You Can’t Teach Experience

~excerpt from the FFPI Diary~


I’m not sure who said it first, maybe Paul Kelly or Erik Dalton, but I have heard it enough from both of them and the little guy in my head that it has become a mantra of sort. “You can’t teach experience.”

This mantra allows me to forgive myself and others quite often. Not an ego driven mantra, but one of acceptance.

This mantra often presents itself as I work, at the age of 35, listening and feeling in my clients bodies, helping me to understand the road they have been down to get to where they are: physically, emotionally, spiritually, however they arrive, and in what combination. What has been their “experience”? Might they teach me that?

This mantra encourages me to continue on in my 14 year practice as a bodyworker and a teacher. All the books and blogs in the land will not give you experience in clinical application of techniques, or true understanding of complex theory in the human body. Doing will. Lots of doing. I look at the “masters” and I feel content to know that they may have more experience. It gives me hope. But it goes well beyond that.

In working relationships with people who may not value my “experience”. This mantra “You can’t teach experience”, what a trip. Sometimes I even get to see the other side, observe as another person gains experience. Oh, you hired a “cheaper” therapist, and they did not show up? Hmmm, go figure. Check that off the list, chalk it up as experience and pay attention! (which reminds me of a great discussion with my friend Kim Miller “Just Show Up!”, we’ll save that one for later.)

As a parent, God help me, this mantra rings true. The elders tell me enjoy it while you can, as I go gray, one child with a bloody nose and his hand in his pants constantly meditating on his own personal worry stone, another child’s bag stuffed with various objects he “found on the playground”, and another who thinks it’s a funny trick to tell me that he did wipe his butt when he was done. Soon they will be gone, in one way or another. Be it from the cuddle competitions, the story time, away at college, or married with kids of their own. When I ask myself “How am I doing? Why is this hard?”, I chalk it up to yet another experience, that they never taught, that can’t be taught.

And so I trudge forward, one foot in front of the other toting this pack of experience on the road for more.  Bring it on.

1 Comment

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One response to “You Can’t Teach Experience

  1. Well said, Geoffrey! I feel fortunate to be doing work that I’m passionate about and rewards me a deeper understanding as long as I stay persistent and keep plugging away. For sure, the same can be said for raising children!

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