Working with the Master Teacher

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I call Stephen C. Butler many things: Master Teacher, Monk & Metal, Butler, or the Monk.

Master Teacher seems most respectful. Monk & Metal brings the diversity of all that he is. Butler is just fun and light. The Monk feels grounded and philosophical.

I met Master Teacher about a year ago while working with his wife, Sarah, and began the student-teacher journey about six months ago. 

My life looks completely different now than it did then. A lot has changed, both internally and externally.

Working with the Master Teacher is much different than working with a coach or mentor—even though he is those things.

The buck stops here. There is no lying and denying. There is no playing games.

He calls you out on your bullshit and pushes you beyond your limits with great love and an energetic strength I’ve never felt before.

He invites you to take action because theorizing and philosophizing won’t get you very far—that’s called mental masturbation.

Sometimes the assigned action makes no sense until the lesson is over; think Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid movie.

Sometimes the assignment is simple, like repeating an action every single day, which is quite difficult at first while your mind, body, and ego struggle to find the meaning behind the lesson only to learn that there is no meaning other than to strengthen the muscle that’s the weak link in allowing yourself to move forward in life.

For example, the Master Teacher invited me to take a self-portrait every day for 90 days, and if I miss a day, I have to start over. I’m currently on round two. 

There’s a lot of internal drama around this one simple act. I fell out of love with photography a few years ago. I hate taking photos of myself. And I always look for the practicality in everything; what’s practical about taking a self-portrait? Turns out quite a bit.

Sometimes the lesson is painful and feels embarrassing in the moment, like when Master Teacher called me out on gripping too tightly to old patterns while trying to control things that are out of my control.

He had me clench my fists as hard as I could while holding my arms straight out in front of me, for I don’t remember how long; until both appendages were numb.

When he told me to release, I did just that while folding forward and letting out all of my breath. I finally let go.

And then he reminded me that I could have let go before it became so painful to keep holding on.

You can hear the words repeatedly, but it brings the lesson home very quickly and at a much deeper level when you do an exercise like that.

Master Teacher works in opposites. There’s no better way to throw yourself for a loop than to do everything in your life the opposite of how you’re currently doing it. Try it for a day, a week, or a month and see what happens.

You build new neural pathways, release habits that no longer serve, begin to think differently, learn you can do hard things (in case you forgot), and become more aware. 

Aware of your ego and how it shapes your decisions. Aware of just how much of your life is on autopilot. Aware of what’s missing. Aware of the excess.

Master Teacher works to dismantle every aspect of who you think you are, allowing you to BE all that you are, and this looks different for everyone.

There’s no hack or one-size-fits-all approach to growth. It’s a case-by-case, customized, non-linear journey that’s as unique as you are.

There is no plan of action. There is no schedule. The meetings, phone calls, and text messages are random. The lessons with Master Teacher are what you need at the moment to get to the next level.

He keeps you on your toes, on track, and in the game.

The only thing consistent with Master Teacher is his unconditional love for you and the work.

He pours his heart and soul into the journey, and you get out of it what you put into it.

MONK & METAL

He stands before you as a reflection.
A harsh reality of all that you’ve suppressed.
A harsh reality of the masks you wear.
A harsh reality of the lies you live in.
There is no compromise.
He doesn’t back down.
He sees you.
The real you.
The one beneath the suppression, masks, and denial.
He sees you.
He sees inside your body.
He sees your soul crying out for more.
He sees a captive spirit.
He invites you to release and surrender to all that is so you can be all that you are.
He journeys with you into the depths of darkness and stands with you as you enter into the light.
He reflects your deepest confrontation.
And he is your strength as you go where others are afraid to go.
It’s painful.
Magical.
Life altering.
It’s a spiritual collaboration.
He will call you out on your own bullshit.
He looks you in the eyes.
With unconditional love and conviction.
And asks you to rise up.
He tells you, lower your voice, you’re smarter than that, stand up tall.
And then….he gets to the core of it.
He calls you out on the one thing you’ve been lying, denying, justifying, and sacrificing.
The one thing you know you need to face but pretend you don’t know with an inner knowing.
He stands before you.
And you can’t not know it any longer.
There is no other choice.
It will bring you to your knees.
And with love in his heart he holds space as you move through the pain.
He will not back down.
He takes the punches.
He listens as you try to justify and clarify.
He is patient, but doesn’t wait.
He lovingly invites you to rise above.
To rise above the trauma, patterns, limiting beliefs, and victimhood.
Into your truth.
Through humility.
He is the chemical reaction to the alchemical invitation.

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—Tina LeAnn