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.
Both poems deeply spoke to Lori. When I asked her what lines, words, images and metaphors stood out for her in the Yeats’ poem, she said she talked about gardening and being quiet in the garden and how over time her because of her quiet, animals wouldn’t rush away from her in the garden. They would actually come closer.
What strikes me about the Yeats’ poem is the idea that others will “live for a moment with a clearer,/perhaps even with a fiercer life/because of our quiet.”
People can see who they are if the focus isn’t on us, if we aren’t demanding attention, and if we aren’t sucking the energy in the room.
A task of leadership is to shift the focus so others can see themselves, their gifts, and talents.