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Tag Archives: Leadership. Servant-Leadership

Fluent

I am on the road the next two days so I am tired at the end of relatively long day. John O’ Donohue‘s poetry has a light feel to it, much like a small river that flows easily along its way.

He often wrote blessings and a blessing is something that catches us by surprise. It unfolds in surprising ways, never taking the same path twice. Like the river and, as expressed by Heraclitus in his quote: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

We cannot live the same moment twice, because we cannot return to it and, even if we could, we would not be the same person. We would return with an understanding of what it meant to step in the river in the first place.

The beauty of living is filled with the richness of uncertainty and complexity. The best we can expect is to be mindful of each moment as we live in it and as it unfolds.

I would love to live

Like a river flows,

Carried by the surprise

Of its own unfolding.

We took this picture several years at Lundbreck Falls. Today, I drove past them and, like me, the river has changed.

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Merry Christmas Everyone

You already possess everything necessary to become great. source: Crow image: Eddie’s Image Collection editor’s note: this is a repost from ETH December 2015 “Happy Holiday Everyo…

Source: Merry Christmas Everyone

When I saw the picture and quote in this post, they reminded me how much we have in common with each other. Instead of a politics of fear and division, can we can live in peace and harmony as stewards who care for each other, the world, and the future generations we live that world to?

A Light Breather

Theodore Roethke wrote poems that attempted to connect the inner and outer worlds we inhabit simultaneously. While exploring the outer world, it is important we find quiet in the inner world. In those quiet moments, moving back and forth we find ourselves staying.

The metaphor comparing this movement to that of a snail challenges me to think deeply about what living and breathing mindfully is. What do I notice? And, who and what notices me? As I move, am I sensitive to the world that I move through? Or, do I walk heavily chasing those who which to join me away?

The spirit moves,
Yet stays:
Stirs as a blossom stirs,
Still wet from its bud-sheath,
Slowly unfolding,
Turning in the light with its tendrils;
Plays as a minnow plays,
Tethered to a limp weed, swinging,
Tail around, nosing in and out of the current,
Its shadows loose, a watery finger;
Moves, like the snail,
Still inward,
Taking and embracing its surroundings,
Never wishing itself away,
Unafraid of what it is,
A music in a hood,
A small thing,
Singing.

The Invitation

I am not familiar with Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s poetry, but, when I found this poem, it reached out and called me.

What questions do I ask myself, that I cannot answer. There is an eloquence in those questions that leads me to new questions, without knowing the answers. When I sense the world in one way or another, I am unable to sense it in any other way.

What if I live the wildness of life and I allow myself some abandon, not carelessness? I can dance with that wildness and not care about what others may think, hopefully making the world a better place.

When we open our hearts to the other, their standing in life is about who they are as a person rather than what identifies them: their job, their age, where they live, etc. When we open our hears to the other, it is an invitation to be human and humane with them.

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.

I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.

I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.

I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.

I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day.

And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon,

“Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here.

I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.

I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

 

 

Smart Cookie

Richard Schiffman counsels that when we are hunting for something, whether it is a cookie or wisdom, it is harder to find it. What we look for can sometimes be right there in front of us, but, in looking for it, we cannot find it. In fact, what we are looking for can end up in the most unexpected places: in a jar in Tennessee.

It is in mindful, sensitive being in the present moment that what we look for finds us. When we apply this to leadership and education, it is about listening to the world and others.

What we each seek is unique to each of us. When we tell the stories and speak the poems about what we seek, we do so finding the words that suit our stories and our poems. Leaders sense this and offer others space to find the words for their stories and poems. In finding and choosing our paths and our words, we can become the smart cookies we seek.

The fortune that you seek is in another cookie,

was my fortune. So I’ll be equally frank—the wisdom

that you covet is in another poem. The life that you desire

is in a different universe. The cookie you are craving

is in another jar. The jar is buried somewhere in Tennessee.

Don’t even think of searching for it. If you found that jar,

everything would go kerflooey for a thousand miles around.

It is the jar of your fate in an alternate reality. Don’t even

think of living that life. Don’t even think of eating that cookie.

Be a smart cookie—eat what’s on your plate, not in some jar

in Tennessee. That’s my wisdom for today, though I know

it’s not what you were looking for.

They say it’s your birthday…

They say it’s your birthday….

It was Alice Walker‘s birthday yesterday and the post linked includes a poem by her entitled We Alone.

It reminded me that we alone have the ability to make the world a better place as we work together in collectives called we alone.

It is an issue of private shame

It is an issue of private shame.

The link is not to a poem, but rather to a series of quotes about hunger and the personal shame that comes with it. Politicians use hunger and other social justice issues as talking points and not seeing it as a matter of private and public shame in countries such as Canada and the US with their wealth.

On the left, we have politicians who would subscribe to giving people something. On the right, politicians would blame those who go hungry including the children. Giving people a hand up is important and walking with them is a part of the longer journey. Solving issues such as hunger is community work. It takes neighbours helping each other in those moments of need. Regardless of what we have, we share. Wouldn’t that be a powerful learning in our schools.

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