Expanding Knowledge, Painlessly

Playing at Grayton BeachBalancing work with play at Grayton Beach State Park.  Photo credit:  Aislinn Bailey

Have you ever discovered that your intentions came true, just not in the way you planned?  Happens to me all the time.

A little over a year ago, I put the intention out there in a Law of Attraction exercise to take more courses, particularly enjoyable courses.  I didn’t have a set agenda of which courses, but I simply wanted to keep learning more and keep expanding my mind and knowledge.

And yet, I never did renew that Spanish language course I’d been taking at work because I didn’t have time there.  Nothing exciting showed up in the local college schedules that I hadn’t already taken.

It seems I spend so much of my time teaching, and it’s important to me to continue learning.  I don’t need yet another degree, but learning is extremely important to me.

As the Winter Solstice drew near—the time of year when I focus on my intentions for the next year—I thought about my intentions for the year that had just passed and how I hadn’t spent much time in classes at work or at home.  Very few conferences or workshops!

Fortunately, my day job requires that I take 80 hours of continuing education every two years, including lots of free online courses…but that doesn’t help with the enjoyable courses I’d wanted to take.  By boss came to me rather suddenly, reminding me that I was behind on my 80 hours and needed to submit any type of workshops or courses I’d taken recently, so I went into mad-scramble mode to keep from ending up on some big boss’ list of outcasts in the next few days.  I really had to strain my brain to come up with anything…at first.

I’d not only attended a two-hour geo-political lecture by George Friedman related to his book, The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century, but I had downloaded the entire 9-hour, 41-minute audiobook and listened to it while cleaning out files at the office.    I decided to push my luck and see if I could get credit for the book, which was directly related to my work—and did!

That got me thinking.  Maybe there were other audiobooks I had listened to that would qualify.  As I began making a list of all the courses, speeches, lectures, workshops, and guides I’d listened to on my iPod while getting some exercise, gardening, or cleaning house, a pattern emerged that surprised me.

I’d been listening to plenty of enjoyable courses.  Without realizing it.

Though I prefer to download speeches and recorded-live workshops from Audible.com, I can get many of the more popular non-fiction guides through my local library and listen to them on CD.  I can also listen to a gazillion college lectures free from iUniversity through iTunes, and love listening to psychology courses my daughter recommends.

What’s on my iPod this week?  The Anglo-Saxon World by Dr. Michael D.C. Drout, part of the Modern Scholar lecture series.  I understand if the migration pattern of Beowulf’s people isn’t your cup of, um, mead, but then, there’s also an audiobook on the history of beer-making….