self-reflection

Moving into RAGE

It is not an emotion that I am comfortable with, nor can I say that I have felt it often… but this morning I woke up feeling, well, rage-y.  

You see, someone who used to be in my life (who shall definitely remain unnamed) ghosted me a few years ago.  What’s that?  You don’t know what ghosting is?  Oh.  Well, let me tell you.  Ghosting is an act of bullying.  It is when someone in your life completely stops talking to you, calling you, texting you or whatever the deal was between you for seemingly NO REASON AT ALL.  They just cut you out of their lives.  No explanation.  No answers.  Nothing.  I believe it is a form of bullying because it is all about power and control.  The “ghost” is using absence/silence (as opposed to aggression) in order to feel powerful by inflicting pain on the other person.  

And HOLY MOTHER OF GOD is it painful.  

I have been ghosted now exactly twice in my life, both times by people who I would have called my “best friend”.  Even now, every time I see the word “bestie” attached to some beautiful Facebook photo of women friends I feel like someone just sucker-punched me in the stomach.  

Because of these ghosting experiences, I have a HUGE WALL when it comes to close friendships in general, but especially friendships with women.  I am finding myself absolutely dead set against the idea of letting any woman ever get that close to me again.  Like HELL-TO-THE-NO.

The first time I was ghosted, I mourned for that person/friendship for a good ten years.  Actually, I still miss her.  It was like a death in my life.  But more like an “unsolved missing person” kind of death.  To this day, almost twenty years later, I have no idea what I did wrong.  The worst part about this is that I feel like I am someone who, when given the opportunity, takes full accountability for my actions.  The problem with ghosting is that you have no idea what you need to take accountability for, so you are simply left wondering (and wondering and wondering)… and that just plain sucks.  

With this latest ghost, I have spent many long hours over the past two years in mourning as well, my grief mixing in with denial, confusion, hurt and eventually a lot of shame and guilt.  (By the way: It is NOT lost on me that this is now officially a “pattern” and that I am responsible for calling it in and creating it.  But, due to the lack of feedback that is inherent in ghosting, I can’t seem to figure out what exactly I am doing wrong and therefore how to fix it!)

Anyway, today for the first time, I woke up angry.  No. I woke up enraged.

Now, I need to tell you that it is extremely rare for me to feel vengeful, but that is exactly how I feel.  I want for this ghost to hurt the way that I hurt.  I want them to feel like they want to melt into the floor every time we have the god-awful “pleasure” of running into each other (which is, unfortunately, way too often).  

I know that this is wrong.  And the farthest thing from “spiritual”.  But it is honest.  It is real and raw.  It is transparent, and transparency is something that I truly believe in and that I am good at.  

Ironically (or probably not), I just finished reading Brene Brown’s latest book, Rising Strong, in which she describes feeling similarly rage-y towards another human being (or beings).  She then moves into realizing that “everyone is just doing the best that they can”.  So, this morning, mixed in with my feelings of rage and revenge, was this underlying thought, “What if Person X is just doing the best that they can?”  

Sigh.

I know that this is true.  I know this because I truly believe that that’s what we are all doing: the best that we can…. which (unfortunately and absolutely) precludes me from doing anything to retaliate against this person, or confront them, or hold them accountable or anything at all probably.

This idea that everyone is just doing the best that they can is an important one.  When you can call it in to your being, even a just a little bit, it can transmute these shadow emotions.  It inspires and cultivates compassion, something that is vital to our survival as an interdependent species.  Even as I write this, I can feel the rage ebbing, its edges are softening as the compassion starts to seep in. 

One of my favourite quotes is by Ram Dass - “We’re all just walking each other home.”

I guess we don’t always get to choose who we walk beside, or why and when they leave when they do.

Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman

Pay It Forward

I found this in my drafts folder from last year... No idea why I didn't post...

Random Acts of Kindness are still as relevant today as ever so I decided to share:

 

I have had a rough couple of days… no, weeks, actually, months.  Since the start of school in September, I can't seem to find my regular "beat".  It feels as though my energy battery is running around 20% (and continually flipping into 'conservation' mode).  Then, at the start of October, I got some kind of flu, which has managed to come through in not one, not two but three different forms.  To be honest, I am getting verrrrrrry tired.  And discouraged.  And down right down.  

But.  There is a silver lining to all of this "down".  (Of course there is, you didn't think I was actually going to leave you with a full-on Debbie-Downer post did you?!)

I am learning some good lessons (as all down cycles provide the opportunity for): I am learning to rest and be still.  I am learning move slower and do less.  I am learning to say no to a whole lot of stuff.  I am learning to find Gratitude and Light and Inspiration every day.  I am learning to ask for help.

The last one is the hardest one for me.  (That's why its last).  

When I say ask for help, I mean it.  I have been asking friends for rain checks, bosses for extensions, clients for different dates, my partner for help around the house, etc.

Looking at the above list, it occurs to me that those ones aren't the toughest "asks".  Believe it or not, it took me seven long weeks to finally concede that I needed to call in the big guns.  I needed to pray.

So, yesterday morning, when my knees hit the cushion for my morning smudge… I asked for help with my health.  

And… nothing happened, well, physically anyway.  Actually, I woke up this morning with one of my eyes swollen shut and filled with goop.  (gross, I know).

But the difference is, between yesterday and today, I don't feel so heavy.  I don't feel so afraid.  I feel the exact same way physically, if not worse, as I did two days ago, but it doesn't seem as hard to get through the days.  

And then, tonight, something amazing happened.  

No, I didn't experience a miraculous healing (yet).

But what happened feels like a miracle to me.  

While I was at swimming lessons with my son, I was working on my work calendar (I am WAY behind due to said illness).  And I somehow managed to leave my day timer at the pool.  

I didn't even notice it was gone until I got a phone call after I got home asking me if I had lost it.  

Now, here is the thing about the day timer: It has EVERYTHING in it.  I couldn't find my way out of my house tomorrow morning if I had lost it for real (and yes, I can also now see the inherent error in my system).  

Anyway, this woman finds it, calls me (my number is in it) and DRIVES IT OVER TO MY HOUSE.

I am so grateful to her that I try to give her $50 but she won't take it, instead giving me a hug and telling me to pay it forward.  

I have no clue why I feel so crappy in my body… but my heart is wide open and shining.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Maren

Dancing Coyote Woman

 

Game-changers

You know that feeling when you first reunite with a good friend that you haven’t seen or spoken to in a very long time?  There is that pull of urgency in your belly, you feel a bit flustered and slightly overwhelmed because you aren’t sure where to possibly begin in order to fill them in on all that has happened since you last saw each other.

That, kind reader, is how I feel right now about writing this blog.

I take comfort in the fact that I have been in the above-mentioned “real life” scenario quite a few times in the past, and from what I can recall, things just worked themselves out.  The sense of urgency begins to gently subside, the explosion of words that you feel compelled to vomit somehow manages to fall out of you, and somehow, a vague sense of order emerges from its chaos.

I am taking this sense of urgency, overwhelm and flus-tration (new word!) as a good sign… a verrrrry good sign.  You see, it means that I WANT to re-connect with you (you = the outside world).  And this is the first time I have felt like this in a very long time… about three years (give or take).

The tricky thing here is that it is often (not always, but often) a one-sided conversation on the old blog.  You see, I have been blogging for seven years.  You might recall that this blogging adventure began with “MareBare Necessities: A Year of Living with Less”, which was a one-year project in which I gave up being a consumer of new goods.  It turned out to be an epic journey, and somehow, unintentionally, it became quite well read.  Like 50,000-readers-per-month well read!  (I know, it still shocks the hell out of me too!) 

After the “MareBare” project was over, I quit blogging for a bit, but then I was pushed,pulled and practically dragged back into it because of people like you: you see, my blog had started a CONVERSATION.  (I know now that this is no small feat – I have been trying every since to “continue the conversation” with my “on-line community”, only to discover that as I shifted, morphed and changed, so did they).  Today?  Not so much of a conversation.  Not so much of a community.  And so, I find myself once again in a very much one-sided, somewhat awkward, I’m-really-excited-but-overwhelmed-to-tell-you-stuff social situation.

(And after yesterday’s post… you can just guess how I feel about that… cue the sweat).

However: I’m doing it anyway.  You see, when I started MareBare Necessities, I couldn’t friggin’ WAIT to write my posts each day.  I was SO excited to connect with “my tribe” (which started off as one or two readers… one of whom was my mom).  And that is, once again, how I feel about connecting with you kind folks (there are about 8 of you all told)…

So, where shall we begin?  Ah yes.  The title of this post: GAME-CHANGERS.

Because of the overwhelm/excitement/flus-tration, it occurred to me that maybe I should just tell you what the biggest, most epic changes, challenges, self-discoveries/uncoveries have been over the past three years.  This post then, can kind of serve as the “index” for the rest of the blogs to come.

Here they are, in no particular order of timeline or importance (and please note, I shared the first two with you yesterday):

·Giving up alcohol (for 510 days and counting) and moving into “recovery” (I love this word – it means: to regain possession of something lost and return to a normal state of mind/health)

·Discovering that I am actually a very introverted/shy/socially anxious person

·Going through a divorce (duh). We have done this in the most conscious way possible and although it has been unbelievably painful, it has also been a phenomenal journey of self-discovery and growth.

·Working as an educational consultant (turns out that I really love this work and it continues to change and expand as well).

·Taking charge of my mental and physical health through a life-changing dietary program called Whole30 (look it up.  No seriously look.it.up.)

·Moving (several times) and finally settling into The House With The Red Door.  Lately we have been “Tidying up” our home (via the work of Marie Kondo) and so far this has involved disposing of 45 garbage bags of “stuff”, and we are only about ½ way done.

·Learning about co-dependency and moving into recovery from that sticky mess (this is also connected to learning how to set boundaries).

·Continuing to learn more and more about mental health and depression and continuing to navigate recovery (through WHOLEistic methods)  (I call this “taming the dark dragon”.) In other words, this has meant freeing myself of my behavioral addiction to and pattern of being “dark and twisty”.  This has meant taking FULL accountability for all areas of my life and letting go of my victim story (again and again and again).

·Facing ALL of my deepest, darkest fears, (most of which surrounded mortality and death) and emerging on the other side.

·Discovering a different way to be in an intimate partnership, and re-discovering the different forms/roles/shapes that can exist in a “family”

·Taking my medicine wheel training, travelling twice to Peru to study shamanism and beginning to practice and share my gifts as a shamanic practitioner.

·Changing my legal name back to my birth name.

·Claiming a medicine name (more on this later).

·Navigating intense survivor guilt (this is truly a one-day-at-a-time journey).

And there you have it: the list of “game-changers” and the likely future index of this blog.

Any questions?

Nahanni, DCW

Just... start.

 

After taking a muchly needed blogging/writing hiatus that has lasted most of the past three years (not fully and completely but mostly), lately I have had this deep craving to come back to writing… for others.

 

I have written a bunch of ramblings, journal entries, scribbles here and there, but mostly for myself.  Writing has always been one of the ways that I can make sense of the chaos inside of my head.  And it works… most of the time.

 

So much has changed in my life over the past three years that I don’t even know where to start.  I am letting go of the need to update you on all of the (gory) details kind reader, and instead I think I will just start with what is present. 

 

Yesterday I… (haha, see what I did there?) I jumped right back into the past.  Man old habits are hard to break!

 

TODAY I find myself in Nordegg, sitting on the deck of our family cabin, drinking tea and rambling on… words spilling onto the page, with a “loose” intention of actually sharing this post.

 

You see, it turns out that I am actually a really intense introvert.

 

I know.  News to me too.  Like EARTH-SHATTERING-REPEAT-IT-A-BILLION-TIMES-OVER-UNTIL-I-GET-IT-THROUGH-MY-TINY-SKULL news.

 

I didn’t discover this about myself until approximately 509 days ago (and 11 hours and 10 mins)… which just-so-happens to be the same date/time/hour that I chose to begin abstaining from drinking alcohol.  Yep.  I have been living in sobriety for the past 16 or so months.

 

Sobriety has been a LOOOOOOONG time coming for me.  Like more than ten years coming.

 

Funny thing, was that I had no idea that I had been working my way towards this lifestyle until I actually began the process of living sober.

 

And let me tell you, it has been an epic process.  One of such life-changing magnitude that no amount of capslocks could convey the epicness of it all… so I am even going to forego the capslocks… you are just going to have to take my word for it this time.

 

What I can tell you after more than a year living in sobriety is this: my life continues to get better every single day.

 

But sobriety is another topic for another day.  And I promise, pinky-swear promise, that you haven’t heard the last from me about it, but today I want to talk about being a newly-discovered-introvert.

 

Now, for anyone who has known me for any stretch of time, you might be as baffled as I am about this discovery.  To the outside world, I know that I have always seemed gregarious, loud even, bubbly, giddy and social butterfly-ey (I so know that is not a thing, but I just made it one).  What you most likely didn’t know (because I even denied it to myself for most of my life), is that social situations have always been hard for me.  Like, choose-your-wardrobe-carefully-because-of-the-epic-pitstains hard.  Oh the sweating. The ridiculous and inevitable sweating that virtually ANY and ALL social situations resulted in.

 

And, as far as I can tell, I have always been like that.  I was born like that.  As a child I can remember being the very happiest when I was playing by myself with my league of imaginary friends and making up my world as I went.  And I was GOOD at that.  Actually, I was brilliant at that (and still am).

 

Somewhere in elementary school I figured out that I was a bit different in this regard.  I got the strong message that I needed to make “friends” and play in a group rather than by myself in my own little world.  And it was hard for me.  Always and all ways.  Acutally, it was excruciating.  So, what I ended up doing was choosing a very few and small select group of people to let into my private little world, people who I trusted to fully see the real me (and this totally backfired on me a zillion times but again, another post for another day).  Outside of my very select group of peeps, I figured out that if I made myself big enough, puffy enough, LOUD enough, that they wouldn’t ever get to see my spongy, soft bits.  They wouldn’t see that I was dying of self-consciousness every moment of every day. 

 

Everything changed when I found alcohol.  I took my first drink at 11 years old and I knew that I had found a friend that would be by my side for a very long time.  Forever I thought.  You see, when you have the kind of social anxiety and intense introversion that I had, alcohol makes it all go away.  All of a sudden you actually ARE gregarious, funny, loud and comfortable being seen… on some level anyway.

Still a lot of sweating and careful shirt choosing, but you know that there is something out there to can (and will) relieve the intense feelings of…shame.  That’s what I was feeling: shame and self-loathing.

 

Now it’s a looooong story about how the intense amount of shame and self-loathing came to live all up in my grill, and maybe we’ll get to that someday.  But TODAY we are back to introversion, and sobriety.

 

Fast-forward 25 years (that is how long I was a drinker for, a quarter of a century) and I finally had done enough work on myself to kick the bottle.  To give up my crutch.  To walk alone.

 

And for the past year?  A whole lotta epic sweating has ensued.  Like throw-away-bags-of-ruined-clothes epic.  But you know what else has happened?  Some not-so-sweaty days.  Some really good boundary-setting.  Some unapologetic acts of self-love.  Some very candid conversations about this very topic within sacred spaces and circles.  And now?  Some serious honesty with you kind reader.

 

I share this now on the world-wide-internets because I deeply know from experience that there is someone out there who needs to read it.  Someone who might feel some of these same feelings but who feels completely alone and isolated.  Someone who thinks that no one else on the planet can possibly understand all of the anxiety, shame and sweating.

 

In the past, reading other people’s real and vulnerable accounts of their self-exploration and revelation has literally saved my life.  Literally.

 

And, I’m ready.  I’m simply ready to be seen again.  As this “new” version of myself.  As this deeper, truer version of myself.  As this er… sweatier version of myself.

 

And I am sweating.  I can be real about that.  As I push post, you can bet the sweat will be running.

 

And you know what?  I ‘m doing it anyway.

 

Yours in trust,

 

Nahanni

Dancing Coyote Woman

From Rumi to the Rolling Stones

Yesterday was Rumi's poem about the Unexpected Visitor.  Today, a bit of a different message/vibration showed up… in the form of the Rolling Stones:

No, you can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime you find
You get what you need
— The Rolling Stones

I would like to substitute the word TRY for PRAY.

If you Pray sometime… you will often get what you need.  

Looking back on my adventures in bodily fluids yesterday, one thing is as clear as a bell to me today.  I most definitely did not get what I wanted, but I did get exactly what I needed (and prayed for).  Let me explain...

I have been doing a lot of reading over the past few months on the importance of the parent-child attachment relationship.  I have danced on the line between fear and perspective/self-compassion as I explored both of my primary attachment relationships (that with my own mother and that with my son).  It has been a painful, beautiful, insightful, fascinating and interesting journey so far.  It has brought forward (in a very loud way) the idea of ancestral karma or lineage, and I have been shown how this is a very real phenomenon and how it is directly impacting me today.  

Anyway, to make a long story short, my attachment relationship with Chephren isn't as solid as I feel it could be.  This is due to the fact that I had pretty severe and poorly managed pre and postpartum depression, high, high anxiety and now, owing to a divorce, I only see him half of the time.  All in all, he seems to be doing well, however I knew in my heart that we could be closer and more connected.  I also know that this is the most important thing that I need to focus on as his mom.  

Now that he is getting a bit older, this hasn't been quite as easy as I'd hoped.  He is more resistant to physical connection and less open to talking with me.  So, I have been praying for guidance and support in redeveloping this connection, and trusting that I will be able to do so.  

Yesterday's flu bug turned out to be an answer to my prayers.  We emerged from the ordeal closer than we have been in months and today (he is home from school), we got to have the day that I had hoped to have yesterday.  So far we have played cards, watched a movie, played games, did an art project and hopefully next we'll make some cookies.  Over the past two days we have had a lot of interesting conversation and cuddles, and I feel closer to him than ever.  

The Universe is funny, isn't it?

Cheph and I made some prayer flags for his room today and imbued them with our prayers and intentions in a little ceremony.  It is my intention that they serve as a totem… a living reminder to connect with each other, and to connect with something greater than ourselves when we really do need something.  


May you get exactly what it is that you need.

Maren, NDCW

When Push Comes to Shove

Photo by Stockbyte/Stockbyte / Getty Images

Photo by Stockbyte/Stockbyte / Getty Images

 

I have been having some very weird dreams lately.  Like totally bizarre.  Even more unusual is that fact that I have been waking up and remembering them pretty much every day, and usually there is more than one.  

Take this morning for instance.  I first wake up and start remembering a dream with Wayne Dyer in it.  In real life, he recently passed away.  In my dream however, he was still very much alive, and it was his wife who had recently passed away.  I found myself comforting him and trying to hold space while at the same time protecting his need to grieve privately.  Very strange.  Even more strange, I woke up to an e-mail from a friend in which she referenced him.  

Anyway, Wayne Dyer aside, I had another dream about two men - one called Push, and the other called Shove.  (Yes, I'm serious).  In my dream, they were like those characters in the the "Mr. Men & Little Miss" books, like Little Miss Sunshine or Mr. Silly, and the dream played out like one of those stories.

In the story, Push was constantly getting himself in trouble and coming to Shove for advice.  It's like he would go into a situation and try something and it wouldn't work… he didn't get the result he had hoped for.  He would get totally freaked out and go running up the hill to Shove's house.  Shove would sit and listen and coach him around how he could proceed and Push would go back to the situation and successfully resolve it.  That's all I really remember actually.  But it has stuck with me all morning and into the afternoon. Right now it's Sunday afternoon coffee/muffin time at my house, so I decided to look up the idiom "When push comes to shove" and here is what it says:

When the pressure is on; when the situation is critical or urgent; when the time has come for action, even if it is difficult.
— ~Wiktionary

And now I have to laugh.  Like REALLY laugh.  This is SO what is happening in my life right now…on so many levels.  I can easily see parts of my life where I am like Push… trying something and then running away/retreating because I have perceived that it wasn't received well.  In other ways, I am like Shove, literally holding a space for people to debrief circumstances in their life and then get back out there!  

Sitting here reflecting on it all, I can see that overall I am at a "When Push comes to Shove" moment.  I am re-emerging (again) from yet another transformation.  And it inspires me to have so much compassion for the "Push" part of me that keeps allowing herself to be seen and then running up the hill to the solace of "Shove's" sanctuary.  

Dreaming is so funny, isn't it?  

Happy Beautiful Sunday to y'all.

Maren

Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman

 

 

 

 

How This is Like That

Photo by Jody Goodwin Photography

Photo by Jody Goodwin Photography

One of the tools we use as Martha Beck-trained life coaches is what we call the Metaphor Tool.  It is based on the premise that we can get more information about something that is happening internally by looking at something that is happening externally.  This idea also runs through shamanism.  We create ceremony/ritual on the outside using concrete objects found in nature (visible), so that we can have a clearer view of what's happening on the inside (invisible).  

I was pondering this during my morning practice, and I realized that this website is a perfect example or metaphor for what is happening in my life.  My old website (aka my old life/identity at www.marenhasse.com) is not fully dissolved - in fact it is stubbornly evading deconstruction, while my new website, this site, is not fully formed.  And that is ok.  I am not fully formed yet.  I am still emerging.

I have chosen to publish this site in its unfinished state.  Why?  Because I am not sure what "finished" looks like.  I have been on this inner journey for so long that I am starting to see that there isn't an "end".  There is no "fully formed".  There is only expansion/contraction, re-births/deaths, periods of change and stagnation and on and on the spiral goes...  

In FIERCE Integrity, I talk about the "perfection of imperfection".  Seeing ourselves as totally perfect, even though we are far from what we might consider our "ideal selves".  What this is really about is compassion.  Having compassion for all of the ways in which we aren't where we think we should be.  

In the  past, I have had a relatively easy time of feeling genuine compassion for other people, however when it comes to offering that same level of compassion to myself, I haven't been able to do so.  This is changing.  This change has been almost imperceptibly (and unbearably) slow, but it is happening.  

I acknowledge that I am not perfect.  I can be selfish, entitled, ungrateful, lazy, and inconsiderate.  I can (and have) spent a lot of time agonizing over these traits… pouring over my past (and current) transgressions and mercilessly punishing myself for them, over and over again.    But that doesn't help.  Actually, the only thing it does do is beat me down deeper and deeper into a state of depression and self-loathing.  

What I have realized too, is that in order to truly free myself from the darkness, the reprieve that I am seeking has to come from within.  In the past I have spent a lot of time looking for external feedback and validation.  Funnily enough, I have received a lot more positive feedback than negative, and yet it is those negative comments that I hang onto, that I read over and over again, until I am practically wearing them like a crown of thorns.  "See?  See?", my inner critic delights, "You really do suck!"

My point is:

In order to create a true and lasting shift out of the darkness, compassion needs to be an inside job.  

Be kind.  Be gentle.  Be compassionate.

Maren

Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman

 

 

 

Big and Small at the Same Time

I had my star-chart read a while back.  You know, that thing where they draw all of those lines in the circle and write all of these weird symbols and then somehow magically tell you all about yourself?  Apparently, the idea is to map out exactly where all of the planets/stars/sun/moon are at the exact moment of your birth, so that you can understand yourself from a cosmic perspective.  Sound fluffy?  Yes.  I agree, but: don't knock it until you try it.  

If you haven't had one done, I strongly recommend it.  It somehow set me free in a way that I had never experienced before.  It allowed me to be "more me" than I had ever dared to be before.  I felt like it gave me permission to be who I am instead of trying to change who I am in order to better fit with my perception of societal expectations.  Basically, it gave me permission to be the beautiful mess of contradictions that I am.

You see, I am a Gemini.  A double Gemini actually, which means that my sun sign (the one that you look up in the paper) and my rising sign (the one that was rising at the moment of my birth) are the same.  Apparently, these are the two signs that have the greatest impact on your personality and yeah, that is a LOT of Gemini.  For those of you who aren't super familiar with astrology, Geminis are the "twins" of the Zodiac.  Given that many of us aren't actual twins, what this means is that we have "twin-like" energy WITHIN us… in other words: duality.  

What is duality?  Well, it is essentially contrast or oppositional energy… aka PARADOX.  Yes, us Geminis are the Zodiacal keepers of contradiction (and often confusion).

Which brings me to the actual subject of this post.  

The lady who did my star-chart reading has PhD's in both Astrology AND Psychology, specifically, Jungian Psychology, and has studied with Carl Jung's daughter.  Having a background in Psychology myself, this both impressed me and appealed to me, which is why I was willing to wait six months for a reading with this particular astrologist.  In my opinion, the beauty of her having studied in both of these disciplines is that they are inextricably linked, personality and astrology, and she was able to put my chart into language that I really understood.  Most notably, she used Archetypes to describe elements of "me".  

Not surprisingly, what came forward in my reading was a lot of paradoxical energy, however in particular, she told me that I seem to hold equal proclivity towards both the teacher archetype and the student archetype.

While part of me wasn't surprised by this at all (in fact, I can see how I have always gravitated towards these two roles enthusiastically), I couldn't help but notice that they seem to contradict one another though, don't they? 

Well, they do and they don't.  For one thing: I can be equally comfortable in each role.  I love to learn.  I absolutely love being a student.  Historically, I have been one who gets to class early, stays late, asks lots and lots of questions, does the assignments (even extra ones) and usually gets really high marks.  I have had a lot of success as a student.  On the other hand, I also love to teach.  There is nothing better than the feeling of being up in front a group of people sharing what I know/have learned.  Both of these roles are wonderful.

I also notice that these two archetypes/roles are complimentary.  One certainly feeds the other.  

That being said, there have been times when I have experienced them to be at odds with one another.  Times when I have wanted to simply walk away from one or the other (or both).  It is often the teacher role that I most resist, feeling like I have nothing new to offer anyone.  I feel like a huge fraud.  I feel like setting my e-mail/voicemail to a message that simply says: "I have no idea.  Life is beautiful and life is excruciating.  It just is."  

When I have sat with each these archetypes, it has become clear that what I actually find so uncomfortable, or painful, is moving between them.  Over and over, I have become identified with one or the other, and I am able to get comfortable in that role.  In my Master's degree, I had an outstanding experience as a student.  I really kicked butt.  And I thought, "Yes".  I should keep going and do my PhD… But instead I was called (aka forced) into USING my degree and putting it into practice (aka teaching)… and it was/is uncomfortable.  In my coaching, I LOVED the training course and I thought, what's next?  Oh yes, I will take the Master's training course… But instead I have been called (aka shoved) into coaching (aka teaching).

here is a passage written by Pema Chodron, one of my very favourite teachers, that beautifully describes what I am trying to say:

I was once invited to teach with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, my teacher’s eldest son, in a situation where it wasn’t exactly clear what my status was. Sometimes I was treated as a big deal who should come in through a special door and sit in a special seat. Then I’d think, “Okay, I’m a big deal.” I’d start running with that idea and come up with big-deal notions about how things should be. Then I’d get the message, “Oh, no, no, no. You should just sit on the floor and mix with everybody and be one of the crowd.” Okay. So now the message was that I should just be ordinary, not set myself up or be the teacher. But as soon as I was getting comfortable with being humble, I would be asked to do something special that only big deals did. This was a painful experience because I was always being insulted and humiliated by my own expectations. As soon as I was sure of how it should be, so I could feel secure, I would get a message that it should be the other way. Finally I said to the Sakyong, “This is really hurting. I just don’t know who I’m supposed to be,” and he said, “Well, you have to learn to be big and small at the same time.”
— The Pocket Pema Chodron, Shambhala Pocket Classics, Pages 66-67

Time and time again, I have put the archetype of teacher/coach down.  I have willingly and whole-heartedly gone back to the student role - only to find myself being pulled out of that role and thrust back into that of teacher/coach once again.  

Part of me wishes that I could just STAY in one of those roles.  But I know I can't.  To stay is to get stuck, to stagnate.  I know that is not what it's all about.  It (life) is all about growth and expansion.  It is all about tides ebbing and flowing, seasons changing, death and rebirth.  

I must learn to be BOTH.  I must learn to be big and small at the same time.  I must learn to stop being humiliated by my own expectations.

There is no coming to consciousness without pain.
— Carl Jung

With kindness,

Maren

Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman