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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's Never What You Say But Always How You Say It

My greatest teachers, lately, have been my kids. Many of the lessons I’m learning are those that emerge spontaneously from just being around them and others are reminders from simple things I’m teaching them to put them on the right path. The classics are classics for a reason. The Golden Rule is a big one around here; Thumper wisdom advises, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all; and, it’s never what you say but always how you say it. I’ve come up with a couple of them that I’m fairly sure will become part of our family lore: Everything takes the time that it takes and we try to be as fair as we can be in a world that is not always fair.

While how one says something is essential in efforts of manners, diplomacy and basic kindness, it is equally important in conveying a message effectively. Every teacher has her own way of explaining her subject, just as every student has her own way of hearing it. If I’d had a teacher who’d explained that math was a way of thinking, of problem solving, I might have approached it differently and accessed more of my Left Brain.

I spent several years kicking my legs up the wall, sweating and focusing my energy into Head Stand, to no avail. One day I took a class, taught by my best friend from college, and she told me to bring my elbows closer together. It was a minor instruction, a tiny detail, but like I’d been doing it for years, my legs floated up the wall.

I referenced in my last post, my volatile relationship with Trikonasana (Triangle Pose). Again, it was a simple modification of how to lengthen my torso over my legs by thinking the crown of my head, long. Now that I’m no longer baffled by the pose, I can play more with it and further clarify it.

In each case, it wasn’t that other teachers were missing the mark, but that sometimes a certain choice in words can make the difference between understanding and confusion. Not that confusion is so bad; the road toward clarity can be an adventure in itself. I love experiencing different teachers, their styles of teaching and approach to the practice. Sometimes it’s not their words that bring clarity, but the tone of their teaching or the humor they bring to the mat.

The teachers who reach and move me most fully are those who are abundantly present. So present that they are able read my individual needs in the sea of individuals with their own particular needs.
They know just what to say and how to say it.

1 comment:

  1. I am following but annonymously. Love it. You have such a talent for writing.