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If you want to write or paint,then do it !

If you want to write or paint,then do it !.

As I get ready for a Sabbath break this week, I am also shifting my focus a bit. I found this post the other day and was not sure what it meant at the time. Today, it is suggesting more focus on dissertation writing and less on blogging.

I will visit blogs and post less in the next month . I want to deliver a clean, preliminary writing of the first three chapters by January 20. I am re-organizing more than writing fresh.

Thoreau‘s quote speaks to me. The world is a canvas and I am exploring them both. My topic is the phenomenology of teaching and how becoming a particular teacher is a continuing process. Phenomenology is wondering about phenomena we encounter, including ourselves and other humans, and how we experience encounters.

Parker Palmer suggests truth, from the word troth, reveals itself through living in the world, relating to its sentient and non-sentient beings.

Gnarly

Gnarly.

When I was still teaching, students would throw around their favourite slang, usually in proper ways. Gnarly was a favourite word of one of the young men I taught for five years.

A young woman used beast. The first time I heard her say that I was unsure what she meant, but it described her play as the Michael Jordan of her basketball league.

Mike photographed a tree and entitled the post Gnarly. It is cool which is what the young man meant when he used gnarly. It is cool there is wisdom in that tree as it does its work. It is also cool to find wisdom in the everyday world of words.

Old Habits

Old Habits.

The picture at Kenne’s post drew me in with questions about old habits. What are the person’s old habits? Is he someone’s old habit?

We wear habits in a way. There is a corporal nature to them including ways we conduct ourselves, think about ourselves and the world. This corporeal nature, habitus, is connected to the word habitat. We inhabit habits and they inhabit us.

When we look in the mirror and see ourselves, perhaps we see the habits in a taken-for-granted way. They just are part of us. Or, do we have someone who is our mirror? Someone who helps us see who we are in clearer way with their honesty and candor?

In Buddhism, others can serve as mirrors. Sometimes, it is in their silence we find ourselves become clearer. Certainly, there is still a graininess to the image and a smokey filter but mirrors help dissipate the graininess and smokiness. The external ordering becomes a patient, compassionate internal ordering.

The Warmth of Gratitude

The Warmth of Gratitude.

When we measure happiness based on material wealth, we miss the importance it plays in living a grateful life.

Today, Kathy and I discussed how the ordinary is in the extraordinary. It is there. When we pause, it reveals itself. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote about being present and mindful when drinking tea is an act of gratitude. We are grateful for the work that created the tea, the cup, the pot, the energy, etc.

Emmanuel Levinas proposed ethics as an event preceding and succeeding this particular time and place. In this sense, space knows no  temporal and spatial boundaries. I am grateful for what preceded this moment in drinking tea, what succeeds this moment, and the gift sent from many places by others who are taking responsibility for my tea drinking without knowing me.

Kiss the Earth

Kiss the Earth.

I will let you read the lovely poem by Thich Nhat Hanh which is at the link.

When we step gently, it is like kissing the earth with our feet and thanking it for supporting it.

When we live in each moment in peace, the peace radiates out from us.

When we touch each other with kindness, the world is a better space.

Behind the Thunder

Mark Nepo is well-known for spiritual prose, but he writes very good poetry.

In this wonderful poem, he reminds me I am looking in the wrong place for the teacher. The teaching is in what is in the environment at a given time and in a given context. Am I willing and able to open up to what is taught? Do I sit in silence and listen to the world as it speaks in me?

I must not be swept away by the environment and my emotions. When I am mindful and present, I am aware of both gifts and dangers. I watch for what is behind the thunder internally and externally.

I keep looking for one more teacher,
only to find that fish learn from water
and birds learn from sky.

If you want to learn about the sea,
it helps to be at sea.
If you want to learn about compassion,
it helps to be in love.
If you want to learn about healing,
it helps to know of suffering.

The strong live in the storm
without worshiping the storm.

Simplicity, Patience, Compassion

Simplicity, Patience, Compassion.

The link is to a short poem written by Lao Tzu. The world is a complex place, but nature operates in simple ways. Because of this, the phenomena we experience and how we experience their essence is not easily revealed.

Being mindful requires patience. It takes time to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. It is there and it speaks to us when we stop and listen with our heart. When we are patient, we can show our gratitude for those things that slip by unnoticed in life’s busyness.

Being patient, begins with showing compassion for ourselves. Without this compassion, we can hardly expect to care for the world, sentient and non-sentient, we continuously encounter. Being patient and compassionate, allows us to be grateful for what we experience, our living.

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