I was speaking with a friend the other day and she boldly asked me that question: “Who is your teacher?” She was talking about yoga, but I heard it at a deep fundamental level. Who is my teacher? I have had many teachers, many guides, many angels who have helped me along the way. Some were there in an official capacity, an actual teacher, a professor, a sponsor. Some lessons were presented by people who had no idea they were sharing wisdom that would be having a profound impact on my life, at that moment or later on. They were among the unknown angles who appear to us all with a word, a phrase, a caring look, or even a rough truth; something that stings, but helps you on your way.
My most common teachers have been peers, those who have me me where I was and have shared a similar journey. That might be a typical situation for people who have “grown up” in 12 Step Programs. I actively look for the lessons my posse has to teach me. Every day my eyes and ears are open to new ways of being. I have learned to handle the examples that challenge my (old) way of doing things. I stay ready to grow. I also have acquired self esteem by speaking honestly about my own experiences in hopes that they will provide example and guidance to someone else.
What I don’t have is a main yoga teacher, an individual professional mentor, or a single individual who guides me in my daily life. (I have a sponsor and consult her on recovery related issues. I have a therapist coach who is available when ever I ask.) I have reached out to people in my field for support and help. I have not been rebuffed, per se, but my requests have been unheeded. I asked for help from individuals, and don’t seem to be able to connect. I do not seem to have the skills to make clear what I need; I need consistent support and feedback not only when I am in stress about an issue or event; but ongoing. I get situational support but no guidance in a transcendent sense. I have even reached out to pay for advice, however she was unable to truly listen and the coaching experience drifted away as my need was consumed by her mission and agenda.
So you know what to do? You REACH OUT! Yes, I keep reaching out. Because being part of a community is the only way to beat isolation and alienation. And I may not be a person who has a single source of inspiration and support. I may be the kind of person who has a myriad of hearts and hands holding her up. There may be no single person for to guide and support me. Possibly my journey is to weave together the wisdom of many into the guidance that is the truth for me.
While the question “Who is your teacher?” filled me with fear and dread (Am I not good enough to be a student? Am I too arrogant to have a mentor? Is is an issue of trusting someone else? and so on.)I realized it is an opportunity to be certain that I don’t stop looking. This question can keep me open, raw, and available to new information.
Having a mentor, a sponsor and a posse are important relapse prevention tools, so, look out! I am looking to YOU!
Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of “Yoga and the Twelve Step Path”, a leader of Y12SR classes, and the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) a teacher certification training that she holds with her good friend Kent Bond E-RYT500. Find out more about her, her classes and the training at www.yogarecovery.com