I am so deep, yet it appears effortless.

A class. Not my class.

This week, as I am four times a year, I was involved in putting on a forty hour class on mental health issues. The audience was folks from my field who have a lot of contact with, but not a lot of training in dealing with, people in a mental health related crisis.

These weeks are some of my favorites. I work with friends I enjoy spending time with, on a topic that I see as important.  Together, we do a great job of it, if I do say so myself…and apparently I do.

On Wednesday, I am always scheduled to wrap up the day with a block of instruction on communication skills. This is a tough point in the class to be in front of the room. The students have been in class all day and are ready to get out. Additionally, right before me is a panel discussion involving people living with a mental illness, or with a family member who has one. So, after an emotional discussion with the panel, the tired class members are told “Omawarisan is up after the break to discuss communication.”

After the first time this happened I decided I needed to do something to get the audience’s attention. So I open my class with some juggling. It has nothing at all to do with the topic, maybe that is why it works. It is also a skill not many people expect me to have. To be clear though, juggling has nothing to do with the topic I instruct on. I’m mostly showing off.

For the past several classes, I have added juggling raw eggs to the opening. I put a piece of paper on the floor and make jokes that the paper is not in case I drop an egg, but in case I get nervous and have an “accident.” I have never had an egg (or anything else) hit the paper…until Wednesday.

Oh, the humanity!

Yes, this week I did some ball tricks, then brought out the eggs. Everything was going fine, until one Grade A Large went a little astray. I reached to make the catch, it glanced off my fingertips and started a slow motion decent to the floor. I caught the remaining eggs and watched the last one fall for what seemed like 5 minutes until it broke on the floor.

The class went on, it seemed to go quite well actually. Periodically I’d step over the broken egg and make a joke, but I made no mention of the egg relating to the class.

The next day we reviewed the evaluations of the instructors for the previous day, including me. The gentleman reading the evaluation comments laughed and read out the following comment  “When he dropped that egg, Omawarisan really helped me understand the fragile nature of life for the people we’re trying to help. It was a powerful moment.”

Yes, that’s why I did it. The egg, a pure package of potential life, was my metaphor for the lives the class members could expect to positively impact with their newly learned skills. When I allowed it to fall to the floor, it was a  gesture symbolizing how those lives could be shattered if they didn’t do their best.

Or perhaps I messed up.

I’ll never tell.


9 Comments on “I am so deep, yet it appears effortless.”

  1. I’ve worked in mental health and have done a lot of training; this is a great story. Accident or not, I’d probably drop the egg next year.

    Takes a special person to work in that field, I admire you for it. Yeah, I may drop next time. I didn’t realize it was a powerful mistake.

  2. Kathi D says:

    You are a damn genius.

    I keep telling them that at work, but they seem unmoved.

  3. Kathi D says:

    Next year, you could top yourself by pulling a dead rabbit out of a hat. Oh wait, it’s not magic, it’s juggling. Never mind.

    They’d remember that though. I have resolved though that no matter how badly I want to connect with a class I will not become a mime.

  4. Keli says:

    In a way, as you know, I work in the mental health field too (doesn’t being a stupidity specialist sort of count?) But I feel certain, that if I did drop an egg while juggling during a class intended to stimulate the dormant mind, none of my stupid students would be capable of offering the genius evaluation and interpretation that yours provided. Yet again, you impress me.

    Thank you! I tend to think, as late in the day as my presentation is, that the class just goes through the motions. Apparently bringing out eggs picks them right up. For the next class, I am going to mix brown and white eggs and sing “We are the world”.

  5. Keli says:

    If you really want to perk things up, add green eggs to the mix (I actually have green egg layers, but they are being stubborn at the moment – when you’re ready let me know and I’ll start singing to them…”An egg a day keeps the Butcher away…” – I’ll send you some!). Once again, sheer genius on your part.

    I thought you were kidding, but looked it up. There really are chickens that lay green eggs! Yes, I like them, I like those green eggs, Keli I Am.

  6. tsanda says:

    know what would have happened if you dropped egg on the equinox and it landed on its top and stayed upright and unbroken? those peoples heads would have exploded.
    I’m doing it. I think I’ve got an obligation to make that happen.

  7. planetross says:

    It’s funny how people interpret things.
    I would have thought it was funny … unless I’d paid money to see a juggler … then I would have booed or not put money in your hat or something.

    The interpretation is what got me. While I was watching the egg fall, my interpretation was “that’s what you get for showing off”.

  8. Lenore Diane says:

    I am laughing only because you directed me here, after I read On Icrus ( I mean, the guy’s comment was awesome … impressive, in fact. However, knowing the back story (or forward story, as it were) I’m laughing.
    I wonder what comments you’ll read based on the Icarus experience.

  9. […] mentioned before that one of the classes that I teach and facilitate is a week-long seminar on topics relating to persons living with a mental illness. At the end of […]

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