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March 8, 2010
What teacher has impacted you most in your life? Have you ever noticed that some of the greatest lessons in life come from the most unexpected sources? It is amazing how the universe brings things together when you are ready to learn a new lesson.
Recently I was listening to an audio series by Stuart Wilde, and he was discussing how these trusted advisers are everywhere in our lives. He was sharing how the enlightened teachers are not only the gurus and the masters that present themselves as teachers and lead millions of people. But it is also a newborn child, a "bum" on the street, the waiter at your favorite restaurant, the DJ in a strip club, the person putting in your cable and the neighbor you always fight with. Everyone is our teacher. And we are hear to teach everyone.
Right after having listened to that audio series, I was watching a movie on one of the pay channels that was called "With Honors" which starred Joe Pesci, Brendan Frasier, Patrick Dempsey, Moira Kelly and another person whose name escapes me at the moment. The story was about Joe Pesci's character being a bum who was living in the boiler room of the library at Harvard. Brendan Fraiser's character loses his thesis and Pesci finds it. Pesci proceeds to "blackmail" Fraiser by giving him one page of his thesis for every favor that Frasier does for him. By the end of the movie, the "bum" has taught lessons to all four of these "elite" students and his interacting with these Harvard students dramatically impacted and dramatically changed their lives. Yes, I know, it is only a movie... but how often has the lesson that you truly needed to learn come from the most unexpected teacher?
There is a poem that I have seen go around the internet called reason, season or lifetime. It talks about how every interaction we have with someone happens for to enrich both of our lives. There is a "reason" for the connection happening. There is something that we are supposed to learn from them and that they are supposed to learn from us. Or there is something that we are supposed to help each other transition through. It also talks about how sometimes those interactions could be one chance meeting. But that one chance meeting can dramatically change your life.
Or sometimes people come into your life for a season. They are there to help you and for you to help them as you learn a new lesson, and transition to the next place that both of you need to go. And then for seemingly no reason they disappear. They are gone from your life as quickly as they came into it and you wonder where they are and what happened to them. But the purpose for the two of you coming together has been served, and the Universe has moved each of you on to your next place for growth.
And then the third is when people come into your life for a lifetime. These kinds of relationships I think are much more uncommon, but they do happen. A lifetime relationship pretty much speaks for itself. This is where two spirits have agreed to support each other on the journey and each have skills and experiences that the other will benefit from. Usually they combine to create an amazing force for change, not only in their lives, but in the lives of those around them. I don't mean that this will play out on a world wide stage and be about success and celebrity, but it may be about the child they raise, or the community that they impact.
The point I want to get back to is that when we start embracing the idea that every interaction, every relationship, every experience is happening for us not only to benefit from, but also for us to contribute to; the n we begin to interact with people in a totally different way. I was taught early on that everyone is my teacher. Although I would look to people with 20 years of sobriety to teach me those profound lessons that were going to help me stay sober, many times the lesson that I really needed to learn would come from somebody who just had one day sober.
The idea, the meaning of all this is that everyone is our teacher. Everyone is here to contribute to our lives, and we are here to contribute to theirs.