Thursday, November 8, 2012

Snapshots of Learning

The year before the wedding, my future-husband and I lived in Prescott, Arizona. We attended a few yoga classes together. The year after the wedding, we lived in Niagara Falls, NY. We attended a few more yoga classes together.

Talking about a pose one night, he said: Well, you'll always do *this* with your back, and demonstrated drawing his shoulder blades together and down.

How do you know that? I asked. We only attended a few classes! You remember that pose?

No, but I remember the basic principles. How they felt in my body. You don't?

No, I replied, I remember a bunch of chanting in Sanskrit.

* * *

He came home from the grocery store tonight, began unpacking the bags while I packed my yoga mat and CDs to leave for work. Both of us running around our respective rooms while the kids sat at the dining room table eating greek yogurt, he says: I bought some C-H-E-E-S-E C-R-A-C-K-E-R-S at the grocery store tonight, for you to give the kids tomorrow.

I'm still visualizing the letters in my head when the four year old pipes up, with great excitement: Daddy, did you get CHEESY CRACKERS for us!?

* * *

When I began studying yoga, I read all the books I could find. I wanted to know everything there was to know. I learned to stand from this website. I read it, and read it, and read it. 

I read it aloud to myself, while standing.

I copied and pasted it into a word document. I bolded print. I cut excess verbiage, and added bullet points. I read it again, just the bullet points, while standing. I read it aloud during one of my classes, while students stood in tadasana, eyes closed.

My most difficult student interrupted me, to say scornfully: This is a bunch of shit.

I replied, zenlike: just try your best, and if the instructions are too much, tune them out and focus on your breath.

* * *

I remember our boy trying to learn to jump. He tried, and tried, and tried. He just could not clear the ground. The desire was there, but the flesh (or maybe it was the muscle) wasn't willing. It took months.

Our daughter was doing somersaults around 18 months.

How old are you supposed to be to do somersaults? the husband asked me, and I replied: Oh, I can't remember! It's one of those details I'll have to look up.

The first website that came up on google listed it as a 3-5 year old skill.

And then, last month, when she was 21 months old, my friend said: she puts on her own socks, boots and coat? I'll have to teach my 2 year old to do that!

I didn't teach her, I said, somewhat puzzled. I'm actually not sure when she started doing that.

* * *

We were talking one night, late, and quite possibly full of wine. I think we must have been grad students, both of us majoring in education. We'd been married a couple years at this point.

I like to know ALL the details, he said, hands drawing wavy lines through the air as they spread apart, as if to symbolize the potential exponential growth of detail.

My eyes got big. A lightbulb went on in my head. I HATE details! I told him enthusiastically, I want to know the BIG picture! Without it, the details make NO sense whatsoever! And even once I UNDERSTAND it, I prefer bullet points!

He stared back at me with eyes like saucers. I HATE bullet points! And if you give me the idea, without the details, it means, like, NOTHING! Give me the DETAILS! And I'll give YOU the big picture!

We stared at each other, like strangers who had only just met.

Everything about all of our conversations suddenly made so much more sense.

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