Itâ€™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 Iâ€™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.
Iâ€™ve turned down teaching offers quite often in the last two years. Sometime I think I donâ€™t have much to offer as Iâ€™m out of the teaching habit. I donâ€™t think of lesson plans and over the years, Iâ€™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, Iâ€™ve trusted the, â€œLet’s see what comes upâ€ 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 â€œletâ€™s see what comes upâ€ 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 donâ€™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 wonâ€™t pretend to teach what I donâ€™t know! And, still, it was good to open the door to teaching again.