unexpected teachers in life

Ignite Life
April 20, 2015

While I hear a lot of people talk about not wanting to get older, I only know too well what a how some people don’t get the opportunity to do so – I had a colleague once say to me when I was about 23, no matter what age you are its enjoyable for different reasons and that’s so true. I turned 40 a few weeks ago and feel pretty good about life (that’s not to say its without struggles) and am very excited about what is ahead.

I have been thinking a lot about how you have big moments in life that change the direction or give you a big kick up the you know what . Quite often experiences bring people into your life and these people will never know the impact they had on you but it has been life changing. You don’t have to have spent much time with them or know them really well – there is something in you that has changed for having met them. I could go on forever about this but want to share some of those people that have shaped me and have been part of this journey we call life.

Now this one is not too easy to admit, but really highlights how something that could have been wonderful became self-sabotaging but also shone light on something that needed to be worked through personally. There was this guy and we connected in a pretty cool way. The thing is that I freaked out about the potential relationship and somehow invented in my head that it was all a set up. At the time it was hard to believe that someone would show an interest in me and I backed away massively even though I would have loved to give it a go and was completely intrigued and drawn to him. There was something so good about it but lead me to a sense of unworthiness fear and denial of my own needs. This was the start of a long road of self-discovery and a realisation that I don’t need to be embarrassed for who I am and it doesn’t actually matter what others think. A bloody long road to that one and something that needs to be revisited constantly but a defining time in my life – that’s for sure. For the record I am still crap at romantic relationships but know that it won’t always be that way.

A long time ago, I went on a weekend with Jim Stynes and the Reach team for a teaching weekend. As we were boarding the bus to head to the campsite there was this young guy with blonde surfy dude too cool for school attitude that nodded and sat silently down the aisle a little from me. There was an amazing, knowing energy that we shared. He then happened to be my small group leader and had incredible insight and deep personal connection. It was like we spoke with each other without actually speaking. In one of the large group sessions Jim unpacked some of my story and I looked over and this young guy was bawling his eyes out as he connected to my story personally and had similar challenges in life. We didn’t know each others story before that time in the weekend but in a funny knowing way we could see each other fully without having to explain it. This young guy is now in the media and every now and then I see him on TV and smile as he taught me to trust my instincts and that knowing inside of me that helps me connect to myself and others. When we parted that weekend, we both knew that we would probably never see each other again but acknowledged the space that we shared and the deep learning that we got from one another. It was only two days but something changed in me by meeting him – it was nothing romantic or anything, he was about 19 years old (if that) and I would have been in my early thirties but the fact that I recall that moment shows that a brief moment in time can have such an impact.

Another person that impacted my life (and many other since) was a young person that was a student at the school where I was working. He was one of those charismatic characters that everyone loved and were drawn to. Underneath this façade was a person that doubted himself massively and found it difficult to commit to his own life. He also had lots of family stuff going on but found sanctuary in my office and he could be who ever he needed to be at the time. Long story short his presence in my life was the first stepping stone to life as a therapist. I often think about where he is and wonder what his life turned out like (as I do with many others) but for the time that we knew each other he made me realise that there was something that was calling me and I needed to take notice. This guy and many others taught me that people feel safe with me and that they can show any part of themselves unconditionally. I had something to offer the world and a new path was unfolding and all these years later it seems crazy that there was a point in my life where I didn’t know that I was going to be a person that helped others express their life – no matter what that is.

I could go on for I think that’s enough for now. Woweee while I was writing that, memories keep flooding back of all the people that have influenced my life and probably have no idea. There is way too many to write about here but the whole point is that we all have many teachers. Not just the teachers that stand in the front of the room with desks all lined up – the teachers that connect with a part of ourselves that is very real in the moments of life whether it be life, death, tragedy, triumph, hope, happiness or sadness. It can be a baby that is born, a random stranger that you meet at the bus stop, a person that is doing good in the world and you are inspired by, an event that reminds us of the preciousness of life or someone that we spend every day with and continues to add to our world.

Lets take some time to think about those defining moments in your life, who was with you and what they have added to your world, whether it was a reason, season or a lifetime.

Till we meet again, take care of you