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Day 89: Hidden Energetics...?

I’m regularly intrigued by the sensation of letting go, or being released, upon the conclusion of a semester, or a circle, or a responsibility I’d agreed to for a short period of time. Today marks the day my semester teaching concludes, at least for several weeks. I finished the bulk of my grading this morning—11:08 a.m., to be specific!—and immediately, I felt this whoosh of release inside. A visceral thing. The responsibility has not been huge every day, even every week, but today’s experience of energetic release is noteworthy. What is the phenomenon of hidden energetics, holding space(s) for teaching/learning?

I’ve experienced this within circle-way leadership as well. The performative responsibility is once a week (usually), with a sense of crafting an agenda for the evening. But the overt tasks are not overwhelming, time-consuming. The sensation of holding the space though? It’s persistent. The start of a semester begins before the circle sessions actually begin—various administrative and preparatory tasks—and the conclusion of a circle-series then brings this same sensation of energetic release.

I try to remember the life of regular in-person teaching, early on in this higher-ed journey for me. Was it similar? This ‘on’ feeling during a semester, then the whoosh of release at the end? I have to think it was similar. It had to have been. The situation today that makes this feel so unexpected, I think, is that online teaching hides both time and energetic commitments.

One has more flexibility with asynchronous teaching, tending to the evaluative and responsive tasks within a timeframe that yet has tremendous give-and-take. Way more than the precisely scheduled brick-and-mortar teaching commitments. As a result, I can often underestimate the hours I’m ‘working’, or in other ways, vastly overestimate the number of hours an online class is taking. Without concrete representation on my calendar, the tasks get done almost sight unseen.

So when an online class ends? When my grading responsibilities are officially concluded? I’m always amazed at how much freer I feel, letting these students go. Relinquishing my vocational commitment to them, so to rest, to prepare for the next round of students coming in.

A short reprieve, really, but a necessary one. I may not see these students regularly, or feel like I’ve really gotten to companion their vocational journeys as much as I have. But my body notes at the end of every semester: I’ve been holding space for their journeys, both near and far.

So very curious…

This semester taught me a lot, from some of the course revisions I made, and from their own social and geographical, theological locations. The papers, by and large, were excellent. It felt like time well spent, for me, for them.

And now we’re all freer, thanks be to Godde.\

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