Shadow

Today would have been my mentor, teacher and friend Barnett’s 70th birthday. I miss him.

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I took this shot of the shadow of a life preserver at the lake while I was running today, and then played with it a bit in processing. The strength of the shadow reminded me of Barnett.

I was talking about mentors with D and J recently, about who our current mentors are. I realized that I’ve had mentors and teachers in my life, important ones — and Barnett is probably the most important. He taught me the foundations for all the best that is in my way of being in the world now.

I think we reach a point, though, where we have fewer teachers who are in the formal role of teacher. My mentors and teachers now, mostly, are peers and people younger than I am. People like my friend P, who grounds me in embracing improvisation and what is right in front of me, and the kids in Nikibasika who teach me about courage and self and love, and my “spiritual practices” gang, who arrived in my life through Barnett, who give me the vocabulary and the space to find my own spiritual voice, and my colleagues J and D who teach me deep collaboration and pure friendship and grit, and the people dearest to my heart who teach me about living full-voiced and resilient and whole, even when whole requires teeth-gritting bravery.

My world is full of teachers. And today I’m remembering one of the most important ones.

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