I found it interesting that as I searched for a poem I typed in the words The Real Work by Wendell Berry. As Google anticipated, another search emerged: The Real Work by Gary Snyder. This book of essays emerged from a series of interviews and talks Snyder conducted over several years.
Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder are writers, environmentalists and farmers who live in Kentucky and California respectively. Together, they wrote a book called Distant Neighbours and shared their views about the real work they undertook as writers, environmentalists, and farmers. How each of them understood and wrote about real work echoed the other.
Real work happens not when we find ourselves going through the work aimlessly and mindlessly. It emerges when obstacles arise and we are mindful and attentive in our work. It holds our interest through baffling us and our being unsure of what to do next. As we work thoughtfully and our mind is employed in meaningful acts, our work sings like an impeded stream and makes us whole. It is like we our speaking through our work and its meaning to us.
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
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.
Wendell Berry is great. Love this poem.
He is. I love all his writing. I am reading a novel called Hannah Coulter by him.
My mind must be well employed is all I can say!
When we are engaged and mindful, there is nothing else to say.
Didn’t know of this connection between Gary Snyder and Wendell Berry, nor that Snyder was also a farmer …. wonderful connections, and thanks Ivan, for this amazing contemplation.
You are welcome Bruce. Snyder ranches in the Sierra Madre in California or at least he did. He is getting on in age. I discovered the connection rooting around in a small independent book store in Spokane about 2 years ago.
Great thoughts. This real work began not 2 weeks ago when my husband’s back went out. For 10 days. As he is the one making the money these days, that was scary. And we were aware it was The Work. Adjustments were made; are still being made. These events always sharpen gratitude, as well. Aloha, Ivon.
I have had my back go out, so my sympathies are with you and your husband. While I was laid up, I slept on the bottom bunk of our sons’ bunk beds. Our middle son told Kathy that he felt sea sick as I turned slowly at times. Aloha Bela.
Glad you and husband Chris are feeling better! The mind can play some mean tricks when something like that happens 😉 Aloha.
Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
THE WORK IS REAL–THIS POST HAS GREAT APPEAL!
Thank you Jonathan for a lovely rhyme.
DITTO! THOSE THOUGHTS POSTED ARE GOOD, TOO!