Everyone has their place in this world and everyone has their process

It’s rare to see mushrooms in the forest behind our house. But during a week this past summer, they were everywhere… and so many different types! Tiny and pancake sized ones; tight clusters and spread out villages; yellow, white, red, brown, and blue ones; some that looked like freshly baked buns; old ones; dying ones; freshly popped out ones; some with thin stems and others with thick ones.

All these varieties were just waiting for the right conditions so they could emerge. They needed rain, heat, plus the right type of soil to expand into their uniqueness.


I think that’s what we do too. We need the right environment to flourish into our true selves.

South Korea has done that for me. There’s something about this land, the people I’ve met, and the circumstances I’ve encountered that have helped me get back to my center. It’s not easy to explain why.

Since moving to Korea twelve years ago, people have often asked me when I’m going to move back to Canada. I understand that my family and friends back home care about me, and want me closer. And it’s not like I don’t want to be close to them. It’s also not like my proximity means I love them less. 

In Korea, people ask me how long I plan to stay here. I understand. It makes sense to assume that the land where we grew up would be the land we are meant to live our adult lives (assuming we aren’t forced to move due to war or an environmental tragedy). 

There seems to be something almost illogical, if not inherently wrong about choosing to live in another country. At least that’s the feeling I get when I hear these questions. 

I’ve often wondered if I’d get the same questions if I were living in a European country or Australia. I’m not so sure. I can understand why friends and family might be concerned that I’m living in South Korea. It’s not like the peninsula gets the most positive international news coverage. I also understand why my Korean friends wonder why I live here when life in Canada is often idealized.

But there’s nothing illogical or wrong about it. There’s no justification or explanation necessary. Like those mushrooms, we all have our own unique place in the world to emerge into.


I used to try to make sense of why I choose to live here. It’s not like it’s been perfect. There are many things I don’t agree with that happen in this country. I’ve also struggled with adapting to certain parts of the culture. But I have a feeling this happens to everyone, no matter where they choose to live. 

I’ve stopped trying to explain myself. All I know is that it feels right. It felt right the first time I set foot here. I felt free. I felt at peace. I felt at home. 

Each place we choose to live in is part of our process. It’s a manifestation of what we need to learn. I now know I had to come to Korea to learn some very important lessons. So why question this? We don’t know what another person needs to learn in this lifetime. 

If you’re curious to learn what lessons a certain place could have in store for you, you might enjoy this discovery. I recently learned about astrocartography, which basically charts how different places on earth could affect you based on your astrological reading.

Because I use astrology to gain insight, not to predict my future or explain my past, when I read what South Korea meant for me astrologically, I was pleasantly surprised. It made so much sense and reflected a lot of my experience.

The MC line represents the realisation of lifetime goals and the safeguarding of important social standing. Connection with planet Chiron leads to fundamental changes of your personal views regarding these. Traditional value systems lose their meaning, your ideals dissolve and your ideas of success or a career start to transform.

This change is mainly due to some deep personal crises whose origin lies in connection with professional disappointments. A feeling of not being able to complete your tasks can add to your insecurity.

You query the sense and purpose of your previous activities. You feel manipulated and rebel against all expectations in search of your own destiny.

Far from all convention, you enter a new field. You gain insights from humanistic and psychological teaching as well as esoteric understandings. Your personal wishes and egotistically motivated interests become less important. That is why these regions are particularly suited to the healing professions. You experience an increase in energy as well as recognition and acceptance.

Note: You can get your reading for free here: AstroClick Travel Horoscope.

But you don’t need to have your charts done in order to know where you need to be. Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Then, take a few moments with these questions:

  • In what environment do you feel most at ease?
  • Where do you shine the most? 
  • What does your body tell you about where you are now?
  • Where do you feel free, or at peace, or at home?

You might realize you’re already in the mushroom cluster that was meant for you, or maybe you’ll understand it’s time to find the village you’ve always been curious about.

To receive bi-weekly updates, sign up for my mailing list HERE.

SaveSave

Advertisements

PS. Thank you – somewhere in Daegu a teacher trainer is smiling

This arrived in my inbox. I share this message because it warmed my heart.

“PS. I can’t recite exactly what I’ve learned from day 1 till now in your class, but I feel sure that I’ve learned about how to organize the lesson from the students’ perspective and how to build the lesson step by step. even though I have a hard time doing my lesson that way at the moment, it seems I’ve found in which direction to go. That’s a big leap for me. Thank U !”

The semester ends in two weeks.  Knowing that I reached at least one teacher is one of the best New Year’s gifts I could receive.

Learning is a…Process3

Learning No.3: Time to Process, Time to Reflect

I believe that student feedback is a teaching compass. Although it takes a bit of courage to receive feedback on my classes, it provides invaluable insight into how I can create more effective lessons. The two usual questions I ask my participants at the end of each session are along these lines: What did you learn during the session that was significant or important for you, and why was it significant? Would you change anything about your learning experience in order to increase your learning, and if so, how would you change it? Some answers don’t reflect their learning. Instead they offer me warm words of encouragement for a job well done. I smile when I read these comments, and wonder if these comments are subconsciously meant for themselves.

During the fall semester, one participant’s answer to the second question reminded me about the importance of a learning skill I claim to practice on a consistent basis: reflective inquiry. She hoped that we could spend more time in class to reflect on what we learned during the lesson, and expressed how this would help her understand and internalize the subject matter.

I was embarrassed. As a student of experiential education at SIT, and the fact that I base this blog on reflective practice, how couldn’t I have noticed that I had exempted time for reflection in most of my lessons? She had placed a magnifying glass on my bad teaching habit. I have a tendency to place too much emphasis on the experience, and as a result, there is little time left at the end of class to look back on what happened. I was grateful for this participant’s insight into her learning process, and her willingness to share her need with me.

I have come to understand that it is my job to create an experience for my learners. However, without me facilitating an environment of reflective inquiry, I also believe that learning has a lesser chance of happening. Experience without reflection is like running in a mouse wheel: the scene stays the same, and we don’t get anywhere.

In her article Defining Reflection: Another Look at John Dewey and Reflective Thinking Carol Rodgers explores John Dewey‘s theories on experiential education. I revisited this article today to help me clarify why reflection is such a powerful learning tool. To sum up, reflective inquiry increases learning because it allows you to put an experience into slow motion, and in doing so, you are more able to place meaning on this event. Once you find meaning in an experience, you are then more able to act on this experience. This circles back to last week’s entry on meaning and motivation.

The slow motion I mentioned is also what I call process. Learning takes time. It’s a process. Sometimes we only understand a lesson months after we were exposed to it. The length of time it takes to really sink into learning something new depends on each individual. But a valuable lesson I’ve learned from being a learner myself is if we don’t give our minds space to breath and expand, it is hard to take in new information. The reflective process aims to provide such space.

When we act on what we have learned from reflecting on an experience, it means that we are playing with new knowledge and trying to make it our own. We are placing our own meaning on our learning via our planned and subsequent action.

So how did I respond to my participant’s request? I went back to my days at SIT with Pat Moran, dug up my handouts on the experiential learning cycle, and I went back to class with a new plan. I provided an experience (an activity around language learning). I asked them to think back on what we did, sticking to facts, not interpretations. Then I asked them to think about the benefits or shortcomings of this activity as it would relate to their teaching contexts. Finally, I asked them how they would use or adapt this activity for their students. I helped them connect meaning to their experience.

I know how valuable reflection is for learners, and I also know how valuable it is for teachers. For teachers, it helps us remember what our students experience during our lessons. It helps us be better teachers. This participant reminded this of this value.

From now on I will do my best to save time at the end of class for reflective inquiry and processing. My aim is to create space.