Thursday, January 28, 2021

On Knowing and Growing

A collective push to "go back" because

Well, "back" is where we belong

Yet it feels like reciting the lyrics

Without the melody inside of the song

And there is resistance, sharp and mighty 

In this, some dark underlying hues

Stay open, look and listen closer

I think we can garner some clues

Education as a whole is what?

Is it reading levels, facts and tests?

Is it curriculum over connection?

Is it expecting our personal bests?

What is our end goal for students?

To deposit an arbitrary amount of info?

To create robots who consume and produce?

To imply to know means more than to grow?

This pandemic sure has thrown us-

"Schooling" cracked open and wide

There was so much failure before this too

Can we dare to step inside?

The school to prison pipe line is as real

As the institutional response to query

Get in line, do this, do that as such 

Does it surprise us our vision is bleary?

It seems that creating life long learners

Would be one of the essential goals

So we must back up to find this path

Releasing square pegs from round holes

We have all the buzz words and concepts

Yet we neglect to apply it so well

We are missing the forest through the trees

Denying wisdom that our stories can tell

Our system is predicated on production

Creating consumers supports status quo

Are any of us interested in a system

Where to wonder is better than to know?

I ask all these questions today because

If we don't discuss it now, then when?

What didn't work then, won't work next

We have a chance here to begin again

So yes of course, we must all "go back"

But what will this look like to do?

Can we hold the trauma and shades of fear

Are we ready to try something new?

Each class has always deserved two staff

One to inspire, engage and teach lessons

Another to temperature check the room

Supervise and provide small check-ins

Essential is this right here, right now

For teachers both on zoom and in person

Attendance, reading levels and oh ya, feelings

Without this, we'll continue to worsen

Yet with more students and less space I question

Will protocols simply loosen and give way?

Do we try it and then wait to see what happens?

Or perhaps try a therapeutic new way?

Hire more staffing, we need adults who care

And bring in more counselors and people to play

Keep class sizes small, make schedules freer too

Rotate in large spaces and hear what they say!

I believe that logistics can handle what's next

Remember that playfulness heals and repairs

Consider what do YOU hold fondly from school?

Not rules and silence, straight lines on the stairs

You remember the outside the box stuff

The times you truly felt truly seen

You recall when you found a true strength

And with mindful work you did glean

You remember the offhanded personal stories

Your teacher may not even recall they told

You recall how true connection made you feel 

You learned authenticity could not be sold

You learned serious hard skills like science,

Math, literature and history as well

Soft skills like perseverance and empathy

Or flexible thinking a much lesser sell

And this unrealized message sticks with us

Please just shut up and listen to me

Your truth and experiences are irrelevant

Get the work done, spare individuality

We cannot keep going on like this

We have a chance before it's too late

We need to inspire our children now

Educators who teach and participate 

Let's remind our students how to laugh

Deeper still, because learning is fun

To be truly alive and immersed in a moment

It will be here that the real work is done

We are ALL life long learners you see

I learn this from children each day

If we take a deep breath, put agendas aside

Bravely we'll find a new way

We will follow their lead and listen

We can teach them the sound of their voice

Understanding education can be so much more

Our students deserve to have more of a choice

It is their future they seek to inherit

We wish them to have happiness and smarts

But we need to discuss how to define these

Let us begin to teach to their hearts

I know that this prose is flowery 

I realize there is not lots of concrete

I encourage us to walk a different path

I am happy to sit down and meet

If you hear my intention and urging

If you see what I mean and agree

Will you take a chance and will you go there

Will you wander to wonder with me?

There is no "going back", that's all gone now

There is only what lies before us ahead

There is possibility and hope if we see it

There is so much more to be said 

Let us be brave and go do it

Let us sit quiet and still 'til we know 

Let us share out our new wisdom boldly

Let us be proud when we reap what we sow

Friday, January 22, 2021

I Seek

I seek to live inside the sun 

where mind, body, soul

can undulate as one

I seek to dance upon the moon

hearing the stars as they sprinkle

laughter with tune

I seek to hide inside a wave

to locate my inner current

riding my soul to save

I seek to scream atop the mountain

and take up space wide, like water

moving through a fountain

I seek to sketch myself inside a cloud

making notice of my body

learning how to feel proud

I seek to settle into a stream

notice piercing not as pain

but beauty of a waking dream

I seek to fly inside a wing

align with the hawk's mighty grace

carrying me to what I bring

I seek to collapse into dirt

marinating in the texture of life's cycle

aware of what cannot hurt

I seek to travel by ray of light

walking with eternal faith 

my place in time, day or night

I seek this for me

I see this for you

I seek this in the name of all that is true

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Negative Space and Me

Tony told me the other day 

That often times in art

It makes "the most sense" to focus on 

The negative space 

In order to bring shape to 

what is

And while he admitted this is hard,

he concluded it to be where the

most power lies in creation.

Today, I sit sleepy eyed on my porch,

with a space heater, warming me

while I pandemically work from home,

the day after Trump supporters

stormed the capitol. 

This is reality. 

It is simply what is. 

I cannot control what is happening,

but I can always control my response.

And so I feel the weight of my coffee in a stainless

steel tumbler (so it won't chill quite as fast)

I breathe in, and exhale out with extension

Quiet is the truest companion.

I relish in the buttery softness of my leggings

clinging around my legs.

I hear birds and imagine myself inside their messages.

Without effort, I glance to the right:

Traffic, like shooting stars, comes and goes:

Destinations unknown, 

their backdrop a simple canvas of

muted gray, uninspired and plain.

Swiveling to the left I am struck

by that which often goes unnoticed. 

Streaming through a sliver of eastern window

Poking out like a surprise past my neighbor's

front porch:

the most breathtaking sunrise becoming born....

A beacon or a baton, it rises up fluidly

Trailing ribbons of pink and blue

Eventually cascading into an orange 

that bleeds out without caution or concern 

Azure clouds horizontally support the display 

I see their measure and I value their purpose,

They highlight simple excellence with dignity

I am sandwiched between plain ignorance

and a brilliant beautiful truth- 

A collision of consciousness of the

both/and phenomenon and 

I feel grateful for my ability to see

on both sides of me and appreciate. 

Simply SEEING what is there and 

being with it is an utterly useful way to

initiate a day. 

Taking in another sip of coffee,

I look to what lies directly before me,

Outside and straight ahead, additional pause. 

This is my inside as well. 

Several naked trees posing for no one-

Winterized and whole separate, yet 

somehow also joining together in my vision

Strong and dark on top of the white landscape

They are propped and unmoved at their base,

Inviting my eyes to continue to consume upward,

to take them all in, alone and collectively until

I land upon the tippity top the filaments fragile

yet carefully bending and giving way to the elements 

that threaten the exterior

Supported from the inside out and underneath,

a foundation that cannot be broken. 

I notice that this is where the negative space 

Calls out the loudest in a language we can all 

understand if we all were to make a choice:

To look, to listen, so that we may step into the world 

The one that sits patiently existing

Beyond what we see,

Beyond what we know to be true,

Beyond what is real and unreal.

We have a heart center that lives deeper.

It's here.

And we can not only be reminded of it.

It's here we can see it reflected.

It's here we can be energized anew.

It's here we can meet up with it

and be with it and in doing so

find our way to equanimity and fortitude, 

our guides.

Find our oneness. 

Find ourselves inside of tiny 

triangles dripping off of branches

See the way souls are simply

light that illuminates brightly

off of something else.

All of us. All of us. All of us. 

If we want to be okay, really okay,

we must come to recognize this in nature

so that we can return to our own true

nature and be with it. 

We can learn to accept what is with 

whole hearted awareness and without alteration.

When this wise view is really clear

we are free to cultivate our intentions

and actions and ultimately we can lead 

ourselves right on into our own redemption.

There is nothing negative about 

negative space, and for right now, it's

the only place I feel free. 

Won't you join me?

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Snowflakes and Meaning

We are all snowflakes

erratically rushing toward

our own demise

Autopilots of Grace

and meteorology

Sometimes growing larger

or spinning sideways

gaining traction in a new

direction, seeking one's

own reflection-

Suddenly a reversal

upwards while the others

shuffle and pass on by

A new try!

We create ourselves each time anew

We shape ourselves with intricacies unseen

We rush to be absorbed into something else

We long for identity and meaning, gleaming

We accumulate in collective posture, if lucky

We melt away, if not today, another day

Impermanence plants itself in everything

Even in this moment it will sing

These words are quiet and still, here

They arise and puff themselves out,

Boasting, seeking belonging and purpose

then float on to another pocket of prose

or a new poet's pen

Causing the wondering thought:

why bother?

who cares?

what's the point?

The point is in the experiencing

The meaning is in the noticing

There is beauty inherent

in noticing

There is love inherent 

in beauty

There is meaning inherent

in love

There is purpose inherent

in meaning 

There is connection

inherent in purpose

There is truth inherent

in connection

and on and on and on

like soft flakes falling

it continues

And an interwoven crystal web

Seemingly quiet

Reverberates in unison

In and out of the soul, 

It will always remain.