Dalai Lama or Mrs. Mieliwocki?

You have probably heard of the Dalai Lama. You may be wondering who Mrs. Mieliwocki is. She is the National Teacher of the Year, a seventh-grade English teacher from Burbank, Calif., near Los Angeles. I titled this article this way, becauseĀ  this morning, I was thinking about some of my favorite teachers. And, I was wondering who some of your favorite teachers are.

When the student is ready, the teacher comes. – Buddha

There have been so many teachers in my life. To me, each person I meet has the potential to be a teacher, someone from whom I learn something. The lessons are always so different. And some teachers are those I’ve never met and have only read what they teach. The short list includes the words from the likes of the Buddha, Christ, Dalai Lama, all the way to the writings of Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay and Doreen Virtue.

Some lessons have come at a painful and horrible price. Although, now that the lesson’s been learned and integrated, the price has faded and often is long forgotten. So many times, I was treated badly and abusively. I used to carry the pain and resentment around with me all stored up in a big old bag that got heavier with each step. That is, until I understood that I allowed myself to be treated poorly because I just took it without standing strong for myself. Each of these people in my past that treated me so badly was a teacher. Through them, I began to learn the importance of standing strong and tall. With continued growth into personal strength, the hurt became less and less frequent. Now, it is extremely rare that I get hurt or am treated badly. Because I stand strong (without fighting or striking back), I have a beautiful life full of loving and considerate people. I’ve heard it said that we teach others how to treat us by either standing strong or letting others walk over us. In the end, I’ve learned, it’s really always our choice how others treat us. What do we let them get away with?

Well, I guess I got a little off my original track here…

I was talking about the teachers we all have had in life. And, I get sidetracked, because I believe that every situation gives us both a chance to learn and a chance to teach. I’m reminded of the story of Teddy and his teacher (click here to watch the short movie). It seems that Teddy’s teacher learns quite a bit about herself that helps her to become an even better teacher. While she’s teaching the children, she also has the choice to take away some lessons for herself in the process.

Each of us is simultaneously both teacher and student.

There has been much written and shared about the value of staying in an attitude of gratitude. One of the reasons I like to think back to the teachers I’ve encountered is that it gives me another chance to be in that attitude of gratitude about the beauty and perfection that has been “life”.

Thank you:

  • for the lessons in self-esteem that came at the hands of abusive men
  • for the realization to stand strong and proud that came from taunting schoolmates
  • for the loving kindness from my 4th grade teacher, Ms. Windish (if you happen to know where she ended up, I’d love to find out), to a little girl locked up in a shell
  • for the kind observations of my therapist, Judy Milroy, that helped me see my own beauty
  • for friends like Morgan, Pamela and Terri who across so many years and life situations teach me the value of staying connected
  • for mentors like Douglas that have shown me brave, new worlds far removed from the ordinary
  • for colleagues like Pamela, Kathleen, Betty and Angie that stand strong with and for me as I sort out the ways in which I can make the most difference in the world
  • for the realization that I am intelligent and capable that came through the chauvinistic and arrogant treatment from several bosses
  • for the insights into how I can make a difference because of working with and for people who spend their lives in soul-chilling environments

I know the list could go on and on…

Who and what are on your list of thank yous?

Coach’s Challenge

Take some time this week to write your own list of thank yous to the people in your life from whom you’ve learned some of the most important lessons. These lessons include what you’d like to model and what you’re certain to avoid.

What have you learned about yourself in the process of living through these lessons?

Suggested Resource

One of the deepest core issues I’ve worked through is that of valuing myself more and more. Below are a few books that I’ve loved along the way which are available in my Amazon store.

The Ultimate Secrets of Total Self-Confidence (Revised) by Robert Anthony

Beyond Positive Thinking: A No-Nonsense Formula for Getting the Results You Want by Robert Anthony