I recently finished a three-week mentorship program I designed for our 20-year-old niece, a junior at Virginia Tech majoring in Psychology, who eventually wants to do something in the healing arts field, like me. She reached out last fall to share an email she was sending out to holistic therapists in her college town of Blacksburg, VA, to request an internship. Given most therapists work confidentially one-on-one, internships are hard to find.
Be it my love for her or my love for what I do, probably intensely both…her quest inspired me to brainstorm what a program like this might look like.
How long would it be?
What would be the objectives?
Pages of ideas poured out.
One thing led to another, and on June 8, 2017, she showed up to spend three weeks with me as my mentee.
There was no shortage of things to study. She quietly sat in on several of my client sessions. We attended 12-step meetings. We studied Sonia Choquette’s Chakra Program. Each day I presented a learning topic from my own work. We took field trips. We interviewed other practitioners in the healing arts. We meditated, journaled, discussed, reflected, and immersed ourselves in our live-in, full-on program.
I have to tell you, spending three weeks focused on topics I enjoy with someone who was fully present to it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done.
Here is what I learned, and what we experienced:
- Everything planning-wise fell into place the minute I finished writing up the objectives. Once I knew what we both wanted to get out of the experience, it was easy to fill in the calendar with activities that met those objectives. We kept the objectives on the refrigerator door and looked at them everyday to keep us on track.
- Sharing my work with a young person connected me to the roots of my own teaching in the most fundamental ways. It took me back to my early understandings and prompted me to revisit where I started. This translated into increased inspiration in my writing life, and sparked me to talk about my work in new ways.
- I had listened to Sonia Choquette’s chakra program countless times before, but it was different, and better, doing it with my mentee. As was all the other material we covered. Everything we studied took on a new, deeper meaning.
- We had a list of agreements, also on the refrigerator posted beside the objectives. One was to take what you like and leave the rest. This mentorship was not about having her adopt all the teachings offered to her. It was about exposing her to options and ways to think and do things.
- My mentee was surprisingly helpful to have around. She helped me grocery shop, cook and clean up. She helped me prepare the space before client arrival, and interviews. And I never had to ask. She was appreciative, as was I of her, which kept our appreciation tanks full the entire time. (This was also one of our agreements, by the way.)
- We used a simple formula for each activity: We would talk about what we were going to do, we would do it, and then we would talk about what we did, sharing our impressions. Each day we recorded the highlights of the day in a special journal.
- We benefited from the generosity of other healing arts professionals in Boise and surrounding areas, in that several of you allowed us to interview you about your work, and how you came to do what you do.
A special thanks to Tosha at Tosha’s Tinctures and Herbs, Maddie Loiacono at Gifts of the Ages Healing, Cathy Kearns at Reiki Renewal and C. Susan Nunn, Feng Shui Consultant.
Sincere appreciation, also, to the clients who allowed my mentee to observe your sessions.
I let the mentorship program have a life force all its own. Many signs appeared in the preceding months that convinced me that offering this program was the right thing to do. It just made sense then, that the guidance, which brought us together, would also lead the way during our program, and it certainly did. Often we noted synchronicities and a feeling of being in the right place at the right time.
The biggest surprise of all was how the mentoring process gave me extra energy. There is a reason we healing arts professionals do what we do…it is because we love doing it. So naturally, sharing it with someone who is equally “into” it is life-giving.
From the moment of brainstorming, to planning, to actually doing it, our experience reinforced the idea that when something is meant to be, there is ample support in all dimensions for making it a success.