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From the Book of the Samurai

When one writes, mindfulness and attention to the choice of words. Tsunetomo Yamomoto offered the following advice in the Book of the Samurai. He quoted the Zen priest Ryōzan, concluding the result of a well-written letter, even a short one, would lead to the recipient making “it into a hanging scroll.”

Mindfulness and attention are used in all facets of one’s life. Living mindfully is celebrating one’s life fully, living each moment to the fullest.

“Practice in letter writing goes to the extent of taking care in even one-line letters. It is good if all the above contain a quiet strength. Moreover, according to what the priest Ryōzan heard when he was in the Kamigata area, when one is writing a letter, he should think that the recipient will make it into a hanging scroll.”

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.

8 responses »

  1. I possess such letters, either from my mother or from the mother of a childhood friend – the friend disengaged, the mother did not. Brilliant woman, longtime naturalist, spoke Swahili, French, played piano, danced ballet, spoke truth to power in a no-nonsense but measured way. I miss that woman more than I ever thought I would. http://articles.latimes.com/2003/nov/23/local/me-passings23.1 (Why your post reminds me of her may be a mystery, but it just did.)

    Reply
    • It might be that letter writing is lost art. I remember my grandmother (mémère in French) sitting at the table with her French/English dictionary writing to her English-speaking friends. My mother used to have us write letters thanking people for our Christmas gifts. I don’t know if we do that anymore.

      Reply
  2. I don’t pay enough attention to words when I write. I just get the info down. I need to take more care. Thank you.

    Reply
  3. One of my favorite books. Words to live by….

    Reply

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