The Perils of Learning

“But you said we could go on our walk now!”

by Sandi Martinez 

It might be surprising to think that there could be any kind of peril in the act of learning.  For me personally, I can say that it’s true to some degree, and I’ve just recently found this out.

I enrolled in the Fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine course a few months back, here at RMSAAM.  I have always found TCM fascinating, and thought I would give myself the gift of finding out more about it, by yes… building a foundation for it. 

By nature, I learn by experience.  Generally, books have been for me, a place and time that I can slip into, and become anyone and everyone.  I can write them, I can read them, and I certainly do learn by reading.  Don’t we all for the most part?  The two books that are required for this course are: Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine by Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold, and Four Paws Five Directions by Cheryl Schwartz. 

Many of you whom have acquired graduate, and post-graduate degrees, are very much aware of the academic commitment required to complete this academic feat.  However, for those of us whom learn purely by experience, committing to a certain amount of outlined and required reading in order to absorb the material covered in a course(s), the romance and adventure in reading, suddenly is missing, and then there’s a bunch of white space with lots of words!  The above-mentioned books are excellent by the way, and the overall class outline is done very well, and I am finding enjoyment in this course! 

But what to do with all that white space and all the black letters?  I’ve had no choice but to read slowly, and in spurts.  And because I learn by reading, and then retype what I’ve read, it sinks in a lot better!  So you may ask, ‘what’s the peril here’? Distraction: with a capital D.  I find that I must do that load of laundry, and I must run the errands I should have run two weeks ago, oh, and what of the plants, and lawn that need watering?  Oh, and what about that other book that I checked out at the library that is now due in about … 4 days?  Or that great 5-star foreign film I also checked out at the library and is due like… yesterday?  And for heaven’s sake, my dog has been waiting by the door, his leash hanging from his mouth for like the last, half-hour!

And because I’m also a visual learner, I have also purchased Lisa Speaker’s book: The Canine Acupressure Workbook; A Learning Tool for Enthusiasts and Professionals.  Soon, I’ll be learning more about meridians.  Well there are quite a few… and Lisa’s book outlines these worksheets in easy-to-understand diagrams and charts.  I’m hoping that with my visual aptitude, I can easily ‘see’ what I’m learning, thereby eliminating the peril. 

And what is a meridian you may ask?  I guess you’ll have to wait for the second installment!  Stay tuned!