I just started my Winter Quarter teaching at Cascadia Community College and one of the themes we explored in my “College Strategies” class during our first week was core values. I asked the students, “Why would I have us explore our values as a first step in learning about how to be a college student?” Darren, an eager, but soft-spoken man in the front, raised his hand half-mast and said, “Because our values are the foundation for everything. If we don’t know what we value first, we can’t make good decisions. Knowing what we believe is about being authentic.”
I love these moments in teaching. I wanted to shine a dreamy “from-the-heavens” light on Darren. Ah yes, authenticity! Without authenticity at our core (or as our foundation), we may forget who we are, where we are, and most importantly, why we are.
I left my class feeling that an authentic part of myself involves being a teacher. And then I realized that teacher isn’t quite the right word for me. Mentor feels closer. Facilitator fits. Guide: ah, that’s it. I’m a guide. As I walked back to my office after class, I felt a bit more clear in the core of me, a tad more solid in the foundation underneath my feet.
When I work with my clients as a massage practitioner and energy healer, I feel I also play this role as a guide. I certainly don’t have all the answers (I believe my clients do), nor do I want to know them all. I simply guide others to find their way in this world through my touch, my words, my rituals, and my heart. Thank you, Darren, for reminding me how authenticity is key to understanding the breadth and depth of my sense of purpose in this life.