Many years ago as a twenty-something who though she knew everything I was blessed with a great mentor who patiently guided me on my corporate path. My mentor helped me find a level of courage, confidence and self knowing, not to mention to acquire skills for navigating the work place, leading teams and how to organize my files. All of these gifts translated into success for myself at a personal and professional level and my mentor always gave with love. I am not sure I ever truly thanked her which I still regret to this day for I now know the value of a great teacher.
To teach and lead is a calling and one that I am most grateful to have now myself. We have all been blessed with teachers who have taken the time to guide us, help us grow and even call us on our stuff so we may fully step into our light. I offer this guide with love on who to be truly be a great student to your teacher or mentor so you may continue to receive the boons of their wisdom.
1. Offer Appreciation – Teachers don’t do what they do for appreciation. They do it because they are called and they are often fiercely passionate about helping others thrive. However, it does not mean we as students are excused from offering our thanks for that wisdom, energy and insight. A simple, “Thank you”…for your wisdom, your time, your energy is always appreciated. After a course I always offer a card of thanks, words of beauty or a testimonial that speaks to my experience. I want that teacher to know they are appreciated and to keep doing what they are doing! On days where I feel worn down or tired i read thank-you notes, emails and kind words and feel the light of love and passion stir me forward. Never underestimate a kind word of thanks to someone else’s day or life experience.
2. Be Loyal – This does not mean that we won’t have a variety of teachers or mentors in our life but it does mean always speaking kindly, sending love and honoring the teachers who have helped us on our path. We may spend weeks or years with a teacher and then feel moved to connect with another source. All of this is normal and the natural unfolding of our own growth. Or a teacher may be someone you spend an afternoon with and then never see again, however being loyal means honoring that soul who has offered up much to us – even if we paid for it! Consider how you would want to be honored in a relationship or as a memory? Great teachers will always wish you well but will also appreciate you honoring them as you unfold on your path. I offer daily thanks to my teachers many of whom I am no longer in contact with and some of whom I have diverged from in my thinking but all of whom I honor as special guests in my life.
3. The Law of Reciprocity – We live in a time of “spiritual consumerism” where teachers are sometimes seen as something to be “consumed”. Now I always encourage people to find a teacher that is a good fit and who will authentically assist them shine and grow so never stick with someone who does not have your best interests in mind. However as we flit from one teacher to another taking what we need do we consider giving back? The Law of Reciprocity is one that our world is founded upon. Plants give us oxygen, essential to our life. We exhale carbon dioxide which is essential to those. We are all in a beautiful dance together. Your teacher may never ask for something in return but as a good student you can offer it up with love because it is meaningful for you.. Reciprocity can be as simple as a thank you, helping a teacher set up or tear down a room, it can be a social media post that expresses your experience or even home made cookies. The key of course is to do it willingly, with no expectation and with true gratitude. As we give we receive and we receive we give. This is also called Karma Yoga, one of the highest actions on the spiritual path.
I have had many wonderful mentors and teachers and feel such appreciation for those people who are willing to share their time, insight, passion and wisdom with us students. I hope that teachers everywhere may know how important, loved and appreciated they are truly. May we all remember that we are where we are because someone taught us to tie our shoes, how to hold a fork, how to use Excel and how to shine our own light. May we shine it back to all our teachers.