June 19th, 2013 by Jan

It’s been over two years since I announced I would take a sabbatical from teaching tai chi. And yet yesterday I was asked if I was still busy with travel and classes. Even two years later, my reputation precedes my reality. I enjoyed telling the lady that I’m not in the least bit busy, and that I am amazed at how fast a day can go by when all I did was look out the window.

I love the art of tai chi and I love teaching. Being a teacher is what I always wanted to be and when I found tai chi, I found my calling. Taking time off has been good for me too.

Last November, when I was in New Mexico with my father, I agreed to teach a private lesson to a man who would be visiting BC this June. Last November, this June seemed pretty far away, so it was easy to say yes to the lesson. Also, I agreed because this man studied with Sam in Germany and Sam suggested he take a lesson.

I’ve turned down teaching offers quite often in the last two years. Sometime I think I don’t have much to offer as I’m out of the teaching habit. I don’t think of lesson plans and over the years, I’ve learned to trust my personal manual. I know my body, practice and years of study will kick in as soon as a question comes up or I cross arms with someone. Lesson unfold when we are open to them.

Picking a topic of study is a good thing, but like I said, I’ve trusted the, “Let’s see what comes up” type of lesson when I teach.

So yesterday, the man I agreed to teach last November came to Bowen Island for a lesson.

We trusted and agreed through email the “let’s see what comes up” style of lesson. We should have been more clear. What came up was the fact that we study different paths under the Tai Chi umbrella.

After a bumpy start as we looked for common ground; I worked up the courage to ask the man if he would mind very much if we passed on the lesson.

I have learned that it is no good to fake an understanding of what we don’t understand. He happily agreed and we decided to go to the beach and look at the sea instead. It worked out quite well.

I am reminded I can only teach what I know and am grateful to know, I won’t pretend to teach what I don’t know! And, still, it was good to open the door to teaching again.

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