It is my belief that the most effective teachers are those who’ve lived amidst the greatest extremes. Those whose words of guidance are defined by first hand experience. There is a level of understanding that can only be achieved by having stood in the place of intimate knowing. Teachers come in all shapes and sizes. But when mine are brought to me, they must have the ability to say, “I know. I’ve been there.”
The other night I sat and watched a beautiful photo presentation of someone’s youth. With each loving picture that filled the screen, the stability of his home life became palpable. My heart softly made the realization that in this lifetime such a memory will never be mine. I can not teach what it feels like to spend one’s formative years surrounded by steadiness, security and normalcy. I can’t teach what I did not experience.
I can not teach others what it feels like to bolt from the gate knowing of their self-worth. I can not teach the feeling of never doubting in one’s ability. I can not teach how to live with blinders, for I’ve never owned any. And I can not teach how to live a life sans an inner demon or two. But I can teach how to navigate and ultimately find one’s self worth; as it was there all along. I can help others to understand the delicate dichotomy that is love and fear, confidence and doubt; as the two extremes are always up for the offering; the secret is choosing with intention and awareness. I can also advocate the benefits of a life panoramically viewed, as the best things in life are often hiding in the peripheral. And lastly, I can offer true empathy when it comes to the exhaustive work required when forming an armistice with one’s demons.
I also know prayer works, and miracles exist. More so, I know within each of us is the power to completely reshape our world – if we choose. I only know these things from facing devastation that brought me to my knees; from watching the impossible become possible; and from being forced to either reshape my world or suffocate within a life that offered no air. Often, it is when we are put to the test that we discover our deeper truths, our greatest potential and our reason for being.
There is great compassion within knowing through experience. And my words echo with the truth from my past. I am profoundly blessed to have had this particular life. Due to such, I will forever move in the direction of love. Each re-birth within myself; each level I’ve ascended; and each inner demon made to surrender carries with it its own voice. I’ve never jettisoned these parts of myself, or stifled their timbre, as they are what makes me whole. I have, however, healed them, transformed them, and given them a new platform from which to speak. It’s a continual process. But now when someone is lost, at their end, or feels so very alone, those echoing voices help me to say, “I know. I’ve been there.” And the love that lives in the sincerity of that statement is a very beautiful thing.