Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lifelong Homework




I gave lots of homework these past few months at Yoga Teaching Training. Some of the homework I gave, Aura called "Lifelong Homework."

During a discussion on one of the last days, I gave our trainees the homework: "Don't Complain, Don't Explain," ever. For the rest of your life.

There's a lady here in town who signs up to sub a class for me and my friends. 95% of the time, right before the class she said she'd sub, she emails us, asking if we can sub it and explaining to us everything about her life. We know a lot about her kids, how her tires are not great in the snow, and how she and her band are frequently offered gigs last minute. I don't mean to be harsh but, I don't want to know that stuff! It's none of my business! Unless you're my friend, and even when you're my friend, I don't need to know why you can't sub my class.

"Don't Explain" is good lifelong homework and shows up everywhere, not just in yoga subbing kerfuffles. I like to practice not explaining when I mess up and someone's calling me on it. Explaining can shed light on why I messed up, sure, but lots of times, it's defensive. These days I practice keeping my apologies clean. Often, all I need to do is apologize.

I have more awareness around my "Don't Explain" practice now than I have previously. Before I start to explain, a little voice in my head asks, "Will explaining help?" And very occasionally the answer is "Yes, if you explain, this person won't get their feeling hurt." But usually the answer is "No."

As often happens, I caught myself being extreme. "Ever," and "For the rest of your life," don't fit. As with anything, there are exceptions. And awareness helps. "No, thank you," can be a complete sentence. And clean apologies rock.

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