For this month’s topic of how the Teacher Archetype as a persona Ally can help us to attain Better Endings in our lives, here is a suggestion for this week:
Think about how you have learned and grown from what your own finest Mentors have helped you to understand. Then also, what would you hope for those whom you love and care for to potentially learn from your own experience, too?
To light this idea, I’ll share a bit by way of example from my own experience. I have been fortunate to have had several excellent mentors in my life. Allow me to list just a few of their insights and suggestions that, in retrospect, at some point I have come to value and apply.
- “Listen!” : When I first went to Zuni Pueblo some 31 years ago (I was back there this past weekend!), I was told by the Tribal Council members to seek out a particular man (now deceased, so I will not use his name here) about my dissertation project. This amazing man was a mentor for me with respect to that project and life generally. He advised me not to come to Zuni with a head full of questions based on theories of what I thought I needed to “study.” Rather I should LISTEN with an open heart and mind; “They will know what they are supposed to tell you,” he said. Also, he said, “Never forget that it is about PEOPLE (not ideas or things or theories).” I get it now; he was so right. Only by suspending my own preconceived ideas was I able over time to HEAR a very different set of perspectives on the topic I did interview people about and eventually published about, hopefully with their sake in view. And that remains my approach to collaborative projects today. I share this advice with students in my own classes, and I encourage them as well to “pass it forward.”
- “You see yourself in others”: This old adage passed to me from my Father has often served as a good reminder to take full responsibility for my own attitudes instead of foisting them onto others. It reminds me that others may sometimes unconsciously project their own attitudes or values onto me. This helps me to forgive and at the same time not to ‘own’ what is not mine nor to react to that which is projected.
- “You must learn to trust yourself with another” : I have learned over forty some years since receiving this advice from a beloved friend that this line helps me to apply ‘right discernment’ in my life regarding relationships of all sorts. I have learned that with this IDEAL in mind I must weigh the degree to which—or the level at which–I ‘should’ in fact trust another. Not everyone requires or perhaps is ‘worthy’ of or desirous of that level of connection. But those that ARE/DO are GOLDEN. I am so grateful for the true friends I have connected with deeply, and I know this level of trust comes with equal reciprocity. I wish this for all to discover!
“There is God!”: This is from a story a beloved professor-mentor once share with me, from a story about her interaction with her son. Taking him to a park one day, she picked up an Acorn and showed it to him. THERE IS GOD!, she uttered. However her son might remember this insight, I myself shall never forget it! This mentor, Toni Paterson, a philosopher, had only oak furniture in her home, from Salvation Armie stores. The Oak was her unifying symbol.
images from pixabay.com
So that’s where this reflection about my own Life Lessons from just a few of the dearest mentors in my life takes me to initially. I will continue to journal this week about my Mentors’ good advice that has indeed led to many of my own ‘better ending’ experiences.
I encourage you to journal about and/or contemplate about your Mentors, too! As always I will welcome your Comments and stories!