– Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841
When a childbirth mentor is in the flow, it’s a beautiful thing to witness or to receive.
Abiding comfortably in the place of not-knowing allows them to tap into unbound imagination and the ability to adapt or invent a process on the spot that seems to come effortlessly into them rather than from them. Unrehearsed spontaneity and lightness of being is contagious and quickens motivation for change in their clients.
When mentors gain experience and lose self-consciousness, they cross a threshold…and become one with the flow. One amusing sign of being in the zone is hearing yourself say something that you never thought before, did not rehearse, and had no idea you were going to say – and yet, it rings of originality and truth; this is the expression of a mentor’s authentic genius and ingenuity.
I paused when reading the following passage from Ralph Waldo Emerson. It spoke to me of my own experience of beholding a vision, of almost seeing the faint lines of a form before I put brush to canvas, or of writing when the words seem to be channeled instead of forced, and the soulful art of mentoring:
“For poetry was all written before time was, and whenever we are so finely organized that we can penetrate into that region where the air is music, we hear those primal warblings, and attempt to write them down, but we lose ever and anon a word, or a verse, and substitute something of our own, and thus miswrite the poem. The men of more delicate ear write down these cadences more faithfully, and these transcripts…become the songs of the nations.”
Emerson is telling us that when we open our mind, or perhaps when we still our mind, we, like poets and artists throughout time, may “hear” our muse or “see” the divinely inspired poem, article, painting, process, or visualization that is calling to us, and in the very moment we act without thinking or hesitation, we will know that transcendental knowing that our words or action were already “written before time was.” Should we seek approval or hesitate for any moment, what follows will come from the small self, not the no-self.
Initially the novice adheres to and practices the beginner mentor’s skills kit of processes and techniques – rightfully so. Mastering the art of mentoring demands that you continually take small steps rather than getting comfortably trapped in the archetypal role of “student” or follower. Don’t stay small.
Once you learn what works, find out what might work even better.
Necessity is the mother of all invention; so, it is only a matter of time before the training wheels come off, and a certain urgency related to a question, doubt, or personality will appear during a session that forces the growing and daring mentor to act, to risk taking a new path, to do what needs to be done next to guide the initiate toward self-discovery. I do not think of this act as courageous, rather, it occurs when the mentor is un-self-consciousness, in a sense when “they” are not there – and when this happens only love remains. Love knows no fear.
Michelangelo was only 26 years old when he realized that “every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is up to the sculptor to discover it. I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Our new team of facilitators have been initiating novice mentors at Crossing the Threshold retreats. In my mind’s eye, these fabulous, talented facilitators were “waiting in the marble.” Now time and intention has set them free. We are living the dream.