I want to write something about how difficult it has been for me to find a really good teacher in this lifetime; how my own ego got in my way and made it hard to accept anything less than amazing master teachers; and, how I have managed to find a few of those - in spite of myself. But it's hot, humid and my brain cells are moving at a perfectly appropriate speed for this set and setting - just this side of completely stopped. So - I will give it a shot.
As I've already stated, I have found it almost impossible to locate a "good teacher." Most of this was due to the fact that, my childhood being what it was, I hadn't a very high regard for authority or those who felt they had a right to wield it. That cut out quite a few teachers from the start. Then there are my admittedly high-ish quality standards for both form and content of anything I would be willing to take the trouble to learn. I felt I needed to have a true master from which to learn, so - even when I took a class from someone - I didn't really accept them as my Teacher. That would have been admitting that they knew more than I did. And as insecure as I was, that was the last thing I could have done. My loss.
In spite of all that I managed to run into Elisheva; an amazing woman who was at the time - some 20 plus years ago - everything I always wanted to be when - if - I grew up. Or at least that's how it appeared to me. Because of this, she managed to hold my attention long enough to get some core lessons across to me - all without me even noticing. I'm still not sure how she managed some of it. All I know is that I think I was looking the other direction when it happened. She remains my best friend and mentor to this day.
About 17 years ago I heard about a weekend of Tai Chi workshops being held over in Northern Kentucky and decided to go down and check it out. I had been teaching Yang style Tai Chi in a haphazard way for some 5 years and thought I pretty well had the whole thing figured out. With a strong grounding in Chinese Medicine and QiGong, I knew more than the average Tai Chi instructor. . . . Master Ting was NOT your average Tai Chi
instructor. After that first workshop I stopped teaching Tai Chi, because I realized that I knew nothing about Tai Chi. Master TIng was like the blind monk who taught Kwai Chang Kane in that old TV series Kung Fu - except that he wasn't blind and he has never taught me how to use throwing stars. At least not yet. Master Ting is amazing. He truly is a Master - both as a martial artist and a teacher - so of course it took me more than a few years to get around to working with him again. Now - at long last I am taking workshops from him a few times a year. Even bringing him to Cincinnati to teach once a year. (You should really ask me about that if you have any interest in excellent martial arts.)
Finally, there is Heinz Stark. Back in 2001 I was teaching a series of Shamanic workshops in Cornwall as part of a tour I was leading there. (see my book Dance of Stones: A Shamanic Road Trip) My friend Lisa (Soli in DOS) had just been introduced to Constellation Work in Germany and was overflowing with enthusiasm for this new technique. I asked her to show us how it worked and we wound up spending every evening doing constellations instead of what I had planned. I was blown away by the power and possibilities of the work - as was Patricia who was along on that trip as well.
Lisa gave Patricia and I a present of some Constellation Work with some German facilitators on our next visit to Berlin, and we became even more enthralled. We had to find a way to study it - but couldn't see spending a couple years in Germany (though I was beginning to consider it). Fortunately, another friend and one of my shamanic apprentices at the time found that there was an in-depth training being offered up in Racine, WI. We checked into it and it was clearly too expensive and too time consuming for us to do do - so I went anyway. After the first weeklong seminar, Patricia joined - and we have been facilitating together ever since. But that beginning was not easy. I had to look at Heinz, with all his very human foibles, and accept that he had something very valuable to teach me. That was the first time I knowingly accepted someone as my teacher. And I've never regretted it.
Now I am hoping to find yet another teacher - and hope to be open to whatever adventure they have in store for me - kicking and screaming all the way.