A chairde Gaeil, brón orm. Bhí an t-ábhar seo teibí ar fad agus níl mórán ama agam an mhaidin seo le Gaeilge a chur air mar gheall ar na haistí atá le scríobh agam inniu, ach bhí mé ag iarraidh é a scríobh amach. Déanfaidh mé iarracht Gaeilge a chur air i gceann tamaill, nó scríobhfaidh mé rud eile go luath i nGaeilge. Go raibh maith agaibh as bhur dtuiscint!
Something I have had trouble with for a long time is not over-focusing on what my place in the world is in the future. For years, through high school, college, my years of working at CISabroad, and now in this great Irish language adventure of ours, I have wondered where I am supposed to end up… career-wise, mostly, but in a greater sense of the work I will be doing for the world and the kind of impact I will be making.
I suppose it’s not a terrible thing to be thinking of your place in the world, but I’m finding it to be detrimental to my ability to be fully present in my day-to-day comings and goings. This is the case particularly this year, I think, since I made a very big decision to leave the job and field (study abroad) I had been growing and learning in for over 4 years to pursue this somewhat obscure, very specialized language that has come to mean so much to me. That decision was a heart-led decision, no doubt… something I felt I needed to do, and not something that had much logical, economic inspiration behind it. It felt so right to make that decision and to make this leap of faith as we moved across the ocean and buried ourselves in the study of Irish… It still feels right to be here, learning and working in the language, but now, with the first half of the year finishing up, I find myself consistently thinking of what I will do with my Irish once we’re done with the program. Will I be able to teach it back in MA? Will I seek a chance to work with the language here in Ireland? Will I pursue a PhD in the language or in sociolinguistics (a topic which has greatly inspired me as we’ve studied here)? Will I need to put aside further pursuit of this language and do something more fiscally responsible upon our return to the states? And what future plan will work the best for both of us?
I practice the Alexander Technique, which can be described, at its most basic, as a physical therapy method that you practice all the time to learn to use your body in its most natural and efficient way. At the risk of not explaining it well, I urge you to visit this website to learn more about it: http://www.alexandertechnique.com/ It’s amazing and has changed my life in more ways than one! One of the philosophies that comes with studying the Technique, as you learn to reshape your movement habits, is to stop yourself thinking about the goal of a practice and instead be present in the practice itself… through that presentness, the goal will occur naturally and more easefully than if you strive for the goal alone. I want to embody this philosophy in my musings of my place in the greater world, my place with the Irish language, what I will end up doing back in the states after this year, etc.
But it’s so hard to do this, because every time I’ve ended up in a place I wanted to be it was because I worked my way into that place with a particular goal in mind! And that’s also the American mindset, isn’t it? Work hard enough at your dream and you can achieve anything, but you have to work to achieve it. Most recently, Jonathan and I had to work really hard to achieve our place on this Master’s program at NUIG, and if we hadn’t done all that we could to make that happen, we wouldn’t be here this year. So how do you know when it’s time to act and when it’s time to allow? I suppose that’s a balance I’m still learning about, and I hope this year of uncertainty will eventually end up being a good exercise in allowance. May I be patient enough to see the outcome!
Wishing you all well,