I don’t write much on here…mostly poetry, but not exposition. This blog once had over 530 postings of original writings. I purged them all sometime last year…can’t recall when exactly. I was weary of being viewed from such a thing as a “website” and longed for only those who knew me to know me from firsthand experience, and vice versa. This world of ours isn’t improving from peripheral relating as far as I am concerned. Or at least, my experience of this world has not improved as a result of far away someone’s liking my articles. So, I got rid of them all, and mostly just kept the poetry.
I don’t like being of service. And that is different than feeling a calling to be of service. A duty. I can answer the calling and not like it at the same time. I can begrudgingly respond to the fact that what I am able to share is how I am here in service and that what I can share is what I am indebted to share. I know that unerringly…and it is the only reason any form of this website exists at all to this day. I feel “unallowed” to completely delete the thing…so here it still is.
Everything above this line is the preface…below this line is what I am meant to share tonight.
My teacher’s name was Linda. She chain smoked. The walls of her bedroom were literally stained yellow and in some places streaked with darker shades of orange nicotine concentrations. She wore enough makeup to keep Maybelline in the black. Her hair was bleached blonde. She wore cute outfits that always matched and often sported faces of cute animals on them…bears, cats…you name it. She was addicted to casino slot machine gambling at the local Navajo casino where we lived. When not busy teaching a group of 12-20 students in 12 hour long marathon healing sessions…that is where you could find her and her husband Roy…at the one armed bandit or playing bingo, or lottery numbers. She could quote a large amount of the Bible and considered herself Christian. She would have Osho, Christ and Oprah all sharing roles in whatever she was on about in a particular teaching session. She could talk for hours. She could see through you. She was a fighter. A screamer if need be. She would hold you when you cried…and you did that a lot.
What I appreciate most about getting older is how the same moments in time, if you pay attention, teach you more about themselves. As long as you keep a willingness to look back, you will see more each time that you do. The mountain grows taller, the book has more pages. But without reflection, it will remain something small, something without effect.
I have not seen Linda physically since 1999. I spoke with her on the phone though perhaps 3 years ago or so just before she died. So perhaps it was 2013? I still think about her every single day. I still quote her to others or to my children every single day.
Keeping track of what I am saying? Chain smoker, gambler, Christian, Osho follower, makeup maven…and the greatest teacher I ever will have. How is that possible?
What makes me write this tonight is because what made her so special is that she wasn’t pretending. She didn’t hide a thing from us. She didn’t have a pretty backstory. She didn’t do yoga. She didn’t give a fuck what you thought about her. I try to picture her today, on FB…advertising her services…I mean…who would follow a teacher or listen to a teacher with status updates on FB such as:
“heading to the casino…feeling great about the numbers 22 on the roulette table tonight!”
“I get the feeling the machine by the front door is going to pay out at around 11:30 PM, going to park it there at 11 and just wait for it! LOL”
I imagine her with curls of smoke swirling about as she took a selfie in her yellow bedroom, covered with makeup. “just wrapped a 10 hour healing sesh! Love working with clients…more openings next week!”
No one would follow her. And today, there has not yet been one teacher I have yet to have come across on FB or who is marketing themselves online that I would follow or recommend to others. And after 16 years of looking around…that says something about the depth of teaching currently available and what people accept as “depth”.
Linda wasn’t just right for me. Linda was a true mystic. Linda was a true truth teller. Women today market themselves as “warriors” of the truth. They use words like “powerful” and “goddess”. No thanks. I’ll take a chain smoker who has slugged it out with God anyday over them. Linda was a humanist. She cared more about people than I have ever seen anyone else care. Linda would pull you back from hell. You could call her at 2 AM in the morning for support.
She had the shitty past to back up every single one of her words. Suicide attempts. Rape. Car crashes. Lost children. Lost husbands. Single parent. Steeped in the notion that family is who you stand by no matter what. When I see teachers today I don’t see anything like the depth Linda had. What newer seekers don’t know now…and what newer teachers don’t know now…is how shallow the waters of teaching have become. People are filling up on frosting while the cake underneath remains untouched.
Why it matters to me is that people today don’t recognize that teachers like this aren’t on the main stage. You won’t find them clamoring for more. Teachers of real things aren’t going to promise you a damn thing you want because they know that the only promise life gives you is that in the end you lose what you want. A real teacher shows you how to live and love, through the loss of what you wanted, or had, or will lose. But yes, she also taught about celebration and joy and exuberance. Sure, she talked about manifestation and also could get hung up on the trappings of awkward “I create what I want” thinking…but in the end all she cared about what if you loved yourself…not if you had the life you dreamed of.
Ultimately the reason I, and everyone, quit working with Linda was that she hit a point where her teaching outran her willingness to turn the teaching on herself once again. She stopped in her willingness to look at herself, to be vulnerable to growth once again. She hit a plateau of fear and never stepped off the edge.
She taught me how to teach, how to care for others. But through her example she also unfailingly taught me how to fail at thriving WHILE teaching. Sharing your heart at that level, with that many people, will break you down, more than once. And there are very few working at that level. She taught me to always be the student, when the refused to be a student any longer. She taught me that life will humble you repeatedly and that if you do not find a way to accept starting over…over and over, than your system breaks down. Ultimately she died from her inability to face up to things in her past. But that is the way that she was meant to go as well…she knew that too.
“Teacher” today doesn’t mean what it used to. To me it is like comparing the word “forest” to what it meant 200 years ago…to using it now, when speaking of the 2 acres of trees in a backyard. “Teachers” are rarer than ever. One’s who are not in it for themselves through an unconsciously ambitious thought form..I really can’t find them. It’s most likely that the teacher you can easily spot has a lot less to offer than the one you have to look harder for. Ambition makes a teacher and the teaching weak. The lessons are thin, breakable, bought with money, proven with a certificate of completion for a weekend’s worth of training at times…
Find a teacher that doesn’t want to be found. I like to say, look for a teacher that is dragging their sword tip through the dirt behind them. Find someone arguing with God. Find a messy soul who still somehow stays the course. Clean people won’t know what to do with your dirty hands. So find someone who doesn’t mind shaking them as they are when you arrive. Find a teacher who can’t tell the difference between you and them.
Linda was one of the most messy people I have ever known. And without exception the clearest light of a teacher I have ever known or seen since. Take note of those juxtaposed things and compare them to who is calling themselves a “teacher” in this generation of spiritual teachers.
It is important to recognize that we are culturally (species wide) going through a window of time when the depth of teaching available has given way to the quantity of teaching happening. It’s not wrong…but is true.