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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

My Mentor

How many people that you've known personally have had a significant impact on you as a thinker?

For me, two women have been critical in my growth as a thinker. One is my partner of forty three years. The other I lost this past week. Although I know it will be hard doing so, I've spent several days trying to measure the impact this fearless woman had on me during the years we worked together. I'll miss her in many ways, although selfishly, I'll miss most the way she guided, prodded, and challenged me. She was my mentor for eleven years. 

Peter Senge, Fernando Flores, Thomas Kuhn. Many of the thinkers my mentor introduced me to are not household names. That's totally fitting because - in the intellectual domain - she was not seduced by the trendy, the popular, the flavor of the month. Yet, she loved Seinfeld, Night and Day was one of her favorite songs and we argued for days on our differing views of Silence of the Lambs; she was as geeky about popular film as I. Contradictions like those - independent thinking vs. an unabashed  love of popular culture  - thrilled her. 

Live in the question. Avoid people who are certain. Allow yourself to be persuaded. Most of all, grow into someone who doesn't need the approval of others. All words I've tried to live by since 1991, when I was fortunate enough to meet my compassionate critic, my intellectual companion, my friend. 

   

8 comments:

  1. I am sorry for your loss, Pat. I too am grateful to have a life partner who is always at my side and always challenges me to do my best.

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    1. Thanks Steve; we are both so fortunate. And I know neither of us takes our gifts for granted.

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  2. What a beautiful tribute. How fortunate you are to have such wonderful people in your life. To paraphrase: when the student is ready, the mentor appears.

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    1. Ines; I am indeed fortunate. Thanks for the comment. The student/teacher (or mentor) sentiment is among my favorite of Buddha's many wise aphorisms.

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  3. Beautiful post. Love the idea of "living in the question"

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    1. Alison; Thanks for reading and your gracious feedback. I'm so pleased you like "living in the question" - really speaks to being open to the wonder and beauty of life.

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  4. Very beautiful tribute to your friend, Pat. So sorry for her loss.
    There are two people that I would mention.
    I'm not sure if I would count either as a 'mentor', but they've definitely impacted my life. I've always been very grateful to my high school English teacher, who was also the first theater director I worked with. Sadly he passed away a few years ago. But meeting him, and being introduced to the theatre, definitely changed my life. What began by accident (a story for another time, perhaps) has turned into a lifelong love and passion for the Arts. Something I cannot imagine my life being without.
    The other is, ironically, another director that I've had the pleasure of working with many times. Each time has become a learning experience in the craft, the process, and it has allowed me to grow as an actor and a person.
    The impact of these two men on my life is immeasurable.
    And I have to add that I also love the idea of 'living in the question'. What a great way of looking at things. Full disclosure ... I'm going to steal that, but will always give you full credit - lol.
    Be well, Pat.

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    1. RRGRMG; Thanks (again and again) for your comments and how they add value by telling me about some important people from your life. Steal away - "living in the question" was one of my mentors greatest gifts to me; speaks volumes about being open to the wonder and beauty of life.

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