by Jenny Tisi
Recently, I was asked to do an assignment that is taking a lot of thought. I am to think of myself in 1995 and then think of myself in 2015. I was to think about labels for myself for both years. It called to mind a lot of quotes, but this one from Marianne Williamson fit it best: “You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.”
I am a master re-purposer. Those who know me know that I love to take old junk and turn it into something new. My yard is filled with pallet furniture and planters, vegetable beds made out of old fence posts, and a constructed wall made out of old doors and shutters. Most of these things were given to me by parishioners in the church. I love repurposing. I love looking at something old and thinking, “What can I do with that?” I have begun doing that with myself as well … although it’s not always as fun a process!
So — to bring me back to the quote — I am pretty impulsive. I always have been. I do: then think. I am that kid that always raised her hand without thinking, was called on and then began to think. I always did it backwards. I always tell my choristers who do this to “Stop. Think. Then raise your hand.”
In some cases of my life, impulses have been great, especially when it comes to my teaching. I have always been a “shoot from the hip” kind of teacher. It has served me very well over 27 years of teaching. One principal told me to never keep a plan book because natural teaching and not writing things down made me a better teacher than many of those who took the time to plan. And I always thought, “How much better of a teacher would I be if I actually took the time to plan?” I have made up so many lessons on the spot as classes have entered the room. Most of those lessons have been my best.
Being impulsive has gotten me into trouble in other ways in my life. It has gotten me into trouble with my health, my relationships and financially. I go on impulse. I go with my gut. I never overthink anything. And in many of these situations, I wish that I had taken the time to pause and think.
I would have to say that the biggest difference between my life now and then was that I always went without thought. I always dove right in. Everything sounded like a good idea. And now, I try to think, pause, and let time pass … with a splash of impulsivity.
It is, for me, a new way of thinking. More accurately, it’s actually taking the time to think! And even though I might come up with the same answer as my impulse, the new way of taking time is changing me. It is repurposing the old me. I am still there — just in a newer, more updated and sometimes better form.
During the Forty Days of Lent, we will offer daily meditations from All Saints Church. Today’s is written by Jenny Tisi, Director of Children’s and Youth Music.