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Unpretentious Intimacy

I wrote this while sitting, feeling tired, waiting for a connector flight home in Vancouver International Airport. Despite being tired, I was grateful and able to reflect.

At the time, I was experiencing dis-ease. What got me through was people who reached out to me, sensing my unhappiness.

At the retreat I attended, forming relationships with people I had not met before was essential. In the midst of this, I was able to be vulnerable and drop a shield of invincibility. In the space provided. we were able express a sense of caring for each other and bring one another into the fold.

This type of experience raises questions, often without easy answers. What makes each of us who we are? It is scary, but rewarding. It is in the slow cooking of a crock pot in which intimacy can be born. In the slow brewing, we explore identity and masks of personae we wear, gazing into relational mirrors. But, it often sneaks up on us without us being aware the mirror is there.

In wondrous spaces–

Dropping one’s guard,

Sharing secrets;

Hoping to fulfill hopes.

Informing new forms–

Shedding carnival mirror images,

Revealing being vulnerable;

Experiencing a new love.

Allowing intimacy to bloom–

Glimpsing who I am,

As if for the first time–

Revealing one’s self in an other’s presence.

I listen to the blues a lot. The blues have a quality of life about them that reminds me there is more than me in the world. Willie Dixon said “the blues is the roots and other musics is the fruits.” This resonates with me.

Shemikia Copeland is a superb singer/songwriter who reminds me of the plight of others and how much hope they have in the face of systemic injustices. This song is from her most recent album.


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.

14 responses »

  1. Retreats open up our souls for connection to ourselves and others. It’s been over a year since I went on one in person. I miss the contact and connection. 💛 thank you for sharing Ivon.

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed your poem/expression of your feelings, Ivon.
    Deep sharing is essential for me. Thankfully, I have an adult daughter with whom I share on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. This interaction keeps us both ‘clear’; mental clarity is so important. It truly is the elixir that keeps giving.

  3. Sharing my inner self is a very difficult thing for me. I’m much a lone wolf and tend to keep my feelings to myself. Have never gone to a retreat so maybe that should be on my Bucket List.

  4. Retreats whether individual for going deep within one’s self alone or with a small group sharing openly and honestly have enormous benefits for learning, growth and change. I’m sure you know Brene Brown’s work re vulnerability. Of course there’s much more to be gleaned from exercises of a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual nature. How or whether we evolve as human beings is worth further exploration and discovery.

  5. Intimacy and self-reflection, your poem penetrates into questions I have about what’s possible when meeting with others, and while at retreat. It’s been a while for joining in person, but I have appreciated being able to have meeting spaces online. It is better than nothing and we are, after all, sharing our humanity in the most unique ways right now.

  6. “As if for the first time.” Yes. I recall a time or two where I had this totally vulnerable experience. I think I’m pretty forthcoming. But then I discover another layer under a mask I wasn’t aware I was wearing. Well done, Ivon.

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


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