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Tag Archives: Parker Palmer

We Stand at the Edge of a True Wilderness

While I was on my sabbatical, I attended a retreat. One of the highlights was meeting Parker Palmer. The people from the Centre Courage and Renewal who organized the retreat use Parker’s teachings as the foundation for these retreats.

Like Parker’s written work, the retreat focused on rich conversation, reflecting and writing, and poetry. Some poets I was familiar with, but others I did not recall hearing before. One of the poets who fell into the latter category was Barbara Rohde.

This poem reminds me my life is a continuous entering wilderness. No one entered my wilderness before. I don’t have a path or map to show me the way. I walk alone in a sense, but I am not alone.

The etymology of companion is to break bread and share a meal with others we meet on a journey. As we meet each other and hear our music, we can sing it back to each other and share it like the bread we break together. It is in sharing we can overcome fear and anxiety that comes from feeling a sense of loneliness in our lives.

We can encourage and place courage in one another. Emmanuel Levinas capitalized Other to signify an unconditional responsiblity for others. It reminds me of the line in Spartacus where others stand and say, “I am Spartacus!” What would it mean to say “I am Muslim! I am Hispanic?” We look toward that great openness in awe of the freedom and responsbility before us.

We stand at the edge of a true wilderness.No one has entered it, nor worn a path for us.  There are no maps.

We look toward that great openness in awe of the freedom and possibility before us.  Yet there is also something in us that causes us to face the unknown territory cautiously and anxiously.

Now, in this place, we take time out of time to look back, to see where we have been and what we have been, to reflect on what we have learned thus far on our journey.

We gather together to remind each other to see our True north, and to encourage–to place courage in–one another.

When we leave this place, we must each find our true path.  We must walk alone.

But now and then we may meet.

When we meet, may we offer each other the bread of our being.

And oh, my brothers, and oh, my sisters, if you hear me plunging wildly, despairingly, through the thicket, call out to me.  Calm me.

And if you find me sleeping in the snow, awaken me, lest my heart to turn ice.

And if you hear my music, praising the mornings of the world, then in that other time, in the blackness of my night, sing it back to me.

I Am the Tree

Where do the boundaries between the subjective and objective worlds end and begin? Is there a boundary between our inner and outer worlds?

Etta Blum writes a poem that asks those questions. There is a continuous moving between the inner and outer worlds. Parker Palmer uses the metaphor of a Möbius strip with an inner ant outer edge. When we run our fingers along the edge, we can do so seamlessly without lifting our fingers.

We are like a tree with a bird at the top. Each of us is part of the world we each live in and, if there is a boundary between each of us and it, it is thin and permeable as to appear non-existent. In a sense, we are the world and it is each of us. Like the bird in that tree, we have a niche where we thrive and live most fully. We return there to feel that sense of being and purpose.

I am the tree ascending.
At the topmost branch
I’ve become the bird,
starting from tip to
climb into above.
After-
ward, cloud.
Why not?
My purposes are clear.

 

…HEALING…

🍀 I HAVE PICKED UP THE PIECES 🍀

Source: …HEALING…

The words healthy, heal, whole share a common etymology about wholeness. It is in picking up the pieces and making ourselves whole that we find good health and heal.

This includes being in community whether we are face-to-face with each other. Parker Palmer suggested “Community does not necessarily mean living face-to-face with others; rather, it means never losing the awareness that we are connected to each other. It is not about the presence of other people-it is about being fully open to the reality of relationship, whether or not we are alone.”

When we connect with each other, we become whole and belong to community. When we are mindful and attentive of the other, we become whole and belong to community.

Rumi on the law of attraction

Rumi wrote magnificent poetry that resonates through the ages. Patience is a virtue. When I sit in my place of patience, others, the world, and myself speak to me and I can listen.

Parker Palmer says the soul is like a wild animal. When I trample around and make noise, I scare it away and it is unable to come out of hiding. In a world that is already busy and noisy, I can not hear my heart speak to me, let alone the world and others

In mindful moments, I pause and what I chase after comes to me, relieving me of the stress and anxiety my chasing brings. There is attraction between what I wait for and I find with patience it wants me, as well.

When I run after what I think I want,
my days are a furnace of stress and anxiety;
if I sit in my own place of patience,
what I need flows to me, and without pain.
From this I understand that
what I want also wants me,
is looking for me and attracting me.
There is a great secret here
for anyone who can grasp it.

Peace is With us Today

Peace is With us Today.

I had an Einstein poster in my classroom. My students referred to him as my dad, because I told a student, who did recognize him, he was my dad. When another student questioned me, I pointed out we had wild hair, facial foliage, and eccentric behaviors.

I enjoy Einstein, because his quotes reveal important insights. In this one, peace is something we offer and gain through mutual understanding.

I am using Jurgen Habermas, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Parker Palmer, etc. in my dissertation. I find important intersections in their work as they stress conversation, communication, and mutual understanding as integral to living peacefully in the world. It does not mean agreement, but suggests we can accept different ways of experiencing the world that allows for non-violent disagreement. We see what the Other holds true in their living as not very different from what we hold true.

If you want to write or paint,then do it !

If you want to write or paint,then do it !.

As I get ready for a Sabbath break this week, I am also shifting my focus a bit. I found this post the other day and was not sure what it meant at the time. Today, it is suggesting more focus on dissertation writing and less on blogging.

I will visit blogs and post less in the next month . I want to deliver a clean, preliminary writing of the first three chapters by January 20. I am re-organizing more than writing fresh.

Thoreau‘s quote speaks to me. The world is a canvas and I am exploring them both. My topic is the phenomenology of teaching and how becoming a particular teacher is a continuing process. Phenomenology is wondering about phenomena we encounter, including ourselves and other humans, and how we experience encounters.

Parker Palmer suggests truth, from the word troth, reveals itself through living in the world, relating to its sentient and non-sentient beings.

Letting Go

Letting Go.

The closing paragraph in the article linked speaks about the journey we are and the letting go that is required in the earthly part of the journey. There is a spiritual essence to our journey, one that takes us amongst the stars.

Parker Palmer writes extensively about spending time with our self in the quietness and silence of solitude. Here, we listen to what is being said to us by our spirit. We explore the depth and nature of who we are in relationship to the world. We let go of the busyness that surrounds even briefly feeling rested in the effort.

Joyce Sutphen shared the poem How to Listen. She describes the letting go listening requires.

Tilt your head slightly to one side and lift
your eyebrows expectantly. Ask questions.

Delve into the subject at hand or let
things come randomly. Don’t expect answers.

Forget everything you’ve ever done.
Make no comparisons. Simply listen.

Listen with your eyes, as if the story
you are hearing is happening right now.

Listen without blinking, as if a move
might frighten the truth away forever.

Don’t attempt to copy anything down.
Don’t bring a camera or a recorder.

This is your chance to listen carefully.
Your whole life might depend on what you hear.

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