Changing up the faces

soryupicLast week, Center for Mindful Learning’s guiding teacher, Soryu Forall, came to our class. He had never been and didn’t know quite what to expect. He came a bit late. Our school is big. And some days, parking can be at a premium. And so he came a bit late.

He and Suzy know each other. He was expecting to see her. But he saw me instead. We had met briefly at a gathering last summer, but I apparently made no lasting impression.

But he was here. And it was good. We got the room in a circle and we started talking about feelings. And what it means to be proud.IMG_0148

What a word, “proud.” How do you explain that? You can give situations in which one might feel proud, but how do you explain that? Without words? Without context?

It’s hard. Soryu said it was when you felt good about what you did. And that’s right. But it’s still kind of nebulous.

He has a fabulous mind for names. He remembered everybody after having gone around the circle once. That’s an amazing feat: to remember names that sound so different from those we are used to hearing. He confessed to me afterwards that he was able to do that only when the names were not of the culture we’re used to. He had such an easy way with banter around the students. It was awesome.

He made one great connection, with a student who happens to be Buddhist. He thought Soryu was a lama. He’s not. But he is a teacher. And he has a great laugh that shook the room.

He talked to Suzy afterward and relayed that for mindfulness, we need to be able to differentiate positive and negative feelings, and be able to say what you do to help you get through those negative feelings: When I am angry, I breathe. When I am frustrated, I relax.

We have that sentence frame down. But I don’t think we’ve got the whole concept of positive and negative feelings down. Nor do we really have that causal relationship solidified in English.

We’ve been trying to get students to mimic the sentence, “When I am cold, I wear _____.” But I don’t think there is necessarily a causal relationship present in the construction of the phrase. Rather, it’s causal that the teacher says it, so I say it back.

It was good to have a fresh set of eyes on our class. And it was good to feel like we have a direction that will help us move forward.

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