Sometimes it's easy to get stuck on all the little stuff we "need" to do our jobs well. Candles, music, and fancy yoga pants for yoga practice. A spiffy PowerPoint presentation, brilliant group work activities, and lots of good jokes for a successful lecture. You get the gist.
There's a way in which all the insisting we do about the stuff we need doesn't give the backbone of our practice enough credit.
Today I did pretty low-tech versions of yoga teaching and university teaching. I was prepared for both to go poorly. As I planned my lecture on The Declaration of Independence, I kept feeling bad about the fact that I didn't have any good visuals or videos to illustrate my key points; similarly, I had been worrying about the fact that my yoga class for the librarians on campus was going to be without music or props. In short, I was concerned that both classes would be a little flat.
The Declaration of Independence doesn't need film clips, and yoga doesn't need a playlist. They are both fundamentally terrific as they are. Some students were perhaps a little bored that they didn't have too much to look at in my large lecture, but many responded to the powerful and interesting language of the document. Maybe it was a bit quiet in the yoga class, but the students reported feeling better afterward.
Trusting the practices, trusting the basics. These are acts of faith and humility. Realizing that you don't need to add a whole lot to what is already great. It doesn't need you. On the one hand, this could make a person feel small. But on the other, what security in knowing that our practice and our materials support us without asking much in return.
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