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The importance of naming our teachers

When I was 14 years old, I received my level 1 Reiki certification.  Part of the tradition in Reiki is to name our teachers; I learned from my best friend’s mother, who was like my second mother growing up – Debra Wright. In doing so, I always felt a profound wave of pride and connection, a thread of respect running from me to them, and a thread of support and encouragement running back.

But when I entered the coaching world, I noticed that the opposite seemed to be true. People shared their transformation stories, but rarely (if ever) named the people that supported them along the way.  Modeling my storytelling after those I looked up to, I often left my teachers’ names out of my stories.

Several years ago, I received an email from a woman who’d found a blog that seemed to be ripping off my content. I clicked through, and my heart sank as I found several posts where she’d taken my stories and turned them into hers. I felt hurt and annoyed, but I also felt sad for her. I wanted her to own her story, including the source(s) of her inspiration. I even wrote her an open letter.

I realized that the same thing that causes us not name our teachers, is the same thing that causes us take from others: An underlying fear that we are not enough.

…I’ve heard people share the fear that if they name their teachers, coaches, and mentors, people will hire those people instead.

…I’ve seen people quote others and repost their images without credit, in part because they want to be seen as wise and original.

…I’ve witnessed people receive so much from their mentors, then when they move on from that work, discredit or diminish the impact of that work.

…I’ve seen people weave the teachings of others into their work without permission or credit.

Regretfully, I have, at times, done all of these things.

When we dishonor our teachers, we damage the thread of respect, support, and encouragement.

I give huge credit and profound gratitude to my friend Lisa Fabrega for this awareness. Lisa has been speaking up for years about the importance of naming our teachers, and the importance of looking very carefully at places where we may be [even unconsciously] taking from others.

I also thank Kelly Diels for a session I had with her where she said “I don’t see any mention of your teachers on your website”. She was right (and it still needs a lot of updating), and that conversation really solidified my recognition that it was critical.

When we name our teachers, our coaches, our mentors, and the lineages and teachings that have inspired our work and philosophies, it’s akin to naming and thanking those who brought us our food, and naming and thanking those who originally inhabited the land we’re on.

Sharing about our lineages – ancestral, professional, spiritual – allows others to see the fuller picture of our education and philosophy…

It re-establishes healthy threads of respect and support.

It begins to set right broader, generations-old patterns of taking what is not ours.

It honors the truth that none of us got here alone.

When I launched Soul of Leadership, I created a whole section at the bottom of the sign-up page, where I thanked my colleagues and teachers.

I want to share that with you here, both so you can know what and who has informed and inspired my work, and as a “template” of sorts, if it’s time to weave a deeper honoring of your teachers into your work….

Profound thanks

“I want to honor several of the amazing teachers and mentors I’ve had over the past 15 years, whose lineages I am proud to be a part of, and whose work has inspired and informed my own: Incredible thanks to Hiro Boga & Elayne Kalila Doughty for the many, many hours of guidance and support over the years, and around this program, specifically. Deepest gratitude as well to Ariel Spilsbury for bringing us the 13 Moon Mystery School, and for my anointing teacher Diana DuBrow of Ariel’s lineage. To Deb Kern, who’s grounded me back into my energy and path many times, thank you. Thank you to Bryan Franklin & Jennifer Russell, who I did an in-depth 1 year coach training with, and who remain lifelong friends. Gratitude to NLP Marin for my Family Constellation training. For Javier Regueiro, who held me through deep work in the Sacred Valley of Peru, and who has shown me the vast range a human can express – thank you. Thank you to Marie Forleo, who was my business coach for a year. Deep thanks to Integrative Nutrition for the education that got me started in my work, and continues to be a foundation. Thank you to KC Baker, who helped me clarify my greater message and develop my skill as a speaker. Thank you to Kelly Diels for the session where where you showed me the need to thank my teachers in this way. To Heather Plett, thank you for your teaching and wayshowing around holding space in community. Gratitude to Debra Wright, who taught me how to connect with spirit guides and trained me in Reiki Level 1 at age 14. And finally, to Shakti Mhi, my first true yoga teacher to whom I am forever grateful.

Thank you to the friends who’ve offered both their friendship and direct guidance over the years, many of whom helped me envision this program: Briana Borten, Sarah Jenks, Kavita J Patel, Lisa Fabrega, Layla Martin, Kate Northrup, Jadah Sellner, Michelle Young Long, Liz Long, Stacey Morgenstern, Jena LaFlamme, Annie Lalla, Wendy Yalom, LiYana Silver, Jennifer Racioppi, Ginny Muir, Jennifer Kem, Hilary Rushford, Jaime Masters, Alexi Panos, Emily Olson, Emily Rosen, Ingrid Sanders, Natalie MacNeil, Renee Warren …and oh so many more.

To the dear women of the 2017 Freedom Mastermind for being my inspiration and my teachers: Justine Pattantyus, Kathryn Hocking, Julie Hagan Lowe, Yadira Albarran (thank you to all the aforementioned for your direct insights about Soul of Leadership), Michelle Powell, Cat Panetta, Azalea Moen, Ali Dryja, Susan Santoro, Corinne Dove, Stella St. Rose, Kristen Zavo…and all the women from previous masterminds.

Last but not least, thank you to the team who brought this program to life and are supporting its delivery: Dani Hunt, Rita Morales, Nick Testa, the whole team at No Typical Moments, Shannon Davis, Dawna Matthews, Lou Jeannot, and Lindsay Annana Mae Wilson.”

Please feel free to use this as a template for your own expressions of gratitude for your teachers.

With gratitude to each of our lineages,
Nisha

2 Comments

  1. Hi Nisha,

    I found your site after I watched your interview with Athena. I loved what you both had to say and it is so amazing seeing sisters support each-other (on both your sites). My greatest teacher was Louise Hay and a woman named Demeter. She was a second mother to me and she led the way for me to see woman empowerment in action. Honoring them both tonight. Blessings

    • This is so beautiful, Nathalia. I am so glad to hear this resonated and how you are honoring these teachers.

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