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Our Teachers are Everywhere

I have been hard at work on completing my contribution to a book about healing and transformation. Thus I didn't think I had anything to write and was going to skip it for now.

But then I thought about something I learned while writing about the Impromptu Rubber Duck Regatta (IRDR) and how it has helped me get through the Pandemic level depression and realized it's part of the story. So here I am. In general, I'm pretty in tune with the lessons going on in my life and willing to look deeper, to reassess, and to turn inward to find my deepest truths. I take the time. I do the hard work.

But when my writing coach suggested I needed to consider looking at the story of "Uni" and my own, I thought she was a little nuts. However, I allowed myself the space to consider her words and once again found she was right. And it was pretty amazing. Part of Uni’s story reflecting on his disappearance after a disastrous race is below. Mine follows.

“I wasn't really missing. I just needed to disappear into myself for a while. It's hard to put into words...

"The race Sunday started out awesome, you know. The course was really calm. It was just me and Big Yellow in a head-to-head match-up. We were both taking it easy, in the beginning, knowing we’d probably sprint it out at the end.

"And then BOOM! The rocks just came out of nowhere. I crashed into them and was paralyzed. I guess I was feeling a little cocky and not paying attention to what was happening. I know I finished ahead of Big Yellow, but I feel like my ego cost both of us the race.”

Uni and I are a lot alike. We’re both competitive leaders who take responsibility for problems out of our control and feel guilty when we can’t fix everything. We’re also reflective thinkers who need time alone to process our challenges and setbacks.

His shock at being stopped by the rocks – and not being able to perform at the high level he expected – had a striking parallel to my life’s crash into the virus. Likewise, his disappearance and seclusion were similar, if shorter, to my recent isolation. In Uni’s darkness, I saw my own and in his return to racing after the setbacks, I glimpsed my life’s eventual renewal.


The lesson for me is that our own best teachers are all around us and are often people we think are wrong. Whether we believe they are mistaken about us or something entirely different, we can still learn from them. But only if we are willing to step back and consider the possibility that they are right - or at least not completely wrong!

Taking this idea into your own life and challenges, whose words might you ponder to reconsider? What points of view might you feel differently about if you stepped back from them?

Uni and I may look nothing alike on the outside, but inside, we are birds of a feather. If you take the time to consider those around you as your potential teachers, you might be surprised at what you learn about you both.

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