How do I even begin to transcribe..to describe..to explain? The experience..the journey..the learning and growing..the life-changing process?
It was a logical next step. I've been practicing this ancient art and craft for over a decade now. My body..my mind..my soul - all know this. It's how I greet each and every new day. It's become - for me - as everyday routine as brusing my teeth. I roll out my mat. I ground my feet. I spread my toes. I drop my head ..and the contents within. I breathe. I let go of the thinking mind..and come into my feeling body. Every single day.
Practicing is one thing. Leading - is a whole other. I couldn't possibly imagine that 'me' who fears being seen..being heard..being found - doing this. 'Me' - standing up in front of others and speaking out loud.
Feel that fear and do it anyway.
Feel that energy and release.
Having spent years cultivating the skill of the silent observer - I listened from the sidelines as the wheels of my mind screamed out at me:
'It's not who I am. It's not who I'll ever be. I can't...I can't...I can't.'
And then an almost inaudible:
'But maybe..just maybe - I can??'
It's not like learning to teach math or science or even a subject as abstract as art. There's no specific curriculum. There are no tests or papers to grade. There are no goals or benchmarks of achievement. The teaching is life practice. The subject is the student. To teach - is to be nothing other than a vessel that carries and delivers the ancient teachings. To teach - is to teach a student to trust and believe and listen to themselves..to learn their own minds thru their bodies..to become their own best teachers and friends.
There are one thousand shades of grey. Nothing is wrong. All is right. Everything each and every student needs...he/she already has within. There's no beginning. There's no end. Every moment is a new one..and one that will never happen ever again. There is only this. There is only now. The teacher meets the student where he or she is..and wherever that is - is just as it is. Here - and in this present. The daily lesson plan is life. It is about sitting quietly with oneself..observing and connecting. It's about the breath..and how something as simple and basic as that - can transform.
How dare 'I' even begin to believe to presume that 'I' might have within 'me' to lead 'you' into those deeper...darker....more private and personal places within? How might 'I' trust and believe in myself - just enough..and not anything more than that - to guide?
Trust the process. Trust myself. Believe.
Now - half way thru the training - I can say that fear still rules every fiber of my body...that I'm still filled with endless questions and riddled with self-doubt. But - when I stand up - I stand tall. When I speak out loud - I speak clearly..and with just a little more confidence and authority than when I first began. I know this practice. My body does. What I need..I already have. Within. Slowly - I'm letting go and making space for what I know so well...to find its way out.
And - much more importantly - I'm learning the most important lesson of all. That teaching isn't ever about the teacher. The 'I' in the teacher is rendered invisible... a flat reflective screen...a silent backdrop to the student . To the 'you' in you.
Here it is. Where 'I' end.
Now it is. Where 'You' begin.
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"What is a teacher? I'll tell you: It's someone who teaches something, but who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows."
- Paul Coelho, The Witch of Portobello