What I came away with from the discussion is that there are notions at the university that I am not only responsible for instructing students in the subject matter of my courses, but there seems to be a conviction on the part of the administration that I am also to be held responsible for how students feel about their instruction. Clearly that is unreasonable and crazy-making. But, if there is something I can do to help ameliorate the apparently contradictory pressures of the situation, it seems that the best I can do is to focus on feeling as safe as I can in the situation, so that the tone is set less by anger and frustration and more by my feeling more at ease (if, indeed, that is possible).
I can see that there are things in the situation, and in my personality, that are predisposed to my taking criticism of my work very personally. I think that my working harder and harder to try to prevent incidents of unfair and inappropriate criticism is counterproductive, because it exhausts me, and then it doesn't work anyway. And, to the extent that I allow my life to become narrowly focused on trying to prevent something negative from happening, while missing opportunities for enjoying my life in the moment, it's as if I'm just waiting for opportunities to vent rage at people who supposedly "make" me live this way.
One thing that occurs to me is that I just don't want to have to be an authority figure for 20-30 people at a time, most of whom are busy projecting their hatred of authority figures onto me. I feel that I am better suited to a more fraternal way of relating to people, and perhaps I would have done better to teach individually or in very small groups rather than in classes of the size that I am typically called upon to teach.
We didn't discuss this in the interpretation tonight, but the outer planets were introduced and it was mentioned that Neptune blurs boundaries significantly, and I have Neptune very close to my Sun. That makes it nearly impossible for me not to take things personally, so it's probably better for me not to focus so much on trying to prevent the negative, but rather to keep practicing what I can do--in healthy ways--to feel OK anyway, even when negative things do occur.
A lot of very uncomfortable energy came up during the discussion, so I think I need to try to do some stretches and spiritual practice before I go to bed.
It could be that I have been accumulated a lot of hurt and fear and anger since I have taken this job (plus whatever else I accumulated since I started teaching 20 years ago), and I'm at the point now where the negativity the defenses that have grown up around it are weighing me down. I need to find ways of releasing some of this energy if I am to be able to move ahead positively--even if that means becoming more comfortable with lowered expectations of the role that others should play in my well-being.
Om Kreem Kalyai Namaha,