19 October 2017

Another Testimony on Mentoring

My mentee, Wan Ting, in Authentic Movement in the Nature. 

Personally, a mentor is someone who journeys with us. Someone who has walked the path before, knows the ups and downs and is still open to know more. A mentor is one who is dedicated to their craft or their beliefs, and has the interest and ability to nurture those who come after them. A good mentor teaches through their actions, rather than solely through words. A good mentor models, by being invested and committed to their personal well-being; by being comfortable with their own discomfort; acknowledges their own mistakes when they are wrong, and continually learn from others, no matter who they are. A good mentor is a space holder, and is comfortable with holding space for mentees to explore, learn and make mistakes – to learn from their mistakes, without blaming or quick to make things better, or by glossing over things. A good mentor does not baby others, but empowers their mentees by encouraging them to own their decisions, to have courage when necessary, to pause when needed. A good mentor is a shapeshifter, who knows when to be a teacher, a friend, a cheerleader, and when to hold silence.

I first met Elizabeth through a friend, at a time when I was exploring the path of being a Dance Movement Therapist. I attended the workshops she conducted and through time we got to know each other better, and I was given the opportunity to hold group movement sessions with older adults in a day care centre. The initial stages were challenging, but I found myself growing and changing with time, under her guidance. She provided me with the guidance I needed to get started. She encouraged me to learn, to seek and to ask questions; to make mistakes and to learn from them. She patiently listened to all that I had to say. She reflected what I couldn’t see, voiced the words that I couldn’t say. She gently and patiently highlighted areas I repeatedly struggled with, and provided me with the space to learn them at my own time and space. She was comfortable giving me the space to explore what I needed to learn, to take on greater responsibilities for more learning whenever possible. She provided me with the opportunities to continually grow and continually inspire me in our work and as a human being.

Elizabeth is someone I deeply respect as a person, as a mentor. Her honesty in her personal struggles, and how she uses that to connect, to understand, and to inspire others around her. How she continually prioritizes her healing and self-growth. Elizabeth’s life circumstances, personality and choices, brought her to a certain path, a path of faith and spirituality. The deeper I journey on this path, the more important I feel it is to have someone, and to be someone who is connected to Self, to Others, and to God. Personally, it was very important for me, and for the people I look up to, to be comfortable with their shadow sides and to have worked through their shadow sides. That is when true healing starts. For one who is comfortable with their own shadows, are then able to hold others in their shadows as we do our personal healing work.

~ Quek Wan Ting, 27 years old, Master in Psychology 

11 October 2017

Testimony on Mentoring

I approached Elizabeth from Singapore, first as a student wishing to explore dance therapy as a long-term goal. I was all jittery when she first proposed to Skype me from Netherlands, but it went nice and smooth, thankfully, due to her open and warm demeanour. Eventually, we managed to concretise thoughts into actions — we pulled together a short-term volunteer project with my school dance club, for a handful of youths at a drop-in centre in Singapore. Throughout this journey, Elizabeth’s mentorship had been a valuable asset to the team. She had been extremely approachable and warm, always probing in non-intrusive ways to understand what we wanted to get out of the project, what were the possible risks involved, and how we could mitigate them. After realising that most volunteers had not had any formal training in facilitation, she crafted a person-centred facilitation workshop to help us engage the youths more meaningfully. The workshop had been an eye-opener as it taught us how to explore movements and intention in nonjudgemental ways. These preliminary facilitation skills had been especially useful in interacting with vulnerable individuals; it spurred me to pursue it more professionally in my further education.

When I approached her for further individual volunteering opportunities, she responded promptly and went the distance to help get me on-board in her training sessions. In those sessions, she was observed to be a constantly warm, energetic and creative figure, who would look out for participants and volunteers alike, all to maximise their learning within our limited interactions. She has the ability to attune to the needs and wishes of clients and volunteers, acknowledge subtle strengths and motivate actions in the parties she interacts with. 

Outside of facilitation and mentorship, she is a kind and bubbly individual, who actively shares relevant opportunities help develop individuals professionally. She remains attuned to others’ emotions and readily offers advice and support. If I were to name her superpower, it would be ‘to understand people, for who they really are’. 

Thank you Elizabeth!

~ Skylar Ong Si Qi is 23 years old and works as Child Protection Officer

* Visit my new website, Embodied Movement on the services I offer to individuals, group, staffs and students. New Blog too!

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