Sunday, 27 July 2008

Teaching Ambition



I woke up last Monday at 6am with what one could call a panic attack.

In the wake of my drive to become superwoman who:

Serves tables,
Plans lessons for next year,
Works in an Art Gallery,
Sells Art,
Trains for road bike events,
Blogs,
Balances her checkbook,
Attends social events with friends,
Visits my family,
AND looks fresh and clean doing all of this....

I became slightly... undone. Unhappy if you will.

In an effort to calm myself down- while still in bed that particular morning- I craned my neck to look outside of the window which is located right behind my bed. And this is what I saw:

It was much more stunning in real life I promise you. The lake I live by is just past those houses. And as I watched the sky change from violet, to pink, to blue, I had a thought that I heard in my head, more than I actually thought it. The kind of thought that makes you wonder:

"Was that from me?"

I thought:

"It's completely possible to live in heaven, and feel like you're in hell."

Here I was living in the most beautiful setting, with nothing but time on my hands, and oodles of talent to exploit... and was panicking? About the pressure to BE certain things? So I decided to get up (at 6am) and go for a bike ride and enjoy some of the "heaven" I had been missing out on.

The canal view at the top of my street


My neighbor. So jealous.


Portage Lakes State Park






Paradise is right outside my front door, and I have spent more than half of my summer fretting about all of the "stuff I must accomplish" in order to be "better."

Should schools try to harbor ambition in it's students?

My opinion is a very resounding: NOPE.
It really busts my buttons that Public Ed (check that- our whole freakin' society) conditions children that in order to be happy they must:

Get a respectable and/or high paying job
Be AMAZING at that job
Be a home owner
Have a significant other
Contribute to the economy
Be a good consumer and have all the latest shit

You think I'm making this up? Eliminate any one these off your "have list" and people will start to judge you, especially as you get older. I'm just saying.

Is it no wonder then, that we have a society full of people who have everything, and feel little happiness? As children they were disconnected from what they loved to do/who they wanted to be, and then reintroduced to what they HAD to do/be in order to be accepted.

I read the below excerpt about ambition from a book called Think On These Things by : Jiddu Krishnamurti. This guy fires up a lot of people. He says things that go against much of what modern society has taught us to value.

Observe all people who are ambitious. What happens when you are ambitious? You are thinking about yourself are you not? You are cruel, you push other people aside because you are trying to fulfill your ambition, trying to become bigger, thereby creating a society in conflict between those who are succeeding, and those who are falling behind.

There is a constant battle between you and the others who are also after what you want; and is this conflict productive of creative living? Do you understand or is this too difficult?

Are you ambitious when you love to do something for it's own sake? When you are doing something with your whole being, not because you want to get somewhere, or have more profit, or greater results, but simply because you love to do it- in that there is no ambition, is there? In that there is no competition; you are not struggling with anyone for first place. And should not education help you to find out what you really love to do so that from the beginning to the end of your life you are working at something which you feel is worthwhile and which for you has deep significance? Otherwise for the rest of your days you will be miserable, your mind falls into boredom, routine and then decay and death.

Any thoughts from the class?

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