I am a teacher for most of my day.
I teach my students in classes, my clients in coaching tools, and my kids in homework.
I love being a teacher.
But, I also love being the student.
I have been a student my whole life. I love the feeling of being open to learning. I love listening to someone teach me something I didn't know or hadn't thought about. I love receiving.
I am a student of yoga. I'm not so much into the Sanskrit study of postures and ancient ideology. I'm more a student of how to stay in "chair pose" as long as the teacher suggests, without throwing something at her/him.
I study how to breathe, how to hold my arms, and how to "relax" in a physically demanding pose.
I empty my cup before I walk in that door each day. I am open.
Yesterday, we had a guest teacher. His name was Dave Farmar. He was amazing. It took the two of us for me to learn. Him being open to teaching. Me being open to learning.
In that 85 minute class I wanted to give up many times. He taught me to stay.
He taught me that the ego doesn't like to rest-but after "wheel" we must rest.
He taught me that the pose begins the minute I want to leave it.
Most of these things I had learned before. But because I was open, l learned them again in a new way and on a deeper level. I didn't say, " I already know that." I didn't check out.
And then he quoted a Turkish proverb that almost knocked me out of triangle. He told us that if we had been stressed or anxious in a pose, we could stop and try again new.
He quoted: "No matter how far you have gone down the wrong path, turn around."
I love this. I memorized it. I learned it.
I thought about all the times I had invested lots of time and energy into doing something on the wrong path and how I didn't want to turn around. I didn't want to give up the distance I had covered, even though it was the wrong path all together. I didn't want my steps (even in the wrong direction) to not matter. I wanted to justify my path and make it worth it. I wanted to make the wrong path the right one. Or at least pretend it was the right one. I thought about how much trouble it is to turn around, go back down the wrong path, revisit the map, and start again. I thought about how often I have not turned around:
In the middle of a fight with my husband.
In the middle of a meal I had been overeating.
Really far down the path of beating myself up.
Really far down the path of trying to make a group of people like me.
At the end of an interview process for a job I knew I would hate…
The list goes on.
Turning around in the middle of the wrong path is empowering. It is freeing. It requires that we stay present with this moment and what is working for us now, not what has worked for us in the past.
I learned something new. Or maybe something old in a new way.
Maybe you're a teacher who thinks you need to have all the answers.
Or maybe, just today, you just need to turn around and take the path of student.