Thursday, July 29, 2010

Right Where We Are

Teaching in New York it’s no wonder that parents are concerned with their child’s “progress.” Mothers often question me as to whether their child is learning the proper technique in our classes and whether they are progressing at the right rate. My answer is always the same: your child is right where they need to be.

Let’s think about that. So rarely in life do we ever hear those words: right where we need to be. I talk a lot about how the children I teach help me to stay present, to live completely here and now, but as adults we often need to remind one another, as well. Children as amazing at this. They are not concerned with the proper way to hold a club but rather the joy they feel at doing it. They are present, alive, focused on the sheer magnitude of what it means to channel the energies of a moment and live completely in the present.

Don’t get me wrong, the children I teach learn real skills. I wouldn’t be a good instructor if I didn’t give them things to build on, and shape their future game, but I think the most important thing my students get from me is the space to be exactly where they are, to let the joy and complete presence of experience swell around them and allow that moment to carry them on to the next and the next and the next. Because the truth is we all are in process. Perhaps when we are learning a new skill or watching a child develop this process is more apparent but we are all, every single last one of us, works in progress.

Recently I had the supreme honor of being Golf Digests “top 20 under 40.” There were some amazing teaching professionals in the category and the entire experience was incredibly inspiring. During an interview to correspond with the article one of the questions they asked me was to talk a bit about a student of mine. Many people noted pro golfers, etc. My answer? My six year old student Katie. At practice we were working on Katie’s chip shot. The club was heavy for her and she was having a hard time just holding it. Katie wasn’t concerned, though. Katie was happy to be right where she was. She built up a little more as the week went on and by Friday she was holding the club like a pro. Was she doing a chip shot? No. But she was holding a club and she couldn’t have been happier with her progress. She couldn’t have been happier period. This is because children know something we don’t. They know something about being where they are when they’re there. They don’t think about the future because it doesn’t matter. Everything is irrelevant besides this moment. Where we’re going and where we’ve been have no significance if we don’t know and appreciate where we are.
Take some time this week to be where you are. I have a feeling if you stop and look around, you’ll be happy to find yourself there.

Breathe and be present,