Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Life long learning

At least two or three times a year I am compelled to post the poem below. Oh yeah, I have had such GREAT teachers, and I am grateful.

One thing I realized this week is that I still have great teachers even though they don't look exactly like the teachers to whom I'm usually referring when I post the poem. These days my teachers look a whole lot like my clients, neighbors, friends and family.

I learned a lot this week by way of smooth and not so smooth interactions with my current roster of teachers. Wow. It will take awhile to integrate the lessons of the past week. Wisdom is hard earned and slow to accumulate, but today what I can say for sure is that I learned a lot about my attention span and stamina this past week. I also learned that in some ways I'm shamanically adept, but with other traditional shamanic practices, I'm clumsy as an ox.

Are oxen clumsy?

Because I had such great teachers, as a teacher I have always been eager to pass on to my students Every Single Thing I know. This week I realized fully this is absolutely unnecessary. I don't have to teach everything I know, not ever, and even though there are things shamans have always done, that does not mean I have to do them. Wow, what a revelation.

In many ways, even though I've had great teachers and learned many things, it's also true that I'm still treading on thin ice. Indeed.

Gratitude to Old Teachers

When we stride or stroll across the frozen lake,
We place our feet where they have never been.
We walk upon the unwalked. But we are uneasy.
Who is down there but our old teachers?

Water that once could take no human weight -
We were students then - holds up our feet,
And goes on ahead of us for a mile.
Beneath us the teachers, and around us the stillness.

~~Robert Bly


Pauline said...

Beneath us the teachers, and around us the stillness.

We need that stillness so that we can ponder what we've been taught.

I don't know that oxen are as clumsy as men built like oxen...

Cyndy said...

I love that poem. And those columns! On my first visit to the Arboretum a few years ago, I had no idea those columns were there. What a surprise - it's an amazing sight.

Butternut Squash said...

Excellent poem, well worth posting again. I haven't noticed any clumsy oxen in my travels. They move very slowly. They do nothing but eat and stare. I do find them intimidating because of their size and prefer to have a local near me when I am around them.

steven said...

this is quite a post reya. it woke me up! steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Butternut, thank you! You have had many encounters with oxen - your thoughts around them seem especially wise.

Steven, really? Wow.

Val said...

Teachers eh - sometimes we dont recognise them straight off but there they are. I think its thin ice most of the way :)