Mindful learning: a new (multilingual) blog and video series
After (a bit more than) a year of slowing down, deep self-reflection, profound inspiration-seeking and consistent inner work, I decided to start a new blog and video series called "Mindful learning". 2020 was a strange year indeed. A trigger. A proof that everything in this life is temporary and one of our biggest assets is flexibility, our ability to adapt and carry on. So many people had not arranged their lives and lifestyles based on these qualities, consequently they are now having incredibly hard times.
We are living revolutionary times; The world is upside down, more and more people having mental breakdowns or mental disorders, suffering from anxiety, loneliness, boredom, disappointment and all kinds of heartbreaking stories. Not to mention those who had their business closed, lost their jobs and/or loved ones.
As far as I can see, many of us came to the conclusion that it is time to change. In numerous aspects of our lives. One of them is paying more attention to ourselves and our inner worlds. Our thoughts and feelings, our deep-rooted patterns and all those stories we are consciously or unconsciously telling ourselves. And by paying attention as a first step we might eventually arrive to the point of changing negative thoughts, negative habits and living more enjoyable and fulfilled lives. Chasing dreams and butterflies, riding unicorns and all, you know that kind of lifestyle...
Now just in case you are thinking: "oh great, another person who wants to save me and the world with her empty words and her DIY wisdom" plesase let me tell you:
This is something I strongly believe in because I have gone through some intense transformation in the past 5 years (and 2020 was the most intense one of them all). Just ask my family or friends about it. ;)
Something else I strongly believe in is:
No person can tell another person: "This method/process/thought/idea is something I strongly believe in because I went through it myself so it is the best for you too, just listen to me, it works." We are all different. We all have different hard-wired bullshit in our brains, we all use different excuses when we want to get out of something and we all explain in different ways why our reasons are the only valid ones. Oh, and our butterflies and unicorns are different, too.
I have been travelling and living in different countries for the past 18 years and have discovered and experienced how many possible ways of doing things and dealing with life there are. As any avid traveller would tell you, nobody would ever treat their valuable items the same way in Colombia as in Thailand. For example.
What I am trying to express with this (slightly lame) example is that we really can't give one solution that fits everyone. I believe we all should be curious, search for information, listen to and process the knowledge we find, evaluate it based on our values and see what we can incorporate into our systems and ways of thinking. Aslo, and most importantly we should see what triggers us in negative ways and think about the possible reasons. And try to remain open and curious through it all.
What I am going to write and talk about here is not only my own thoughts.
I feel incredibly lucky and grateful to live in this time and age when so much inspiration and wisdom is available out there. Well, just about everywhere. Magnificient books, articles, podcasts, videos, published in different languages. Being a polyglot and understanding valuable information, theories and stories in 8 languages does have its benefits after all. More possibilities, more variety, more wisdom.
I admire and devour the work of so many university professors, philosophers, educators, writers, thinkers, entrepreneurs, business people, meditation teachers, monks, doctors, scientists (especially neuroscientists and social scientists), psychologists, spiritual leaders.
So often my mind is on fire when I think about the possibilities of blending my own ideas and experience with those of all these marvellous and bright people who are working on spreading their positive message in the world. So here is my little grain of sand, my contribution as a humble language teacher with her aspirations to help some more people who might need to hear/read exactly these words.
In this case you can listen to them in Spanish if you watch the following video. (Oh, you don't speak Spanish? Well, I happen to know a very good teacher ;))
I have been teaching languages for 10 years and have had the honour to meet and work with students from more than 10 different countries. Based on my work with them I came to some conclusions about the difficulties, fears, struggles, but also the victories, the effort, joy and pride we all share in the process while we try to learn new things, may they be concepts, ideas, grammar or pronounciation rules...
In my experience, no matter the nationality and the background, most students' biggest issues are related to their self-esteem, their ideas about their worth and their level of knowledge, their "I am not good enough" feeling, their fear of failrue and consequent nervousness when it comes to speaking to strangers in other languages... and the need to prove something to themselves, to someone else or to the whole world.
None of us is given a rulebook to operate the human mind.
We don't really learn how to move through difficult times, how to live in awareness, how not to let our strong emotions gain control over us and our lives. It is actually a skill we can all learn. Plus most of us are educated and taught to be "normal" which is what we need to unlearn first if we aim to focus on our wellbeing and on regulating our negative thoughts and emotions. And on learning languages, of course.
I am going to write and talk about how we can unlearn and realize that there are more alternatives than we might have thought. Also about how much we can learn from people from different walks of life that many of us may not encounter in our daily lives, such as monks, athletes, neuroscientists, high achievers, etc.
As we are all different and there is no universal solution that fits all, it is then up to every one of us to try and see which idea, which method works in our case. And in case a whole idea or method does not seem right, the option of taking just that little useful part out of it always remains. We can always experiment, see what brings positive effects in our lives and create our own personal wisdom. So in case you asked me, my advice would be: find what is constructive for you, look for balance, listen to your intuition, focus on the positive and try to transform those negative energies.
What works for me personally? A healthy balance somewhere between the American "work hard, work hard" philosophy (yes, you read that correctly) and the Eastern "just be aware, observe and accept it all" calmness. Adding a few pinches of fun too. Cause that's what life's about after all.
Thanks to mindfulness and regular meditation I learnt to be more gentle and kind to myself and at the same time I realized that discipline might also come from the inside, it is not always an outer force I need to avoid as much as possible. Now I am more consistent with my projects (oh yes, I am so going to finish this series, just wait and see!) Also, now I pay more attention to how I speak to myself and to others, how I treat myself and others, I try to be more patient, accepting and nurturing. I accept that I am making mistakes and will keep making them till the end of time... So do others. Still, I keep walking. We keep walking. The best I can give others is my open ears, eyes and heart. I can listen to them, accept them and support them. And most of the time that's really more than enough. It has been a hard and illuminating path and I haven't arrived yet. We never really arrive, there's lifelong learning, hey.
I repeat: It is time to change. I think avid learners, curious people, those who enjoy discovering, travelling, exploring new cultures and languages and those who care about themselves and about other people around them could benefit from the upcoming Mindful learning series.
Time for more awareness.
(And I was just about to write Namaste cause I was in such a flow, but then I did stop.)