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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Change

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. ― Rumi

Source: Change

I enjoy Rumi. He wrote poetry that yielded lasting messages.

We live in a world where people want to change the world, rather than themselves. However, the world changes when we change ourselves. I transform and move beyond who I was, even the second before. As I change, my view of the world shifts and the world appears new to me.

It reminds me of Marcel Proust‘s quote: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Leaders who believe they can change the world for others are mere managers. Leaders change the world for themselves and invite others to join them in sharing their view of the world. There are not two identical views.

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Looking for the Differences

Tom Hennen wrote about the differences that can fill our senses each day. Sometimes, humans do not notice what is different as differences can hide in nooks and crannies of our daily lives. When we do sense the differences, they can excite our senses and call us to take care around them. In their daily existences, these things are “royalty in their own country.”

The words thing and objects used in the poem can be replaced by persons and subjects. How many people do we miss and avoid, because they look, speak, and act differently? There is a strangeness in the royalty of the other that calls upon us to question not them, but our self.

Hans-Georg Gadamer suggested that when some one or something different shows itself humans pull up short. Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel Levinas wrote that when the stranger appears at the door the host is faced with a paradox of unconditional responsiblity and risk. When we greet the stranger and what is different, we do so with uncertainty. The words host, hospitality, and hostile share etymological roots. We cannot know in advance who and what strangers represent when we greet them, but in Abrahamic tradition (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), the host is responsible for the care and well-being of that stranger.

Perhaps in being attentive and mindful to the world we exist in, we can better serve the stranger and what is strange when they appear.

I am struck by the otherness of things rather than their sameness.

The way a tiny pile of snow perches in the crook of a branch in the

tall pine, away by itself, high enough not to be noticed by people,

out of reach of stray dogs. It leans against the scaly pine bark, busy

at some existence that does not need me.

It is the differences of objects that I love, that lift me toward the rest

of the universe, that amaze me. That each thing on earth has its own

soul, its own life, that each tree, each clod is filled with the mud of

its own star. I watch where I step and see that the fallen leaf, old

broken grass, an icy stone are placed in exactly the right spot on the

earth, carefully, royalty in their own country.

Sonnet XIV from The Sonnets To Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke

Reblogged on WordPress.com

Source: Sonnet XIV from The Sonnets To Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke

The last two stanzas challenge us to think about whether our roles are submissive and passive affairs or ones where we have some mastery and active choice. My mother used to tell us that we had free choice and had to accept responsibility for the consequences of those choices. She told us we are not empty vessels created by God, whatever that belief is, but responsible people with free choice.

The liberty of others and their choices constrains our personal liberty. Without differences, life would be a boring space without room for creativity and growth, a moving to the surface that is fraught with potential challenges.

Similar to the plants in Rilke‘s poem, we face obstacles and constraints. We exist and flourish within those constraints when we find the proper paths to live lives fully. It is no easy task, but one that can bring great fulfillment. When care for and tend to those paths, our lives become filled with vigour, often flourishing because of the lessons learned from finding those paths.

The Frog

The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives. source: Teton Sioux Proverb image: Eddie Two Hawks, Image Collection, The Frog

The local is important in how we live life and experience our environments. Sometimes, we look at the world and it seems larger than the world we experience, as it most immediately. We can never fully know the world, but we can know most the world we live in most immediately. It is imperative to not spoil that world. When each community fulfills its ethical and practical role, this overlaps others’ roles, feeding the whole.

Source: The Frog

The Lessons of Water

David Wagoner wrote this wonderful poem that encourages us to watch nature and learn from it. Regardless of one’s faith, we receive gifts that act as teachers for our living.

When we watch water, we can see and hear its story and that can guide our behaviours. Nature is not separate from us, but a part of us that was shared with us so we might care for it and pass it on to the next generations.

The best way to conduct oneself may be observed in the behavior of water. —Tao te ching

When given a place to wait, it fills that place
By taking the shape of what contains it,
Its upper surface poised and level,
Absorbing, accepting what it can as lightly
Or heavily as it does itself. If pressed
Down, it will offer back in all directions
Everything it was given. If chilled, it will shatter
Daylight and whiten to stars, will harden and sharpen
And turn unforseeably dazzling. Neglected,
It will disappear, being transformed and lifted
Into thin air. Or thrown away, it will gather
With other water, which is all one water,
And rise and fall, regather and go on rising
And falling the more quickly its path descends
And the more slowly as it wears that path away,
To be left awhile, to stir for the moon, to wait
For the wind to begin again.

Compassionate Vulnerability

I enjoy David Whyte’s poetry and have attended workshops involving it. Living vulnerably is the only way to live. Living does not come with risk-free instructions. It can only happen with love that emerges as we each live our life fully.

Wildflower Women

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What does it mean to be more compassionate through our intimacy with disappearance? To me it means that we become braver as we surf the ever-flowing tide of loss and renewal in our lives. We are able to choose whether we will shut our heart off to love and compassion, opting instead to live a fear-based life. Or we can choose to live with openhearted vulnerability. Being vulnerable can be frightening! We inherently know that when we make ourselves vulnerable we also open ourselves up to hurt, loss, and sorrow.  When we choose vulnerability we are in a way honoring our soul by allowing for growth to be a bigger, more courageous, and compassionate human being. Without knowing the darkness we can never fully live in our light.

It happens to all of us when we step off into this thing called living. Some people choose to shut down when…

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School Prayer

The second stanza of this poem is a great message for the world today. When we hate, we take something out of the world. The world is a place in need of love, humility. wonder, and peace.

Diane Ackerman writes a wonderful poem that offers insight into the world and with. John Dewey suggested the world is not separated into objective or subjective worlds, but is a continuous forming and conversing between the two we each engage in moment-to-moment.

What would happen if this prayer and poem began each day for us and our children?

In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,

I swear I will not dishonor
and my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.

In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,

I will honor all life
—wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell—on Earth my home,

and in the mansions of the stars.

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