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Category Archives: Synchronicity

goldenquotesrb 

Source: goldenquotesrb 

I began following this blog recently and it has many great quotes.

Einstein is one of my favourite sources for quotes. When I taught, I had a poster in the classroom with this quote: “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

One day, a student asked who the person in the poster was. I replied that it was my dad. Another student said that could not be true. I answered that we both had wild hair and were eccentric. A third student pointed out Einstein’s name on the poster, but from that time on, students always asked which dad I talked about when I said something about my dad. It was a great way to teach about literal and figurative ideas.

Being present includes responding reflexively in appropriate ways. Listening to others mindfully, I can respond properly. When I began to teach, I found it hard to do that, often tripping up, saying the wrong thing, and sometimes nothing at all. With experience, I grew and became more effective, listening carefully to what others had to say.

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The Real Work

I found it interesting that as I searched for a poem I typed in the words The Real Work by Wendell Berry. As Google anticipated, another search emerged: The Real Work by Gary Snyder. This book of essays emerged from a series of interviews and talks Snyder conducted over several years.

Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder are writers, environmentalists and farmers who live in Kentucky and California respectively. Together, they wrote a book called Distant Neighbours and shared their views about the real work they undertook as writers, environmentalists, and farmers. How each of them understood and wrote about real work echoed the other.

Real work happens not when we find ourselves going through the work aimlessly and mindlessly. It emerges when obstacles arise and we are mindful and attentive in our work. It holds our interest through baffling us and our being unsure of what to do next. As we work thoughtfully and our mind is employed in meaningful acts, our work sings like an impeded stream and makes us whole. It is like we our speaking through our work and its meaning to us.

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

All That We Share (Watch!)

Video post by @davidkanigan. This is a great post from David and worth the few minutes it takes to watch it.

Source: All That We Share (Watch!)

As I watched this video, it reminded me of an undergraduate class I took. It was the only class non-special needs undergraduate students could take.

I recall how our text and professor focused on the idea that we have far more in common than what makes us difference. At the core, we are each humans and, when we see each other in that light, it makes all the difference.

When we take time and are mindful to each person present to us, we can grow and understand their presence is a gift to each of us. The differences make us each a unique star in the universe, but there is more to each of us that makes us the same.

The Shadow

Last night, as I posted, the words of a paragraph began to take shape as a poem and Mary Oliver’s words echoed for me.

Today, I took those words and echoes and finished the poem. It has been some time since I wrote a poem. Perhaps, without the urgency of writing a dissertation, this just happened. As well, the break without a need to read and write may have helped and freshened my desire to write differently.

There is no sense of urgency.

Here, I am in the shadow of nature

It uplifts, holding me close.

Nature reminds of less mechanical ways and times;

Of just being and living in the moment.

Pelicans dive bomb the surf in an instinctive search,

Oblivious to me, they bob on the waves.

At night, stars fill darkness and stillness,

They wait to be touched.

Oxen pull a plow across the hardpan soil,

They follow a deep-rooted instinct lost on me

The horse trotts a path, familiar to it

I sway, recalling greater comfort the last time I rode.

I recall days past.

I unsmother moments, days and experiences

My dreams call out to me;

They breathe life into my being.

Here, I sense what it might mean to live and just be.

Without urgency, there is a lightness in my gait.

The Race

Today, as I walked back to my humble abode, I noticed a squirrel on the sidewalk ahead of me. Squirrels are plentiful around the neighbourhood and I enjoy playing games with them. I know a simple man is taken by simple pleasures. Usually, the squirrel hides or tries to hide. I softly say, “I see you” and it scampers further up the tree.

This time I saw something different. A cyclist came along. The squirrel waited purposely for the cyclist to draw even and then it scurried up the walk in a straight line. The cyclist cast a sideward glance much like Usain Bolt might in a 100 metre race. Suddenly, it veered off in the middle of the race presumably drawn to some other target.

I am reminded of the Buddhist concept of ‘monkey mind’ where we cannot hold a thought and flit from one task to the next. Perhaps, in Spokane or Edmonton, I call the same concept ‘squirrel mind’. When I hold my thoughts in this moment, attend to them one at a time, the reward is real. When I flit from place to place, I might finish the task at hand but it seems a more hollow victory.

Locked into imaginary blocks,

Poised at the start line,

He waited.

The race was engaged,

The cyclist broke the imaginary sensor

They were off.

The rider glanced over,

Suddenly, her opponent veered off course

Defaulted the task at hand.

After all, what is more important to a squirrel>

The promise of food?

Or fleeting fame?

To the winner, no time to celebrate

It is a hollow victory

Won by default.

Ask Me

Last night, I read, more like re-read, the first two chapters of Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer. I find it so interesting to read something for a second, third, or fourth time. I always discover something new in the process. It might only be a word, a sentence, a turn of phrase, but it provides new insight. As I read last night, it was no different. Parker included this poem by William Stafford. I had to read several times, because the words are not in perfect order, but life is not either.

Parker Palmer is on Facebook and I follow him. Today, he posted a July 4th tribute with Leonard Cohen performing Democracy on Youtube. The link is Parker Palmer for those interested.

I am in Spokane and somewhat settled in. As I struggle a bit with making sense of my dissertation topic, this poem makes perfect sense. It is precise and piercing in its questions and somewhat disquieting. In those moments of perturbation, life makes more sense and I learn.

Sometimes when the river is ice ask me

mistakes I have made. Ask me whether

what I have done is my life. Others

have come in their slow way into

my thought, and some have tried to help

or to hurt: ask me what difference their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say

You and I can turn and look

at the silent river and wait. We know

is there, hidden; and there

are comings and goings from miles away

that hold the stillness exactly before us.

What the river says, that is what I say.

Dirty Face

I was professionally developed today. I am tired and struggled to find a poem that I wanted to write or post. I perused my library and found this Shel Silverstein poem. I wonder if I had shown up with a dirty face if I could have answered with such wonderful words? And, when I got to the last line, would someone scold me? Oh, do I need to find out? Is it just that teachers just want to have fun?

Where did you get such a dirty face,
My darling dirty-faced child?
I got it from crawling along in the dirt
And biting two buttons off Jeremy’s shirt.
I got it from chewing the roots of a rose
And digging for clams in the yard with my nose.
I got it from peeking into a dark cave
And painting myself like a Navajo brave.
I got it from playing with coal in the bin
And signing my name in cement with my chin.
I got if from rolling around on the rug
And giving the horrible dog a big hug.
I got it from finding a lost silver mine
And eating sweet blackberries right off the vine.
I got it from ice cream and wrestling and tears
And from having more fun than you’ve had in years.
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