When I was in school, all my english and history teachers always commented,
“Amy, you write all your supporting evidence first then end the paragraph with your topic sentence. It’s like going backwards into your analysis and finishing at the beginning.”
Man, I had to work hard on this issue. I enjoy the lyrical meandering way I write and had trouble understanding why I should do it the way they were telling me when it was still clear what I was saying, and the way I was doing it worked for me. It made me feel safe. In the windy, kaleidoscope of my written analysis, I trusted myself enough to give control over to my artistic and analytical voice to drive home a point. I gave control over to my voice, I trusted my voice, and when I did that, well, I couldn’t seem to trust my voice to get the results others desired from me.
It was like, if I listen to my true self, I create something that seems to be confusing, odd or bizarre to others.
I’ve spent so much of my life attempting to change myself, so I can be better understood, clearer, kinder, more functional.
I’ve spent so much time doing this, so I can make others feel safe and comfortable around me.
In the process, I’ve gotten so wrapped up in these expectations that at times, I lost the ability to see and hear and know who I actually am. I’ve lost the ability to hear my own voice and question my motivations for doing things, and this has led to me, at times taking action in a way that does not feel true to who I truly am and what I want to give to the world, like Yzma, I too, am guilty of getting so wrapped up in the “plans” that my ego stops identifying with my true self, I become something else and am then surprised when I pause and notice how “out of alignment” I am with my true voice, my inner teacher
As a teacher, we are trained to steer the “boat” of our students’ experience in their learning journey. You can never anticipate EVERY student’s particular and unique set of needs all the time and stay incarnated. (If you’re doing that, why not just declare buddha-hood and ascend, right?)
For the past years, with all of my students, I internally checked every box, looked under every stone, and trouble-shooted all the potential outcomes of every scenario ad nauseum to a point of burn out, resentment, promising I would never teach again, only to become aware this afternoon that I’m not even in control of where I am going with my self.
So if I am not steering my own boat, who… or what is?
The night before the full moon, we started dog-sitting for a friend. The dog had been hiding under the house all day until our dog, Amita Buddha, chased her out and started a many day long in a territory battle… which lasted all night until at 12:49 AM, all four of my runner ducklings mysteriously escaped from their pen and start wandering around the property in a pre-full moon haze, quacking strangely. Picture four zombie penguin clown ducklings, gazing drunkenly up at the moon and moving in slow motion around in the whiteness of the moonlight.
Meanwhile, my husband, Corey, is totally completely asleep for all of this.
I run outside and shout at the dogs, who are scrambling around in a pile when suddenly a duck explodes from the running tumbling dog pile.
I start catching and herding these ducklings, who are adolescents and have begun moulting back towards their coop.
As I catch one and bring it back to the pen, the previous one runs- quickly- out. It started to get very silly. My plan for bringing my zombie penguin ducklings back safely was not going as I planned. I had to act fast.
It was easy to catch them; they were moon drunk. As I held one in my arms, I realized this is the first time I have held them since they’ve gotten their adolescent feathering. I realize, how soft they are, and how fragile and flexible they are. Most of them let me hold them close to my chest as I carried them back to their pens, where they could feel safe and protected from the dog scramble. As I approached the pen, I opened the chicken wire fencing, a duck jumped down from my arms into the pen, and I closed it up. One by one I returned them safely home.
Now, let me set the scene for you. While all this is going on, I’m in my nighty (which has cartoon pictures of snoozing cats saying things like purrr and meow on it), and I am the opposite of a relaxed snoozing cat. I am PISSED OFF angry lioness who is tired and covered in duck poop.
Let me paint a clearer picture:
I am angry as F$%K that I am awake at 130 in the morning, in my nightgown, covered in duck S$#t and scratched up and bleeding from catching my skin on their fence in the moonlight.
“This sucks.” I mumble to myself, as I stand still, listening and looking around at the bizarre other-worldly landscape of my farm under silver natural moonlight, which has suddenly gotten eerily quiet. The ducks and the dogs have all disappeared into the shadows, and I stand alone now under the almost full moon lit sky.
I eventually go inside, shower off and bump angrily and noisily around my bedroom muttering and cursing to myself before deciding to sleep on the sofa, because now it is 2:30 AM, and I cannot seem to calm myself down enough to fall asleep.
The next morning, Corey asks me why I was swearing, and I recount the story.
“You want to have control, and you can’t.” he says to me. The thing I love about Corey is he has this way of saying things to me that cuts through all the bull shit. It is a type of honesty and bravery that sometimes really hurts my inner student/ego to hear. I’m always grateful; that’s one of the reasons I married him.
He says this to me right before I drive for 30 minutes over the mountain to town to meet with a new student, so I have plenty of time to think about this nugget of truth Corey just laid out there like it’s no big deal.
So, why, Amy, do you have these control issues? Why did you get up in the middle of the night to chase animals when in all likelihood, everyone would have been fine? I ask my self.
Because I heard a duck quack in a way that sounded like terror, and I was afraid that something had happened to the ducklings- again. I answer.
When our ducklings were four weeks old, I put them outside in a pen, and the third day out, they were attacked by a mongoose. Corey found them- Gertrude was practically dead, as was Ducky, where as Sonic had a minor head wound and Walt was just terrorized.
The experience was traumatizing for the ducklings, myself and Corey, as it happened the day before Corey’s birthday, and a week before our family started arriving for the week of wedding festivities to celebrate mine and Corey’s wedding. Thankfully they were all fine, and out and about within six days.
The teaching though, continued to play itself out… in my head and my body.
But why did you run yourself ragged, and allow yourself to get so upset? I ask myself.
Because the more of my self I throw at a problem, then the more I can I push into the result I want to see. I respond
Is this how you want to be, Amy? Pushing to get others to hear you, pushing yourself to be someone other than who you are? I ask.
No, I say, realizing my behavior the night before felt like an invasion of my ego into my body, taking over and turning me into someone I did not recognize, know or like very much, someone I was not proud to be, someone whose actions I was ashamed to be accountable for, even though they got the result I wanted, I realized there were living beings involved here, and I could have been calmer, gentler, less angry. I could have approached the “problem” from a place of alignment. I could have stayed true to my inner teacher.
I believe that we are all teachers and students simultaneously. I believe that we have a teacher within us that is constantly at work, demonstrating scenarios through experiences, thoughts, and beliefs- the way a teacher in school would- until we either get the message, learn the lesson and go to the “next chapter” or fail and have to “stay back a grade.”
I also believe that we are teachers and students of the beings, experiences and things around us- all the time.
So, it’s funny that I have said in the past, “I am not going to be a teacher anymore,” because the part of me that is already infinite, the part of me that already knows, well, this part of me is teaching me and others all the time.
When I held those ducklings to my chest that night, I realized:
1). there are times for exerting control. There are moments when, as a teacher, you possess more knowledge than your students and have to take physical action to safeguard your students’ integrity, learning process, or in this case with the ducklings- their lives.
2) there is a part of the ducklings that is an inner teacher for them as well as a teacher for me, and in the moments they were zombie waddling around my yard, they were showing me they were strong enough, big enough and mature enough to go out on their own and be successful.
3). When you allow yourself to be who you are in a way that is aligned with how you are meant to walk in the planet, the reasons for your motivations become clearer faster.
4). the I push to control a situation, in a funny kind of way, the less control over my understanding the truth I actually have.
It took: a husband, four runner ducklings a guest dog, an almost full moon and an Amida Buddha to drive that message home in a whole new way for me.
So, this is where is gets interesting.
I’ve been writing this course, for anyone who wishes to be a leader, teacher, and guide in their life and/or for others, and I’ve been sitting on the course now for two years, keeping it to myself.
I’ve maintained control over what happened to my baby, my training, which is a culmination of countless years of study, reflection, healing and learning over the years about how to be a human, here on this planet.
I’ve held it so close to my heart, I’ve been afraid to let it go.
Well, I got to this point, you see. I got to this place where I just can’t do it anymore. I have to relinquish control more than I ever have before.
And it’s scary, because it means trusting more.
maybe even being afraid more… for a little while.
And I’m afraid because the way I’ve chosen to offer this class with the world is to make the courses DIY, meaning I’m handing the reigns over to you, my students, clients, and friends, and to trust your inner teachers know exactly what you need to excel and be masters and leaders in your lives, for your tribes, and for your purposes. And that scares me.
Because the world is a pretty scary place right now.
Because the world has so much potential, it is practically boiling over on itself and imploding all at once.
Because I believe that each person has the ability, knowledge, and voice to change, grow and become better leaders for themselves and for the ones we love.
Because it is time to relinquish our control of what we “should” be and how we “should” do it and go back to basics. It’s time to remember how we as individuals have some very important and very special things to offer our planet.
So, I offer my learning back now, to be shared, collaborated with and appreciated in a way that hopefully gives you the opportunity to remember your inner teacher and remember how collaborating with your inner teacher is the best thing we can do for our planet right now.
Because a true teacher encourages their students to be completely and wholly who they are without judgment.
I believe that we each possess the ability to become enlightened beings here on this planet. There is no one way to do it; we will all get there eventually.
We no longer have the luxury of time to sit around and wait.
So, I am so happy to share with you, my first course in “The Tao of Teaching: Mastery and Leadership training” open for registration September 20th. It is an entirely DIY online course called MOTIVATE.
And I am so pleased to share it with you. Now through September 29th, the course is available at a discounted rate with the code: MOTIVATE18. So, there is my plug. It’s up to you what you do with it.
If you are interested, and you would like to register, please do! Take control of your destiny by learning to listen to, be inspired and guided by your inner teacher… with me to support you as much- or as little as you like along the way. It is a DIY class after all, one where you remember your inner master without getting covered in duck S%$t and cursing at the moon in the process.
I love you.