Do you have them? Are they swirling in your belly? Are they taking nose dives so grand they wake you during the night? If your answer is yes, you're probably an educator in the fore-night of a new school year.
This 'day before school starts' never fails to sneak up on me with its plethora of feelings. Excitement, awe, fear, joy, anticipation...they converge in a circular pattern that interrupts sleep with that one last idea of an I must do.
How do you prepare your home away from home for another new beginning? Heading into my second year as a school-based administrator I'm feeling the weight of responsibility: the desire to greet returning staff with enthusiasm; the need to welcome new staff with a confidence that assures them they've made the right decision in joining us here at 'our home'.
It's been a particularly busy two weeks. Days have been filled with doing all those necessary things required to have the school ready for another grand opening. It's exhausting, but it's GOOD exhausting.
Tomorrow our doors open wide to receive the hundreds of students we proudly call ours.
After a few minor tweaks today - that front bulletin board needs to look more inviting, we are as ready as we are going to be. Yet, there is perhaps the most important detail of all to attend to. Me. Am I ready? Have I taken the time to be still, to capture my thoughts, yes all those swirling ideas; to grab hold and ground them long enough to still myself.
More important than all the doing we've done, is the necessity for us to be present. Fully present. It's our presence that brings that 'magic ingredient' to a successful first day. Our interactions tomorrow will set the foundation for the rest of the year. I need to listen to the each response when I throw out greetings. I need to make eye contact. I need to connect. I know I won't get to everyone tomorrow, but I want to be sure that everyone I get to knows I am glad they're back at our school. I want them to know they are welcome here. I want them to know they are cared about; they are safe. A tall order for day one.
So how do I do it?
I stop doing just enough to be.
I reflect on the goodness of my life, my whole life, not just my job. I breath, I slow down - which is easier said than done. I connect all the parts of me that together make me my best Carol. In short, I consciously do what I need to do to ground myself. This grounding brings me to a place of gratitude, joy, and ultimately peace. The combination gives me strength. Strength that will need to be replenished over and over throughout the school year.
And those butterflies, they're alive and well. A beautiful reminder of the possibilities that come along with a new school year.
Best wishes to all.