Things I Remember From My Mentors in School

I should always get out of bed the moment I wake up on weekends. I seem to accomplish a little bit more when it comes to my solitary moments. So far, I have spent 3 hours solitary at the new sacred space in the garden. An hour of living the internet life and 2 hours reading Madeleine L’Engle’s book. I am less groggy. And less lethargic.

Digging into A Circle of Quiet for the last stretch of chapters. I may just finish this book in a record time of 1 month (this greatly frustrates and disappoints me because I used to be able to finish a book in 1 day). Still I move forward however slowly and find my way back to my writer’s rhythm.

L’Engle provokes me to pay good attention. I wish she were still alive. I’d really appreciate some good mentoring loving care.

I miss having a good mentor.

Recalling my mentors back in gradeschool, highschool, college and business school in this (hopefully) brief roll call.

Ms. Bocalbos. Was my 3rd grade reading teacher. She was stout and had a very stern face. She had a high and round forehead which she made sure was prominently protruding every reading class by tying her hair back in a tight bun. I can still hear her firm voice and her thick fat lips enunciating every word read from the page. I was a slow reader and I had a hard time catching up. The words would glide past my attention and would selectively settle themselves in my poor memory. I flunked that class and had to get myself a reading tutor after that.

Ms. Windsor. Was my 2nd year high school English Teacher. By this time I’d have picked up a pace of reading an average of 3 books a week. But I have never gotten the rhythm for English classics. We had no choice but to read them and my first love in English Literature was Wuthering Heights. Ms. Windsor’s name always begged the question, “Is she a foreigner?” I was never really sure. She was thin and had a square face. Her mouth was always in a strict fine line located a little lower than usual which drew a lot of attention between her upper lip and her nose. She didn’t like nonsense and provoked a lot of fear as she stomped her way into the classroom. I will never forget her lecture about the poem Invictus and Robert Frost’s The Road Less Travelled. I challenged myself to reading Macbeth for our last quarter’s term paper. I knew she loved Shakespeare and I wanted to see if I could get her on my side for the last stretch. She gave me an A minus.

I cannot remember my favorite teacher in college for some reason so I’ll move on to graduate school.

Professor Cecile Manikan. I would call her the most holistic of all my mentors. She prided herself of being able to bridge her left and right brain. An artist herself who like me, challenged herself to survive in business school has come out of it alive and refreshed with a clear set of principles and an empowered worldview. Just like all my mentors, she came in the package of a strict woman who had a deliberate walk and a sharp tongue. But deep inside is the calm of a peaceful spirit and a contemplative soul. She was the refreshing spring that watered my drought of soulful interactions as the lectures in the case room pounded on my left brain until it broke into pieces. She made me understand why that kind of crucifixion was necessary. She made me learn how to be comfortable in the discomfort of life’s pruning. I suppose I really resonated with her teachings because she had the same journeys as me.

Professor Eduardo Morato. Was the scariest teacher I’ve ever had in my entire life. Every time you utter a word you would end up fearing a barrage of insults flying back at you because of your poor intellectualization of the lecture. He looks like a lazy drunk who just stepped out of bed and would look you in the eye catching you off guard saying, “Open the case.” Your palms would sweat and your breathing would fluctuate because it felt like a general’s order to wage war against an unforeseen enemy. But he taught me about the secret of a leader’s success. And I learned that it was about being able to attach like a passionate lover and detach like an indifferent foe at the same time.

All these mind twists and paradoxes of thought broke the mindsets I owned for quarter of a century. It definitely gave me a lot of migraines and sleepless nights. But they all taught not to settle for less. And when push comes to shove, all you need is a good anchor on your soul so you can bend to the direction of the wind and never lose sight of the direction you want to grow into.

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