By Kathleen Calder
I was very spiritually-focused, seeking big answers and asking big questions as of age 14, and have been on this trajectory ever since. Yet being spiritually open does not entitle me to “skip a grade” in life. My desire at the moment is to keep allowing life to bring me what it needs to, in order to bring me to a place where I can offer what I’ve healed to others like me, so they can work to heal it in themselves.
There’s a vulnerability in humbling yourself to be a student. I don’t mean paying thousands of dollars for your education, exactly. I mean allowing yourself to be a student in life, not just in a classroom. Negotiating with the parts of you that feel entitled to skipping ahead to being a teacher feels essential. There are some people I have met who have parts that openly embrace being a student, yet this over-humility doesn’t feel quite right either. There is a way to be a student that allows yourself to be humbled and yet be in your power too. You don’t get to choose the lesson, but you get to choose how to take it in. You don’t always get to choose your teachers either, but you get to choose how to take them in and for how long.
I remember that almost my whole life, I’ve wanted to “skip a grade”. As a child in elementary school, I ached for the recognition of being really smart and basically superior in some ways to everyone else my age, that would come with skipping a grade. I wanted to prove that I needed the challenge. Feels like it was partly the social pain that part of me endured that brought this on. It could also have been the pain of being the “baby of the family”. I had a lot of worth to prove – to “everyone else”, but ultimately to me. I don’t remember ever feeling happy to be the age I was. Part of me always had their eye on being “in” with the older kids. This carried over into my teen years. Yet there were terms I couldn’t compromise on. There were things I just refused to do, like going to parties or drinking or doing drugs. I didn’t really get drunk until my late teens, didn’t try pot until university, and I didn’t really go to many parties until my second year of university. I also didn’t choose to become sexually active until I was 21.
Now I’m 26 years old, going to be 27 very soon (less than a month), and there are life experiences and rites of passage I still haven’t inhabited, like getting my driver’s licence. There are many reasons why this was delayed, but the symbolism of it feels worth exploring – I wasn’t ready to surrender to not knowing how to be in the “driver’s seat” in my own life, at my age, at my stage of spiritual, emotional, worldly knowledge and experience. I try to frame it for my parts, not so much as “immaturity” but as “arrested development”. This makes it feel less critical and easier to own. Makes it easier to admit that I need to be a student of life for a while, to essentially catch up to myself in a way.
Now I’m faced with the challenge of being in life as a 26 year old, trying to catch up on things like inhabiting a job in a much fuller way than I have before, being fully independent in providing for myself (including getting my licence and a car), etc. Gaps of life experience have brought the need to create some social distance from others engaged in the SoulFullHeart way of life. This has been a very hard reality to let in for parts of me. Right now in my process, I am working to let this humble me. It is crazy-making at times to feel how much ground I need to cover within myself and in life, and yet I can hold at the same time that my desire to serve others can only come to fruition if I can surrender to this and the coming life phases. I am working daily towards that deeper surrender by challenging myself to be in my power and spine, while also feeling my parts through all life changes and decisions. I need to keep reminding my parts that we are not entitled to be older than we are, in any other sacred life phase than we are right now.
I know and can feel that there are others around my age who have had a similar experience of themselves in this life. I was very spiritually-focused, seeking big answers and asking big questions as of age 14, and have been on this trajectory ever since. Yet being spiritually open does not entitle me to “skip a grade” in life. It also does not entitle me to the role of “teacher” when I have yet to fully embrace being a student. My desire at the moment is to keep allowing life to bring me what it needs to, in order to bring me to a place where I can offer what I’ve healed to others like me, so they can work to heal it in themselves. I feel that if those in my generation and younger can do this, we can really be the start of a new wave of human being that is much more authentically compassionate and embodied, not only for our sake but for the sake of our world as a whole.