My elf-friends Rowan and Karen gave me one of the best presents ever, last year, a smooth carved black buddha-esque face, like a solid mask, on a pedestal. As a reminder that our face, our presence, is so precious. That seeing & acknowledging one another is such a deep true part of love and friendship and community.
Rowan's two years as Herbal Sciences core faculty--as well as resident Herbal Wizard and instigator of the Outlaw Curriculum--overlapped in the middle with my own two year stint as assistant dean for the Naturopathic Medicine program. I know a lot of masterful teachers (including my own mate!), and from Rowan what I am particularly learning about teaching is the way it is a powerful vehicle for making space to venture deeply into what matters most to us about being alive--relevant to any course topic, whether it's herbal formulation, practice management, or physiology from a systems perspective.
Our most creative and productive curriculum-mapping sessions (seeing how all the pieces really are related, and concocting ways to give ourselves and our students opportunities to see & feel & know it) were of course never in our pleasant offices or conference rooms. We did our best work either over Darjeeling tea (don't steep too long!) and lemon scones at the teahouse down the highway, or basking in the university's medicinal herb garden, with plenty of paper and markers and chocolate praline ice cream bars on hand, or walking with our crony Dan on the grounds or on the trails in the woods next to campus.
Rowan's back in Vancouver full-time, and his teaching has taken a whole new form. He's asked if he could put some stuff up here to share, and I said, yes please!! So these few words are a little bit of introduction, and encouragement to come play, and soon.