In addition to my work in higher education and career coaching, I'm also a student in a yoga teacher training program at Frog Pond Yoga Centre in Princeton, Mass.
One of the guiding paradigms our teacher Ann has been sharing with us is what I'll call Both/And. Can both be true? Can this be true and that be true too? Can you sit with the tension of that? Can you just notice without judgement? Can you move away from the insistence on One/Or and see the complexities of life in a new light? This is human nature, but not ego nature, so it takes some getting used to.
Lecture essays have been all the rage this week. Here's an ode to lecture in the NYT. Here's a thoughtful response on Slate.
As my different studies and interests collide and merge, this week I've been asking yoga questions to higher ed answers.
Can both be right? Can I be a sage on the stage and a guide on the side? I've been teaching for a decade. I'm trying to recall the name of one student who could only focus during lecture or a student who could never focus during a lecture. I can't. Perhaps both can be true then. Maybe lectures work sometimes for some students and active learning works sometimes for other students. Both/And. Of course essays like these can and should take a divisive stance, and I'm grateful to these authors for sparking this conversation. Essays aren't where conversations should end though, but rather where they can begin.
I speak and teach sometimes. I listen and learn sometimes too. I can listen to my yoga teachers speak for hours. There's no PowerPoint involved. No overhead projector. No screens. Nada. It's them, on the floor, cross-legged, speaking from their soul to mine. Time ceases to exist. They talk about things that matter to me, that intrigue me, like the tension between truth and kindness. I'm enthralled. There's no need for a small group activity in this space, no scavenger hunt, no one-minute assessment activities, none of it. A room of souls talking to each other, that's it.
I've also been subjected to some bad lectures and presentations in my lifetime. I've had PowerPoints read to me as if I can't read myself. I've been bludgeoned with information I've known for a decade. A soul pretending she's not one and ignoring mine is not education; it's nothing more than a bad habit devoid of pedagogical self-reflection.
We aren't bodies with souls, we are souls with bodies. No matter the delivery method, education, in my book at least, is about one soul talking to another, whether from behind the podium or not.
If your child wanted to marry a person who made he or she feel like your job makes you feel, how would you react?
I'm fascinated by people's careers, and specifically by their relationship to their careers. How did you two meet, I'll ask. Do you get along? Where do you see your relationship moving in the next five to ten years? What do you do for fun? What will you do if the fun ever stops?
People talk to me about their careers, sometimes spontaneously, and of course through my coaching work. The number of people who are in dysfunctional career relationships makes me proud of the word that I do; it's needed.
Are you in a dysfunctional career relationship? Would you stay in a romantic relationship that made you sick? Why are you willing to accept these types of feelings in your career but not in your heart and home?
Try answering the question that started this blog post. I recently posed it to a friend who answered, "Well, the way I feel about my job is that it's okay. I mean, it's not bad. It's okay." I asked if he'd be happy with his child marrying someone he felt just okay about. "Of course not." But my friend spends over forty hours a week in a career marriage that makes him feel just okay on a good day.
A couple of years ago a friend of mine passed way before his time. Then, two months later, my grandmother died. She was 96 years old and had been telling us she was ready to go for over a decade. I was struck by this juxtaposition of loss. We often say that life is short, and it is. But it is also very long. Too short to spend a minute in a bad relationship of any kind, including a career relationship. Too long to do the same.
Spend some time this week noticing the quality of your relationship with your career. Try to picture your career as a person and let the qualities of your career dictate how they appear and act toward you. What do you notice? Are you in love?
Perhaps it's time to find your dream career, because as the saying goes, there are plenty of fish in the sea.
This blog is focused on exploring ideas around yoga, career, intuition, purpose, and passion. Please leave a comment. Namaste.