I recently heard a teacher described as a strong teacher for the specific instances he turns into teachable moments. This has stuck with me over the past week.
Everyday the teachers at ELC are served tea during the first break. Today, a student came hauling into my class, bumped into me and spilled my piping hot tea down my arm. I seized the moment. In my pained state, I loudly asked the class to return to their seats despite the break time. I did not mention the fact that my hand was crispy, so as not to embarrass the student. Instead, I took a deep breath (maybe more than one), and I calmly explained that we all make mistakes, but our school emphasizes mindfulness.
“What does it mean to be mindful indoors?” It was not hard to elicit the proper response: move your body slowly.
Seeing as though many religious rituals serve purposes, Bhutan makes you realize that mindfulness has its place in life. Don’t be careless or you may step off the curb and fall several feet into Bhutan’s drainage ditch system. If you don’t mindfully consume your food, you may bite into a rock as my roommate did and find out that it takes 3 people, 2 Novocain shots and 1 hour to yank a tooth.
More importantly, I have learned to be more mindful of precious moments I know I will never experience anywhere else. Where else will I be shaded by a flowering apple tree, listening to a quad of students sing the afternoon prayers in Dzongkha, while I am gazing out toward the beautiful clouds hanging lower than the mountaintops? Visa extension please?