired.
  3. Offer that which lights you up.
  4. Have no doubts that others are eager to catch the spark.
I've been so self-involved lately that I've only been doing step 3, offering what I'm passionate about to those around me.  But I've learned that when you do that without the readiness to be inspired by others or with the expectation that you are among a hostile audience, then you will burn out rather quickly.

I love what this chapter has to say about approaching our students.  I know that I'm very much different in my presentation style when I teach to one of my classes that is not as receptive to my subject that I am in one of the others that has students with more enthusiasm.  And the students recognize these differences as well. This leads us to feed off of each other's energy in a vicious cycle that only leads to frustration.

So, with this in mind, I'm heading out this week to begin a unit on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, put the finishing touches on the Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, and kick start month 12, all with the expectation that if I sparks a fire in me, others will soon catch the spark, too.


  1. Justin, these are great observations and are some I should think about as well. I loved when Ben used the imagery of the Middle Age practice of keeping the spark everywhere with you inside a little box. I feel as though my box is only left where I want to spend most time with my energy - where I feel a fire will most likely need to be sparked into existence. How silly of me to think that a circumstance that might need the spark most of all doesn't have it! I too have been hugely burned out, with all possible scenarios have come to seemingly destroy my life all at once. "Being the Board" has helped me to rethink what's happening - and also know that God has a hand and a watchful eye in this game board activity as well. My stress level has created a little friend on my eyelid making me twitch every so often for about the past month. Maybe it vanished after month 12 :)
    PS - So sorry about your circumstances and your mother. You're in my thoughts and prayers. From one Justin to another.

  2. It's hard to be at our best when we are over-committed and exhausted. We don't set boundaries out of selfishness but so that we can do the best we can do.