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Living, Learning, and Teaching

July 23, 2008

I’m blogging today, not because I really feel that I have something of import about which to write but because I so desperately need this time of just sitting still and reviewing where I am and maybe where I am going.

 

My Beloved and I were chatting the other day about her upcoming visit.  She mentioned she would be unable to attend a group that she has joined, a group led by a most amazing man who is her instructor (and one of my favorite people on the planet!!).  When she emailed him about her absence, his response was, “Living is always more important than learning”.  What a brilliant response, especially coming from an educator.  It’s gotten my wheels spinnin’.

 

My formal education, or more accurately, the lack of said education. is a huge source of shame for me, though less now than it was before I met above-mentioned amazing man/professor.  I barely finished tenth grade then got my GED many years later.  Through taking various professional workshops, I managed to get 3 college credits.  I also took a CLEP test and got 2 more English credits for a grand total of 5 college credits.  I have no letters after my name (i.e. PhD. CSW, etc.)  and no formal Degrees even in my spiritual path.  On paper, I’ve learned nothing, know nothing, and have less than nothing to teach.

 

But, boy, have I lived!!  I know homelessness, battered women’s syndrome, the simple joy of a hot bubbly bath, amazement that yet again the sun did rise, abuse and torture, and the sublime bliss that randomly appears (without even the aid of great chemicals!).  I know that ache of abandonment and the joy of true union.  I know what it is to leave and what it is to be left.  And I especially know what it is to live both with and without the Divine.

 

I never meant to be a teacher.  In fact, when a dear friend told me a few years ago (though it feels like a whole lifetime ago) that I would have students, I was adamantly unwilling to even contemplate the idea.  What could I ever teach anyone?  Who would ever listen to, believe, or trust me?  How could I, who felt (and feel still) like an eternal student ever gain enough wisdom about anything to pass it along to anyone??  Yet, teach I do.  I have several students now that are “official” in the sense that they have classes with me every week about various aspects of my spiritual path.  I have a few others in my life that do not have “real” classes with me but do ask for my guidance in their own spiritual journey.  I’m almost ashamed to even say that here, as if I am trying to brag, but truly my intent is just to talk about all of this other “stuff”.  My point in all of that is to say that my greatest learning comes from my students and from my living.

 

My students are among the most amazing people in the world.  They struggle everyday with the concept of making the sacred and the mundane the same…of coming to grips with the idea that every decision is a spiritual decision.  They’ve learned about the Elements and what aspects are of each of them.  They have learned about crystals and herbs and candles and colors and auras and chakras.  They have allowed their ideas about sexuality, gender roles, and Divinity to be challenged, shaken, destroyed, and structured anew.  They have committed to building their spiritual and magical muscles through intentional living and intention and consistent study.  They have all rebuilt their vocabulary and have learned to walk in integrity through even the most trying of circumstances.  Every idea of everything that they have ever held as precious has been analyzed and often discarded for new and foreign ideas that don’t exactly fit the societal norm.  They have been called to a high level of personal responsibility and a fierce ethical standard.  What brave souls they are!  What courage to walk it every day.  What amazing commitment and dedication!  What hard work they all do!!

 

And how they teach me!  I am called to model that which I am teaching.  Every decision that I make is a decision they all want to understand and a decision that must fit the same criteria that I give them for their decisions.  Nothing that I do can be “accidental” or less than totally intentional.  My relationship with the She that I call Momma can never be relationship that is “on the side”.   I must,everyday, make ecstatic love to Her, feel Her making my insides all tingly, hear Her whispering (and sometimes shouting) my name and whatever instructions She has for me next.  I must live my life in Her lap, everyday, all day, even when it sucks.

 

See, I’ve heard about the She that is all sweetness and pink Light, and I even believe that She exists.  That, however, is not the usual face that the Momma shows me.  I get this very large, very exuberant, very brown woman who never tiptoes.  Oh no, my Momma dances and shouts and sings and yells when I “get stupid”.  “Baby, why you gettin’ stupid?  Didn’t I already tell you that such and such a thing is s’posed to go this a-way?” is a sentence that Momma has often yelled in my soul.  She kicks my ass when I get lazy and most of the time when I am sad, She reminds me that it was my own “dumb ass choices” that got me in that place to begin with!  And most of the time, it feels like the more lessons I learn from Her, the more She wants to teach me.

 

I learned to see the Divine as female, learned to value all that is woman, womanly, feminine, and Goddess based and then She asked “Why you ignoring my Man?? Don’t you know that I am not all that I am meant to be when Papa is not here, too??  Don’t you know that Papa makes Me laugh?? Don’t you know I love to get My groove on with that fine ass Papa of yours?  Why you leaving’ Him out in the cold??” So, I had to relearn all about the Divine Masculine.  I had to learn to value Papa kisses (my new phrase for a suntan!) and Papa dances (thunderstorms).  I had to learn what masculine strength, integrity, passion, and love all looked like and then I had to open myself up to receive them in the same way that I learned to receive all that Momma love.

 

I learned all about commitment and loyalty and the value of my marriage.  I learned to want that sense of my husband as my own and then She said. ” Good job, baby.  Now, nothin’ is really yours so it’s time to share.  You think it’s a challenge to be so open to one person, open yourself to two”.  Oh my.  What a challenge that has all been.  So much talking, so many issues to walk through, so many old ideas to challenge and change.  Trust has a whole new meaning to me, as do the words love and commitment and sharing and communication.  Living outside of the societal norms has a new depth and the need to “fit in” is still being worked through.  I’m challenged to share space, share intimacy, and share my children.  I’m sharing time and energy and my body in whole new ways.  Sometimes it feels like I cry through half of everyday and want to sleep through the other half.  And I have no regrets.  And even if I could go back in time and change things, I wouldn’t.  And I have never been so filled with Love and Joy and Light in the capital letters way.

 

So maybe, teaching and living are how I learn.   And maybe the only letters that I need after my name are “Hers”.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2008 7:01 pm

    Oh how I love reading what you write!!! This is one of my favorite parts: “I must,everyday, make ecstatic love to Her, feel Her making my insides all tingly, hear Her whispering (and sometimes shouting) my name and whatever instructions She has for me next. ” And I so love to hear you talk about your conversations with the Momma. I feel closer to Her as a result of them – delicious stories for my soul. It is so blissful to feel you back here 🙂

    I know I’ve said this before but, seriously, letters of the academic variety are totally overrated. I think living IS learning. You have so very much to teach. The Momma sure does love me a lot to have given you to me not only as my teacher but as my beloved. Hugs and kisses to you, baby 🙂

  2. July 24, 2008 11:43 am

    What a fantastic post. I could completely sympathize with the “I’m not going to have students! What would I teach!”

    This is inspiring and a timely reminder that living is teaching.

    Thank you.

  3. July 26, 2008 4:46 am

    You write with wisdom that cannot be gotten in an ivory tower- I am humbled to realize low long and hard I studied to learn things that you already had within you, waiting to be released.

    Do you have any idea how much I have learned from you? And not just because I am the Eternal Seeker, but because you have so much to give. You still have important things in front of you, important things to give to those who will hear- I know this, just as I knew before- She has said it.

    I had to laugh- WITH you, not at you- at your descriptions of wonder at having students. Can you possibly imagine how terrified I was when She told me that I Must open up to someone I couldn’t even see?

    Please keep writing regulary, even when you think you haven’t much to impart that day- there are those of us out here who just want to here your voice, because we care what happens to you. You and Aerolin are two of the finest people on Earth.

  4. July 26, 2008 6:26 am

    It’s lovely to see you writing more, Signmom. I’ve missed your writing, missed your wisdom, and all the shine you send out everywhere.

  5. signmom permalink*
    July 26, 2008 1:25 pm

    Aerolin, it is still such a comfort to me to see you comment here. Thank you for loving me so much that you give me the freedom to say whatever things I need to say, in whatever ways I need to say them. Your bravery makes me braver.

    Thank you, Lyrical Fool, for the encouragement. It’s nice to know that these ramblings of mine resonate with others.

    Joel, your words and your continued presence here offer me more comfort than I can express. When Aerolin and I decided to discuss our relationship in our respective blogs, you were the sole person that I was afraid of “losing” (for lack of a better word). Your teaching of me is what inspires me to teach and your certainty that I could teach, and should, gave me the confidence to say “Yes” to Her again and again. Not only do you have a student you’ve never met, you have grandstudents that you’ve never met!! I do my best to honor you in the teaching that I do and I will be forever grateful for you and the way that you helped me to find Her, hear Her. I feel like you adopted me into Her family and that is a gift that has more meaning to me than I could ever express. May the Goddess bless your every move and may you be covered in Her kisses!

    Tehlanna, it’s so nice to be missed! I am truly going to try to be more intentional about writing here. It is important to me to be allowed to have a voice and it’s useless to have it if I refuse to use it. Thank you for the gentle push.

  6. July 27, 2008 1:00 pm

    Beloved, it is an honor…

    Joel, reading all of your words brings tears to my eyes (as well as high-pitched, girly squeaks to my voice). I am so grateful to have you as a grandteacher! I echo signmom’s blessing from the core of my being 🙂

  7. July 27, 2008 8:11 pm

    Signmom, evidently you never received the email I tried to send you as soon as I read about you and Aerolin, expressing my joy at your finding the love you deserve, and offering you both the ancient toast: “May you live as long as you wish, and love as long as you live.”

    Aerolin, grandteacher? That sounds so OLD *sigh* I can feel the wrinkles forming as I speak… 🙂 seriously, don’t let Signmom fool you- I could only do minimal teaching; she has a strong and natural bond with the Divine.

    P.S. Signmom, do you still carry the bird? I dreampt of it the other day.

  8. signmom permalink*
    July 30, 2008 2:46 pm

    Joel, it makes me sad to have missed an email from you!! I am still eagerly awaiting juicy bits of yummy drops from your Book!

    It’s awesome that you mention the Bird. I do have that and it resides on the altar usually. I never travel (even overnight) without it. I found a wonderful divination set called the Goddess Amulets and the Bird is in there, looking much like the one that is such a treasured gift from you. I may manage to get things figured out enough that I can put pictures of the amulet as well as the one from you.

    Thank you for your assurance about my connection to Her. I know that it seems foolish that I would (STILL!!) need that assurance, but sometimes hearing Her is much easier than actually listening to what She has to say.

  9. August 27, 2008 12:41 am

    Hmmm…interesting conversations…I am intrigued.

    I enjoyed reading your post very much!

    I know plenty of people with degrees that no nothing about “living!” From the little I read here I can already tell you the group I would rather spend time with. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing this.

  10. August 27, 2008 12:54 am

    I meant “Know nothing”…hee, hee Maybe I should not have my glass of red wine while commenting! :O

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