training as a warrior

rocks at yaquina head

This has been another autumn of helping high school seniors with their applications to college. This year, I worked only in the after-school program.

At first, not being in the AVID classroom during the school day felt like yet another loss in a long list of what the Year of Perpetual Suck took from me. I now realise it was a blessing – I wasn’t healthy enough yet to take it all on at once.

Again, I’ve worked with some amazing students – from Cambodia and Peru, from Iran and Arizona, and more.

Some of their stories are truly heart-breaking, yet they remain hopeful and brave. This cracks my heart wide open, or wider open. This raw and tender experience is also heart-mending.

This quote from Pema Chodron comes to mind.

Awareness is the key. Do we see the stories that we’re telling ourselves and question their validity? When we are distracted by strong emotion, do we remember that it is our path? Can we feel the emotion and breathe it into our hearts for ourselves and everyone else?If we can remember to experiment like this even occasionally, we are training as a warrior. And when we can’t practice when distracted but KNOW that we can’t, we are still training well. Never underestimate the power of compassionately recognizing what’s going on.

I cannot change the hard stories these young people have lived. It is part of what makes them who they are, part of what will shape the adults they are becoming. It is an honour to train as a warrior – with them.

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