The Giftie Gie Us

“O wad som power the giftie gie us

To see oursels as ithers see us!

It was frae monie a blunder free us,

An’foolish notion.

I use these words from Robbie Burns for two reasons. One is that they are central to the way in which we, as humans, behave and second because I both mentor someone and, have a mentor myself. Mine, currently,  is Paul Cook, a fellow speaker and someone I value. Apart from the fact that we have a similar sense of humour, Paul has the ability to, at least start, getting me to see myself from outside the bubble in which I live. Now I’m well aware that all of us live in our own bubbles; lenses through which we view the world. Mine was sufficiently strong that I created (and helped others to create) those little bits of “wonderland” which were the voluntary projects I worked on. The city farm in Leeds and some of the sustainable homes that people who were homeless and unemployed built for themselves, being examples. That was the positive aspect. The negative one was in viewing what were actually achievements on my part as nothing special whereas, in fact, they were.

Well, at least now I understand that it is actually my own bubble and that not quite everyone else lives there. By which I mean that not everyone sees the world as I do. Now I’m not sure whether mentoring is meant to include humour but is seems that some of the things I say make Paul laugh. In fact, after he reflects them back to me, we both laugh. The crucial point is that the process results in some understanding on my part and, as a result, a greater determination to tackle whatever the problems are that we’ve met to talk about. Thanks to Paul, I now have a list of practical things to do to unlock some of, what I see as doors, that appear to me to be locked. They aren’t, although I do have to work a little harder to get them to open. Funny how things that I do so easily for others are difficult for me to do for myself. Still, as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. So her I go.

Many thanks, my friend. Have a great Xmas and a prosperous new year; the latter of which is somewhere that I hope to join you.

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