Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another way home

Today, while driving home from gymnastics with the kids, I decided to avoid the highway.  This was just a hunch, a feeling.  I just remembered entering the highway on many occasions, staring at the traffic, and wishing that I knew another way home.

Learning can look less efficient

As I drove by the entrance to the highway, I didn't know what to do next.  I did have a GPS, but as you know, the GPS will try to get me back on the most logical path, in this case, the highway.  I had to ignore the GPS, follow my nose, take a turn here and there that the GPS suggested, until I saw a road that looked familiar.  "I know where this is!"  I thought.  This was North Ave, but much farther up than I had ever driven before.  Just to solidify the connections that were forming in my mind, I continued to ignore the GPS, drove along North Ave until I saw the familiar spots, then drove confidently all the way home.  An 18 minute journey became 35 minutes.  I learnt something new.


I'm learning to knit.  I get to learn so many things alongside our children in our homeschool.  Knitting is just one.  I decided to knit Zachary a scarf as my first knitting project.  At the rate I'm going, I may never knit again.  It is sooo slow!  I would have been much further along with the scarf if I had decided to crochet it, something I have been able to do since the age of nine.  Currently, with knitting, I'm clumsily going along, almost stabing myself with the needles, asking my eight year old daughter to help me, to show me a stitch, etc.  I am transitioning from conscious incompetence to conscious competence.  She thinks I'll be done with the scarf in February.  She might be right....

I'm realizing that I love to learn.  Once I've decided to be curious, I thoroughly enjoy the process of grappling with something, figuring it out and increasing my level of competence.  This is especially true if I think I'm going to have to explain the process to anyone else.  Sometimes that somebody else is ME.  I can't tell you how many times I have been able to apply learning in one area to another challenging situation.  My belief that I'm learning something that is possibly useful in the future helps protect me from labeling my experiences as inefficient and tedious.

But that's fine for when I'm not in a hurry!
Today was an easy example.  I was in no particular rush to get home.  I had the luxury of exploring.  It's somewhat more difficult for me when I'm focussed on a particular destination, trying to get there in the most efficient manner possible.  Then, the various occurances that look like obstacles aren't so intriguing.  I'm not the least curious about the possibilities in these new experiences.  So often, my focus on a particular outcome, and a particular procedure for achieving that outcome, shuts me down from the endless learning opportunities and applications in the present moment.

My mantra for this past year has been to 'slow down'.  That helps me to quickly get into a 'present' frame of mind.  When I'm present, I'm open to the posibility that there may be other procedures that will get to my desired outcome, and other outcomes that I may find desirable.  Whether I am being focussed and efficient, or meandering around smelling the flowers, I can be mindful of the generosity of the universe and the infinite possibilities present in any moment.

Today was another reminder that there are always so many possibilities for getting home.  Home can look like anything I create it to be in the moment, and as I get new insight, as I change, home can change, and that's ok too.  Have a wonderful weekend staying present and curious about everything around you!  You might be surprised what you learn!

P.S. Speaking of being present, it's still not too late to get your holiday presents (a bad pun, I know) and support my fundraiser to help a family affected by autism.  Go to http://www.fclarke.ordermygift.com/ or contact me (faithclarke@gmail.com).  I can create an e-gift, which is a redeemable link to an item, or set of items that your recepient would choose from. No worries about shipping it on time.

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