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Tag Archives: teacher as transformer

You Are the Only Student You Have

Rumi wrote poetry that resonates over centuries. When we take time to be thankful and silent, we are one with the universe. We sense the right time to speak.

When we become our student, it is important to be silent and patient with the student. Without patience and compassion, the student does not learn. The teacher cannot teach and wisdom cannot be received.

When we receive ourselves as both teacher and student, questions open up not to be answered as inviting spaces. We move beyond change and transform who we are.

You are the only faithful student you have.
All the others leave eventually.

Have you been making yourself shallow
with making others eminent?

Just remember, when you’re in union,
you don’t have to fear
that you’ll be drained.

The command comes to speak,
and you feel the ocean
moving through you.
Then comes, Be silent,
as when the rain stops,
and the trees in the orchard
begin to draw moisture
up into themselves.

The Thread

Denise Levertov wrote this lovely poem that reminds me that there is something invisible that keeps us on track. I cannot see it, but I feel the thread and, when I listen quietly, I hear the call. The thread is part of who I am and is not some thing that catches me, but is some thing I become aware of over time.

I explore the world as I hold that invisible thread, hear it, and feel it. It is my pathway into the world that reminds me legacies are not created, but recalled by others.

I cannot plan this path. I walk it, sometimes alone and at other times fully in the company of others. Even when I am alone, am I? Are there those who I cannot see that walk with me with their hands gently placed on my shoulders guiding my journey.

Something is very gently,
invisibly, silently,
pulling at me—a thread
or net of threads
finer than cobweb and as
elastic. I haven’t tried
the strength of it. No barbed hook
pierced and tore me. Was it
not long ago this thread
began to draw me? Or
way back? Was I
born with its knot about my
neck, a bridle? Not fear
but a stirring
of wonder makes me
catch my breath when I feel
the tug of it when I thought
it had loosened itself and gone.

Harmony

My mother is from a family of farmers so digging in the brown earth is symbolic for me today. She had a garden and flower beds until she sold the house and moved into an apartment, but, even there, she kept house plants.

Last night, I chatted with cousins on Facebook. My mother is the last of her generation on both sides of my family. When she gathered with her siblings, there was always tea, chatting (it was never called gossip) and laughter in the house. I think the laughter created the harmony Colleen Lineberry speaks about in her poem.

Thomas Merton wrote that life is about finding our voice through our calling in life, our vocation. My mom raised seven children and babysat many others. Her calling was to be a parent.

Memories and laughter remind us how good the day is.

One morning when I dig
brown earth with bare fingers and
listen to the light wind
shuffle through oak and elm,
I hear the silver of chimes
dangle from a thin wire,
the cadence of children
laugh themselves dizzy
like swirls of bubbles at play.

A choir of robins
trills gossip and questions,
a thicket of poems in the understory.
Each voice
from each perch
sings
through a window of sky.

I remember
to remember
how good this day is:
to slow through creation
along with the breeze
as it gentles and
praises the trees.

Today’s Quote

Today’s Quote.

I love Rumi quotes and poetry. It remains timely even hundreds of years later.

You will have to visit the site to see which quote it is.

Prayer for a Field Mouse

Pat Riviere-Seel’s poem has a Mary Oliver feel where she honours a small animal that we might even notice in our daily walks. It is a blessing and prayer to have all that Nature offers us.

We soak in the world and find extraordinary in the ordinary.

Bless the gray mouse

that found her way
into the recycle bin.
Bless her tiny body,
no bigger than my thumb,
huddled and numb
against the hard side.
Bless her bright eye,
a frightened gleaming
that opened to me
and the nest she made
from shredded paper,
all I could offer.
Bless her last hours
alone under the lamp
with food and water near.
Bless this brief life
I might have ended
had she stayed hidden
inside the insulation.
Bless her body returned
to earth, no more
or less than any creature.

Wild Geese

Mary Oliver wrote this beautiful poem about sensing and perceiving Nature through direct experiences. Maurice Merleau Ponty wrote about the phenomenology of perception which is the about the way body and its senses act as gateways in perceiving the world. Our body is not an only a thing, it is an object that researches the world.

When we “the soft animal of your body” experience and sense Nature, we are in Nature. We have images for our imagination that fill our hearts and souls so fully. We belong in ways that we cannot as an observer standing outside. We are part of a community that includes all of Nature.

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

Happy Birthday, Albert! | Catherine M Johnson

Happy Birthday, Albert! | Catherine M Johnson.

I am a big Albert Einstein fan and it is his birthday today. I enjoy his eccentric behaviour and wild hair.

Several years ago, a student asked who the guy was in a poster in our classroom.

Without hesitating, I said, “My Dad!” A second student expressed skepticism, but I answered with “Look at him. He has wild hair, is eccentric, and tells great stories. Its my Dad!”.

A third student responded, “It’s Albert Einstein. His name is on the poster.”

For the rest of my teaching years, students, parents, and I were always careful when I began to say something about my Dad. I clarified whether it was my real dad or my figurative dad. The two had interesting quotes in common.

My real Dad would say, “When you stop beating your head against the wall it feels better.” I shared that with students when we talked about Einstein’s definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

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