RSS Feed


This poem is my favourite by Mary Oliver. It took on more significance in the last week, as I defended my dissertation and completed my PhD requirements.

Every day I see or hear something that more or less

kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle

in the haystack of light. It was what I was born for – to look, to listen,

to lose myself inside this soft world – to instruct myself over and over

in joy, and acclamation. Nor am I talking about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful, the very extravagant – but of the ordinary, the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations. Oh, good scholar, I say to myself, how can you help

but grow wise with such teachings as these – the untrimmable light

of the world, the ocean’s shine, the prayers that are made out of grass?

I find the idea that the daily life I live, which I often take-for-granted, is essential to my growing wise. The dissertation and research took on that form, as I gathered the lived-experiences of several teachers, including myself and explored how we are becoming teachers.

It is in the daily lives we live, our autobiographies, that we find the richest date, even though it sometimes slips through our fingers in the midst of the busyness we experience. Our stories call us to stop, be mindful of them, and seek meaning in the thoughtful questions we ask.

I find wise teachings in the untrimmable light of the world.


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.

35 responses »

  1. Pingback: Mindful | By the Mighty Mumford

  2. Beautiful. “Every day I see or hear something that more or less
    kills me with delight…” Yes…I know that feeling oh so well. Wonderful, thank you for sharing Mary Oliver’s marvelous poem, and congratulations on completing your PhD.

    Jubilant cheers,

    smiling toad

  3. She does take us to an edge of life, that we may not have noticed, and allows us to pause there. Leaving us wondering and in awe about what we might have been missing for a while.
    Love this post. congratulations on the dissertation Ivon 💛

  4. Congratulations, Ivon. Well done! 😉 xoM

  5. We need to pay more attention to those little every day happenings to see their meaning and perhaps give us a chance to spread a little kindness in an unexpected corner.

  6. Congrats and best to you moving forward, Ivon!

  7. Congratulations on PhD Ivon!

  8. Congratulations. I did about 110 pages for my MA in 1980.. “Amicable Dissension Massachusetts 1630 – 1660 American Puritans which divided them into Presbyterians or Congregationalists”.

  9. Congratulation, Ivon; you must be feeling quite chuffed.
    Wise counsel indeed, too, to be mindful of our lives. As you so rightly said; we can lose ourselves in the busyness! And, such richness to be had within the peace of our own understanding…

  10. Congratulations to you, Ivon, and thank you for sharing this beautiful wisdom.

  11. This is a wonderful poem. Great that it now has new meaning for you, congratulations on your PhD, Ivon!

  12. Congratulations, Dr. “ivonprefontaine”!

  13. Lovely poem, thanks. Congratulations on your PhD

  14. Now that I have a super computer and a separate music/video computer, I can multi-task again, which is what I was doing at your blog today. Two episodes of Supernatural and lots of fine reading, for which I thank you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: