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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.


About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

16 responses »

  1. I love your posts; very profound and inspiring.

  2. Beautiful, as always♥
    Love Mark Nepo’s words of hope and heart, too. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your light and do take care.

  3. It’s an excellent piece Ivon and well deconstructed.

  4. The strong live in the storm
    without worshiping the storm.

    This is the essence of the spiritual journey, is it not. To be immersed in the drama of daily life without grasping,,without worrying whilst in the midst of struggle.

    The strong endure the harshness, then the gentle, vivid side appears.

  5. So well said.

  6. Life is commonly known as the relative. We cannot know god if we don’t know evil. We cannot know light if there is no darkness. The same thing can be looked as the bless for one but curse for another. It is like the storm like your post mentioned.

    However, life is something more than relative. We can be at the centre of the storm to watch good and bad, love and fear etc. The enlightenment comes when we can watch them.

    Keep posting your great thoughts

    Jade the Mystic

  7. In a spiritual sense, this is a necessary reminder to stop and absorb the great gifts around us all. But in a practical sense, this is so desperately lacking in American schools these days. Field trips are few and far between, because there isn’t enough time for them in the race to cover all of the standards. But this is what children need. They need experience. They need to get dirty. They need to see, touch, taste, and hear the world if they are ever to have an understanding of it…if they are ever to make it better.

    • It is lacking in Canadian schools. When I visited your site, I landed on the post about the 10 things your dad suggested for teachers. Getting on the floor with students at any age is important. We get to their level and become learners at their levels.


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