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Tag Archives: W. S. Merwin

To Myself

In being mindful, I think the person I overlook sometimes is myself. When I mind my self, I mind others better and I offer a better version of my self to them. In this way, mind is a verb. I attend to and care for my self and the other.

As well, myself is two words and not one. The self I mind and attend is real, even if it is mine. Better takes on an ambiguous meaning. What does it mean to do something better? I leave certainty behind, because better does not come with fixed criteria.

W. S. Merwin wrote this poem about being mindful to one’s self. In other words, to fully mind my self. When I fully mind my self, I continuously find my self anew, even in those moments I feel lost.

Even when I forget you
I go on looking for you
I believe I would know you
I keep remembering you
sometimes long ago but then
other times I am sure you
were here a moment before
and the air is still alive
around where you were and I
think then I can recognize
you who are always the same
who pretend to be time but
you are not time and who speak
in the words but you are not
what they say you who are not
lost when I do not find you

Travelling Together

I finished reading a book by Jacques Rancière and am reading another by Emmanuel Levinas. Their philosophic writings suggest a preexisting ethical condition exists in when encountering another person. There is an empathic quality calling humans to walk in the other’s shoes as we encounter each other.

In my dissertation, I argue a teacher’s subjectivity forms in placing themselves in relationship with others, students and topics. Rancière argued humans take part in life, and are not merely external observers at a spectacle. Teaching is relational and is one where the relating with students and topics is the matter that matters.

W.S. Merwin’s poem proposes even when separated humans can wait on the other person’s side of things. In mindfulness and attentiveness, humans place themselves in the shoes of the other. Today, as I read, talked to my advisor, and chatted with Kathy a question came to mind. What has happened in the world today that we struggle with the ethical and empathic living that might heal the world we live in?

If we are separated I will
try to wait for you
on your side of things

your side of the wall and the water
and of the light moving at its own speed
even on leaves that we have seen
I will wait on one side

while a side is there

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