Butterfly ~ Be the Student in Your Own Story


“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

“Most important is to keep on questioning,” says Cristina Carlino, who believes that “each of us has some of the Student archetype in our psyche’s palette.”

by Cristina Carlino

My brilliant butterflies: Have you heard the Buddhist expression “When the student is ready, the teacher appears?” Now, I am no Einstein and I never went to college, but maybe it’s because I learned from some wonderful teachers in high school that I see everyone as my teacher. And I am in return, perhaps, a teacher for another.

If life has convinced me that one truth is as unshakeable as 2 + 2 = 4, it’s the one expressed in Einstein’s quote “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Most important is to keep on questioning. The beauty for me of being older and spreading new wings is that I feel wiser, although I know less (more on this counterintuitive phenomenon below). My imagination soars. I have more delicious questions than ever. Some of the answers come out of moments of great sunshine and plenty of others from times of deep personal darkness. That’s how this school rolls.

I believe each of us has some of the Student archetype in our psyche’s palette. For example, I am a student of beauty. I am a student of motherhood, music, curiosity, and creativity. Of friendship and humanity and archetypes. If I had to choose a “major” I would say I am primarily a student of daydreams and feeling free.

And my direction shows me daily that a very big part of my education is not just what there is to learn but also what to unlearn. This unlearning class meets daily. Sometimes it’s in session for an instant, sometimes an hour; often through the night and in our dreams.

Here are a few topics on the Things to Unlearn syllabus:

Self-Judgment: (I should have, would have, or could have)

Judgment of Others: (Same as above but back at you)

Off the Rails of Responsibility: (I am here to take care of others’ emotional needs before my own.)

False Fears: (Which most end up to be)

Self-Pity: (Give it an inch and it takes a mile, or a month.)

Secrets: (If I’m only as sick as my secrets, how healthy am I?)

Shame: (A single instant can set off a memory of feeling embarrassed.)

Resentments: (Many easy to come by; most hard to let go of. Forgiveness is water that not only puts out the fire, but leaves few of the ashes in its wake.)

Pride: (I can do it myself. I don’t need to ask for help. If I want something done right I’ve got to do it myself.)

And from there, history takes us eventually to the subject of letting go. A pop quiz where the Universe hands out answers to an eternity of questions and speaks, sometimes softly, sometimes loudly, “surrender.” There is nothing here but my love.

What are you (un)learning today?

With grace and gratitude,

Cristina Carlino is the founder of Archetypes, Inc. In addition to her Butterfly column she writes a series on the Alphabet of Archetypes. Stop back often to discover aspects of yourself you didn’t know existed.

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