LOOK FOR THE LESSONS
“When the pupil is ready, the teacher appears.” This old Buddhist saying is as relevant today as it was a thousand years ago. It is certainly the main source of my learning. For the people around me teach me the most – not when they want to, not when I want them to, but at that magic moment when openness, understanding and lesson come together creating new understanding.
I’m certain many of my teachers stood by frustrated and feeling helpless as the lesson flew over my head like an arrow missing the target. Some arrows of learning did hit, over and over and over again, but they bounced off without sticking. My bull’s-eye remained unsullied – and I unwilling or unable to take in and understand.
But the teachers did come and from them I gained much knowledge. The first I credit, is my mother. She passed on her imagination, modelled through life, and offered up as a fanciful way of learning. without limitations, my imagination created a world in which adventure shoved me towards new ideas, new approaches and new understanding.
My second learning tool is books. From other writers I learned how to rock climb, what a bazaar in Jakarta smells like, how to perform a tracheotomy. But the lessons went deeper. From Jane Austen I learned don’t judge. Kahil Gibran taught me, “Accept your truth.” Gary Zukov demonstrates risk pays big dividends. Eckart Tolle, live in the now.
Nature has been a wonderful instructor, winning my heart, mind and spirit with its first touch. I find the fearsome, awesome and mysterious amongst her many treasures. I am alive, each cell sparked with energy when I experience these powers. Nature teaches the necessity of balance – just as water can buoy me up, its immense power can submerge me. A sunset bleeding crimson across the sky delights my eyes while piercing my heart with sorrow. Tranquility/rage, healing/destruction all the opposing forces found in nature, must be learned, minded and respected.
From women I’ve ingested an encyclopedia. Shared feelings, philosophies and every day occurrences give me self awareness, and a sense of being part of the whole. Through discussions on the minutiae of life, I see others go through the same tests and triumphs. I accept who I am and why I am, supported by their openness. My women friends give me – me.
Dark times like the death of my father when I was sixteen, and many years of fighting Crohns encouraged me to grab at life. There might not be a later. I’ve kayaked rivers, lakes and oceans, tandem parasailed, and down-hill skied every mountain I can reach. I’ve camped alone in the wilderness, zip-lined across the country, been deck-hand on a sailboat, co-piloted a plane, and co-authored a book – grasping knowledge with each experience.
Thinking back over the short life my father lived, I gain invaluable understanding from his example. Know what you want, reach for your dreams with both hands, embrace the results, believing the transformative power within makes all things possible. I Wonder, what lesson is waiting for you?