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Watch your Language

I finished the retreat today. Teaching is inspiring others to want to learn. It does not replace the responsiblity for learning. Essential to inspiring is communicating with students, listening to them in caring and sensitive ways. At its greatest, teaching reminds me of the Buddhist proverb: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

Find Your Middle Ground

toshogu monkeys

I recall being reminded as I was growing up, and then again as an employee, how important it was to watch my language and to think before speaking.

However, in social media, and at the highest level of US government, this doesn’t seem to apply. Not thinking before speaking and readily making judgmental comments about people behind their backs, appears to be acceptable.

It makes me wonder “Are we becoming a society where gossip is okay?” and “Are you being drawn into this too?”

Let us all remind ourselves to THINK before we speak, post or email. Whether we are making a presentation, interacting with colleagues or chatting with friends, its important to remember this acronym.

T – Is this true?
H – Is this helpful?
I – Is this inspiring?
N – Is this necessary?
K – Is this kind?

Let us all practice mindful communication and bring respectful…

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Don’t Come To Me With The Entire Truth by Olav H. Hauge

This is a lovely short poem with a wonderful message. Instead of getting all want, sometimes a hint of it is what we need. It creates a sense of wonder and sensation of the whole.

Leonard Durso

Don’t come to me with the entire truth.
Don’t bring the ocean if I feel thirsty,
nor heaven if I ask for light;
but bring a hint, some dew, a particle,
as birds carry only drops away from water,
and the wind a grain of salt.

translated by Robert Bly

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Taking The Helm

I like the verb to lead, instead of the noun leadership. Once we name something, it becomes static and it is a role. When we use the verb and the gerund, leading, guiding a person adrift in confusion is acting ethically. We act in a loving way.

Inner Whispers

www.coachingbytext.comLacking a compass,
moral or otherwise, our
representatives
are adrift in confusion.
We must offer our guidance.

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A Vision

I am preparing to go to Miami of Ohio to attend a writing retreat. It is a curriculum theory called currere, which is the root word for curriculum and is an infinitive verb meaning to run the course of one’s life.

Currere overlaps with the methodology, hermeneutic phenomenology I used in my writing my dissertation. The two are reflective, explore one’s lived-experiences, and interpret them as data . After a person reflects on a lived-experience, they imagine how it might inform their teaching. They create a vision of the past and future in a way to create a vision for the present.

William Pinar compared this process to photographs that gain clarity as they develop. I had not used the method, but referenced Dr. Pinar’s work and he was on my dissertation committee.

Part of the process of preparing has been to use the method of currere. As I wrote, read, and reflected this Wendell Berry poem came into my view. Even though I am not teaching, I wanted to create a vision of what the wisdom might be like. As a young teacher, I can envision having used the process as a way to survive, to be still, enrich my teaching and student learning, and creating a memory native to my teaching. As Wendell Berry says, it was a paradisal dream. Hard work never is. It is its own reward.

If we will have the wisdom to survive,

to stand like slow-growing trees

on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it,

if we make our seasons welcome here,

asking not too much of earth or heaven,

then a long time after we are dead

the lives our lives prepare will live

here, their houses strongly placed

upon the valley sides, fields and gardens

rich in the windows. The river will run

clear, as we will never know it,

and over it, birdsong like a canopy.

On the levels of the hills will be

green meadows, stock bells in noon shade.

On the steeps where greed and ignorance

            cut down

the old forest, an old forest will stand,

its rich leaf-fall drifting its roots.

The veins of forgotten springs will have

            opened..

Families will be singing in their fields.

In the voices they will hear a music

risen out of the ground. They will take

nothing from the ground they will not

            return,

whatever the grief at parting. Memory,

native to this valley, will spread over it

like a grove, and memory will grow

into a legend, legend into song, song

into sacrament. The abundance of this

            place,

the songs of its people and its birds,

will be health and wisdom and indwelling

light. This is no paradisal dream.

Its hardship is its possibilities.

Watch “Damien Rice – Hallelujah” on YouTube

Source: Watch “Damien Rice – Hallelujah” on YouTube

When I taught, I often played music when I arrived at school and left it on until we were ready to begin the day. It gave students insight into me as a person. Hallelujah is one of my favourite songs and I shared it with them in various forms.

Today, when George posted this version, I thought of the two versions I shared with my students. Granted, I have not heard a version I do not like. It may be it is because I have been a Leonard Cohen fan since the late 1960’s and he wrote the song.

Here is his version:

Kathy and I have seen k.d. lang in concert several times and her version, which she performs about half-way through the set, is spine tingling.

I first saw k.d. many years ago when she performed as part of The Reclines, which performed “punk country” and was a Patsy Cline tribute band. When I hear her sing Crying with Roy Orbison I cannot distinguish their voices.

In the introduction to the song, which she sang at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, the announcer referred to it as “a song of peace.” This is her version, which is the one many people think of when they hear the song.

 

Mother’s Waltz by swo8 Blues Jazz featuring the photography of Marilyn Armstrong

For all mothers on Mother’s Day. This is a beautiful song to listen to and enjoy the slides.

swo8

This video is called the Mother’s Waltz, a bitter sweet tribute to mothers and families everywhere, especially on Mother’s Day. It is a collaboration with the great American Author and Photographer, Marilyn Armstrong. The photographs in this video are a combination of Marilyn and her husband’s family and 6 generation of my family. It is times like this when family brings comfort. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there.

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“CO-EXISTING”

Source: “CO-EXISTING”

After I posted There was a time I would reject those, Jonathan wrote this poem and shared a similar view of the world that Ibn ‘Arabi presented in his poem.

Jonathan is a prolific blogger who has re-blogged many posts of other bloggers. I was happy he wrote this poem, because it gave me an opportunity to return his kindness.

When I am aware of and accept differences around me, the possibilities of violence diminish. I do not control the other and their actions, but turning swords into ploughshares (Isiah 2:4) can reduce the possibilities.

Living in community means to reach out to one another in good and bad times. Each person is called on to lead in their particular way. They are mindful and attentive to the other person and communicate with them in meaningful, thoughtful ways.

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