It's been some time since I've been back in the classroom, and now I find myself enrolled at VCC for the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program where we are asked to blog, beginning with a short autobiography.
I feel I have a long history of being at school - from starting University at 17, to going back to a career college for a diploma in natural nutrition, to studying yoga, and many other informal courses and apprentice-style learning such as mentoring with an executive coach that followed for several years.
In 2011 I even did a short stint going back for a second university degree in Nursing - a degree I decided to step away from - one of the first times I did not complete an educational training, which was a learning curve in it's own right. As somebody who believed quitting is not an option - that experience taught me that sometimes quitting is the right option. Then for years after that I dove right back into my entrepreneurial endeavours - which included writing and publishing my first paperback that focused on a body-mind-spirit approach to health and wellness with a focus on the 8 pillars of nutrition.
At around that time, I started to dedicate myself to learning business. I took an online course and obsessively read books, and for good measure was an avid watcher of Shark Tank ;) By 2014 an opportunity to teach business at the Nutrition School I had once attended became available to me. I took a short Instructors Course, and was already quite familiar with teaching as I had been teaching Yoga for nearly a decade by that point and had lead yoga teacher trainings. However teaching in an academic classroom was very different than teaching on a mat or the informal style of a yoga teacher training. Nevertheless, certain qualities of holding space for students and managing classroom dynamics, and using all your senses to teach the class and not the content came in handy. I still find this to be an important balance - to teach the people in front of you versus being rigid on a plan.
Teaching was fulfilling, and at times draining, as I've always been one to feel a lot of energy from others. I was also running around town at the time teaching at various colleges on top of teaching yoga classes. So when an opportunity presented itself to be a Facilitator in the Northwest Territories I figured - how could I pass this up?
Never in my life did I ever expect to travel North of 60, let alone live there, so I gave up my comforts of Vancouver including the many lucrative instructor positions I had amassed over the years to leap into the unknown.
My time up North presented an education like no other. I saw a part of Canada that was unlike anywhere else I've seen in Canada. I had an opportunity to go to some small northern communities that had reminded me of times I travelled in Central America back in my early 20s. I also learned that after braving -50, there was no weather that could stop me from being outside, as outside is my favourite place to be.
After my year up North I returned to Vancouver and enrolled at Rhodes Wellness College. Although my background had been in Psychology I felt my counselling knowledge was out of date, and I was looking for a refresher, along with a time-out to figure out my next move along my career journey. Rhodes had an experiential style of learning and openness that was something I had only experienced back at my yoga teacher training back in 2006, and I did not realize a College would have such an open hearted learning environment. I enjoyed and appreciated it and although I had an education in health coaching and had apprenticed with a coach and had worked as a coach, I decided to take another semester to obtain my official Life Coaching Certification. In a way I was using this time to figure out my next move, as I was certainly in a place of life-transition at the time.
I left Rhodes and decided it was time to get out of the city and found my way to island. I wasn't completely sure what my next step would be, but I'd always been an entrepreneur in the health and wellness realm, and stepping into the unknown was something I'd done many times before.
Just as I was preparing to leave Rhodes a new President came to the College, and in a meeting with him I was granted a short contract to develop some new programming. The new President saw my background, the fact I had a published a book and took a bet on me to work on some new course developments. Well that initial short contract turned into a bigger contract and now over 2 years later I am still with the college on a part time basis working remotely from the island, while still involved with my entrepreneurial pursuits as a Life Coach, Writer, and building my vision of Ecotherapy Adventures - the healing path of nature's wisdom as teacher.
Being involved in curriculum development I was presented with the opportunity to take the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program at VCC - and so now, here I am - back in the classroom - an unexpected yet deeply appreciated opportunity.
Although I do not know the full scope of where this will lead, I am embracing the practice of being present, and doing my best to show up fully while juggling multiple projects. A quote that's been coming to me lately has been
"The Tao does nothing but leaves nothing undone" -Lao Tzu
- The Tao is the way, the flow of life. I find when I remember to flow, that all things will fall into place and this is certainly a lesson that is coming up for me now as I do my best to flow with the range of work and educational opportunities that are are with me now.
Copyright Tova Payne 2022.