Vary the lesson: orientation, manipulation, timing

In order to catch a ball coming at you in the outfield, you have to be on the field, in the right place, facing in the right direction (the right orientation in space), holding out your hand with your palm in the right direction (making the right manipulation of your body), and at the right moment (timing it to be there when the ball reaches you). It could be Aristotle’s practical wisdom we're studying here: to do the right thing is a confluence of the appropriate action in the appropriate situation at the appropriate time.

So one way to think of creating variations of a lesson you've done is to vary it in one (or more) of these three ways.

  • If you do it standing on your feet, you could do it standing on your head instead. Well, that’s a little advanced. So try sitting instead of lying. On your stomach instead of on your back.
  • If you reach forwards with your hand, you could reach backwards with your leg instead. Well–that’s a little advanced again. A movement quickly becomes a completely different movement when you change the manipulation. You can try more subtle variations. Turn your palm in a different direction. Try (systematically) slight variations in the direction of a movement (using the image of the hours on a clock or movement around a circle can help organize that exploration).
  • If you rub your stomach at the same time that you pat your head, you could pat your head first and rub your stomach second–or vice versa–instead. You can also vary timing extremely subtly–intend that the movement start with the rubbing of your stomach and let that lead to patting your head, or vice versa. See the subtle, and powerful, difference that intention makes via timing.

That is, you can vary your orientation in your environment (space, gravity); you can vary the action you do considered in a a specific manipulation of your body; or you can change the timing of the movement(s) you are doing. In that way, you can invent a variation, changing the orientation, manipulation, or timing of the lesson and teach it to yourself.

(If the distinction or nature of those three abstract ideas is not so clear yet, don’t sweat it. You can start the other way around: be creative in any way you like, and then analyze that creativity into these categories later if you find it useful to do that.)

Please share your variation with your fellow learners by posting as a comment on the lesson you were modifying. Then we can all try one another's lessons.

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