It was Alice Walker‘s birthday yesterday and the post linked includes a poem by her entitled We Alone.
It reminded me that we alone have the ability to make the world a better place as we work together in collectives called we alone.
I chose a metaphor about 21st Century learning being similar to a living topography in my writing to date, which is different from the flat world view of some i.e. Thomas Friedman.
There is definitely more information available in our world and it comes at us much faster, but my view is one that of textured and layered world and not flat. This uses the etymological roots of topic linked to topikas and topos. In this sense, we engage topics which are alive and there multiple meanings continually emerge, one for each person in the learning environment.
I am challenged by the thought my understanding is not the only one that applies. I only need to turn to nature and see what John Brehm pointed out in this poem. I constantly survey landscapes as communally a better world hopefully emerges, not through a unified understanding, but one diversely rich and humane. I am called to remember others see things from a particular and unique perspective that is their own, not mine.
And what about this boulder,
knocked off the mountain top and
tumbled down a thousand years ago
to lodge against the stream bank,
does it waste itself with worry
about how things are going
to turn out? Does the current
slicing around it stop itself mid-
stream because it can’t get past
all it’s left behind back at
the source or up in the clouds
where its waters first fell
to earth? And these trees,
would they double over and
clutch themselves or lash out
furiously if they were to discover
what the other trees really
thought of them? Would the wind
reascend into the sky forever,
like an in-drawn breath,
if it knew it was fated simply
to sweep the earth of windlessness,
to touch everything and keep
I head into my Sabbath – I disconnect to reconnect. Last weekend we spent time in silence and in that space solitude appeared. I enjoyed a good week in a place I often struggle to find peace of mind. Besides the retreat, it was made easier as I participate in a wonderful group on a monthly conference call and we met this week. I also interviewed for a radio show about mindful servant-leadership. This was an incredible experience and will share a schedule, when it is available, for those who are interested in listening to it.
I can only say the peace I felt this week was a result of the silence and solitude at the retreat. This and sharing that experience with Kathy was a great time.
Spacious silence and solitude…
Within you I sought refuge
Peaceful and compassionate place.
There lovingkindness discovered me
The heart breaks open
Each moment its reward.
Silently the spirit reveals itself
Able to speak
Softly, gently, tenderly,
Begs for its quiet voice to be heard.
Solace finds me
An unmarked path emerges
One step at a time.
At week’s end
Gratitude for wisdom revealed
For week’s beginning.
Thomas Merton is one of my favourite authors and spiritual thinkers. He offered a radical definition of violence. This sounds like the opposite of multi-tasking, single-tasking. I hope I can do better as I move forward and take time to listen to the inner teacher and its wisdom.
Parker Palmer shared this with those of us who follow him on Facebook.
Nothing worth its salt comes easy. I enjoy Wendell Berry and his reminders that the world is a better place if we live in it fully in the moment and mindful of this very moment and place.
If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow-growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it,
if we make our seasons welcome here,
asking not too much of earth or heaven,
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
here, their houses strongly placed
upon the valley sides, fields and gardens
rich in the windows. The river will run
clear, as we will never know it,
and over it, birdsong like a canopy.
On the levels of the hills will be
green meadows, stock bells in noon shade.
On the steeps where greed and ignorance
the old forest, an old forest will stand,
its rich leaf-fall drifting its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have
Families will be singing in their fields.
In the voices they will hear a music
risen out of the ground. They will take
nothing from the ground they will not
whatever the grief at parting. Memory,
native to this valley, will spread over it
like a grove, and memory will grow
into a legend, legend into song, song
into sacrament. The abundance of this
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling
light. This is no paradisal dream.
Its hardship is its possibilities.
When we discussed this poem, students understood that success is not always an easy journey. Some important aspects are the hard work and disappointments along the way. The word and phrase that caught their attention was “This is no paradisal dream. Its hardship is its possibilities.
Leadership Is a Conversation – Harvard Business Review. Here is an excellent article form Harvard Business Review. Leading is about a conversation. Leaders need to recognize the importance of listening mindfully and attentively otherwise their role is one of management.
Are educators ready for this? Conversations are much harder work than using glib commentary.