I’ve just been through a fairly overwhelming life experience, one which feels right now like an arrival of sorts, or the crossing of a finish line. As I pause for breath here on this small metaphorical personal mountaintop, marveling at and giving thanks for the view, I’m inspired to reflect on teachers and how profound and transformative their impact can be.
We go to a teacher because we want to learn, improve, and grow, and because we think that teacher has the ability to help us get there. Teachers are there watching and listening when we are at our most vulnerable. They ask us to try things we feel we don’t know how to do. They ask us to imagine things we’ve never experienced. They tell us when our efforts fall short. They congratulate us when we improve. Their job is to observe and articulate our worst habits and tendencies, and then set about showing us a better way. They also see our strengths, and help us to see them, too. They mold us, guide, nudge, and sometimes shove us past what’s comfortable, all in the name of helping us to improve ourselves, helping us to take another painful step on our journey. They are willing to share with us their most private gems of knowledge, the insights that made them as successful as they are, the pearls of wisdom that they drop into our open hands, for us to ponder, struggle with, and eventually incorporate and make our own. They take that risk of sharing their secrets because they want for us what we want – to grow, to learn, to become more than we thought we could be, to fail, to succeed, to create, and to connect more deeply with ourselves and with our highest aspirations. We are there, studying, because we care so deeply about the outcome – the improvement, the growth. They are there to help us achieve it.
I have had the tremendous good fortune to encounter more than my fair share of these extraordinary souls through my journeys in music and dance. I have been changed significantly by each of them, and each one I treasure. My teachers are a blessing in my life.