A Midlife Mantra If Ever I Heard One
This is Where You Belong

"Thank you, Teacher." Life's Teachers are Everywhere

Thank you teacher

Life’s teachers are literally everywhere.

If you’re looking.

"Thank you, Teacher."

I had a beautiful conversation with a dear friend this week. We were working through something together, something that had found the space in our open hearts to discuss and resolve. Not the easiest thing for two people who avoid conflict. We'd made the commitment to one another years ago to be a safe place for telling the truth, for pushing each other to dig deeper, and after this conversation, we're closer than ever.

We also talked about how challenging relationships and situations often are our greatest teachers. She reflected on her children, how they have taught her to be a better parent, and often it wasn’t the sunshine and roses moments that elevated her skills. It was the resistance, the conflict, the smart pushback and exchanges from and with her engaged, independent kids. Because she does the inner work on herself, she pays attention. They pay attention because she’s taught them to, by example. 

“Thank you, Teacher.”

I’ve been a part of a retreat community for over a decade. We get deep with one another, doing the work to raise our consciousnesses while elevating the community too. When friction arises and triggers are flared, we know it’s a teaching and learning moment, with the reflection aimed at ourselves first.

Thanks for the friction. Thanks for the triggers.

They open the door for self-discovery, shifts in perspective, and healing. So next time, the friction is less and the trigger is smaller.

And, the beautiful thing is there's synchronicity. Since we're human and often have the same or similar triggers, when it arises for someone else it invariably becomes a teacher for others as well, a chance to explore the issue for themselves. 

What do we say after one of these opportunities presents itself?

“Thank you, Teacher.” It’s become a thing.

Then, as often happens when my thoughts focus on an evolving notion, to illustrate the point, these two things floated into my sphere recently. This quote from author Ann Patchett landed in my mailbox:

“It turns out that having someone who believed in my failure more than in my success kept me alert. It made me fierce. Without ever meaning to, my father taught me at an early age to give up on the idea of approval. I wish I could bottle that freedom now and give it to every young writer I meet, with an extra bottle for the women.”

I can imagine it wasn’t easy as a young girl finding her way to not have the support she first craved. But, she paid attention to the lesson behind it and turned it into a strength.

“Thank you, Teacher.”

And, a meme on social came and went that provided more juice. I can't find it and don't remember who posted it, but it inspired this:

  • If fear is holding you back, it teaches you courage and fortitude.
  • If something angers you, it teaches you to inquire, understand and forgive.
  • If someone rejects, belittles, or abandons you, it teaches you to believe in yourself.
  • If something bugs you, it's a chance for patience and letting go. 
  • If you hate something, it teaches you compassion and open-heartedness. 
  • If you love something, it teaches you gratitude. And, vice versa. 
  • If you can't control something it teaches you to let go.
  • If faced with conflict, it's a chance to lower your defenses, listen, and speak your truth.

This last one was my lesson in the conversation with my dear friend. 

"Thank you, Teacher."

When you pay attention, the teachers are everywhere.

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