I always thought of blogs as being narcissistic, business related, or as my sister's, a way of keeping in touch or memorializing.

But, by necessity, I am learning a lot about myself. I find I need to get my thoughts out, and it helps me to know that someone else will read them. So I have created this little space for myself, to express the things I have trouble saying (be it emotional or physical trouble), to share what I'm going through, and what I'm learning through it.

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Monday, 23 January 2012

Overexerted, but for a Greater Purpose

My physical being is in a really serious mode of compensation. My body is trying so hard to heal itself, that it spares no energy beyond that and the basic task of keeping me alive. Part is the cold of which I am still complaining. But part was a choice I made this weekend to overexert, and which I still think was probably worth it. I'd just forgotten how bad this thing could really get. Post-exertional-neuro-immune-exhaustion has hit, and hit hard.

My cane has made a reappearance in my life. The last few days I have made it up and down the stairs very slowly on my bottom. I timed it, just to see. 6 minutes to get up the stairs. No joke, no exaggeration. 6 minutes. One flight. But I can still do it. The stairs have not gotten the best of me.

My boy and I are at my parents' house again, being fed and coddled. It is absolutely wonderful to wake up and find a cup of coffee already made and waiting for me at the kitchen table. It is not, however, so wonderful that my laptop doesn't work here. So to use the computer, I dragged myself up the stairs.

I need to remind myself why I did it. Why I allowed myself to over-use my body this weekend. And here's the truth of it. I was very disappointed a couple of years back with the lack of fanfare over the Montessori Centenary. There were two things that happened that were worth noting: a 3-school choir sang at Dundas Square one afternoon, and there was a visiting exhibit commemorating the event at a school. That was it. I had offered my services to the planning committees at the time, but was never able to get through to them. And that was all that happened. This year is the 100th anniversary of Montessori in Canada, and I am determined that it will not go by as quietly.

I have the advantage this year of already being part of one of the associations that was already planning on celebrating in concert with other groups. But my involvement has already pushed their vision further and allowed these associations to see that this can be a real celebration of our history and a driving force for our future. This is important to me. This is an opportunity for Montessori groups in Canada to see how, if they work together, we can make a greater impact. And it is important to me. So I'm doing it.

Or rather, I'm over-doing it. I know I was supposed to stop volunteering, but how could I? This is once-in-a-lifetime, and all I need to do is be present, and voice ideas and encouragement - like a cheerleader, but from the couch.

I am being very careful not to commit to anything beyond internal calls and meetings. Even within that, I am being careful to only read e-mails when I'm feeling ok, and to make sure everyone knows I am unreliable when it comes to actual attendance and participation. The meeting this weekend went far far longer than I expected, but it was so very productive, and I could feel the momentum building to such a level, that even when I felt myself unable to push my head off the chair I didn't insist we leave. We now have a plan in place that is unique in terms of what has ever been done in Montessori circles in Canada. It has the potential to bring people together - parents, teachers, administrators and alumni - in an unprecedented way.

I am now paying the price. It hurts knowing that I am putting this effort and energy into activities I will likely not be able to attend. But it feels amazing to know that no matter how dearly I pay, I still have plenty and then some to contribute, and that my efforts are appreciated, and there will be a tremendous payoff of satisfaction when it all comes together. That makes it worthwhile. And if one teacher finds a way to practice more deeply, or one administrator comes to understand something in a new way, or one parent decides to keep their child in our schools for another year, then it will be worth it. And then some. In the meantime, I know I have helped organizations that are not used to working together bridge the gap that keeps us from presenting a united front to the rest of the world, and that might be the single most important thing I can do for Montessori education in Canada.


  1. I feel for you! I am the same way when I overdo things. I can be exhausted for 3 days. It used to take only 1 day to recovery. It bothers me that it is taking longer, but it has been worth it at times.
    It is like walking a tightrope isn't it? Lean too far one way or other and we fall off.

    I have been fighting a cold too. It really does exhaust you! Today is better, but I was so tired this weekend I could barely do anything but lay in bed.

    Hope you are feeling better soon! big spoonie hugs, Tami

  2. Danielle Weissberg24 January 2012 at 18:01

    Andy, you are amazing! And I am sure they needed you to push everything forward. And that takes loots of energy!!
    Time to recharge batteries :) Enjoy being at your parents house,
    XXXX Danielle

  3. Is there a way that you can attend the meetings by audio/video linkup? That way you could save yourself the added steps of getting ready, etc. I know when I go places that by the time I get there I am already exhausted. This is Debby BTW lol, I'm too limited intellectually right now to figure out how to register. I love that this is a priority for you and you are committed to it. But there has to be some way to make it more Andy-friendly for you.