An Education of the Heart


I’ve been having dreams about college lately. In them I’m wandering down long hallways, finding new passageways and discovering hidden stairways. I love these dreams as they represent something playful and curious stirring in me.

My waking life lately is a lot like college. From time to time I have that bubbling feeling of excitement in my stomach, that passion and curiosity that I remember only from my college years.  However rather than studying academics I’ve been exploring the inner workings of my heart.   It brings on a lot more challenges than just getting a term paper finished on time but I’m finding the benefits of knowing myself are infinitely rewarding.

The best part about this “college experience” is the people who’ve come into my life. I look around and see my world is full of teachers–not the academic type…in fact, quite the contrary.  Their lessons aren’t derived from books, but from listening to their hearts, living life, and making mistakes.

So, in honor of my current teachers I’m doing something a little different.

Below you’ll see my “life course book” –you know, like those college course books that students get before the new semester, only my classes are hand picked and taught by some of the most special people my world…

Becky’s College of the Heart

2014-15 School Year

Course #1 The Power is Yours                                                                                       

Teacher: Daniela

My friend Daniela is sunshine. She is bright and open and has taught me to believe in myself, with a spark of optimism that doesn’t fail. Keep going. Don’t give up. Be the awesome person that you are. At one point in my life I would have been skeptical of Daniela’s optimism, doubted all that shiny positivity, but now I get it. She sees the good in people and fosters it, with honesty and love. She’s my cheer leader, shouting from the sidelines: “You’ve got this, girl!”

Course #2 Happiness is a Choice                                                                                            

Teacher: Tim€

Tim and I are fellow authors and I consider him one of my closest friends. Tim and I have an odd sort of mentor/mentee relationship. I resist pretty much every lesson he teaches me, however 99% of time I cave a few days later and I accept that he’s right and willingly take his lessons to heart. Our friendship is a more than a little antagonistic, but that keeps it interesting.

I remember when I first met Tim he was always humming to himself some song that nobody knew but him and I thought “This guy must be repressing some awful stuff. No one can possibly be that happy all the time.” Now that I know him better I see that most of the time he actually is just that—happy. He takes life as it comes and most importantly sees the world without that fear/worry lens that has followed me most my life. He’s optimistic, even when things are hard.

Among the many things Tim has taught me, I think most importantly I’ve learned that happiness is a choice. We have control over who we are, 100% of the time. This contradicts everything I was taught growing up, but somehow it has clicked lately. Tim’s blissful balance is rubbing off in every way.

Course #3 The Mind meets the Heart

Teacher: Lenny

Lenny is a big Italian business man (definitely not a mobster, but you might mistake him for one). I met him, oddly enough, while lifting weights at the gym. What I love about Lenny is that he does business with his heart as much as his head. He feels out his strategies, not letting heart or heart take too much of the call. Although all our conversations have been between huffs and puffs on the equipment, I have gained a great deal of practical wisdom from his insight on business and life. For me Lenny has modeled focus, drive, and a willingness to take calculated risks.

Course #4 The Inner Workings of the Heart

Teacher: Victoria

I have known Vicki for about a year. She is the heart component of my education. She is in her late 50s and by trade a sex therapist. In Victoria’s world love is like a flame that must be tended to and stoked, while at other times it must be disciplined and tamed. Vicki has taught me that this fire is who I am and that I needn’t apologize for my flame’s intensity. It simply is. In fact that fire in our belly, that passion is what makes me and this life we lead so wonderful.

Course #5 Speak and Your Subconscious Will Listen    

Teacher: Sue

Sue is a magnificent eighty five year old woman hypnotist. She’s teaching me about the dark caverns of my mind, where life whispers in secret symbols and shares ultimate truths. In this realm of the subconscious there is no reason, just purity and faith. Speak to the subconscious, tell it your desires and it will listen. And so for the past month, that’s just what I’ve done. Under her guidance, I have been breathing deep, closing my eyes and delving into the dark world, where I whisper my secret dreams, taking charge of my life, fearlessly.

I am stunned as I reread this list. It amazes me that there are so many incredible people in my life who are willing to take me under their wing and share life’s awesome secrets.   And this is only the tip of the iceberg! My husband, my kids, all my friends, my parents—they are teaching me too, every moment I am with them.

How about you?

Tell me about a teacher in your life.

What “courses” have you taken with them?





  1. My greatest teacher has always been my father. Ironically, he died May 16, 2001 after a year-long fight with cancer. He was everything that a man should be, and the way he conducted his life was his lesson to me. He was honest, honorable, and was a wonderful example of The Greatest Generation. Those men loved their country, honored their wives, doted on their children, worked hard, paid taxes, avoided credit, saved for the future, and lived the American Dream. My father came from an Appalachian background. Rural poverty is oppressive, and his ancestors came to Indiana to find a better life. Dad was a self-made man with the brilliant mind of an engineer. He built his own business and succeeded, with no help from anyone. He was tall and movie-star handsome. Men wanted to be like him. Women enjoyed looking at him. He was what I call ‘effortlessly cool.’ He gave his children everything they needed to succeed in life. He filled our home with books and music, and our choices were never censored. He was the person whom I aspired to be like. Everything I do in life, I do with him in mind. Because of him, I have always gravitated to good men, and most of my friends are cool, hardworking, self-sufficient men like Dad. I refuse to associate with people who do not share his determination, honesty, and enjoyment of life. His life is a roadmap that I follow. He was spiritual, but he was not suffocated by the dogma of religion. Nature was his church. He felt close to God when he was walking in his forested piece of land or planting the fields on our farm. He loved animals. He treasured the earth. And, most important of all, he loved me unconditionally. Although he is gone, I still feel him around me at times. And that’s all I need for the rest of my life.

  2. Just as important are the teachers in my life you teach me who I don’t want be. To me, everyone and everything teaches. Every situation is an opportunity to learn something. I could miss the learning but then it will come up again and again until I learn it. How wonderful for you, Becky to have so many wonderful teachers in your life. I do as well and I am grateful for them.

    I am also thinking about the quote I heard recently. “When someone shows you who s(he) is, BELIEVE her/him!” 😀

  3. I would have to say my parents are incredible teachers. They are the most brilliant people I know, but they have so many interests, it’s hard not to get excited about the things they do and get involved.

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