From The InnkeepersSeptember 2019
Our Teachers are Everywhere
Now that the calendar has turned the page to September thoughts of “back to school” are on my mind. It struck me recently that as a child I would get some “August anxiety” about who my new teacher/s were going to be and whether or not I would like them. This was true all the way from elementary school, high school, college, and ultimately graduate school. Now that I am some 30 plus years removed from being the learner in formal educational settings, and having spent 11 years of my early life being on the other side as a teacher myself, it strikes me that my notions of who my teachers are were so limiting. At this point in my development I have come to the realizations that the world is our classroom and our teachers are literally everywhere. We can learn from anything and anyone at any time if we are truly open to receive life’s lessons. Some recent examples come to mind:
From our friend Jacqui who recently visited the Inn comes the lessons of freedom of spirit, being open to meeting new people and exploring new places, and being adventurous enough to live simply, part with possessions and undertake a pilgrim’s journey from one end of this country to the other.
From our retreat groups that come to the Inn we constantly learn that our generosity and hospitality to them comes back to us a thousand-fold in their appreciation of who we are and what we are trying to do here.
From nurses which I had the good fortune to encounter recently, I learned what it means to be called to a life of compassionate caring.
From Raven we learn about the willingness to learn and to be of service in whatever way is necessary. Raven has the gift of learning no matter where life plants you.
From Paula we learn the absolute pragmatism of tending the land and being its good stewards. She also teaches us how a strong work ethic is a key component to survival.
From our night skies unobstructed by city lights we learn over and over again about the vastness of the universe and our small place within it.
From our gardens we learn that beauty is sometimes accidental but most often needs tending, nurturing and caring to be brought to its fullness.
From the beauty that surrounds and astounds us on the 146 acres where we live, we learn gratitude.
From Helen we learned what it means if you actually do live to be 100 years old, and to have lived through everything from world wars, to inventions of electricity, the automobile, television, the computer, the internet, and many other things too numerous to mention. We learned though that her accumulation of 100 years of experience, all boils down to how well and who you loved throughout your time here on earth.
From books we learn new ideas and meet new teachers. Over the years, some of the most formative teachers that I met through the written word, and sometimes later on in person, are Teilhard de Chardin, Angeles Arrien, Jean Huston, Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Jean Shinoda Bolen and John O’Donohue to name just a few. Their works often were encountered at key junctures in my life which helped alter and shape new perspectives and new ways of being. If in your idle moments you picked up one of their books there is a good chance that you would find something there that speaks to the soul of who you are.
I could continue to carry on for pages here but this is by nature supposed to be a short posting about what is happening to us here at the Inn. Sometimes expressing inner workings though require more space, both literally and figuratively. I’ll conclude with a saying heard many years ago, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. So stay alert, be ready, be open, life lessons and our teachers are literally everywhere.