Prerequisite powerfulness

Mentors are expected to be more aware than their proteges. Those additional perspectives make it possible for the mentoring to happen. Mentors bring added awareness to the troublesome situations to disrupt the perpetual patterns maintained by blinders, assumptions and fears. Mentors are akin to whistle blowers and investigative reporters. Mentors are like the kid in the story who could speak up about the emperor's new clothes while the townsfolk assumed they were personally at fault for failing to see new royal finery.

I often have the experience, while mentoring, of being too aware. I offer too much perspective and move along too quickly. What I bring to the situation seems to be "too much too soon" and poorly timed. I fail to see how much awareness is enough for now.

As a result of my experiences with mentoring, I've developed a better sense of timing. I'm seeing how our awareness develops in stages. I've taken to nurturing the growth of others' awareness slowly rather than imposing my awareness on them "ready or not". I've been learning from my experiences while helping others learn from theirs. I've discovered how much there is to know about gradual processes of human and spiritual development.

When anyone is trafficking in negative emotions, concerns with relating to others and their effects on others are "too much too soon". I've learned to regard them as trapped in a pattern of powerlessness. The next step is to acquire some power in their situation. This usually involves looking forward, making plans and structuring what needs to get done. Anyone feels more powerful as the result of progress, accomplishments and getting organized.

While we are implicitly powerless, we blame others for our unhappiness out of necessity. We lack the power to take responsibility for our circumstances. We imagine that taking responsibility equates with getting blamed by others, accused of wrong doing and burdened with guilt. We cannot imagine responsibility based on self respect and standing our ground until we feel powerful.

We become convinced of our own power from our personal experiences. We succeed at imposing structure on situations that gets some confusion under control. We establish some boundaries that eliminate constant distractions, disruptions and drama. We stick to routine procedures that get the results we want without a lot of worrying.

With this established sense of stability, we can handle some feedback. We can take what happens "back on ourselves" and consider changing our approach. We can reconsider what we were thinking, trying to accomplish and expecting to happen. By standing on solid ground, we can change our stance and commit to working things out in a better way.

All this needs to happen before we can relate to others with empathy. Insights about other people will fall on deaf ears, appear as useless information, or spawn fears of "losing control".

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