My Mentor pointed me in the direction of Authenticity.  The pointing resulted in learning to approach lfe’s moments as a blank legal pad. To choose full authenticity, use that legal pad as a doorway… swoop through…encounter.  My shorthand: Authenticity is Dancing the Swoop.  (This is a remarkable lesson for me.  I am very grateful to my Mentor.  The legal pad lesson analogy is fully his idea.  He just didn’t realize how close to home he struck)

I planned to attend my 25th graduate school reunion. I was … well hesitant is an understatement.

I remembered walking the halls of the school, carrying my stack of dog eared legal pads…I kept copious notes.  (Still do to this day.)  And I loved coffee: dark, lovingly brewed with just the right amount of heated creme, plenty of sugar… why it was a liquid dessert of sustenance.  So there I was in graduate school:  legal pads, coffee… and..

well I am a clutz.  Fine…I said it.  I cannot walk into a room of people without being so darn self-conscious I act like a “drunken sailor”  (Description not made up by me, but given to me by a nun in grade school as she advised my mother to put me in dance class.  I refused to go.  Perhaps I should have made a different choice) O.K….the point is, I always carried a stack of dog eared, coffee stained (as a result of tripping), copious fully noted legal pads throughout my days in graduate school.

And those legal pads carried my identity.  This is who I am as I study and endeavor to become just as clever as I perceived everyone else.  Could they see that I thought I was a … fraud?  Soon to be discovered and kicked out once the mistake of my admission was recognized?  I could not share those notes….for sharing meant that I was…discoverable.  I was amazed at how being quiet and sitting in the back of the room could lead to….longevity.  Suffice it to say…I opened and experienced just a very narrow, limited amount of encounter with others in graduate school.

Would my friends be there?  Well…flurry of emails exchanged… the whole class now conversing…. perhaps opportunity for encounter….

Several years have passed, I have no idea where I placed those legal pad.  I am..simply me.  I gained enough skill level to provide food/shelter/clothing.  I could approach this reunion … with a blank legal pad.  That is it!  I will walk in and just see what everyone else has accomplished.  Might be great location to pick up ideas about stories.  I am a great observer.  Blank legal pad and me, observing.  I can do this.

So I walked into the room with no agenda.  First shock:  I recognized very few faces…  It is amazing how hard it is to recognize people after just 25 years.  So now, I needed to walk up, put my hand out…and say… are you a classmate or a spouse?  It got to be fun.  I was not the only person in this predicament…in fact everyone was.  We had to go back to describe what we looked liked 25 years earlier… (trust me, there was a lot of wistfulness there).  And these encounters turned into fun….

Person by person, I was able to describe laughingly all of the bumps in the road after graduate school…..  So many of us had similar experiences, so many had remarkably laughing experiences..the ones where you say:  “man, better you than me.”

At one point with a jolt, I recognized that I had left behind the blank legal pad, I was no longer the observer, but I had stepped through the legal pad doorway… and was doing the Swoop…

I finally got those dance lessons.

Mentor…thank you.


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