Author Archives: ivonprefontaine
What do I fear? I think frequently what I fear is not the matter in front of me, but the idea that something I face and faces me is different and there is potential for change I cannot control.
We separate from the world in ways that allow us to think as spectators. As Renate suggested, once we remove the medium through which we view the world, in this case a spider, it moves closer to us.
Yet, we cannot escape danger. We face it each day, perhaps each moment in some ways unknown to us and that presents a danger itself. We lose sight of the world we live in.
The world gospel comes from the Greek and Latin meaning “a reward for bringing good news.” When we walk through life and notice what we experience we are rewarded. It requires a mindful and thoughtful approach noticing the old and the new sharing space with each other; dependent upon each other.
We are dependent on what is there. Thich Nhat Hanh suggested a garden’s weeds enable the growth of new plants. Farmers plow the previous year’s growth under avoiding erosion, adding nutrition to the soil, and helping keep moisture. We do not know whether the news is good until we pause and remember the context behind the news. What did that “bad” news really mean? When we listen more closely, we hear the music of the world singing a different refrain for us.
Philip Levine wrote this wonderful poem. I thought about what it means to receive news. Perhaps that letter in his pocket was not bad news, but, once he was over the pain, he found something new that he had not sensed before.
The new grass rising in the hills,
the cows loitering in the morning chill,
a dozen or more old browns hidden
in the shadows of the cottonwoods
beside the stream bed. I go higher
to where the road gives up and there’s
only a faint path strewn with lupine
between the mountain oaks. I don’t
ask myself what I’m looking for.
I didn’t come for answers
to a place like this, I came to walk
on the earth, still cold, still silent.
Still ungiving, I’ve said to myself,
although it greets me with last year’s
dead thistles and this year’s
hard spines, early blooming
wild onions, the curling remains
of spider’s cloth. What did I bring
to the dance? In my back pocket
a crushed letter from a woman
I’ve never met bearing bad news
I can do nothing about. So I wander
these woods half sightless while
a west wind picks up in the trees
clustered above. The pines make
a music like no other, rising and
falling like a distant surf at night
that calms the darkness before
first light. “Soughing” we call it, from
Old English, no less. How weightless
words are when nothing will do.
Bill provides a quote from Anne Lamott. I began to read her work recently and found it humorous and inspiring.
When we have principles and are grounded, there is no need to run around trying to impress. We stand as beacons casting a light all around us inviting the world into us and joining the world as full participants.
I had an Einstein poster in my classroom. My students referred to him as my dad, because I told a student, who did recognize him, he was my dad. When another student questioned me, I pointed out we had wild hair, facial foliage, and eccentric behaviors.
I enjoy Einstein, because his quotes reveal important insights. In this one, peace is something we offer and gain through mutual understanding.
I am using Jurgen Habermas, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Parker Palmer, etc. in my dissertation. I find important intersections in their work as they stress conversation, communication, and mutual understanding as integral to living peacefully in the world. It does not mean agreement, but suggests we can accept different ways of experiencing the world that allows for non-violent disagreement. We see what the Other holds true in their living as not very different from what we hold true.
When you go to the linked article, you will see it is dated. However, it is not dated in that it carries a timeless message that we are able to share each day.
Kathy and I were blessed with our first grandchild in April, 2014. He is beginning to walk and his reach in the world is growing.
Similar to Mimi, new questions arise as we enter into a relationship like grandparents. We become elders and see the world through a new lens. When I spend time with our grandson, I do not feel rushed like I did at times when I was a parent with young children. I enjoy his laughter, when he plays with the little boy in the mirror, and as he snuggles and falls asleep in my arms.
I wish for a better world for all our grandchildren and children. One where we see each other in our human being and human becoming.
I love Sufi poetry. It resonates over the centuries and carries a gentle and peaceful message reminding us of what it means to live in community.
Rumi provides us with sound advice. It is the gentle rain and voice that carries the fullest message. In the mystery and mysticism, we find our way along the path we live. We grow ever more mindful and attentive to each step taken and our senses come alive.