Do you know Sister Dorothy? If you’re a Catholic grade school survivor, I bet you had a teacher just like her. The one who keeps the whole class after school because no one passed the math test. The one who smacked your hand with a ruler when you didn’t get your piano scales right. (Oh? Was that just me? Never mind.) Snippy, foreboding and just plain nasty, Sr. Dorothy was not high on my list of motivational teachers.
Which is why I found myself rather surprised that I resonate so strongly with the work of Caroline Myss. Well known in the field of energy medicine (she learned early on that she was a medical intuitive – able to detect illness in someone’s energy field), Dr. Myss has moved even more strongly into the spiritual arena in the past ten years with her books Sacred Contracts and Entering the Castle. All her books are well-researched and she’s somehow capable of bringing really big concepts down into understandable language.
She also does not suffer (spiritual) fools gladly. Placing blame on your parents, your friend who was mean to you once or anywhere else but sqarely on yourself will earn you a sharp rebuke from her. Sharp enough to intimidate and put off some of those who have listened to her audio books, even. Not me, though. I revel in her tone of voice, sharp and pointy though it can be.
Perhaps it has to do with my interest in the subject. Even if I had an amazing algebra teacher, I wouldn’t have cared to learn more. But on the topic of spiritual growth – I thirst to learn and to do and to be the very best I can in this lifetime. I don’t fear that growth, regardless of where it takes me, and so I think someone urging me to really look at the things I don’t want to see feels good to me in some weird way. Maybe it’s the way a good coach urges you to push through the pain to get to your potential. They can see the potential that you cannot. And so they call it forth from you.
Unlike the lovely and talented Sister Dorothy, Carolyn Myss calls forth that potential from me. But that’s probably because I was ready to bring that part of me out into the sunlight and look at it. I’ve spent years only looking at certain patterns in my life and running from the others. I did not want to take responsibilty for my choices and their (often unintended) consequences. And I deluded myself into thinking that much of what Myss said didn’t apply to me. I’m not an addict or someone whose life is running off the rails, after all. A comfortable life isn’t ripe for introspection. It’s when it all falls apart that we are forced to say “What the hell is going on and how can I fix this?”. At those times, a stern teacher may be just what helps you through the muck.
It’s my greatest wish to work with Dr. Myss in person someday. In fact, there’s a week long workshop in October and again in February 2011 that features up close and personal time with her. It has my name (if not my checkbook – OY!) written on it. Am I ready to stand in the light of her sharp tone and no-nonsense gaze? Am I doing all I can to look at my own life and make the needed changes? I’m definitely more prepared to do that now more than ever.
(You can see Dr. Myss in action here on her video page: http://www.myss.com/CMED/workshops/master_class1010/ – lots of good, free videos to watch and learn from. And she’s not quite as stern in them!)
What about you? Tell me about the stern teacher in your life.