Sunday, March 29, 2009

Incidental Mentors

Tonight, I am learning all about a computer virus that my daughter accidentally (is there any other way?) downloaded onto the family computer. I'm also relearning that I should never use the same password on all my accounts...especially not on my Facebook account, my email account and my bank account.

Some of us are just simply slower learners!

Or maybe I'm just too naive and lazy to heed the warnings that pop up from the day you first touch a keyboard and read the word "GOOGLE".

Warnings that should make me wise enough not to let my first grader on the computer by himself at 6am on a Saturday even though my whole being is begging for another hour of sleep.

You get my point.

With all the ways to get in trouble in this world and all the things I keep learning way too late in life, I sometimes wonder how anyone, myself included, makes it past the age of 25 without spontaneously combusting.

Luckily, there are the guides and teachers, wise ones and gurus along the way. The one's with voices we tune into...the one's who have just the right balance of advice, kindness, humility and wisdom. The person who laughed with us and didn't laugh at us. The person who believed we would make it past 25 and was willing to bet we could do it without blowing ourselves up.

That is basically what mentoring is all about.

I wish I could thank all the people who mentored me on my journey to 25 and beyond. Fortunately, I had the chance to share my gratitude with most of them before they passed on to their next great adventure.

But there are many I will never be able to thank. The many incidental mentors who never even knew that they were on my journey with me.

The incidental mentors in my life were frequent. Random strangers at bus stops and on trains who spoke a sort of transcendent vision that sustained me in some weird way. Other incidental mentors were people I watched and learned from...people I admired from afar. The raven-haired grad student who I listened to speak with such intellectual curiousity and intensity. The woman at the concert hall who carried herself with such grace and strength. Images and conversations that marked me, that remain a part of me even decades later...all gifts my incidental mentors have given me.

And now, I work with hundreds of mentors. Mentors who are choosing that role through Infinite Family.

And all you mentors who I am lucky enough to meet in training and online from time to time? I learn from you. I learn from John, our "gaia guy" as I call him, who is inspiring me. I learn from Mike, whose friends say, "wherever Mike goes love grows". I am touched by Lori, whose love for her Keneilwe, her Net Buddy, is just boundless. I am so honored to know Barbara, a risk-taker and joy-sower, a rule-breaker and flag-bearer.

Just look at all those incidental mentors, who don't even know I'm learning from them! Lucky me!

With all these mentors surrounding me, maybe eventually I'll become a little less naive and lazy, so when the next inevitable teen tech tragedy unfolds, I won't spontaneously combust along with my bank account!

Once again, thank you for all you do...!

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