Week 17: Embrace Your Inner Teacher

(c) Snapped by Derek
Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA

This week, I challenge you to embrace your inner Teacher!

Oftentimes, we forget that the moments we share can be truly beautiful life lessons.Sometimes, however, it can be hard to see the silver-lining in a truly dark situation. In those times, drawing from past lessons gives us not only wisdom, but the strength to preserver no matter the obstacle!Constant, life-long learning & practicing in trust is the way of the Teacher. Taking in knowledge of all kinds, from all walks of life, can inspire wellroundedness, whether it be from a our own teachers, our own students, or even ourselves.

This week I share Angeles Arrien’s* “Way of the Teacher.” A fundamental way that can guide us on our paths “to be open to outcome, not attached to outcome. The Teacher has wisdom, teaches trust, and understands the need for detachment.“There are many things in this world that could not exist without trust. Currency, health care, and the affairs of the heart especially.“Trust is the container out of which the qualities of wisdom grow: clarity, objectivity, discernment, and detachment. Wisdom is at work when we are open to all options.”- AngelesIt is the Teacher’s way to use trust as an instrument, but trust can be a difficult act to allow ourselves to do. For all sorts of different reasons, to trust, to be okay with not knowing; the very opposite of what we would consider a Teacher to be; is precisely the ground for planting the seeds of our own wisdom-weaving.

None of us like the unknown, myself included. As much as I love spontaneity, I like to compartmentalize and know and attempt to understand situations (the key here is ATTEMPT, lol.) Sometimes, not knowing though can be a blessing in disguise. Being open to serendipity, and giving in to trust, having faith in things and in people is the glue that keeps us all together, and keeps us sane. Without that glue, everything falls away, and doubt can be a very dangerous thing.

Some would say that having no expectations, mistrusting from the get-go is the only way to not be disappointed and hurt. And, yes, to an extent this is true. You won’t be disappointed, but you will also not be able to feel the good stuff either. Love and trust and faith and wisdom all come at a cost, but isn’t it all the more worth it to live and to love and to trust? And you don’t have to be blind either, by no means do I mean that, I simply say that life is all the more richer when you open yourself up and give a little. Just sayin’…

“The opposite of trusting in the unexpected us trying to control the uncontrollable- clearly an impossible task. Shamanic societies recognize that an individual who has difficulty with surprises or the unexpected has attachments, fixed perspectives, and a strong need for control. Attachments are specific, immovable expectations, desires that are projected onto people, places, and situations. When we are attached, we often become controlling and rigid. The trickster archetype in many traditions functions as a Teacher who shocks people into seeing their attachments and habitual patterns…and wakes them out of their routines. The trickster reminds us to become more resilient and objective. It teaches us about detachment.”-Angeles

We all need to shake things up a bit, otherwise we become as Angeles says: stale, uncreative, stuck. We do become rigid and fixed in our ways, and no one likes a stick in the mud.

Now, there is much a to-do about detachment vs. not caring. This I learned the hard way last year about codependency. Sometimes, the thing people really need the most is to simply let them go, and be let to take care of things themselves. Intervention aside, this is true medicine. Loving enough to let someone go when they do not want to be helped is one of the hardest things a person can do I think, especially if it is about a family member or other loved one. It is hard to walk away from a situation like that, but sometimes it truly is for the best, and you do not have to feel guilty either. Guilt is a not-so-nice cousin to the icky-sticky thing called doubt. Have no fear, and do what must be done.

Detachment is “the capacity to care deeply from an objective place.” In other words, detachment is non attachment, letting go, and maintaining a sense of humour. If we observe what causes us to lose our sense of humour, we can identify out point of attachment. Where we maintain our sense of humour is where we are detached and can remain flexible. Then, we are able to calmly observe our reactions to situations and not get pulled into an emotional position. Don’t confuse this with coldness and not caring- it’s quite the opposite. When we don’t get pulled in, and when we maintain our sense of humour, we demonstrate our own capacity to care deeply from an objective place. The key to detachment is to, whether we are okay with it or not, is to accept it simply as it is and then use our creative humour to work around the hurdles as they come. It is so much better than being resigned or fatalistic about it. Acceptance is an important part of detachment. The feeling of resignation is always a sign of the presence of attachment.” -Angeles 

Our rituals for loss of any kind and of letting go help people deal.  

We all go through it. Sometimes it’s a big transition, and others not so much. Life, death, marriage, the prospect of a new apartment or partner, the prospect of losing a friend or partner are all examples. Each has its own coping mechanism worked into it through our cultures. Doing something to honour these changes, in what ever ritual you may personally have, helps immensely to support the changing tide in your life. The way of the Teacher is to honour this changing time, look at it with kind objectivity, accept it for what it is, and shed a tear or two if need be, and “support the change you are experiencing and create a way “to fit things together again.” 

Our reactions to new experiences are lessons in how we will deal with the ultimate new experience: death and dying. 

During this dark time of the year, when everything is dying and falling fast asleep to prepare for winter, how will you approach the changing times? With curiosity, wonder, excitement? What do your ancestors whisper in your ear? Calling upon them for advise during troubling times, is only half of the equation. We can also use their guidance to actualize our life dreams. It is time of the All Hallows- Halloween, the perfect time of year to seek out those family Teachers of our past. The divide between the worlds are a bit blurred during this time of year, and so many cultures have their own rituals for remembering fallen loved ones. Theirs is a source of untold humour, untold memory, untold wisdom. Trust in them, and they will guide you on your good, true and beautiful way.

*Angeles Arrien, PhD, is an anthropologist, author, educator and corporate consultant who does work shoppes and lectures throughout the world. She bridges indigenous wisdom with our so called “modern” lifestyles. She focuses so on our family, work and personal lives as well as our relationship with nature, and teaches us how to bring forth this “Four-Fold Way.

So, I will begin as always as asking you to ask yourself: how are you as you are entering this time for yourself? Have a heart-to-heart with yourself and reflect on your week past.

Were you able to incorporate last week’s challenge with your busy Life? If so, GREAT!
If not, that is okay too.

The whole point is to go at your own pace. You shouldn’t have to struggle to have fun, it should come naturally and on its own time.

Things you can do this week to bring out your Inner Teacher:

  1. Call upon your Ancestor Spirits for guidance, counsel, and heritage. 
  2. Take some time this season to honour and remember your roots. 
  3. Create an El Dia de los Muertos altar. It doesn’t have to be fancy, go with your gut and have a bit of fun with it. 
  4. Spend a period of silence every day to all inner guidance to bloom in your own solitude.
  5. Who are some of the significant Teachers in your life? Do you have any inspirational figures? What are their qualities?
  6. Take some time to identify some of your Trickster figures in your life. What wake-up calls have you experienced?
  7. Spend some time throughout the week in sitting meditation: “where ideas and images are released as quickly as they are revealed.” -Angeles
  8. Go to the waters. Rivers, oceans, lakes. Ponds, fountains, or reflection pools. These are primary Nature examples of flexibility and resilience. 
  9. Embrace your own fluidity, embrace the wisdom of your own creative spirit. Have fun with free dance, Nia, or simply move to your own rhythm, there are no mistakes to be made.
  10. Try to steer away from states of righteous positionality, judgment, and control. We can all be critical from time to time, catching yourself in the act and apologizing is all you can do.
  11. Examine what attachments you have. We all have them. What are some of yours? Write about them in your journal, but remember be objective. Don’t self criticize. Accept them for what they are.
  12. Examine your own limiting patterns? Are there any you wish to release so that you can more fully express who you are? Halloween is Pagan New Year, are there any new resolutions you wish to try? 
  13. Examine your own rituals of loss. What do you do when you break up with someone? When someone dies? When you can’t have your own way? How do you deal, and how do you manage?
  14. On your birth date, each month, do something you have never done before. -Angeles. I love this one! Honour your own spirit!
  15. Ponder Harrison Owen’s “Four Immutable Laws of the Spirit” What do you think? 
So, how will you incorporate the challenge for this week, hmmmmm? I would love to hear. Feel free to reply or comment on my facebook or website page, or if you want to be a bit more private shoot me an email, or simply right your musings down in your journal. The point is to reflect, and learn from yourself.

Affirmations for the Mind!

Here are this week’s mantras. Don’t forget, you can tweak them to your liking. In order to make them yours, you must believe them, and affirm them to yourself. So switch ’em up if the inspiration strikes!

Today’s Affirmation: “Ancestors, hear my plee. Help me not to make a fool of me. Please bring honour to me.” -Mulan 

 “Today, humour will be my instrument for wisdom.”

“I will work on being open to outcome, I am unattached!

“May my wisdom shine in clarity & objectivity.”

“May the blessings of the Teacher be ever with me! I am well guided!”

“Do not confuse my detachment from not caring. I let go with Love.

And lastly: “I move to the flow of the great Grandmother Ocean. I embrace my Inner Teacher, and am made fluid, flexible, and tolerant.

*****

I wish you well on your Journeys this week!

Listen deep to your four-chambered heart. What whispering voice do you hear? Take a moment and gift yourself with your own insight. Your own intuition, your own creative force that lives inside of you. There is much to learn. For me, Life is all about the little gems we allow ourselves to Love.

With Love, Derek.

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