RSS Feed

Turbulent Calmness

On June 29, I posted a similar poem and theme. I am not sure what led me to post two that shared the same title. It is likely, early in the school year, it feels chaotic. Early in a school year, there are moments of repreive in this feeling and, as the year gains momentum, they become more common. As one co-participant in my dissertation put it: “I learn to stand in the middle of the storm.”

The other inflluence was I took several courses in my PhD about leading in complex and chaotic times. Servant-leadership, mindful leadership, and transformational leadership are forms of leadership particularly effective in times. We focus on questions about what needs to be changed, how do we engage each person in change, and how does each person become a leader in their own right? These forms share common features: grounded in the present, ethically guided, there is foresight without being set in certainty, etc. Mixed in this was courses on the Tao of Leadership, Systems Leadership, Leadership and Justice, Dialogic Leadership, etc. When I re-entered the classroom each September, what I learned in my PhD founds its way in with me. How could I better serve each student? How could we transform and share our experiences into something nourishing each other’s lives? How could I make a difference for each student? How could they grow and become better leaders than me?

I took the pictures at Lundreck Falls as a reminder of how quickly nature can bring a sense of calm back even in the midst of what is initially chaotic. Within a short distance from the falls, the water pools and calms, at least on the surface. What goes on underneath the surface can remain chaotic and complex much like life, needing non-judgemental, humility, foresight, patience, and wisdom to navigate the unforseeable and unpredictable.


Needless to say, I wrote a poem about the challenges of remaining calm in the midst of the storm sometimes raging around me.

Growing awareness–

Standing still,

Humbling one’s self,

To gain foresight–


Emerging clarity,


Entering life’s stream–

Even calm waters,

Hiding shoals, rocks, currents,

In turbulence–

Dropping labels,

Ceasing unwarranted judgment,

Falling awake.

About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and taught for 15 years in a wonderful hybrid school. My dissertation topic and research were how certain teachers experience becoming who teachers. In teaching and leanring, I am a boundary-crosser who understands moving ahead is a leap of faith. Teaching is a calling and vocation to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what calls me next. I am an educator, phenomenologist, scholar, boundary-crosser, published poet, author, parent, grandparent, and spouse.

11 responses »

  1. Thank you I found that beautiful and refreshing.

    Smile It is a great day


    On Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 6:27 AM Teacher as Transformer wrote:

    > ivonprefontaine posted: “On June 29, I posted a similar poem and theme. I > am not sure what led me to post two that shared the same title. It is > likely, early in the school year, it feels chaotic. Early in a school year, > there are moments of repreive in this feeling and, as the ye” >

  2. Thanks for that beautiful waterfall picture to demonstrate the presence of calm after the storm. We need to keep that in our mind during these turbulent times.

    • Somewhere in my picture archives I have pictures of a twin falls in Quebec. They drop a significant distance and are within a 1000 metres of the St. Lawrence. Within 50-100 metres of the base of the falls, fly fishermen cast, standing in the pool. Nature is amazing and full of lessons.

  3. Beautiful photo and inspiring message, thank you 🙏🏻

  4. Hello Ivan,
    Thanks for taking all those classes on how to remain calm within the turbulence. I imagine all those points of learning are coming in very handy now in Life’s Classroom. It may get more turbulent before things calm down. Thank you for the reminder about “learning to stand in the middle of the storm.” That is the wisdom that will carry us through these times. Blessings, Alia

    • Thank you Alia.

      They do. When we enter something new e.g. a new year, a new job, a new relationships, etc., there is a always a feeling of things being a little off kilter. Understanding the roots of it helps a lot.

  5. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:


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 )

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter 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: