My time teaching abroad in India is coming to a close. As the time for anything to end comes close I observe that the challenges you have been faced with all along become more vivid. One of those great challenges for me is the Indian timetable or lack there of. As a nomadic traveler this bothered me seldom,here now working in my career which I love and value very much I am constantly faced with it and it rips me apart.
In my old teaching grounds of San Francisco and even when I was in France, if you were late you called, you never not showed up without calling, and you were held accountable for my time, meaning you were charged. It was a rare occasion for any of that to happen I will add, my clients back home showed up on time ready to dive deep and truly valued their time. The studio was a home away from home for them, they would walk in early grab a roller do some standing footwork, or simply watch... it was cozy and warm, a most welcoming experience.
My love for what I teach is deep. When I am not able to give a full lesson because of lateness or someone doesn't bother to show up or even worse does not even bother to communicate why...I feel hurt. I feel hurt with the thoughts that they have little value for themselves, for me, and for Pilates. It doesn't make me happy to charge someone that late cancels or chooses not to show up. I want to help, I want to give its why I chose this path or rather it chose me because this is my great gift. Teaching in India has been one of the hardest teaching experiences of my life so far. Not because things have gone upside down as laid out to me, that was hard to accept, but because of the lack of accountability held with clients.
After a no show and then arriving 30 min late to a lesson with me walking into the studio talking on her phone for another five minutes, with no apology of being late I had, had enough. I know that there are differences in the way my western mind works and her eastern one works, but respect is an international language. I calmly stated that it would have to be a shortened lesson due to her lateness and I had a client right after her, she remarked she didn't care she wanted a shorter lesson anyway as she as hungover. Okay i said that is fine but I asked that in the future if she could at least communicate that she would be late or not show up as courteous gesture. This was not welcomed or appreciated, therefore as you can imagine the lesson did not carry through.
Thats just how India is show up when you show up , still expect whatever it is they expect from you, its hard, its weird and I feel so confused most of the time. Like I said before as a nomadic traveler I love it, I practice patience, and I love the feeling of going with the flow, but for some reason when it comes to my work ethic here, it has been my greatest challenge. I value the work of Pilates, I know what I have to offer and now know I am not willing to sacrifice the respect I put on those gifts.
Is that egotistical of me to say? maybe. But I believe for me its more like this. I am challenged with the fact that Indians don't value time like we westerners do, Okay, so I am here to challenge the Indian clients at Pilates for Wellbeing to value their Pilates time. For me I believe when it comes to your body and showing up for your body, there is no reason to let bad habits stay bad habits and it starts with showing up. When I watch the body in front of me move and I see they shove with their back or tuck their butt, am I just going to let them continue to do that because thats what they are used to? is it going to be good for them to continue to move like that? the answer to both of those questions is NO! So when someone is constantly late or not showing up and refusing to communicate , its a bad habit when it involves me its a bad habit I am now challenging the person to grow away from. I know there is traffic, there is sickness, there is this, there is that but there is no excuse for lack of communication. We live in a world where most people have two phones, there is no excuse. I am not willing to stand down on this one, I simply cannot, every time I have tried I hold resentment towards myself and towards the other person, I know that its because when your not living within your set of values, it feels icky. That doesn't mean the other person has to have your same values but it means I did need to stick up for my own and not simply bow my head to appease them.
There is no growth for anyone when someone bows away from their values and conforms to another persons. Take a deep breath and communicate, keeping in mind you may not see eye to eye and thats simply okay. EMPATHY.