Still Water

still water

From Earth, Fire and Water

We can make our minds so like still water
that beings gather about us that they may see,
it may be, their own images,
and so live for a moment with a clearer,
perhaps even with a fiercer life
because of our quiet.

-William Butler Yeats

This week I have the pleasure of instructing virtual training sessions on “Teaching with Heart, Purpose, and Passion” for two teachers, Emily and Lori, who will teach in high schools in China in the fall.

On Monday I sent Emily and Lori a bunch of poems by email and asked them to read the poems and select the one that spoke the most to her.

Lori, a Buddhist, picked two poems:  the Yeats’  poem above and “Fire”  by Judy Brown, which I posted about yesterday. Continue Reading »

Pity and Performance

Sometimes I Go About Pitying Myself

Sometimes I go about pitying myself;
And all the time
I am being carried on great winds across the sky.

–Chippwea music

Pity joins us as people, as does grief.

Pity and grief are common to everyone. Even if we don’t want to pity ourselves we do at times because we are human.

We need to create a trusting environment in our groups, organizations, and communities for people’s pity.

And we need to support them in moving beyond their pity. Continue Reading »

Slow Death

snow man

“Because it’s natural for all human beings to experience disappointment, failure, and difficulty, it’s very, very easy over time to get committed to our comfort zone that place of habit in which we know we can exist without effort. Over time, these habits are equivalent to slow death – if I am not learning, I am dying. When our comfort zone solidifies into habits, we get trapped in slow death, which eventually turns into negative emotions such as depression and anger. We have magnificent defense mechanisms that allow us to deny and project so that we don’t have to admit our slow deaths and deal with them.”

–Robert Quinn, Deep Change

I relate very much to this quote. In some ways I’m a risk taker and in other ways I am very conservative and play it safe.

I have a day job I’ve outlived, but it has been hard for me to leave it. I have a house that is too small and doesn’t have a private office/writing space that meets my needs, but it has been hard for me to move. I am slow to change my life in these areas.

On the other hand, I am committed to bringing poetry and all it represents to the world. I am doing my best to figure out a way to make a living at this. In doing so, I am bucking a cultural trend that values speed over depth and considers poetry as fluffy.

It is not easy to see my “magnificent defense mechanisms.” I have limiting belief systems and blind spots. It takes relationships with other people, who I deeply trust, to help me see.

Image:  antjeverena