Category Archives: Going within

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

The middle

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Turtle eating strawberryNibble at the edges of a sweet dream that is bigger than you. Bite off more than you can chew from time to time to remind yourself to keep stretching your ambition beyond limitations. Break it down until bite size chunks of possibility emerge. Large visions are rarely swallowed whole; slow and steady, one step at a time, wins the race. By soulseeds

The last time we spoke my life was sitting on the edge of unknown change, and I am speaking to you today from the middle.

For the last months there has been change going on within and without, and as often happens in such times, my natural inclination is to withdraw, to observe, to conserve, to quietly contemplate, and to imagine the beginnings of new possibilities.

One of the great inspirations for me in these times has been the ever brilliant musings of Ian and Meg Lawton in soulseeds. They speak of life and love and have continued to seed my own morphing perspectives.

Today I was again reminded to keep nibbling away … slowly, slowly until one day I’ll be on the other side, wondering why I ever questioned that I could do it.

I wanted to share this with you, to remind you to keep daring to confront and nibble away at your own dreams, knowing that like the little turtle (tortoise??) and the strawberry, it IS possible, and it HAS to happen if it rests constantly in your imagining. We are all pregnant with possibilities awaiting birth, and it is inevitable that the time will come when they must come forth.

Keep daring, keep imagining … you and I both … and we will meet on the other side soon to share our stories of transformational change.

Tension before change – revisited

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A lot of the people I love are having BIG challenges in life at the moment, and I’ve been pondering how best to respond to their angst.

In one of my earlier posts I talked about the tension that arises when change is afoot http://wp.me/p1KRax-3S, and referenced Sanaya Roman’s exquisite ‘Living with joy’ (see link below).  I would like to revisit this with an extract of a couple of the thoughts expressed in Chapter 16 – Embracing the new that are particularly relevant to enduring these turbulent times.

‘Embracing the new means being open to having more in your life. Many of you think that what you have created up until now is the best you can do … Opening to new things means trusting and having faith in yourself and others. It means believing that the future holds joy and promise. It means believing in your growth and direction …

Opening to the new means open­ing your heart. Be willing to step outside of your nor­mal limits and viewpoints and see the world in different ways. Trust that the world is safe and know that you are the director and the producer of what oc­curs in your life.

Opening to the new takes a willingness to view the old not with hate or anger or disgust, but with compassion. Many of you leave a relationship in anger, or you buy a new car when you are mad at your old one. That is one way to leave the old and embrace the new. As you follow the path of joy you can learn to open to new things while you are in a state of acceptance and peace with the old.

When things are not going well in your life, some­times you gather the motivation and energy to change them by becoming angry or choosing pain. It need not be difficult to leave the old and embrace the new. If you start thinking of what you want, how you would like your life to be, you begin easily and automatically to draw the new to yourself. If you want something and it can only come when another person changes or acts differently, then you do not have power or control over that. The only power or control you have is over your own emotions and reactions.

If you want something new, be open to having it come from anywhere, any place, any person. Be open to surprises and new things. Keep your heart open.’

This book speaks to me of the courage and vision we require when we dare to imagine a new way forward, and it reminds me that the way forward can often appear somewhat fearsome and solitary. Sanaya Roman speaks of the tension that precedes change, and just like the arrow that sits quietly in the fold of the bow, its potential flight is entirely linked to the tension that is required.

‘What you call tension or anxiety before an event can be viewed instead as focusing your energy to prepare you for something new. It is a change in your vibration to prepare you for something that is finer and higher in your life.

 You may feel that you must first conquer fear and anxiety before you step out and accomplish something. But everyone has that inner feeling of tension to some degree before attempting new things; it la a period of gathering energy to make the shift into a higher vibration.

Every single thing that happens to you happens to assist you in bringing yourself to a higher level of evolu­tion. Even those things you call negative or bad are there to show you new ways of responding so that you may be more powerful in the future.’

If we are not living the life we were meant to live, my experience is that life gives us a massive ‘broadside’ that calls us to make change. We can cling to what we have known, and try to use familiar outmoded strategies, or we step outside of all that we have known to this point, and dare to imagine a great new way forward.

So breathe consciously, create a calm space. and imagine how your ideal future looks. Invite this reality into the now and change your thoughts and actions to reflect this new reality.

Make authentic life choices  for you, and embrace your future with joy and courage.

One more treasure I found when I chased up Stephanie Dowrick’s site … I have always loved her writing … was this little piece on staying calm and taking charge.

We can’t change what’s happening, but we can choose how we respond http://www.stephaniedowrick.com/frontpage/take-charge-stay-calm/

Living with Joy: Keys to Personal Power and Spiritual Transformation (Roman S. (1986) Living with joy – Keys to personal power and spiritual transformation H.J Kramer Tiburon Cal.) http://www.amazon.com/Living-Joy-Personal-Spiritual-Transformation/dp/0915811030.
See also http://orin_meditation2.webs.com/embracethenew.htm