How Do You Do What You Do? This questions was posed to me by one of my students who lives with chronic health. She was aware of my health baseline, and asked how I do what I do as a Tai Chi and Qigong instructor. This is a great question.
Delving deeper into her question, it was based on her impression of me during our time in class. During my classes, I have a certain spark and enthusiasm that radiates outward. In those moments I am living my passion to the fullest.
This student advised she was trying to push herself to have the same spark as me, except with the difference that this student thought I acted this way the whole time. This led onto a discussion about working to our own unique baselines and living to our own essence.
Teaching for me is; My passion, a time to learn, a time to share, a time for connection, a time to laugh, a time for challenge, a time for happiness and of course the perfect time to play Tai Chi and Qigong. It is also a place to escape and distract.
Outside of the classroom, I live with chronic and degenerative health, and my world tends to be quite small. If any of you are familiar with the spoon theory, you will understand this concept. I give my all into my lessons, and spend that time enjoying my passion for sharing the movement arts.
When I explained to this student that my life outside the classroom is filled with the ebb and flow of chronic health management, both physical and psychological, and that I am a very different person at home, than in the classroom, she visually and audible dropped all tension she had built up. Suddenly she could relate to me again, as I was once more a human with similar ups and downs in life. This common humanity, to know and appreciate that we all suffer in our own way is an important part of compassion and self-compassion practice. I chose to share my health difficulties with my students and through my blog to offer a real human connection, reassurance and hope to those living with a similar baseline. I also describe myself as the anti-guru, read more on that here.
She had unknowingly put me on a pedestal, and elevated me to a position she felt couldn't reach. I reminded her that I am the average Joe, and that all I have done is to respond to my health differently than most. I chose to study the human body in both movement and stillness to best help myself. Through years of trial and error, that journey has led me from 2006 to now. Each downturn in my health has challenged me further, to learn and understand the mind, body and spirit at a deeper level. And this is what I pass onto my students today, that there is potential in every situation.
Do what makes you happy and benefit from all of those happy brain chemicals!
My favourite quote “I’m not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it.” By Erica Cook.
I am always in gratitude to my Taoist teacher Casey Kochmer of www.personaltao.com