hyper-focused grading the last midterm paper. my housemate starts belting out a song - in deepest, fierce bellow - right outside my open door. my laser focus becomes soft, my belly reacts, i breathe deep to avoid getting triggered and asking her to stop. then i actually listen to the words she is singing. Elohai neshama - She is clear, She is whole, She is free. She is singing my song, one that I wrote so many years ago, in a cadence that is faithful to the original and with a full-bodied hip-roll of new life in it. A smile busts through my tightened jaw, replacing it with a bright beam of joy. I return to the paper - a student sharing that she doesn't yet fully trust herself - and I feel the vulnerability in my own cells, a surprise pocket of where I don't yet fully trust myself which shook me hard last week. I bring the softening of focus to my heart, and to the paper so tenderly, with affirmation and curiosity, as I sing along.