I came across an article in Yoga Journal today that reminded me of my days as a teacher.
I found teaching very challenging. I felt emotionally and physically drained every day. I never felt like I did enough. I was always making additional handouts, looking for more manipulatives, researching different approaches, rearranging the room for maximum efficiency.There was always something and I always felt like time was imperative. After all, I was responsible for children, our most precious and valuable assets! I literally drove myself crazy trying to meet the standards and expectations of Teach For America, the school administration, the state of Louisiana, IDEA regulations, the parents, the students and most importantly myself. What I didn’t realize was that teaching is an art and although there is merit to research based teaching approaches and curriculums, what truly matters is honing the art of teaching.
How do you do that? Well, as my good friend and fellow teacher, Holly, told me, all you have to do is KISS.
No she didn’t mean make-out at school. It was an awesome acronym for:
Holly could always make me smile. 🙂
Now that my teaching days are behind me (for now anyway) I realize that KISS applies to every facet of my life. I would even venture to say that the greatest mysteries of life are not nearly as complex as we make them out to be. This is a trick of our Ego. The mind wants things to be intricate and complex and structured, because that’s how the mind operates, but that is not the true way of the world. The world is only structured some of the time, other times it’s very random. The Universe is made of prickles and goo as Alan Watts would say. Please allow him (and Matt Stone and Trey Parker) to illustrate this concept for me:
Simplicity lies in one’s ability to shift seamlessly from prickly to gooey, back and forth and back and forth, like the ocean tides. If we are always focused on security, rules and structure we become rigid and fearful. If we are always focused on freedom, creativity and excitement we become too gooey, shapeless, formless, meaningless. The key is finding the balance between the two. Knowing when to act and when to allow.
Simplicity also lies in detachment. If I have no preferences I can always make the best of my surroundings and experiences. Materialism is a sickness. We have become addicted to our things, our toys, our structure, our rules. I would even argue we have become attached to our very form. We must learn to let go a little, to become a bit more gooey and allow ourselves to become shape shifters. I believe if we can change our thinking, we can change the world.
Here is the article that sparked my creative juices today. I hope you enjoy it and have found something useful in my words as well.
Most spiritual traditions encourage simple living, and yoga is no exception. In the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali laid out the yamas (moral restraints) and niyamas (observances), a set of 10 principles that are crucial to one’s progress along the yogic path. One of the yamas is aparigraha, often translated as “greedlessness.”
The desire for external wealth causes unhappiness on both a practical level and a spiritual one. In order to afford things, you have to work long hours, leaving you less time for what truly sustains you, whether that’s yoga and meditation, a hobby, or time with your kids. An expensive lifestyle also limits your choice of career, forcing you to take a high-paying job that may not be fulfilling. It’s hard to transcend the desire for external things when we see hundreds of ads implying that happiness lies in a new iPod, laptop, or car. But despite those commercial messages, acquisition doesn’t equal happiness. Many yogis find that if they transcend their material cravings, they can lead more satisfying, albeit more modest, lives. – Yoga Journal