My parents were my greatest teachers. My mom taught me love and simplicity, the inner joy she received from caring and loving others so deeply unconditionally. My father fascinated me because he was a very difficult man in many ways, but philosophical, a great story teller, funny, and instilled this sense that "nothing is impossible!" They passed when I was fairly young-in my thirties-and there's not a day that goes by that I don't think of them in some way. They were my number one teachers of heart (mostly mom) and mind (dad).
I remember other great teachers in formal education, including Madame Matta, my French teacher who would pinch my ear and say, "Nadia, you give me headache" (I gave her a bottle of Tylenol to help). There was also Mrs. French, an English teacher in high school. Some days during lunch, I would listen to her stories about her family, mostly her husband. There were so many college profs, graduate committee members who inspired, encouraged and supported my intellectual pursuits, especially Dr. Ibrahim, Dr. Fox, Dr. Knutsen-Martin.
AND, the informal teachers of my life that I have encountered in some way include relationships of all sorts (family, friends, clients, colleagues) historical and present-day people that I do not know personally but learn about from the books I get to read, the podcasters I get to listen to, the groups I engage in and the stories of others. Nature, herself, is another teacher.
Then, there is the most profound, intimate and steadfast teacher that is always with me. We sit with each other in silence each morning. She sometimes reveals to me what I need to see; she often comforts me; she brings me closer and in deeper connection to myself and others. When we're not sitting formally in our carved-out space, she shows up for me throughout the day in intuitions, flow experiences, moments of greater awareness and presence. How grateful I am for this teacher, too!