Tag Archives: self discovery

What I love most about teaching

15 Sep

Tools of the TradeWhen my student is beyond excited. When they have that look in their eyes. When I know that something clicked, an alignment occurred with their soul. We are together for an instant in this blissed out moment that feels like the entire universe exhaled an immense and satisfied ‘YES!’

Last week, Jim asked if he could take his picture home to work on. He was so excited to show his parents his work in progress. He’s been in class close to 16 weeks, developing his style; drawing, painting, penciling what he loves- reptiles, lizards and snakes. He is a walking encyclopedia on everything reptile. He is also a connoisseur of morning glories. His enthusiasm is contagious.

Recently, he’s adopted a new tool- Derwent Inktense Ink pencils. He uses an easel, inventing his style of working as he goes- experimenting with different papers, pencils, techniques…and last Thursday- BOOM! Lightning struck and he was hooked. The muse had him by the tail and it was just the coolest thing to witness. He grew exponentially, expanded beyond his old story of his ability and I was able to see THAT MOMENT.

‘Oh wow’ he said to himself, looking at his picture, his hands full of pencils and paintbrushes, ‘I love this. I love this.’

When class was over, as he’s walking out the door, I saw that he also had the case of the studio’s Derwent pencils. Around $150 worth of these amazing things, cradled to his chest.

So I’m like, ‘Er…you’re taking the pencils too?’ A bit hesitant to let these things walk out the door.

His face was absolutely shining, as he said so seriously – “Yes! I promise I’ll be careful with them. I promise! Is it ok if I borrow them, since no one else is using them?’

In that moment, I could see the monetary value of those pencils was absolutely nothing compared to the value that they had to him, this gifted 13-year-old artist who had just discovered an entire world of wonder and awe in a case of pencils. We had discussed the price of him buying the exact set earlier in class that day, so he knew what he was asking.

‘Yes.’ I said.

He didn’t even say thank you or goodbye, (which he does every time, because he’s a polite and gracious kid) he instead just turned and floated toward his mom, clutching the pencils and his drawing.

Is that not connection we’re all longing for? A direct pipeline to joy? This is what is sustainable. Find the things that expand you, that inspire you to become more of who you are. It’s not about ‘Am I ‘good’ at this or any other external marker. It’s about what fulfills you. And that is always an inside job. How do you find a way to let the radiance out? What is it that tickles your fancy, that you do just for the sheer delight of exploration and creativity?

‘Oh wow’ (you overhear your soul say), ‘I love this. I love this.’

And honestly, it feels exactly like the entire universe is exhaling an immense and satisfied ‘YES!’ -through you.

Be a finder, not a seeker

1 May

Shine! , marker and colored pencil, 11" x 14", janet balboa

I have a friend, Freddy, who always says ‘be a leader- not a follower.’ It’s what he says to people every time he parts company. He’s said this for years. He said it again the other night. This time, it triggered something deep- an awareness that has been creeping up on me. I didn’t realize fully that I had even been considering or mulling over anything in particular. My life has seemed pretty business as usual lately. Yet when he said this, my inner voice immediately blurted out ‘Be a Finder. Not a seeker.’

The next day, I sat with this comment and it occurred to me that I had indeed become a finder. That this had been dawning on me for years, and had now overtaken me and somehow, subtly, become me.

There was no denying it. For instance, my recent experience of looking at the self-help section and realizing: ‘Geez, kiddo, you’re beyond help.’ –  and being ok with that. No panic, not even a tremor of guilt. I have the recognition, the understanding that being beyond help is exactly, precisely where I should be.

or – when reading the words of the Hopi Elders- ‘we are the ones we’ve been waiting for’-  there is a resonance, a conviction, a relatively recent  ‘yes’ that comes to mind, a furthering of my commitment to do what I came here to do (whatever that is – and the excitement of discovering it.)

What did I find? What was that elusive thing I have been searching for? I think you know, because you have been searching as well. Wondering what the hell you are here for. What your purpose is. What you are supposed to be doing.

Who you are, who you have chosen to be – (we have chosen, again and again, thru the billions of small, seemingly insignificant decisions we make every moment of every day for years) – all these decisions have added up, accumulated, coalesced, and transformed themselves into you. This being that is here right now. You are alive, aware, and able to reflect on yourself and your world- a conscious being.

This is the destination.

This is where you get off the pot. Get out of the canoe. Get on with it. Once you realize this, there is no more.

You are it.

You have arrived. In style I might add. With all the bells and whistles. You are the latest, the-on-the-cutting-edge model of one of the most incredible, intelligent, conscious lifeforms on this planet. YOU are the one we’ve been waiting for. (And me, and everyone else on this planet.) So…when do we start acting like it? When do we make an entrance? When do we step onto the cosmic red carpet and take our bow? When do we strut our stuff?

Now. This magical moment when eternity reaches out to us; connecting intention with fulfillment; where awareness becomes presence and our life is suddenly full of possibilities. Our ‘to-do’ list becomes a flow chart – subtly tracking us as we find ourselves in the lead role of the adventure of our life.  Can you see it this way? Can we begin to engage with our life as a flow of energy that has been given to us? Can our ‘to-do’ list begin to accurately reflect who-we-are? Who we are becoming – with every conscious (and unconscious) decision we make.

You are what you were looking for. Not something out there. This recognition that the most intimate, lovely, beautiful relationship possible is right…here. Right now.

This adventure will take our entire lifetime. We will never stop growing, expanding, learning, reaching, exploring – I suspect life and energy continues this marvelous dance even beyond our beautiful world of form.

What do you do when you find something you’ve been looking for? For me, I sat in complete awe and wonder for a good long time. I looked this thing over from all angles. I was grateful, amazed, profoundly astonished. I cried. I was completely floored. But then I thought, by God, I’d better use this thing – better start getting used to it. Better start living it. It’s a big world out there and I want to find myself in it.

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