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  • Sherise Schlaht

LESSONS FROM MY MENTOR

Have you ever met someone and had the sense that they see your essence and wholeheartedly understand you? I have spent the majority of my life feeling different; despite being a shapeshifter and fitting in seamlessly with a variety of people, I have rarely felt an innate sense of belonging. I met my mentor in my first year of University, when I decided to return to the world of post-secondary as a mature student. My mentor was not only a professor, he was also the head of the department. Despite the intimidation of his position and the many academic letters that he could place behind his name, he possessed this grounding, captivating essence. By merely being in his presence, I felt an assuredness; an ability to reach into the depths of my being and pour out the pain that had been unknowingly festering. This was incredibly refreshing to me as the world of academia typically fosters a theoretical relationship with knowledge that is often idealistic and virtually impossible to channel into lived-experience. Alongside the encouragement to dig deep was this notion of enjoyment/play. My mentor reminded me to explore with a curious mind, whilst having fun with the process. As a grade-obsessed, perfectionist I could not be told this enough, but each time was music to my ears. I was fortunate to have about one class a year with him for three out of the five years I was in University. At this time, I wasn’t fully aware of how instrumental he would be in my life, but I did recognize that I resonated with him as a(n) human, professor, and intellect.

As I neared the end of my degree, I was working in my field which led to the disillusionment of my academic experience. I failed to recognize the utility of the endless self-exploration and demise of my concept of self. Furthermore, the individuals I was serving were not in a space of readiness for the transpersonal journey; they were solely striving for survival. I didn’t know how to reconcile the yearning of my spirit while I was operating from the reality of survival hood (for myself and in my career). Then came the crash of 2018. I was completing my degree, working a significant amount, managing trepidatious friendships and relationships, and my living situation was less than ideal. My body screamed, “HELL NO.” I reached a point where I was no longer able to continue soldiering-on. In hindsight, I recognize the necessity of a health crisis because I have been navigating mental health challenges since the age of sixteen and have somehow managed to keep pushing through (okay, there were a few hospitalizations in that time, but life kept trucking along nonetheless). So, what does one do when they are a puddle? The only thing there is to do; be a damn good puddle. Goodbye career, goodbye life as it had been known.

Prior to the crash of 2018, I didn’t have the courage (nor did I recognize the need) to contact this said mentor. As I was contemplating what to do with my puddle-self, I felt this inclination to reach out to this still unknown mentor for guidance. He imparted his sage-like wisdom in response to my questions, and voila! I was assured that with his support I could transform this puddle-self at least into a walking, talking flubber.

Each session, I was met in my misery and pain. Having been conditioned to move towards light, hope, and positivity for the entirety of my life (as have most of us), I had to re-learn acceptance. I was encouraged to dive into the misery and pain; to be with it in complete non-judgement. I connected with this intrinsic sense of home both within and beyond myself, a feeling I was searching for in the external. Recently, I experienced the felt-sense of energetically nourishing myself for the first time in what I can recall in my lifetime. The most transformative lesson of our work was the recognition of the necessity in merging with the darkness. Only through the darkness did I find the fire of life. These collective experiences have provided me with glimpses of life when existing outside of my wounds. Accordingly, they have been the navigation system for my weekly posts. In case you are wondering about the puddle situation, I am still a puddle-self. The moments I am content with my puddle-self are the times in which I can find enjoyment in my solitude and quiet life. I still have many moments of rejecting my puddle-self, which seem to prolong the symptoms and suffering. I believe I have given up my pursuit of becoming flubber, or at least I have in this moment.

The main reason for writing about my mentor this week is related to a sense that he may not be of this physical world much longer. Although it is virtually impossible to tell because his energetic charisma overtakes all, there have been hints that he is dying. I have never met someone who is dying and living so fully at the same time. My mentor is in that which is the non-dual; he is living as he has been manifesting many years and transcends his bodily experiences. Each week he graces me with his presence. I cannot think of a more honourable way to spend one’s end of life; serving others and using the energetic acceptance of death to help others do the same. As I am writing this, I am selfishly crying, knowing that I will miss his physical form. I am aware that there is never an appropriate or convenient time for someone to die. In the tears, I am met with a sense of knowing that I will continue his legacy by imparting his knowledge and wisdom to those I touch. In this way, he will live forever. I end this week with my own words, which I have shared with him, “May you walk into the light knowing you are loved, with ease and peace.”


Devotedly,


Sherise

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