Through the body the mind learns. In fact, almost all learning occurs with some movement of the body. Be it the hands in knitting, moving your pen across a page, stroking your beard while thinking, doing yoga, baking bread, or performing ukemi (falling without breaking your face) in Aikido. If you move your body, you are learning.
Why is this important? When you’re trying to learn something new, finding a way to engage your body in the process can help. It can help other people too. Multiple Intelligences speaks to all our various abilities we can tap into. While it may not be accepted that doodling at the Reference Desk is paying attention, it very well could be. Doodling, walking, or find a way to be engaged. That’s good. Becoming a better learner can mean you become a better teacher.
Sometimes engaging in conversation during exercise can help. In an article on Jiu-Jitsu and his new movie, David Mamet explains:
“When I have a problem I will sometimes take it to the group,” confessed the natural-born alpha male. Mr. Mamet, who is also an ardent student of the Stoics, elaborated: “For instance, someone who I thought was a friend did something rather traitorous. I asked the guys how they would handle the situation. My teacher Renato, of course, came back with ‘Don’t carry someone else’s weight. Let him carry the weight; let it come back to haunt him.’ This is one of the central tenets of jiu-jitsu. When you carry the other person’s mass you tire yourself and so lose your ability to think clearly. That was the group’s way of telling me to let the situation go, to walk away — which I did.”
I had a habit for years now of walking with my mentors and friends. We’d have deep conversations; so much that we often easily walk for an hour. That left us wondering how we walked so far! Walking after work I’ve developed the habit of watching the trees and seeing the wind move between open spaces. All while breathing. We can do this in the library too. The walking part that is.
I like the idea of walking with our patrons into the stacks. Who doesn’t love walking the stacks? Walk out there; help someone learn something. Getting lost in the stacks a patron just reminded me: sux. Go walk and get lost yourself. Maybe you’ll find a new way to see.
All comments should be left as haiku about walking into the stacks or doing work.
TTW: Lee LeBlanc