Mentors, Belief, and Reflection

Mentorship

I have been fortunate enough to have many mentors throughout my life. The first one I ever had was Carter Blankenship, and he taught me most of what I know about shoes and a little about workwear. He passed away two weeks ago. He was one of the first people to ever believe in me, and he called me his protégé. He looked out for me, taught me certain tricks of the trade with people, and he was proud of me. Always.

word cloud - mentorship

I have been thinking about him periodically in the past few months, and how much I wanted to get in contact with him. I just didn’t know how. When I find out he passed away, it hit me like a two-foot wave in the ocean. I felt a sense of loss and shock that I hadn’t felt since my Nana passed away. I am not comparing the two; please do not misunderstand me.

Belief

His family had a celebration of life ceremony today that I went to. Truth be told, I really didn’t want to go. I knew I needed to go, I owed him that much. I didn’t really know how much the man had meant to me until today when I was headed there. The emotions were like the waves during an outgoing storm at the ocean. Violent, but subdued. Periodic but all-consuming. It was a tough ending to a tough week.

Ocean Fury taken in October 2015 by Alexis Krukovsky. (c)

I hadn’t met his family, except once in passing years ago, but he talked about them consistently. He was always proud of them, as well.   I looked for people who may be able to help direct me to the family members to introduce myself. The first person I met was Bridget, and is an old family friend. A very lovely, no-nonsense woman who was helping to clean up, and she introduced me to Melissa (his daughter) and later Adrienne his wife. Adrienne knew exactly who I was as soon as I said my name. I was slightly taken aback by this because I hadn’t seen Carter in at least seven years, and probably closer to ten. He talked about me to his family, which he didn’t do often apparently.  He also called me his protégé to his family.  It was one of several moments of gratitude and humbled pride.  I spent several years getting to work with and learn from him, but still.

 Reflection

Some of us went back to the house to help bring in everything, and to relax. There were stories upon stories, laughter, and bonding. From what I knew about Carter, it was exactly what he would have wanted. Laid-back, relaxed, and people having a good time while remembering the man we all loved. He was always a bit of a trickster, and helping to carry everything back to the house was his way of getting me there.

I went not knowing what to expect, and left with a lighter sense of spirit. I also left with new friends, and a deep down belief that he was proud of me. Even still after all these years. I am not sure what the point of this entry was other than a sense of gratitude of the people I have and have had in my life.

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Personal Growth and Change

My life is enormously different than it was two years ago.  The reason?  Personal growth.  I have read so many personal growth books in that time, I could start a section at Barnes and Noble.  All of those books I thought were a bunch of new-age, feel-good b.s. (complete with me rolling my eyes at such things).  But, I was WRONG.  They have changed my life fundamentally.

Stolen from Facebook. I don't know who, but I love it.

Stolen from Facebook. I don’t know who, but I love it.

I am a scientist.  That is my background, and essentially my faith.  I love puzzles, I love questions, and I love figuring out how those two things intertwine.

When it comes to personal, emotional stuff though?  I was not so much about that.  I like cause and effect, clear and simple.  Human emotion is not about cause and effect.  It’s about experience and learning.  It’s about applying often the b.s. you’ve been through throughout your lifetime, and figuring out how to get past it to live a better life.

Does this sound familiar?  I have LIVED this life.  The life of hiding, oppressing, and down-right scared life.  Everyone’s life is different.  I certainly do not know your experiences, but I do know mine.  And I think being scared to be someone else, scared to live someone else’s story that you think should be yours, and scared to possibly grow out of that story is real for a lot of people.  It was for me.

Fast-forward to now.  I am happier than I have EVER been.  It was due to discipline, personal growth, and reliance on people close to me.  The last one was a big step for me.  The other two were easy.  Relying on other people, was not.  But it was perhaps the single biggest force in my metamorphosis into being a happy, content person.  Trust others; however hard it may be.

BE YOU.  Even when it is the scariest thing you might ever do.

Mentors and Life

I have been privileged to be having many amazing and brilliant mentors throughout my lifetime.  I have been fortunate enough to have them during every period of my life: high school, college, environmental consulting, paddling, and most recently Arbonne.

One of my Arbonne, mentors, Maria Spillane, and I travelling to a training.

One of my Arbonne mentors, Maria Woodford Spillane, and I travelling to a training.

Everyone needs mentors and stable figures in their lives to help guide them through difficult times and decisions, and sometimes the mundane.  I have been blessed with an abundance of both since high school.  One cannot succeed and expect to get better without guidance and constructive criticism.  Some call it tough love; I call it wisdom.  All of it is necessary for one to exist and make one better.  I am forever in debt to all of the people who have guided me; thank you.