Recently, I have been the lead lecturer of the first year Health Psychology course at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. I began the course with the intention of engaging the students in experiential learning and lively discussions. I also consciously avoided the temptation to merely read the powerpoint slides to them. As the semester has progressed, the students have meditated and visualized, listened and discussed. Some of them, however, have expressed concern that I haven’t followed the powerpoint slides closely enough. They’re worried about how they will study for and excel in the final multiple choice exam. Despite my repeated assurances, some students remain unconvinced.
At first, I felt sad that I had failed in my experiment in teaching the students how to think and to practice as naturopathic healers. I realized, though, that I had the same worries as a new student at the College. That I allowed fear to guide my thoughts and actions all too often. How it took time to ease into comfort as a naturopath and lifeline learner. So, I compromised this week and followed the powerpoint slides more closely. I met the students in the middle, just outside their collective comfort zone. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be comfortable, but learning and evolving exist outside of comfort. My job as their teacher is to offer a bridge to the places where the students fear. I hope that I have done that.
How do you stay in comfort? How do you resist the urge to stay in its warm yet stifling embrace? How have you challenged yourself to go outside of this? Let me know by posting a reply to this blog.