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We can all be a teacher at any age

I wish for you what I wish for myself. That as long as I am here in this particular body -- a body that will be 80 next May, I remind myself occasionally with wild disbelief -- I share my wisdom and my gift as fully as I can.

Sometimes, as we get older -- and who among us is not getting older -- a feeling of meaninglessness or despair may grab us and shake us by the neck.

What am I doing here? What's the point of it all? Will I feel my life was really worthwhile when I die?

And this is okay. It's okay that these feelings come up. In fact it's probably good for us, regardless of our age, to feel confused at times, unsure of our purpose or where our passion lies. It gives us a chance to penetrate deeper into what IS our mission and our destiny.

Recently, as I've been doing this questioning, a light has come on in my mind. I'm here to teach. I'm here to share the wisdom I have learned through the vicissitudes and joys of my life -- the wisdom that flows fresh and pristine from our heart as we learn to listen. I am here to share the love that is in my heart.

Some objections have come up in my mind as I think of myself as a teacher. And since these objections, or variations on them, may arise in your experience also, I will touch on them here.

 1. I couldn't be a teacher, I'm too ordinary.

 Yes, I am ordinary. No one could be more ordinary than me. And yet paradoxically the vision of beauty, truth and possibility that I carry in my heart -- that has been with me since I was born -- just as it has been with you -- is not ordinary.

We all can be a teacher, and we all are a teacher, regardless of our age. But what I see is the possibility and the need to let our message be made vulnerable and pure like the flower at the beginning of this post, yet sharpened like a beautiful sword of old. That we may share together in letting the experience of true freedom be enhanced in ourselves and in others. 

2. I'm too busy trying to survive, I don't have time for something new.

The whole world is trying hard to survive, but we live in an extraordinary time. Not only is conflict and despair accelerating -- so is integrity, courage and compassion. Do you feel you have more to offer in life than you have thus far been able to offer? Are you experiencing a new sense of possibility in your life? Do you long to create greater well-being and abundance? I would love to hear from you.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with a friend.  Blessings and be well.

Photo credit: Bahman Farzad

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Joy January 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I look to the ones a few steps (and more) ahead of me, to teach me; their stories inspire and motivate me, and allow me to consider far beyond that which I “know”. Just as I am open to sharing my story that might inspire another.

I think it is in the ability to be transparent, to show where one fell and where one soared that the most poignant “lessons” are found. My young children are wonderful teachers, just as my grandmother is a wonderful teacher..I don’t think it is about age or ‘stage’ in life.. I think it is about the willingness to be open to sharing authentically and transparently.

Thank you for the wonderful reminder!

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Christopher Foster January 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Bless you and thank you Joy. Your words ring clear as morning birdsong. Oh yes, let us be transparent and open, just as you say. Vulnerable and yet strong, the paradox of the ages. I love what you say about how both your children and your grandmother are great teachers. With you on your journey and I wish you every success.

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Phillipa January 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Hi there.

I am a 54 yr old woman and I’m at the stage,”What will I do with the rest of my life?”

Ive done everything that society says we should do. raised a family and sent them into the world.After being in frontline retail for my past working life, the ol bod has given out on being able to do “conventional” work,ie a job:(I’m lucky to have a wonderful man to support me, while I throw ideas around. I have been blogging about my stitching this past year, while working on ideas for the future. And teaching is coming well to the fore).

Teaching the pleasure of returning to handmade, while recycling as many supplies as possible.Taking Time-out from this ever maddening world. 🙂 Passing on my knowledge by doing classes and workshops etc. That way I’m in control, not a “boss’.

I am having trouble procrastinating about launching myself out into that real world..lol. Dead scared of falling flat on my face..
Lordy, the doubts at times. I need a barrier at the front door of my mind.

I “know” I’m meant to be a teacher now. I “Know” I will get there ( as I slam the door again 😉 )hehe.

Teaching and creating by hand are my forte.
I enjoy reading your blog.
Regards
Phillipa. The Door Slamming Diva 😉 Hey. That could be a name for a new blog, I could write.
Its amazing how writing to another can help clarify thoughts, Thanks.
Phillipa recently posted..Lots of Colour

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Christopher Foster January 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I’m delighted and honored to hear from you Phillipa. Good on yer, as they say I think in Aussie. I love your genuine, optimistic, heart-warming spirit.

The world is filled with doubts. Don’t take every doubt as your own personal property, it may have come from a thousand miles away. I’m 80 this year and I find doubt is just one of a litany of troubled or distressed feelings romping around in this world. The good news is that those feelings are not who we are. They have no power unless we give them power. They come and they go like storms at sea but the sun of our own genuine nature doesn’t change.

I’m with you in this terrific journey you’re on, experiencing the same feelings for sure. Let’s keep right on going anyway, following our heart, following the nudges of our own wisdom, what say?

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Mary | Goodlife ZEN January 24, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Thanks for an inspiring post, Chris!
Mary | Goodlife ZEN recently posted..Why Personal Growth Matters for Your Financial Freedom

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Christopher Foster January 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Thank you so much Mary. It was so kind of you to comment. I send you a big hug across the seas. Be well.

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Noch Noch | be me. be natural. January 25, 2012 at 1:39 am

hi Chris – i agree, we discount ourselves too often and too unnecessarily. we are all ordinary in a way. special people are ordinary too. we breathe. and we live. and by that, i think we all have something to teach each other, whatever our ages, race, gender, stages in life…
Noch Noch
Noch Noch | be me. be natural. recently posted..challenging my worries

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Christopher Foster January 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Hi Noch, thanks. Absolutely. We all have something to teach, and to share. And when it is born of our own experience the whole world is blessed.Be well and God bless.

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Kathleen January 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Yes~~ you are a teacher and a great one!

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Christopher Foster January 29, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Kathleen, thank you and bless you. You lift my spirits and encourage me immensely as I continue my journey. So happy to share the journey with you. Be well and take care. PS I tried to email you to thank you personally but the email was returned. I’ll try later.

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Elizabeth Nunn January 25, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Chris, these comments and questions are very timely for me as I approach 71. After a lifetime of very intense, in-the-trenches, front-line social work, I am retired. And I am wondering what’s next? Don’t think I’m designed for quiet contentment and contemplation, so I’m asking myself and the ALL THAT IS…what’s next?

Perhaps your questions will help to redirect my own. Whatever the results, I know I’m still longing for the doingness of service. Thanks.

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Christopher Foster January 29, 2012 at 11:35 am

Elizabeth, thank you so much. Your words touch me immensely. I’m quite sure you speak for many across this great country and across the world who have given so much of themselves all through their life but who as you say, at a certain point are left wondering, ‘What’s next?’

No quick answer will suffice. But there is one thing I do know, learned, I would have to say, in the midst of a lot of pain. When we truly stop, and are courageous enough to really be still and listen, what I found was not emptiness. There is something beautiful in that seeming void that can set our heart at rest in a moment and help us vision a new future. Not something external but our own true nature. Good luck and God bless.

I apologize I’m a bit late responding to your comment.

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KenWert@MeanttobeHappy January 29, 2012 at 3:45 am

Great post, Christopher!

We are all teachers even if we don’t want to be and even if we think otherwise. People see us. They watch us. We teach by our examples every moment of the day. What we watch on TV sends a message to the world. How we talk to a waiter. What we say on the phone. The way we treat our kids or spouse. All these and countless other messages are being constantly conveyed to others, teaching them what it means to be human, what life is and can be or can’t be. A million different lessons are being delivered to untold eyes.

Thanks again for the post!
KenWert@MeanttobeHappy recently posted..How to Live Daily, Filling Each Moment with Meaning and Purpose

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Christopher Foster January 29, 2012 at 11:15 am

Beautiful, strong words Ken. Thank you so much for sharing. I go into the coffee shop every afternoon and I enjoy so much the simple experience of chatting with the server or patting a dog waiting anxiously outside the door or watching a small child wait anxiously for his mom to give him his treat. It doesn’t take much to make us happy if we’re happy already.

The funny thing is it’s actually very simple to be a teacher, isn’t it, all we have to do is be ourself. So happy for the connection with you. Good luck Ken and God bless. You’re really shining.

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Christopher Frawley January 31, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Thank you for your thoughtful post.

How can this not be so? There is so much to learn all around us. Being fully present in each moment we are both; for ourselves, a student, and for others, a teacher.

Thanks for reminding me to keep my eyes open to see and my mind open to learn (and grow).
Christopher Frawley recently posted..When a Stranger Shouts “You Can Do It!”

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Christopher Foster January 31, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Way to go Christopher. There’s an old saying, “Live and learn.” But you can turn that one around. “Learn and live.”

Thank you for what you give in your life and for what you share in your comment.

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