written 2/28/12, only just bold enough to post:
Evolution came to visit one day
The baby was sleeping
and out of the quiet
she lurched me from my loneliness
Upward and upward
Until I had a new view
and in that moment
a grand promise was planted in my soul.
But I did not know what to do
For the soil in my soul
and could nourish no seed
Yet there it sat
with its seduction
And I could not bear
knowing I was not living it.
I did not know what to do.
But a seed
it does not think
it knows what to do
All I had to do
was sit with it
I did not have to think
I did not have to fix my life
I only had to follow the promise
of my seed.
“Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you.” -Parker Palmer
I found Parker Palmer’s To Know As We Are Known in the education library at the University of Florida in 1999. A book a published in 1983, it spoke to the very feelings I’d always held about education and what it could be, it enlivened, resonated and impacted me so deeply. I never knew that the reading of that book, serving me at the time by supporting a research paper, would also be in preparation for the year 2013.
Life always prepares you for that which you are ready, though it may be unexpected.
(Did you happen to know that before Santa Claus was Santa Claus, he was a chimney cleaner, did post-office deliveries, worked in the zoo where he became friendly with the reindeer, and at the circus where he flew through the air…All before the Elves hired him on the spot, with all that experience?)
I had plans for 2013. But January came and laughed. It had plans for me.
Best to listen.
At the top of the list:
A local group of parents and educators in my community are starting a charter school.
In all of the “to-do’s” I sometimes forget what a huge deal this is. We are creating a school that is deeply respectful of children and how they learn naturally. A school where teaching and learning is creative and joyful. Seaside Community Charter School is the first to bring Waldorf educational methods to a public school in Florida.
So, I’ve been adjusting to a new state of busy. But I’m also slowing down. And I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back on my blog. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed in the duties of life, even with the things we care deeply about. I’m reminded to give only what is mine to give; it’s the only way to give with love. My writing has always felt a joyful giving.
I feel alive in my passion for supporting and bringing forth potential. I’m on fire when I think, write and speak about the drawing forth of imagination, creativity and the innate genius within everyone (the very things that attracted me to the world of childbirth…which is where I thought I’d be in 2013).
Life raised it’s voice, presenting me with a serendipitous opportunity to contribute to that conversation, through the lens of “What Makes a School Great?” A Year at Mission Hill is generating national conversation about the state of public education by following the chronicling of a year at Mission Hill School in Boston, one of America’s most successful public schools.
You can read my articles on Ashoka’s Start Empathy blog (my first Mission Hill article will be published next Wednesday), where I get to write about that which I’m gaining practical, on-the-ground experience, where I use Parker’s inspiration:
Deep transformation in education is not the result of “snappier teaching techniques” but arises when we begin to put out there what we know to be true in here. When we transform our hearts, when we listen deeply. Education can be the lighting of a fire, the awakening of the boundless capacities within.
We are all born creative
We each have something beautiful to offer the world
We all have a natural desire to connect and contribute
Teaching and learning are intimately connected to these things, for to know something, we must be in relationship with it.
The very things I continue to learn.
If I wasn’t in relationship with Life, I’d be forcing something to happen according to what I’d planned for 2013.
I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted. In December, I was renovating. In January, I was updating.
Renovating my kitchen and bathrooms. Updating around the house.
At the perfect time, because if you know my blog, maybe you’ve sensed how a person renovates a life, updates a purpose. Patience. Rooms become spaciously open as the old gets torn down. Patience. Making way for something new, you can’t even tell what you are building. Patience. Trusting the process.
A poem describes it best, these past few years:
making a nap
seem so sublime
taking all my time
in quiet repose.
Do you suppose
that something new
is waiting to be born?
Is a caterpillar forlorn
when it hangs in the “j”
and then is covered in green?
How does it feel
to be a melted being?
Do you know you’re waiting,
not just hesitating
and feeling ashamed,
instead of the quiet
before taking aim-
before hitting the mark?
the future’s not stark,
in the dark
there’s nothing wrong
maybe a new kind of strong
is incubating, updating, resonating.
Maybe I’m Mutating written by Sharon Elliott
Part II is updating
(photo by Sid Mosdell)
What can be more real than the sun lighting a single blade of grass
And when like the blade, your own soul turns to receive the golden rays of warmth?
I ask you, what can be more real?
And you answer with mere trivialities, things that will not matter tomorrow.
Think of the work of the spider and the honeybee.
Explain to me the intricacies of a web and the making of a honeycomb.
Let your mind get blown more often.
Go outside and let the trees and the hibiscus opening to the morning sun
impress upon you.
And what about the moon?
Can you look to it and say, I am yours?
I can think of nothing more real.
What can be more holy than to say to the moment,
I am available?
I wrote this on the first of November, 2012. Today is the last day of November and in the 29 days in between, those words- I am available- have grown even richer in meaning. I remembered the value and power of being available even to the uncomfortable moments. In the month of thanks, I remembered to be thankful for my failures.
Don’t be afraid of being available to the dark moments, they give us access into something so big and utterly new and ultimately beautiful.
(*bee photo by autan; spider web photo by Walter Baxter; moon photo by Tim Fields)
I’ve learned to make friends of former foes-
certainty and uncertainty
Yet I still daydream uncertainties
Hoping to dress them up
and make them certain.
I’ve learned to make friends of former foes-
faith and doubt
Yet I am shakeable
in my trust and in my fear.
That’s the way of this liquid, pliable friendship.
They do not try to rid of each other.
They recognize the other,
thankful to have a friend
who shows them so exquisitely
who they choose to be in each moment.
No more fighting.
No more pushing against.
I relax into who I am
and into a calm curiosity
of where I am going,
allowing the divine
to dance in me,
and as me.