Are you in a violent relationship?


To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence.

~Thomas Merton


Is that a word you would ever use to describe what you are doing when you are taking on too much?  More than likely that’s not the first word.  Often we say…stressed, overworked, tired, exhausted, spent.

But violence…

This might be a bridge too far in theory, but is it really? 

Quite honestly it is violence toward ourselves and does our cause a drastic disservice.  When I heard this Merton quote on a recent Zen Parenting podcast, I immediately thought of how this can connect to teachers and our health and wellbeing.  And because I just finished watching Maid, I also thought about the term violence and how it made me think of a dysfunctional relationship. 

The main protagonist in Maid leaves her emotionally abusive boyfriend and is not taken seriously by many because “he never physically hit her” he ONLY emotionally abused her and that isn’t as easily “proven”.

I don’t know about you but many of us are in an emotionally fraught relationship with being a teacher and what that means right now, today.

And I want to let you know that if you are feeling emotional abuse or overwhelm or violence in your teaching life, that you are seen.  You are not alone.  AND…You are believed.

Teaching is a profession made up primarily of women, and it is very easy to slip into a role of care taker.  When those scales are tipped and teachers continually take on too much without first and foremost taking care of themselves, it can lead to too many concerns, demands, and projects. Merton says this equates to violence.  

What do you think about this idea…teachers needing to be on the look out for our profession sucking us into a pattern of emotional turmoil and consequently violence (primarily to ourselves)?

If this is not a great analogy for you, do you think Merton has a point?

And how can we alleviate some of this too much in our lives so that we can live our lives with balance, integrity, and wellness inside and outside the classroom?

I’ll be back after the Thanksgiving holiday with some practical solutions on how to alleviate this too much. 

Have a wonderful break and enjoy every moment of the time you have away from the classroom and with your family and friends.

To teaching well,

P.S.  If you’re looking for more a way to walk through the unknown of this school year, please check out The Path of the Mindful Teacher.  It’s packed with relevant and implementable ideas that are sure to support you in this year’s teacher journey.