Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Making sense of learning

The zone of proximal development: The gap between what the learner has already mastered (the actual level of development) and what he or she can achieve when provided with educational support (potential development).

Working with the zone of proximal development, working with what you know, and expanding from there. With my client today, my intention is to work with what she knows, and to build from that. And to work with what I know and build from that.

What I know is that life begins in each moment, and life ends in each moment; that some of us want to dive into that mystery, while some of us linger cautiously on the edge.

When you're in a state of massive learning, immersed in it, all you can do is sink or swim. The first thing you need to understand in order to swim is how to float.

To float is to trust, to trust that that which is below you will hold you. To trust that you can let go of the fears that get in your way, and prevent you from finding the simplicity of floating. And to acknowledge the fears are doing their best to serve you, and to be gracious with them.

Perhaps gratitude is a similar attitude to the attitude of floating. It brings awareness to that which supports us, that which has brought us to the point where we are now, which is alive, miraculously and through the slimmest of chances, alive.

Alive, thanks to the things that feel good, like eating a big delicious breakfast with fine coffee, or sex, or a friend's listening ear, or a hug, or the sound of music, or the act of lying under a tree. Alive, also thanks to those fears that hold us back, make us hesitate, stop us from crossing the road when a bus is coming, stop us from swimming in the aftermath of a cyclone. Alive, thanks to the joys, fears and traumas of our own lived experience, and the lived experience of our ancestors, collected in our DNA.

Sometimes, the fears get in our way, but they're just doing their best to protect us from harm, pain, damage. Knowing your fears, thanking your fears, is perhaps a pathway to calming your fears, letting them rest when in fact you are supported.

To get to know your fears takes patience, quietude. For me, getting to know my fears, diving into that mystery, raises the head of an inner critic who says I'm too emotional, too feminine, too complicated. But really, I'm just very curious, about life, how it works, how I work, how people work.

And I'm curious about how we give up the unnecessary work, how we come into a state of alignment: body and action and words aligned with mind and intention and feelings, the superfluous holding patterns gradually falling away, falling to the ground, to the earth; and our gratitude, falling to the earth, where it belongs.