We know ourselves through & in relationship with others.
The original Mentor was the faithful guide to Odysseus. The term Mentor was adopted in English to mean someone who imparts wisdom to & shares knowledge with a less experienced person.
I’m at the strange place, or is it age, where some have suggested that I’m at the ‘top of my game’.
I think there are a couple of ways to interpret that & I’m going to choose the version where I have lot of experience, some expertise & plenty to offer.
And, I didn’t get here by myself.
This year, 2017, I celebrate 30 years with the same Mentor. It’s an astonishing relationship. A recognised & renowned expert & authority in her own (related) field she is almost 4 decades older than I & from another continent. Those factors have implied several truths over the years, including:
~We have both made considerable efforts to build & maintain our vibrant connection.
~We have both grown immensely in the experience of difference.
When we met, she was at the top of her game. Over the years, as I have brought my questions, my observations, my challenges, my successes & my learnings to her, I have been constantly surpised by what she offers me in return. Age & cultural difference will do that; creating an almost automatic alternative perspective!
She is an example to me of how to live, not only how to work.
She is open, fascinated by……..just about everything, & most importantly is not in the least bit afraid of being human.
Now, in her 100th decade she still thinks of herself as a human becoming.
So there’s no end, is there! The journey never stops.
How did I find her?
I didn’t consciously go looking. I didn’t do any research. I wanted a wiser, faithful guide & I fully expected that one day I would meet one. The real trick was recognising her when she showed up!
After our first ‘coincidental’ meeting, we shared with each other a feeling of familiarity about the other which had surprised us both.
We worked at it. Cultural expectations, norms, practicalities & dealing with a ‘not knowing why’ all had to be considered & navigated.
So here we are, 30 years on, still laughing, still learning, still showing up, still sharing, still being wonder-full, still growing, still celebrating.
I share her wisdom & her example with the groups & individuals I coach & supervise. In a way, she’s mentoring us all.
I can’t imagine what my life would have been without her.
I like to take my time learning the important things. Call me thorough…I want to keep learning from a fantastic source until it dries up. It hasn’t.
My work is relationships. What better way to study something than from the inside?
The moral of this story is:
If you want a guiding voice, expect one to appear & pay attention. Unlikely, ordinary, passionate, courageous & eternally young, though old…..these would be some of the essential characteristics you might want to notice. You may never have met, but they won’t be a stranger!
I love to notice, & to wonder & to journal on the things I wonder about: as the poet David Whyte says ~to "overhear myself saying things I didn't know I knew"