I've been focusing a lot on the scientific portion of my teacher training. The reason is twofold: 1) I had never taken an anatomy class before and am desperately curious about the ins and outs of the human body, and 2) My best pre-tai chi martial art memory is from an instructor who gave me advice in "real life" terms. I had been attempting a version of kung fu and the other instructors would give me advice on certain moves, telling me it would open up my chi. I didn't have much of a belief system in internal energy at that time, so the advice went in one ear and out the other. It wasn't until two or three classes in that I had an instructor tell me to do something because it opened up my chest and made it easier to breathe and get oxygen into the body. For some reason, that bit of pragmatic reasoning stuck with me and I want to teach my own tai chi (and someday yoga) classes with the same type of, "Yes, there is a mystical side, but it's okay if you want to focus on the more empirical benefits."
But I digress.
While I enjoy my anatomy textbooks (even though I don't enjoy trying to remember the key terms for when a certain muscle does a certain thing at a certain time...), I have also been reading slightly more "hippy" books. From Deepak Choprah's "Seven Laws of Success" to a book by an American woman who adopted an Indian name, I've been reading about pure consciousness and pure potentiality and things happening for a reason.
Now, some of this I love. I'm a huge fan of Jung and the idea of the collective unconscious, and a lot of this falls into his teachings. But some of it is a lot harder to swallow. Like taking in every action and reaction and going, "What is the universe trying to tell me?"
Yesterday, I couldn't find my keys. I finished up my class and my keys were no where to be found. They weren't in my purse, in my coat pocket, and the doors to my car were locked. I wandered up and down the parking lot, looking for a big red lanyard that is impossible to miss, all the no avail. I tore apart the yoga studio and emptied my bags three times. Nothing.
Instead of getting upset about the lost keys (particularly the lost lanyard, which I've had since orientation week before college. It's so old that the "Northeastern University" print has long been worn off), I told myself, "What is the universe trying to tell me with losing my keys?" I figured it was a better way to use my brain energy than to quell the rising panic over losing my keys (which is my typical MO: panic, freak out, cry, then feel silly for panicking), so I genuinely wondered. What are the benefits to losing these keys? Is the world trying to tell me to slow down a little bit? Is this a reminder that I need to be deliberate in everything I do? Am I supposed to stay in this town longer than I meant to?
I didn't find the answers, but it did keep me calm until a student called me up, apologizing profusely, telling me that she had accidentally grabbed my keys, thinking they were her own (since she also has a red lanyard with a hiker's clip).
And who knows, maybe that was the answer: keep calm and think until it works out. Maybe there's something to this new-age thinking after all.