Schools often trot out the marketing phrase: “lifelong learner”, but what exactly does it mean? When does learning ever stop, why do we want to keep learning and most importantly, what does this lifelong learning do for our lives?
Five days ago, I was in Cap d’Ail, my favourite haven on my running route from Monaco, and here, I learned from a French doula called Florian how to use a cotton Mexican scarf to relax a birthing mother.
It is unlikely that my partner and I will have a child – he was lukewarm about the idea when I mentioned it – but never say never, hey? (joke) However, as I watch Florian do her magic, teaching prospective fathers how to support their pregnant spouses, I thought to myself suddenly, “It’s not only pregnant women who need this loving support. Men, do too!”
My partner, for example, has always been the strong one. Even when he was struck down with a serious bout of dysentery and weakened beyond recognition, he was taking care of me mentally and emotionally. “Don’t you worry about this old warhorse, Jac,” he had said repeatedly with a weak grin. And he gets annoyed whenever I fuss over him.
So armed with a long cotton scarf, I approached him with determination. I made him lie on his back and used the scarf to swing his feet gently.
“That’s boring,” he muttered. “I have better ideas for the scarf.”
“Shut up, for once in your life, please!”
He sighed exaggeratedly and closed his eyes. I rocked his feet, calm as the ocean waves for several minutes. I felt the tension leaving his body (his legs got heavier) and he was breathing deeply. When I moved the scarf up to cradle his head and begun swinging it even more gently, there was no wisecracks coming from him. He was fast asleep on the yoga mat like a baby in the middle of the day!
I looked at his sleeping face and thought, I don’t cherish you enough, big boy.
Yes, our warriors and protectors need to be cherished too, to feel safe and protected once in a while.
So for me, this is the meaning of lifelong learning – going out there in the world to learn new things to make life better. Thank you, Florian, for teaching me this ❤ I will continue to learn new things.
Photo below: Flo’s Shimmy – 100% relaxing. THAT would be too whacky for my partner!