Category Archives: Challenging times

On a day that celebrates Mothers

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Bear&wolf

There are precious people in my life who are beautiful babies, who have beautiful babies and who miss beautiful babies

There are precious people in my life who are mothers and who have mothers and who miss mothers

There are precious people in my life who are playing mother for those who are absent

To each of you I send my love and my blessings and my hope for a day

Filled with the deeply held knowledge that you are surrounded by great love

The secret to a good life

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According to Scott-Peck in ‘The road less travelled’ (1979), education comes from the word ‘educare’, meaning to ‘bring out from within’ or to ‘lead forth’. The art of teaching then, much like Socrates’ allusion to teachers as mid-wives (Plato’s Theaetetus), might be seen as concerned with drawing out what is already contained within the learner, bringing it into their conscious awareness.

In my experience, rather than trying to shovel information into people, the practice of learning and teaching should always be learner-focussed, most often achieved through facilitating a social ‘space’ where learners are given permission to go on a quest – an adventure of personal discovery into the self.

This space of learning can transpire through a social, collaborative process where individuals share and critique their own assumptions, experiences and perspectives of personal learning and knowing. Through this often disorienting quest to uncover/discover/rediscover the truths and strengths that lie within, individuals can begin to find new ways of seeing themselves and the world around them, and begin to consider the rich opportunities they have to engage with and impact on this newly perceived world. For me, mine is a process of supporting the ‘restorying’ of learners’ perspectives on what they see as possible for them in life. As an ‘educator’ of adults returning to study, I find the greatest satisfaction in supporting these transformations of self and potential.

Today, as I’ve been continuing my own PhD learning quest, pursuing a greater understanding of how we can best support teachers in their own transformative journeys of learning, I have come across an article from the Gallup Blog, the company that provides us with a myriad of statistics on all manner of fascinating stuff. The article is entitled ‘Teaching may be the secret to a good life, and in it, Brandon Busteed, Executive (Director of Gallup Education) and Dr. Shane Lopez (Gallup Senior Scientist) discuss their findings about the satisfaction rates of teachers in America.

Even while identifying the second highest levels of stress of all fourteen vocational areas surveyed, teachers rate the second highest level against emotional health and wellbeing. Though not perceived as a vocation pursued for financial gain, teachers surveyed responded that they get to “use their strengths and do what they do best every day”, and are most likely to report experiencing happiness and enjoyment (Busteed and Lopez, 2013).

This leads Busteed and Lopez to propose that as the title suggests, a career of teaching may well be the secret to a good life. They reflect on the benefits of working in such a richly rewarding vocation, and consider the value of great teachers in our lives … those who have inspired and encouraged us in pursuit of our sometimes lofty dreams, urging us to reach ever higher as the experience of life crafts us into the truest expression of ourselves.

I am not alone in knowing that the value of great teachers is true in many contexts. Those who have had the privilege and challenge of raising children and those who mentor, coach and lead with gentle strength each day in their work, sport and recreational lives may well have inspired and experienced the same richly rewarding outcomes.

So thank you to the educators in all contexts who continue to inspire and encourage us on our journey to the fullest expression of ourselves. May they realise the grandest of lives.

 

Busteed, B & Lopez, S. (2013) Teaching may well be the secret to a good life.  The Gallup Blog. http://thegallupblog.gallup.com/2013/03/teaching-may-be-secret-to-good-life.html

Peck, S. M. (1978). The road less travelled. New York: Touchstone.

Plato (circa 257 BC). Theaetetus Translated by Cornford, F. M. (1930) pp148e-151d. http://www.phy.ilstu.edu/pte/310content/philosophy/midwife.html

Every ending is a new beginning … every beginning is a new ending … every ending is a new beginning …

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Wow!
IMAG0219It’s been quite a journey over the last months. I have left my employment of twelve years; enrolled full-time in my PhD; moved to another educational institution, returning to sessional teaching in Leisure & Health to support the professional development of health practitioners; continued my studies in yoga training in Satyananda Ashram in Mangrove Mountain, NSW, and have just returned from four days in spectacular Perth, presenting and sharing in the dissemination of knowledge around vocational education here in Australia.

Swami Satsangi Easter3a 2013 (2)

By far the most humbling experience though has been my time spent with four hundred other yoga devotees at Satyananda Ashram in Rocklyn with Swami Satsangi during her Easter visit. Through this I have received the blessing of initiation into Satyananda yoga, and am humbled to have been given my spiritual name and mantra by the magnificent Swami Satsangi to support me as I grow in consciousness.

‘Wow’ doesn’t come close to expressing where I’ve been and where I’m at.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Satyananda-Yoga-Rocklyn-Ashram/136861662992393
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8becSAKonQ

When we finally open to the winds of change, you can’t know where it will take you. It’s hard to know which way is up when you surrender to a whirlwind. Every ending opens to a new beginning, every beginning brings with it an unexpected new story with a soon-to-be-discovered new ending. Where we begin and where we end and where we begin again is transformational if we are open to it.

Consider the whirlwinds, the tearing and battering that takes place as we yield to the forces of nature that are one with each of us. Consider the inconceivable heights to which we soar in the fulfillment of our dreams. Every experience that is part of our everyday is critical to us becoming the fullest and truest expression of ourselves.

IMAG0184Often we can’t see where we’re going, or what we’ve left behind … but we should always trust that it is going to be spectacular if we follow our hearts to the natural end … so that we can begin anew, all over again.