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Be the Peace in Your World — Life as a Garden

With so much aggression and turmoil in this world, try and practice peace everyday in your world.  If you can’t smooth that frown away and replace it with a smile, at least try and keep your anger down the best you can. Hard to do when you are not having a good day and feeling […]

Be the Peace in Your World — Life as a Garden

I came across this post about a week ago, accidnently closed it, and could not remember where it was located. Michelle shares a post that points to what we need most in this world: love and peace. The third paragraph resonates with me. Nature depends on diversity and cooperation to succeed. Without those, it falls into disarray.

Thich Nhat Hanh writes beautifully about finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. We cannot have the extraordinary without the ordinary. We have to look deeper and understand there will always be mystery in what we are exploring.

I used phenomenology, specifically hermeneneutic phenomenology, in writing my disseration and it premised on mystery, making meaning, and a sense of wonder and awe as we explore particular phenomena. In many ways, each person is a phenomenologist as humans, by their nature, are meaning-making beings.

As a teacher, I used an activity called A Culture of Peace. In keeping with the Pema Chodron quote Michelle shared, I asked students for words and phrases to describe a culture of war and recorded answers on the board. It did not take long to exhaust the descriptions, usually no more than 10 minutes. I then asked them to desribe a culture of peace. The first time I used the activity, and it became a staple, I was left withy a sense of wonder how these junior high school students kept me moving for almost an hour filling up all the whiteboards. Even students who rarely shared, were excited. As we were borrowing someone’s classroom, we had to arbitrarily end the conversation and, as we walked back to our space, two young men commented they could have done that all day. The sense of wonder, joy, and fulfilment was palbable and extraordinary.

Several years ago, I used the same activity with an undergrad class of future teachers. It was surprised how unengaged and disinterested they were as a group. Perhaps, we become jaded in ways that are difficult to overcome, focused on end results and schedules rather than the joy of learning and sharing.

Below, is a picture of Mount Robson. We stop there on our trips to British Columbia and walk a bit. I am always left with a sense of wonder and, as we walk alongside the Robson River, I feel a sense of peace and gratitude for just being there.

I leave you with a quote from Gustavo Gutiérrez, a liberation theologist I am currently reading: “A gratuitous encounter is mysterious and draws us into itself.” Father Gutiérrez uses the word gratuitous to describe something we encounter, which is free and exists for it own sake for us to enjoy e.g., lilies of the field, a mountain, a loved one, etc. When I encounter the person, phenomena, event, etc. I am grateful for its existence.


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.

32 responses »

  1. yes, understand the children who are alarmed at what has happened to their environment, amen

  2. Was a bit disappointed that while the children still had the desire for discussing peace and happiness, it was no longer something the teachers enjoyed. That’s just sad! So happy I am able to feel that peace out in nature, especially near the water.

    • I was too. I think some might reach an age where they no longer feel they can do anything to change the world. Perhaps, we need to look at it from a different perspective and think about making our little corner of the world better. It might seem more achievable. I think children see the world more like that. It is limited to the immediacy of their surroundings.

  3. Beautiful flowers and a wonderful message!

  4. Thanks for sharing your ideas.
    All the best
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing my post, Ivon. As we grow we get jaded. Children are full of energy, wonder, and excitement for the future. That’s what I love most about them.

  6. Your posts are always delightful and soothing, I enjoy them so much. I’d also like to thank you for reading our Crustacean Compassion post, please do add yourself to the selfie wall if you haven’t already, and sign their petition. Thank you. 🙂

  7. Ivon, have you heard of Robert Romanyshyn, the phenomonologist? His book Technology as Symptom and Dream is one of those that jumped off the library shelves for me, years ago. I interviewed him twice, if you’re interested. The book is fabulous, as is he. Cheers!

    If you scroll down to the bottom and come about 1/3 up, he’s right there:

  8. Our World it’s full of wonders, and daily miracles, as Father Gutierrez mention, it is up to us to be able to see them, rather than walk through life with blinders, for that eyes, and heart need to be connected, and that can be a miracle on itself!

  9. I love nature and the outdoors, but lately it has been ‘jabbing’ me.
    There is a yucca thorn in my finger that is currently causing problems.
    And a cactus got me a few months ago.
    I need to put some softer plants in my backyard!!

  10. Nice blog..
    Do visit to my blog and follow it if you like..


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