Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Ah, paradox! That which appears most simple can be most difficult."

The title of this post is a sentence from the book, Zendurance, that I have just started reading. I am only about 10 pages in so far, but this post is not about this book.

This post is about that title and that sentence. That sentence that has come to my attention three times in less than 24 hours.

How something that is "simple" can be so difficult. How to apply the idea of simplicity into my life.

Have you ever had that moment or feeling that someone or something or some essence is trying to reach out to you? No, I am not on drugs, but weird things have happened all week to me.

To better explain let me share with you three things that happened in one day that all pertains to

"Ah, paradox! That which appears most simple can be most difficult."

1. Yesterday morning during TA we had Wellness Wednesday. This is designed for us to workon physical, mental, emotional, etc. type wellness with our students. The last few weeks we have worked on physical wellness doing pushups, planks, crunches, jumping jacks, etc. The students who are in 7th grade love to complain. They are at that age that no matter what you do or offer they will complain. They just want to sit at a computer and play games. They were tired of the workouts and always said they wanted to do nothing. I thought "perfect!" we will do just that. I am one who loves mental training, brain research, and clearing of the mind. I had the students lay on the ground and close their eyes. I gave a them a few minutes to get comfortable and use to this. I then challenged them to sit perfectly still in silence for 5 minutes trying to clear the mind of any thoughts.

Do you know what happened?

Not a single student could do it. So simple in theory. Don't move, don't talk, don't think. They fidgeted like crazy. Some had to talk, some had to "SHHHH!" the ones that talked. Some tried to make an escape when I laid down to join. They failed miserably. After 5 minutes we stopped and talked about it. They complained. So we went back to push ups and crunches.

We are going to work on this silence and clearning of the mind. Next we will go for 6 minutes. What I found interesting is that they were not able to do nothing. They are in a culture where they must check their phones, their Facebook, their text messages, the computer, the tv, the videogame, listen to their parents, coaches, mentors, go to this practice, then this practice, scarf down dinner while their brother/sister is at that practice. Gone are the days of simplicity where we just sat down at a dinner table as family and talked. Gone are the days of boredom where kids had to look boredom in the eyes, use their imganation and entertain themselves.

2.After TA I had to record a lesson for a fellow teacher for one of his grad classes. He was teaching how to use the pottery wheel. First, let me say it was one captivating lesson(no sarcasm here). It was awesome to record. Anyways, he said there was four steps to making pottery on the wheel. Each step was very simple, but that does not mean it is easy. There was the message again all within 20 minutes of one another. As I recorded his lesson I kept thinking back to my TA and how they struggled. I find it interesting that his lesson captured the essence of my 5 minutes of silence.

3. During a small break from the work of school I started to read Zendurance to clear my mind after coming back to tons of emails and work after being absent for two days with sick kids. Zendurance had that sentence posted and I about fell out of my chair.

Why 3 messages about the same thing in a matter of a few hours? Was it random or was it a sign? I am taking it as a sign because what are the odds of these three things all coming together in one day, let alone a few hours.

The question I am stuck swirling in my head is - What does it mean for me?

I have pondered. I have analyzed. I have broken down different aspects of my life to see where it fits.

-I am trying to declutter my life one step at a time and maybe this connects here about how hard it is to truly declutter and eliminate things we don't really need.

-My training schedule is hectic while coaching basketball, Lego Robotics, and family time. Perhaps I need to rethink how I am doing things here?

-On a more technical note, as I train I am getting more and more detailed in everything I do. This is just who I am. Perhaps I should just relax, push my body to the limits when it is ready and not worry about any sort of plan. I get caught up in time, seconds, distance, form, technique, nutrition, sleep, water, etc. It consumes me. That is how I operate. I get involved in something and dive headfirst until I complete my goal or crash and burn trying.

-Maybe I am missing something "Big Picture"?

It is driving me crazy.

Perhaps the answer is so simple that it is difficult to find. Ah, the paradox!