Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Teaching the Teacher

I tend to like to preach what I practice. When I get up there in front of the class to give my introduction to our theme, I like it to come from a place of authenticity and experience. I don't tell people about being vegan.. because, I'm not Vegan. But, I can tell people about being a mom of a 2 year old, because I am one. You get the idea.
A few weeks ago I found myself teaching a class where the theme I'd chosen spoke directly to me, the teacher, in a real and clear way. It was a class on the Organic Energy quality of Root to Rise (expansion from the focal point to the Earth and in all directions). And I used the theme of Rooting with faith into your experience and what you know is true, to Rise with Confidence. What I said that spoke to me directly was that we practice cultivating all these great Heart Qualities on the mat, but it isn't particularly worthwhile if they stop there. That is, once we've built our joy muscle, or our compassion muscle, or our creativity muscle on the mat... it's a good idea to use it OFF the mat.
It's hard to do, to make the leap from on mat to off. That's where we have to rely on Faith in our new strengths and proceed with Confidence into behaving or reacting in a new way.
In all honesty, I created this theme with a few students in mind. I knew it would speak to them. But I realized as I taught it I was Definitely teaching myself. This is a space where I have LOTS of room for improvement.
And, since as I recognized the space for improvement, for moving confidently forward with new, untested skills, Grace has provided me with plenty of opportunities for testing them. I am still amazed at the way that works.
At this point you maybe saying 'Huh?' so an example to illustrate the point.
Two weeks ago I came up short on a babysitter for 2 hours during Babe's nap time while I taught. I had asked just about everyone and was contemplating just bringing her with me and putting her on my back in a backpack while I taught. There was one other person I could ask, but it was the morning of the class and I was worried. SO my old pattern of behavior would be to worry about asking, worry about disturbing someone's day, worry that they would feel bad if they said no... worry so much that I would martyr myself (and my students and my child) and take her to class with me. The new approach was to be confident that I can have help and support and to simply pick up the phone and ask. For some, this would be no big deal. For me, this was HUGE. What happened was wonderful, I got what I needed, stress went away and all were happy.
And I've had many more opportunities like that, to just go one step further than I might have in the past. So far it's all been worth it. And I'll be on the look out for the next time I teach myself in the midst of teaching everyone else.

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