Tag Archives: mentorship

together – alone

I’m not sure where to start this post, because I am ad-libbing as I go, and I don’t know where it’s going to – so thank you for joining me on this meander if you’re here.

[in preamble – the post builder dashboard popped up in my browser tabs and I felt like it was a prompt for me to write a post, something I haven’t been doing very regularly in quite some time.]

I’ve spent the last several mornings attending a low-cost virtual info “training” that gave me just enough information with respect to the areas that would be delved into in their extended program, but not the means as to how the work need be undertaken .. essentially these are feeders into the pay programs on offer.

There are so. many. programs.

My social media feeds are flooded with them. Each with its own spin on how to transform your life, your side-gig, your business, your [whatever thing you feel you need to improve, insert it here]. Let’s face it – most people feel some kind of dissatisfaction with their current life situation – it is axiomatic that while we are in the human condition that we will on some level experience it.

Some of those programs and courses are what I would consider affordable (though that is always a relative term, isn’t it?) and some definitely less so. Affordability is always something that must be put into context with respect to one’s own individual situation.

There are many people in need of some sort of guidance in this bizarre world we currently find ourselves in, whether due to the large issues that parts of the world are experiencing, or smaller (though equally large in context to our own scale of experience) more personal ones.

As a person who has been intent on personal development throughout most of my adult life, largely through self-education, books a-plenty and through various (affordable to me) programs I’ve signed up for over time, I have found that in many ways progress does not happen in a vacuum, in isolation. It really does take a village to raise a child, and in this context child as a metaphor for the self that sits at the core of each of us.

Sometimes all the knowledge in the world is not enough to implement a transformation without mentorship. Some people are lucky to come across a benevolent mentor along their path, and others spend a lifetime looking. Sometimes the wisdom finally comes, through their own hard work and experience.

Last week, the nature of the meaning of ‘community’ came up in one of the online groups I belong to. Community has such a nuanced meaning, from the macro down to the micro. As part of that discussion, it was determined that to be a part of a community, one must in some way respond to it, participate in it, in what was thought to be a meaningful way but to me weighing what “meaningful” is, is just as ambiguous as defining what constitutes a community.

That got me thinking that communities are like fractals, that they spiral outward and the further away you look at it from, it appears to be one thing, but the closer you zoom in, you realize that it is made up of many disparate interlocking parts.

We each have a unique place in it, but we don’t all show up in the same manner, and perhaps the way in which we take up our own individual space doesn’t always meet the expectations of all of the parts within the whole, but that we still maintain our part in it in a way that only we can. The whole becomes better than the sum of its parts by virtue of all of its individual components.

I’ve been in situations where people have expectations on how one needs to behave; they feel the need to validate a person’s contributions against their own set of preconceived conditions without really seeing, or leaving space for, a person’s unfolding into who they are and finding ways in which to validate their contributions in an organic way – essentially, to play to a person’s strengths rather than hold them to expectations that, because of it not being in their nature, they will struggle or ultimately fail to meet. I have found this to be true in many corporate environments (though I am especially grateful that that is not currently my experience).

I think we have a lot of work to do as a collective humanity in figuring out how to hold space for each other, how to let each individual person shine their brightest and allow them to contribute in the best possible way.

I think we need more people who can hold space in that way; those who can see the value of each individual contribution, not only to give voice to those who speak the loudest, have the deepest convictions (and perhaps the deepest pockets). We need people who can coax out from those who are the most silent, in some ways the most disadvantaged, those who are risk-averse and reticent, the light that they keep hidden beneath a bushel, and in releasing of their light delight in their unique place within the fractal that is Us.

People like to say “it’s not about the money” but when we dig a little deeper, it really is, in the end; those who have resources will resource themselves further and those without will continue to fumble their way towards ecstasy, in whichever way they can find at their disposal. Thankfully there are those that see this gap and in their generosity aim to fill it so that everyone finds their way to wholeness.

Because aren’t we all, in the end, whether we are aware of it or not, reaching toward apotheosis?

honouring the ancestors… and someday you’ll be one

The wheel turns. As we sink into this darker half of the year, customs abound in all cultures on deeper contemplation, on honouring what has come before, on feeling gratitude for the fruits our of labours (and perhaps, in retrospect, at having been afforded the opportunity for this most recent revolution around the sun).

When my son was little, I wanted to compensate for the lack of fanfare of my own childhood during these holidays by making his a grand production.

We went to pumpkin patches and gutted and carved our share of large orange gourds.
We roasted salty pumpkin seeds once they were gleaned from the slimy guts.
We ordered costumes and went trick-or-treating.

I had never incorporated the idea of honouring the ancestors during this time even though I was well aware of the idea of the thinning of the veil between our worlds. It would have been an appropriate time to bring it up to him. Maybe I wanted him to rejoice in the fun parts of childhood without becoming morbid, or rather, without diminishing with sombreness the indefatigable vibrancy of youth.

After my mother’s passing, the last one of my two parents, there was a sort of severing of rootedness that took place. In some ways, I was anxious to be free of the constraints. In so many ways I’d tried to find happiness within the narrow parameters that they had set as their view of who I was, and I think we all walked away from the table mostly dissatisfied.

I keep thinking that human potential is limitless, if we are mentored beyond our perceived limitations. I don’t mean that we don’t individually have any, only that if we can picture what is beyond the area that we think is the greatest reach of our potential, we are able to somehow come up with a way to access the road that will bring us there. Mentors, advocates, are truly gifts to the world as they help lead the way there. Sometimes, ever on our fool’s journey, we are incapable of seeing the path on our own.

I suppose as parents the biggest task we are given is to help our offspring become skilled in discernment, to learn to know what and when to believe in the constant stream of incoming information, and what to do with it – to learn how to translate it all into some form of action that will lead us forward in a favourable manner.

I don’t know if I’ve accomplished this task, as a parent. I know mine failed at this, and I’ve had to learn by much trial and error how to guide myself onward. Maybe it’s something that can’t be taught because it is as individual as we are in how we approach it.

In any case – in my usual penchant to tangents – I return us to last night, the Eve of All Hallows or Souls Day.

I went in to the neighbourhood grocery store to pick up a few things, particularly the candy I intended to hand out to trick or treaters. I had held out on purchasing it mostly to save me from myself. As I exited the store and started heading up the sidewalk towards home, I heard the unmistakeable sound of my native tongue. Because it is such a rare occasion to hear it spoken, I wheeled my cart back around and said hello. We chatted on the sidewalk for a while, and then, at the invitation of one of the women, we holed up in Starbucks for over an hour to continue the conversation.

I haven’t really spoken a whole lot of Hungarian since my mother passed in 2003. We would speak on the phone every couple of days (I was living in California and she was living on the outskirts of Montreal). The frequency of our calls kept up my language skills, although I never would have considered myself as fluent in the language as a native speaker. It’s not that I don’t understand or speak, only that the expressions, turns of phrase, vastness of vocabulary is something that would take time to get used to if I were to truly count myself among them. Within an hour my odd little accent began smoothing out. I began remembering words and how to use them during a discussion. We discussed getting together on a regular basis and inviting other Hungarians aching to chat in their mother tongue too.

When I got home last night I realized that what had transpired was the greatest homage that I had ever paid to my parents and ancestors. I had been ruminating, initially, on how I would set about doing just that. Last week I had spent some time watching Jo Rowling go about searching out her own roots. I had envisioned setting up a shrine of sorts, and spending some time in meditation, or perhaps journaling about what they had meant to me, and contemplating on the far reach of my own roots.

Last night I felt that perhaps, with this thinning of the veil, they had orchestrated this meeting to remind me that they are not so far away after all.