Question of the Day: “Who was my mentor?”

The mentor on the Hero’s journey is the driving force for the Hero. This teacher is often ephemeral and inconsistent. The teacher never provides all of the answers. Instead, a viable mentor will only hint at the possible, suggest the journey ahead, and warn of the pending dangers. The mentor never pushes for the Hero to go. She never guilts or shames the Hero. This sage acts only as a guide and as a point of contact for the Hero. Since yesterday’s question was “What was my call to action?”, it is only fitting that today I ask, “Who was my mentor?”

My Mentor

“When the hero is ready, the mentor appears.”

Will Craig, Living the Hero’s Journey

It was at a time when I was at my lowest point. I knew I needed to go. The hatred and resentment for my husband was palpable. Now that I had decided that I must go, it was time to decide and make a path out. Unfortunately, the decision to leave was much easier than taking the physical steps to do it. Once you make a life-changing decision like this, you realize quickly that you are the only person who can move it forward. It is a terrifying feeling.

I received an email around this time from the yoga studio I attended when I was pregnant. It was years since I took one of their yoga classes, but there was a message that outlined a meditation class. For about $150, I could take an eight week class, meeting one day a week, to learn about meditation. It sounded good. I didn’t know much about meditation, but the ad promised hands-on assistance with learning how to meditate to ease personal suffering. I emailed the teacher and arranged sending the check in the mail.

Between the time I signed up for the class and its start, I could barely get through a day. Though I knew I needed to go, I felt paralyzed by fear. I was excited by the thought of freedom, but I didn’t know how to get there. There were so many questions. How could I leave my husband when he refused to work a job? What would happen to our house? Would I move out or would he? Where would I go? He had spent all of our money. How could I ever afford to move out? Where was I going to find a lawyer to help me?

I remember sitting on the back step of our house and staring as all of these questions swirled in my mind. My husband had tied a rope swing to a branch of a large oak tree years ago. I stared at the rope. I thought about what it would take to tie that into a noose and how much better everything would be if I could just end it all. It was then that I remembered I had sent my check in for the meditation class. It would be a shame to waste that money, I thought. If the class doesn’t help, there is always this option.

Amusing Sidenote: I told a close friend of mine this story many months later when I was safely on the path to freedom.

She turned to me, “And let’s be honest, Kelly,” she said. “Do you even know how to tie a knot for a noose?”

I laughed out loud. “No,” I said, enjoying the levity this statement afforded. “Not at all.” My friend smiled and we continued on.

A few days later, I attended my first class. Our classroom was in the living room of a tiny apartment at the top of an old Victorian about two miles from my house. Many years ago, someone had dissected a 3,000 square foot home into four apartments and my teacher’s was at the top.

The large wrap around porch warmed the entryway, and the double wooden doors were propped open for our arrival. I say “we” because there were six of us. When I arrived, I was alone. I walked up the wooden staircase that twisted through two landings until it reached the very top. I could smell burning incense and rose oil by the second tier, and I felt the energy as I climbed more and more steps. At the very top, there was a table with various instructions and I could hear voices in the room directly in front of me. The creaking of my footsteps alerted the people already congregating there.

“Hello,” a voice called from the room. I peeked around the corner and looked through the doorway. “Make sure to take your shoes off and pick up a pad on your way in.” I nodded and smiled as I slipped my shoes off, and I looked to see ivory colored pillows and padded seats with no legs. I grabbed a large pillow and entered the room.

The room itself was small and the back wall was lined with windows, which were stocked with various plants. On the back wall, there was an L-shaped white couch that was already filled with my soon-to-be classmates. A round coffee table was filled with spiritual figurines and burnt and burning sticks of incense. The teachers sat cross-legged at the front on her tufted chair. She had long grey, blonde hair down to her waist. I had never before seen a woman who was in her 60s with such long, flowing hair. Her hair was parted down the middle and the sides were held back with two blue barrets. Though there were element of her that felt “old”, her face was anything but aged. It was round and warm and she had the bright eyes of a child. Even her voice sounded youthful and lithe. She had an easy laugh but a serious demeanor. As an Empath, I felt her vibe as steady and sure. There was no element of anxiety or doubt. It was a sense of assurity I have not felt before or since on anyone.

I knew almost immediately that this person was going to be someone important to me. It was not a thought in my mind. It was a connection felt in the deepest part of my being, though I don’t remember much about that first class or even the classmates who surrounded me. My clearest memory is that one of the women asked her not to burn incense because she had a strong allergy. My other memory is the feeling of clarity I had after this first meeting and every meeting since.

Suchitra (my mentor’s name) has been an instrumental force in changing the course of my life. Through the practice of meditation as well as the subsequent courses I took with her over the next few years, I fundamentally changed the way I viewed the world around me. We also met numerous times for private consultations that mixed both spirituality and astrology. Even now, many years later, when I need her, she is there, but like all great teachers, my solid time of learning with her and from her is done. This is the way of the mentor. They cannot be with the Hero at all times because the Hero must go alone to achieve the glory and true teaching of his journey.

Who, dear Hero, is the mentor of your journey? If you are not sure, go to that quiet place and ask the following?

  1. Who has had a profound impact on the way I feel about myself or my path?
  2. Did this person have a profound impact by teaching me pertinent information I needed to learn in a way that did not force me or insist in ways that did not make sense to me? (If the answer to this is “no”, go back to question 1 and try another person. This is not your mentor.)
  3. What role has this person played in my journey?

Love and Light, Heroes!

Photo by Maria Orlova on