To Be, or not to be...
Aloha Dear Reader,
I have a driving desire to write something more personal to you rather than a regular newsletter, because what I've encountered within the last year of teaching might be useful to you on your own path, especially in the areas of business and leadership:
Accountability Over the past 23 years of teaching, I can honestly say that I felt insecure around delivering what I had learned from my teachers especially during the first several years of teaching classes. As time went on I noticed that as I began to find some ground and improved as an instructor, my students also improved in retaining what they learned and performing it.
I realize now how shielded I was. Masking my vulnerability by creating a false sense of identity as a mentor, an instructor, a Kumu of the sacred art known as Lomilomi. In the early years, I didn't have a clue of how difficult it would be to become someone who others look up to for guidance and carry this role with clear, consistent integrity.
Kumu (teacher) is a role that has come with overwhelming responsibility, of which I had very little training. Instead of seeking more leadership/teacher training, I forged ahead making numerous mistakes, trying to do my best. I fell short many times in regards to the expectations of others who also supported me in spite of my arrogance and lack of student/teacher relationship protocols. The ones who returned, watched me grow. Patiently.
Fortunately, in recent years, I learned how to practice surrender to 'openness' in the midst of the most painful and grueling circumstances. Remaining as present as I could be while witnessing the strong conditioning of an overcontrolling mind melt into a soft, resilient OPEN heart. Tears began to flow, as love, truth, and Grace assume their rightful place within me once again. Ouch!
Mentorship & Boundaries To be totally honest, I have not ever felt completely comfortable as a 'leader' since I began teaching. Without any extensive one-on-one training with any particular master, or any recognized degrees other than Minister/Chaplain. In assuming this teacher role there have been many deeply uncertain moments of feeling inadequate to properly facilitate this role with full integrity, honoring everyone's conditioning and expectations. Because I make everyone I meet a friend, the student/teacher relationship is riddled with opportunities to fall short of everyone's expectations, including my own. Autonomy, the sobriety of conscience, humility, and clear and accurate boundaries are the essence of what students need and want. Creating and maintaining these was never easy for me.
Adam Barley recently articulated this perfectly: "The old paradigm of top-down leadership, with attendant assumptions that the leader is somehow superior—is there any truth in that at all? Transferences of power involved in any mentoring relationship are a crucial part of the learning process, but at the deepest level, it's all just projection. The mentor has more experience or knowledge in some way, but the mentee has something else that's harder to define, which gets given in return—that willingness to learn is perhaps the most precious human commodity of all—'superior' doesn't come into it. How to be honest and open about this in ways that are useful? When does personal transparency as a leader serve the creative process, and when is it just self-indulgent? "
I have always been know as someone who takes risks in order to enable myself and those who are with me to grow beyond our perceived limitations--as a free spirit, translating our truest heartfelt dreams into reality. And over the 23 years of teaching, I have encountered many hard and painful challenges that jump out of nowhere, showing up as 'authority issues', which I have become a target for because I've assumed the role of 'leader', which comes with enormous responsibility.
Lately, these issues have intensified greatly because I had branded myself as 'Kumu', which activated in me a sense of 'entitlement', and so utterly failing several times to live up to what others feel this position entails. My quandary has always been, as Adam Barley states:
"How to receive feedback and criticism in ways that serve and respect everyone, myself included? It's an on-going lesson in my triggered defensive strategies as well as my own authority issues, I can tell you. Deeply humbling."
And now, a man in his 60's, with these hard lessons learned, with a tenderly bruised and humbled heart, I find myself choosing a different path entirely. With all due respect to those hundreds of lovelies that I have had the great fortune to meet and to train and to share such exalted healing experiences with in sacred circles; I stand down from this role as your Kumu--teacher. I would much rather be your friend and comrade in creating the miracles that honor who we are as Love, and support the 'Circle Culture' in which everyone is equal, instead of the Pyramid Culture, where one is the capstone.
For those who are attending the few remaining Lomilomi classes, you will receive the newly transformed instructor to guide you toward the perfection of learning and performing what I am sharing with you. Special attention will be given to opening in a safe container to the radiance within you, to remove any blockages that are in the way for you to experience the river of Divine love that is flowing freely through you, sustaining your life and healing you.
And for those of you who have been by my side witnessing my personal growth and spiritual development over these decades past, I am so grateful for your presence in my life. And I sincerely apologize, from my deepest heart, for any discomfort or misalignment that you may have felt because of a lack of integrity, human fragility, arrogance, or unconscious behavior on my part. Please forgive my humanness.
I love you with all my heart! Your Friend and Comrad, Wayne Powell