There is a dialogue in Byron Katie’s book, “Who Would You Be Without Your Story,” that just fascinates me.
She is talking with a gentleman who has arrived at her workshop bearing a particular – and particularly common – issue. Especially in recovery circles.
He doesn’t feel good enough. Or enough. Or all of the above.
He is courageous though, and has volunteered to share his story with Katie in front of an audience of hundreds, hopeful that it might help.
The gentleman begins to share, explaining that he simply does not believe he is living up to his full potential. This is Katie’s response –
If I’m good at something, I don’t give it to the world….I give it to the one in front of me, because I’ve received it myself. If I have the most sweetheart thing in the world, it’s not for everyone. It’s for the one in front of me – it’s for me first and then you. That’s all. That’s all that’s required. No push, no pull. It’s not a grand scale. It’s just for this, the one in front of you. That’s your job.
She has just described the essence of mentoring, in one short paragraph.
Oh, and summed up the essential existential struggle raging inside my being since, well, birth.
That, I think, was a bonus.
All of my life, I have felt like I was not good enough. Not enough. Or all of the above.
I wasn’t doing X well enough. Y wasn’t happy with me. Z = a missed opportunity. A should have been me. B was what I should have been doing. And C, well, C was going to flaunt it in my face that life coulda, shoulda, woulda, if only I would or wouldn’t have……
You get the picture.
A very painful way to live.
I love the idea that what we have to share is for us, and, possibly (if and when we’re ready, willing, and able to offer it) for the one right in front of us.
It just takes all the pressure off.
I don’t have to be the best, the biggest, the most well known. I don’t have to even care about those things. Which is great, because I have been wanting to not care about those things for years, but I haven’t been able to give myself permission. I just wasn’t sure that not caring was okay.
And therein – once again – lies the power of mentoring.
The sheer muscle-and-mind heavyweight power of the wise elder on the path, the ease-ful companion who humbly and graciously shares what little she has picked up along the way with the willing and eager (if slightly depressed, discouraged and clueless at times) younger who walks beside her.
Mentoring is a beautiful thing.
Today’s Takeaway: Where have you been hammering home to yourself that you should be bigger (or smaller), better, greater, helping more, serving more, giving more, reaching more, saving the world? How does it feel? Does it sit well with you? Does it resonate within your heart, and spirit? How does it feel, living as you, with these grand-level self-expectations? Is it comfortable? Reasonable? Kind? Do you feel at all free to be YOU, living as you, within your life today, within the confines of the expanded vision you lug around that is supposed to represent “your life”?