I am on the street outside of a cafe, milling around with a group of people who are attending a beading conference. I get tired of waiting, leave the group and enter the cafe, where all the tables are empty.
After taking a seat, I look up and see Bob Dylan entering the cafe. He's young, looking like he does on his Freewheelin' or Blond on Blond album cover. Dual emotional response: 1. Wouldn't it be cool if he sits with me! And, 2. OMG, I wouldn't know what to say to him if he did!
I'm so shy that I put my head down and wait. He comes and sits kitty-corner from me at my table. Slowly I look up at him. Bob Dylan smiles slightly and asks, "What are the important influences in your life?" I freeze with shyness. I don't respond, and the next thing I know I'm back outside with the crowd.
End of that segment of the dream. However, I wake up soon, envisioning Bob and his question. A one-word answer snaps into my mind: teachers! My teachers are the most important influences in my life. All kinds of teachers (not so much the ones from my formal school years)...
Let me name, honor and thank a few of them here:
Andrew Dale ~ My tai chi teacher during the early 1990s, Andy taught me about physical balance and it's correlation to emotional balance. He taught me to walk with my weight back about 1/4th inch (I had been leaning forward slightly). This saved my feet and enabled me to walk normally again!
Shelley Tucker ~ My poetry teacher during the same period as above, Shelly taught me how to by-pass my controlling and frightened brain, and allow words to flow from my heart. I was already doing that with bead embroidery, but this was an entirely new thing to be able to do it with words. I still use her wonderful writing models, and have shared one of the best with you, here. If you want to introduce poetry writing to young children, Shelley's books are super!
Ferne Cook ~ My mother, Ferne, taught me many wonderful life skills, including strong work ethics, ethics in general, how to sew, the value of quality craftsmanship, and good grammar.
Robert Demar ~ My husband, Robert, teaches me significant things nearly every day, including the most valuable lesson of all... that it's only money... you can see my progress with this concept here. He opened the door for my recent insight about respecting my body, by taking my legs (the heavy ones I've always hated) out to dinner one night in appreciation for all they've done for me over the years. He has changed my habit of swearing when thwarted or frustrated, by showing me how it creates a negative aura. There's lots more.
Liz Chenoweth ~ How can I pick just a few things to mention about what I've learned from my best friend for 34 years? Among many other things, from Liz, I've learned that under anger there is fear, that love is all there is, that acknowledging love is hugely important, to give time and money, and to honor commitments.
Mary Oliver ~ Although I've never met her, poet Mary Oliver taught me an extremely important lesson... that I do not have to be perfect. The powerful healing medicine of her poetry is beyond compare. On Monday, Feb. 4th, thanks to a gift from Liz, I get to hear Mary Oliver read her poems, live at Benaroya Hall in Seattle!!!! OMG, I'm so looking forward to it!
Bob Dylan ~ I've listened to Dylan's music since the 1960's. The man can write! And through his songs, he taught me to investigate everything, to look beyond the surface of people, and to care.
Lori Talcott ~ Metalsmith and friend, Lori taught me about how flat is boring, especially with wireworking. I used to make fibula pins with loops and spirals that were flat... pounded metal, but flat. Thanks to Lori, I now use my fingers to curve and shape the loops and poke out the spiral three-dimensionally. There's an example at the top of this post and several below.
OK, these are just a few examples of teachers and their important influences in my life. It's still November, the month of thanksgiving, and so I am giving my huge thanks to these and other teachers.
For the past two weeks, I've been making jewelry like crazy for a Holiday Sale this Friday and Saturday. Yesterday, I took pictures of some of the fibula pins I just made... thought you might like to see some of them...