An animal lesson:
A very affectionate cat has been hanging around the Airbnb. The former "resident" called her Paris, but we didn't call her anything - at first, I really enjoyed her company, she came meowing like crazy, asking to be pet, and I loved it - but then it became too much, too clingy for me, and now I just shoo her away. She walked around with a big belly and that meant she was either pregnant or sick - but a couple of days ago she came back with a flat belly and swollen nipples.
Seeing where she lays with her kittens, in this hot desert climate, with no home, by herself with her babies, made me feel differently about her. I saw her as this clingy needy cat, but ultimately, the reality is she is a single mom, in nature, in a barren land. She's a hard-ass, experienced survivor, and I respect her now as I see her in this different light.
This, again, teaches me a lesson in empathy - we can't judge people's struggles and experiences by a single aspect of their behavior. Animals aren't different from humans, maybe just more pure in their form of expression.
A lesson from a thing:
In a book I listened to called "beginners", about how to cultivate a lifelong learning process, I learned that being around people who do similar things to what we do, even hobbies and just "serious stuff", can make us better at the things we do. Also, being around people and who are curious and open about learning, makes us learn better.
The examples were:
A choir, whereby being around people who sing, you get a better sense of how you're singing and can tune your own voice by referencing others, be more accurate, and also just overall feel better about yourself and have more confidence - thereby performing better overall.
Another example was of cyclists who compete - studies showed that they had the best times and results when riding in groups, not solo, contrary to what some may think.
The power of doing things in groups is something I'm still exploring, being someone who enjoys doing things alone. It seems that this phenomenon - "Social Facilitation" - is very powerful and can upgrade my teaching methods and skills.
Here's Taylor, Elijah, Deenie and me dancing our "Best Dance"