Last week, the term “harvesting,” used as a metaphor, excited me. The word brought back childhood memories of torrents of soybeans gushing into wagons. After months of preparing soil, seeding, weeding, and hoping for favourable weather, the beans were finally ready to go to market.

I attended a workshop on mentoring because some people say they get good ideas to ponder from me. I hoped the time away would give me a framework to understand this informal mentoring role and a tool or two to perform it better.

I learned that a “conscious mentoring” relationship goes through several stages and ends as the mentor and mentee recognize that the time is right. In a model based on the work of Robert Aubrey, the final task is called “harvesting.” The pair assesses what each has learned from their shared experience.

While I have never directly invited someone to mentor me, my life history is full of folks who have taught me much. I have chosen a few, such as therapists and workshop leaders. Some have been close friends where the choice has been mutual. The rest found themselves in relationships with me as relatives, colleagues, and neighbours.

In this age of fast food, instant communication, and rapid transit, it’s easy to expect that gaining wisdom should be quick and painless. I have finally stopped anticipating that it will be or even thinking that it should be. That’s not how the universe works, I’ve finally conceded.

The workshop helped me to realize that I am in a “harvesting” phase of my life. I want to share my insights through my blog and stand-up routines for those who follow. People who study such things report this is a natural life stage for people in their seventies. If a seed I put out there helps someone else, I know I am doing the right thing.

A tool from the workshop is to ask open, honest questions to assist people to find what is right for them. Here are two:

What word or phrase in this piece jumps out for you?

What question in your life might that word or phrase be awakening?


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