Why do we use the word sacred?

Bird Droppings July 31, 2012

Why do we use the word sacred?

 

“Teachers who do not take their own education seriously, who do not study, who make little effort to keep abreast of events have no moral authority to coordinate the activities of the classroom.” Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of freedom

 

            I have been a student and learner for some time. I would like to say I am a teacher at times sharing pieces of what I have experienced over my sixty plus years of existence. For me it is more about sharing those pieces then using the word instruction. I somehow always conceive of instruction involving step by step directions and pieces to glue together with what we used to call air plane glue. My life has been one of numerous pathways and trails leading to the point at which I am now. Sitting writing about education and about living a life trying to maximize each breathe and over turned pebble. I find it amusing as I talk with teachers those that turn over rocks as they journey looking for new creatures seem to be some of the best teachers. I admire those who are constantly looking and learning.

 

“Man did not weave the web of life – he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” “How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them? Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people.”
Chief Seattle, 1854

 

            This is a portion of the surrender speech of Chief Seattle in 1854, as translated by Dr. Henry Smith from a column in the Seattle Sunday October 29, 1887. So realistically on a Sunday morning what is sacred? Sounds like a silly question but for some it is the sacraments of the Church and others the Holy Bible or Qumran or Torah. Throughout the world we could find Saturdays or Mondays or numerous differing holy days that people would be objectifying their beliefs. Native Peoples were perhaps too simplistic in their search for the concept of sacred.  William Edelen, author and former pastor titled one of his books, In Search of the Mystery. I was reading emails earlier today and a good friend from many years back wrote about easing of environmental laws for corporations and how a thimble full of mercury could contaminate all the fish in a lake and the lessening of restrictions on mercury by chance in chemical processing in industry will release tons into our environment all because someone needs to make another buck.

 

“Teaching, like any truly human activity, emerges from one’s inwardness, for better or for worse. As I teach, I project the condition of my soul onto my students, my subjects, and our way of being together. The entanglements I experience in the classroom are often no more or less than the convolutions of my inner life. Viewed from this angle teaching holds a mirror to the soul.” Parker Palmer, The Courage to teach

 

Teaching for Palmer is a sacred thing as we impact as teachers children who literally are learning as we speech in just watching us as teachers. It is hard not to tie back to a mini history lesson as the first settlers wanted to buy land and the indigenous people said it was not for sale it was sacred to only be used as needed not exploited. As the legend has it that we civilized people will destroy all animals and plants and one day be gone when it is of no use to us anymore and the buffalo and deer will come from hiding and the trees will return and then “the people” can return home.

            We all look at life around us in differing perspectives some seeing a large tree as fire wood, others a wondrous living thing to share with grandchildren.  Yesterday for the second day in a row a hawk was circling screaming as it flew in circles. On Sunday my wife, granddaughter, son and I first heard this hawk as it circled a great sycamore tree near the house. We have had a pair of red tailed hawks hunting around our house for six years now. When we first moved in they were doing a mating flight over our house circling and diving together. My first impulse was one of the hawks had died. I did search yesterday around the sycamore tree and found nothing. Yesterday the great hawk flew circles over the pines next to our house again screaming continuously. I stood in silence watching the circle follow the wind updraft and then drop again only to rise up screaming every minute or so.

            Perhaps some teachers might not need to go to work on some days as I thought back to my reading of Parker Palmers book. The idea of a mirror image of an inward look ties in with ideas of my own idea of trust, of building a comfort zone with students and then as I look beyond teaching is this not true for every aspect of our lives teacher or not.  Should we each not be going further than simple existence?  Palmer describes the process as coming from within untangling convolutions and touching the soul. The word project is used and truly we do project our inner selves as we walk through life? Dr. Laura Nolte states so eloquently “children learn what they live”.  Are we comfortable with who we are and where we are? Daily I will find people who are seeking answers. Sometimes simple questions other times more perplexing and deep are asked of me. It is this process of looking for answers that builds who we are and develops for us what I am calling sacred. It is this process of inquiring that adds to our ability to deal with and go beyond daily issues. It is taking what seemingly is defeat and turning that into victory.

 

“It goes on one at a time, it starts when you care to act, it starts when you do it again after they said no, it starts when you say we and know who you mean, and each day you mean more.” Marge Piercy, The low road

 

I went to a nursery the other day perhaps one of my favorites in the area. They specialize in native and herbs along with landscaping plants and traditional garden varieties. They are going out of business not because they do not believe in what they do and enjoy it but because plants like so many aspects of farming prices have been rather stable for thirty years and the cost of living has not. Another landscaping business closed its retail outlet a few years back but I recall just outside their office was a boulder with a hole drilled in it and a fountain bubbling out of the hole. This package was one thousand five hundred and fifty dollars installed. Next to the price is what constitutes the fountain, two hundred fifty  pounds of river rock, two hundred pounds colored crushed lava rock, a drilled boulder which had to be near a ton, a pond liner, ten landscape timbers, 1000 pounds crushed granite and a pump kit. It took numerous pieces make the whole. I was amazed by the simple fountain and how peaceful it was water bubbling out of a rock flowing over into the river stones it was a whole that was a sum of its parts. Without a pump kit to push the water and create the fountain it was just a rock. You could say without the boulder it would have been only a bubbling of water in a pile of rocks. I have found each of us is similar we are pieces of a whole and inside a driving force as Palmer uses the word soul and heart interchangeably in his book and it is here we determine sacred for ourselves. If that pump stopped working on that simple fountain all effect is gone we need maintenance on our heart and not just our physical heart but that of our emotional heart so that that fountain flows and the entire package has meaning as we go out in our days. So dear friends please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and n your hearts and always give thanks.

namaste

bird

 

HOw do we know when we are grown up?

Bird Droppings July 30, 2012

How do we know we are grown up?

 

“The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise.” Alden Nowlan

 

Earlier today a former student posted on my facebook wall a simple line. If you haven’t grown up by fifty you don’t have to.” As I read this quote from Nowlan and thinking in terms of wisdom not being confined to an age but to an effect or understanding of one’s self I do after spending several days with my infant granddaughter think we cycle wisdom.  I do believe children are born wise and become through societal pressures unwise.

Looking back at the quote I started with these are amazing words as I only recently became aware of this writer, poet and essayist from Canada. I wish I had written or said these words. Over the years I have noticed that students walking about high school for the first few days and being at that adolescent age they begin to see the flaws and imperfection but their perception is to enhance their world and creates ripples. They see the flaws and are upset and react generally in a negative fashion. Adults then reciprocate with reactions and behaviors elicit consequences.

For some that point of forgiveness comes soon others many years after leaving home and college and marriage and their own children till forgiveness hits and adulthood true adulthood is realized. But for that rare few wisdom can come earlier and they are wise from an early age. I find trust too follows a similar road as we move through life we realize that we cannot trust everyone, we tend forgive and forget and then we realize we should trust everyone. My dear friends as we embark on a new week try and trust and forgive two good vocabulary words for the week and seek peace and balance in your life. As I do every day please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks.

namaste

bird

 

 

Are we not always getting ready?

Bird Droppings July 29, 2012

Are we not always getting ready?

 

“In the government schools, which are referred to as public schools, Indian policy has been instituted there, and it’s a policy where they do not encourage, in fact, discourage, critical thinking and the creation of ideas and public education.” Russell Means

 

I walked early this morning just before the sunrise taking my dog for a stroll. The moon was gone for now as we walked down our walk streaks of color were intermixed with the clouds overhead in all directions. Georgia is in a drought since oddly we have had rain almost every day for a week or two. A spot here and there, a raindrop here and there I swear some days it seems it rains on the front yard and not the back. Generally it is thunder storms and pouring rain sporadically around it might be in town and drive a half mile and nothing, sort of a typical Georgia summer. We have been lucky we have had the rain at our house and in the surrounding area easily judged by kudzu growth which has been defoliated recently by county along roads as it inched out to pavement. 

As a teacher there is anticipation, as the first official day of school draws near only fifteen more days or so away. I am sitting here wondering what to teach or say. Do we have the books and paper, pencils and pens, markers and poster board and all of the materials and such we need to go forth and spread the required knowledge? In a world of rapid access and instant everything can we even compete with all that is there as a humble teacher. I started with Russell Means who has been a key figure in Indian Activism for nearly forty five years. Means is an actor having portrayed Chingackook in the movie Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day Lewis.

 

“Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun. “ Kent Nerburn

 

“Yesterday is ashes; tomorrow is wood. Only today does the fire burn brightly.” Inuit proverb

 

I read this and wondered, perhaps an ancient version of the Aerosmith quote I use so often “Life is about the journey not the destination. “ In the world of the Inuit the moment is of utmost necessity as life literally hangs in a balance constantly. There is a line of forward looking knowing we need wood to keep the fire going, food to sustain living and yet the moment is so crucial. Last night I had a dream of teaching. Odd a teacher would dream of teaching but it had significance to me as it was about teaching swimming. I started teaching swimming lessons when I was twelve or so. In teaching swimming you have to learn to swim by swimming you cannot learn by reading a book. I find it amazing how we have taken that simple concept of having context to the lesson and forgotten it. John Dewey would be rolling in his grave if he could see how much s\we have bastardized learning.

 

“Predicting the future is easy. It’s trying to figure out what’s going on now that’s hard.” Fritz R. S. Dressler 

 

“Create your future from your future not your past.” Werner Erhard

 

Recently I helped a friend write and design a brochure for a program they were doing the front cover had a picture of a foundation and was worded something to the effect of building a strong foundation. For many people life is trying to focus on the future and they literally try and build a foundation based on a goal far off. Often they lose sight of what is here now and immediate. The Inuit knew tomorrow they would need wood for the fire and it would be found but the heat is here now while it burns. So often we need that goal set off in the distance but we need to live now to reach it.

 

“There’s nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.” Johann Sebastian Bach

 

Now right this moment is when you proceed to build toward your goal. Bach could not create his masterpieces without time spent hitting the right keys practicing perfecting the music that would become timeless. 

 

“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” Yogi Berra

 

Many years ago newspapers would make jokes of the yogism’s and pick on the great catcher for the New York Yankees and when he became a Major League Manager they still made fun of his comments. However looking at this quote, there is little difference when speaking about a fire and wood but when you need the fire there sure is borrowing from the Inuit statement I started with. 

 

“Don’t do anything in practice that you wouldn’t do in the game.” George Halas

 

The great NFL coach was accurate as to life as well if you practice it in your life you will end up actually doing it. I write often about example and trying to set an example. It is in what we live that others see and understand us. I was walking in and noticed posters on a coaches wall alluding to this concept. Actually several of the following were on his wall. 

 

“If I don’t practice the way I should, then I won’t play the way that I know I can.” Ivan Lendl

 

“We all knew there was just one way to improve our odds for survival: train, train, train. Sometimes, if your training is properly intense it will kill you. More often — much, much more often — it will save your life.” Richard Marcinko

 

Richard Marchinko was a former US Navy SEAL team commander and founder of the notorious SEAL team Six which is the group that took out Osama Bin Laden. He was an antiterrorist before it was being supported with federal tax dollars. Marcinko now is a security advisor and author writing about his exploits during Viet Nam and after during the tenuous period as terrorism shifted as a means to accomplish a groups ends, his concept of practice and training kept both himself and his men alive. 

 

“If I miss one day of practice, I notice it. If I miss two days, the critics notice it. If I miss three days, the audience notices it.” Ignacy Paderewski

 

“An hour of practice is worth five hours of foot-dragging.” Pancho Segura

 

I received an email months ago and a good friend was going to be singing in a concert and in her email she spoke of the joy and fulfillment of singing and performing and perfecting the music. She was excited in her description of the event yet to take place and the thrill of performing. But is it the hours of dedication the audience sees and the emotions poured in over the hours of learning the music that is heard and not simply the one hour recital at 7:00 Saturday night.  Life is about practicing and working at knowing the wood will be there to keep the fire going. I will end today my meanderings with a quote from a great football player in his time perhaps the greatest running back ever in High School and he was from a small town in Georgia, went to The University of Georgia, and then to fame in the USFL. He was actually who the USFL built the league around.

 

“If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat.” Herschel Walker

 

Herschel is now several years retired from football and many years from High School where he still is a legend in football here in Georgia and of how he trained as a child pulling tractor tires around the yard and doing thousands upon thousands of sit ups and pushups. It is interesting how so many know what he did yet do not emulate the feat. They know what got him to his greatness yet and they want to be there but avoid the work. Sadly LIFE too is similar. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.

namaste

bird

 

It is not an Emerson day?

Bird Droppings July 28, 2012

It is not an Emerson day?

 

Last night I was extremely tired after playing with my granddaughter and cooking supper for everyone. While just sitting writing a few minutes ago my wife called me to see the sunset which was gorgeous. Our granddaughter was in her arms and showing me a near full moon high in the sky and of course I took a few photos. We have been everywhere today with our grandbaby. First some shower gifts for our grandbaby to be in South Carolina and then a local nursery and some outfits for both granddaughters. I needed to get some work done outside today but it seems every time I start Charlie wants to show me something or talk or read a book and granddaughters have first option especially over work. It was starting to get dark save and a front is coming in with vivid oranges and reds in the sunset in a massive line across the west. I had gone from dawn to dusk and beyond yesterday and now today somehow felt like I really did not get much done. I had been at school first yesterday and ran errands moved some plants then watered and reestablished a few plants. I clipped a few dead pitcher plants from our bog garden. We have pitcher plant or plants I should say and it is interesting to show novices the vast amount of insects they actually trap.

On a different topic it has been quite a few years since I began gathering Emerson quotes and writings. As I looked back on a day I felt I did not get much done I started adding up after reading this quote. Actually I had talked to a graphic arts class during my planning period, started working on sports posters, taught my classes, done a good deal of paper work, went to the bank, post office and gas station, loaded my camera and such and went to a football game all the while talking to maybe a thousand people along the way. 

 

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

It is a difficult proposition many times to simply put aside today at that point where you stop. But far too often we get encumbered with the now and focus to a point where we carry that focus over to the morrow and often stress and anxiety follow. This is sort of what I was doing and not realizing what all I had really gotten done.

 

“There is a tendency for things to right themselves.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it. The man who knows how will always have a job. The man who also knows why will always be his boss. As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man, who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Somewhere along the line a professor called me an existentialist so many years ago and it took a moment and as I thought, ponder as I do, perhaps I was to some extent. I have read more Emerson the past few years than probably in my life time finding bits and pieces that truly seem to make sense. So often in life as Emerson states it will work out,  but as he also says simply trying will not do it, having principles is the key.

 

“To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

“All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth steps in a continuous line. Many a man had taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

I have used this line from Emerson so many times before, so often we initiate yet do not continue after that first step.  The great one in life is that person who takes the second and third step as they proceed in life.

 

“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

I find this quote interesting as the fake beard falls away. So often I have met people whose facade is imitation, unreal, purely make believe and even fake. They strive so hard to be something they are not; high school students call them affectionately POSERS. They go through life posing as someone else. Thinking back a few months as I am walking around the halls, kids will point to someone and say they are a poser. It is all about trying to fit in a different group or in a different style. As I watch and observe so many times the school bully is that, simply to hide other flaws. It could be poor reading skills and or poor self -esteem. As I sit here this evening this last statement is most significant, it is most difficult so often to make that initial decision. Yet as time will be, once the decision is made things seem to happen and the pressure is gone and events fall in place. Today is a new day an Independence Day and with that please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and to always give thanks.

namaste

bird

Why is experience the greatest teacher?

Bird Droppings July 27, 2012

Why is experience the greatest teacher?

 

“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” Douglas Adams, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

 

            What a way to start with a line from a fiction book about space travelers. However in the span of ten minutes this morning as I read emails and posts on various blogs the idea of learning through and of experience was prevalent. One fellow mentioned he learned from his friends. Another learned through the doing of something. Still another got into experiential education. We are the sum total of our experiences and great educators along the way have seen this and written about it for many years.

 

“Any experience, however, trivial in its first appearance, is capable of assuming an indefinite richness of significance by extending its range of perceived connections.” John Dewey, Democracy and Education

 

            Dewey believed that it was through utilizing the previous experiences of a child that we build their education. As I read more on Dewey’s thinking and subsequent thinkers who have built from Dewey I have found within the research when learning has context and relevance it is retained exceedingly more so than when simple a mass of content. It saddens me to see our children learning what they need to for a test and not what they need to walk out of school at the end of twelve years for life.

 

“Education, in its broadest sense, is the means of this social continuity of life.” John Dewey, Democracy and Education

 

            Each day as I wonder what direction will I go today in my reflections and wanderings I always seem to come back to the interconnections that bind us together? It is through the interconnections of the pieces that we learn and through which our lived experiences become actual learning and knowledge.

 

“To ‘learn from experience’ is to make a backward and forward connection between what we do to things and what we enjoy or suffer from things in consequence. Under such conditions, doing becomes a trying; an experiment with the world to find out what it is like; the undergoing becomes instruction–discovery of the connection of things.John Dewey, Democracy and Education

 

In looking at behavior we use the terms antecedent, behavior and then consequence to show how a behavior is elicited. The antecedent precedes the behavior which is followed by the consequence which is considered how it is to work according to behaviorism. This is very easily applied and followed in animal research and in many school settings is a standard we call it behavior modification. However I do think Dewey was seeing this sequence differently. In order to learn from experience we need to be able to rearrange and redirect the antecedent, behavior and consequence so as we go those interconnections are literally liquid and flow back and forth rather than this than that.

 

“Thinking, in other words, is the intentional endeavor to discover specific connections between something which we do and the consequences which result, so that the two become continuous. Their isolation, and consequently their purely arbitrary going together, is canceled; a unified developing situation takes place. The occurrence is now understood; it is explained; it is reasonable, as we say that the thing should happen as it does. Thinking is thus equivalent to an explicit rendering of the intelligent element in our experience. It makes it possible to act with an end in view. It is the condition of our having aims.” John Dewey, Democracy and Education

 

            Perhaps as I see it behavior modification can work where thinking is not allowed. When we take away critical thinking and imagination then the standard of antecedent behavior and consequence is firm in charge. As I reflect today this could be why some teachers like maintaining that hierarchy of teacher and students and have a difficult time with Dewey’s ideas of a democratic classroom. This could be why Texas wants to do away with critical thinking in education. When we mass a group of students and lose the individuality in the masses it is far easier to maintain the status quo.  Education is notorious for tracking and grouping kids in ability groups or classes. Might have something to do with control again or could be that research show children learn best when they are with their own kind. Fifty years ago this was the premise for segregated schools.

 

“How one person’s abilities compare in quantity with those of another is none of the teacher’s business. It is irrelevant to his work. What is required is that every individual shall have opportunities to employ his own powers in activities that have meaning. Mind, individual method, originality (these are convertible terms) signify the quality of purposive or directed action.”  John Dewey, Democracy and Education

 

            Trying to provide the right tools and understanding so that children can learn in a setting that will provide them with opportunities to use what they know and build can be difficult and tedious at times. Many teachers give up on this type of learning because there is more work involved. I look at my new room two weeks from school starting back and know I have a good bit to do. Clean organize and sanitize my humble crazy class room. I did move my snakes and turtles home I have a few things less things to get done now to getting computers all checked out and each student’s portfolio set up and I will be ready to rock and roll. One thing I have found is that is about kids wanting to be in a class room. If they want to be there amazing things and learning can happen.

 

The educator’s part in the enterprise of education is to furnish the environment which stimulates responses and directs the learner’s course. In the last analysis, all that the educator can do is modify stimuli so that response will as surely as is possible result in the formation of desirable intellectual and emotional dispositions”. John Dewey, Democracy and Education

 

            With only two weeks left for my summer and I am sitting here in my room writing pondering a new year and ideas. Hopefully my students will learn and go away with something that they can carry through their lives. Each day I have ended my droppings with the same line and do so again. Please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts and to always give thanks.

namaste

bird

 

Did you know trees can talk?

Bird Droppings July 26, 2012

Did you know trees can talk?

 

“Did you know that trees talk? Well they do. They talk to each other, and they’ll talk if you listen. Trouble is, white people don’t listen. They never learned to listen to the Indians so I don’t suppose they’ll listen to other voices in nature. Tatanga Mani, Stoney tribe

 

            Most people would laugh at the comment trees can talk. I thought it was a bit odd as I first read the quote from Tatanga Mani or Walking Buffalo a Stoney Indian from Canada who after being educated in the modern world never gave up his reverence and respect for nature. A friend posted a note like in Lord of the Rings which is what I thought of as I read earlier today. I have been by the cottonwoods beside the Indian cemetery at Fort Sill and stood looking across the plains listening. The rustling of the cottonwoods along the creek can provide a sense of communication unlike anything I can describe. It has been a few years since I was last at Fort Sill in Lawton Oklahoma but the memory lingers. This morning I went out before the sun came up and stood listening to the night. Pine needles create a sound unlike the leaves of many deciduous trees. Fading in the background the crickets and tree frogs chirped along keeping time with the slight breeze.

For the Lakota, mountains, lakes, rivers, springs, valleys, and the woods were all in finished beauty. Winds, rain, snow, sunshine, day, night, and change of seasons were endlessly fascinating. Birds, insects, and animals filled the world with knowledge that defied the comprehension of man.” Chief Luther Standing Bear

 

            While I sit I am listening my mind seems to be at ease and trouble seems to simply wander off. Around me the sounds of nature and when the sunlight finally makes its way through the dark the awareness of all around me. Butterflies and flowers are all about me and each has a specific purpose and each often occupying and living a very delicate balance in our hectic world. Many people give no mind to a butterfly that only survives with a specific host plant much like the Monarch that only feeds only milkweed and related species. The Monarch also needs a very select forest to winter in as part of its natural cycle. In Mexico timbering is wiping out the winter resting spot for northern Monarchs and soon we may see a decline in Monarch populations.

 

“Everything was possessed of personality, only differing from us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensify human futility, so whatever came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint.Chief Luther Standing Bear

 

            I have many times written about the sacredness of life and all about us. Perhaps in greed we lose this sense of nature. Over the past few years I have learned to be more revenant to the world around me and in turn to people as well. I spent a large part of yesterday talking with a friend about how I see all as a puzzle a great jigsaw puzzle with each piece interconnected to all the others to form a picture of life. Some people hear my puzzle analogy and do not understand. It has been some time since listening to a great speaker talk about how we each influence at least ten people every day. He was referring to the fact that positively or negatively every person we come in contact with is impacted by what we do. The example we set is what is seen and carried away. Life is a constant interconnection of people, places, things and ideas.

 

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator

 

            It has been sometimes since walking across the fields near my old home I could hear the buffalo snort and paw the ground agitated by my prescience and letting me know I must move on. Many the times as a child I caught fireflies and filled a mason jar to light my bedroom at night with their glow. There is a point of understanding and reverence that we lose in our greed and selfishness. We tend to rush by and miss so much the world has to offer. I am sitting, writing, listening and wondering as I finish today. My dear friends please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts and always give thanks.

namaste

bird

 

Should we even consider ignorance a part of the journey?

Bird Droppings July 25, 2012

Should we even consider ignorance a part of the journey?

 

“If I want to justify my existence, and continue to be obsessed with the notion that I’ve got to do something for humanity — well, teaching ought to quell that obsession — and if I can ever get around to an intelligent view of matters, intelligent criticism of contemporary values ought to be useful to the world. This gets back again to ……The best way to help mankind is through the perfection of yourself.” Joseph Campbell

 

It has been so many years ago, at first I thought my goal was to do something for mankind as in some great event or task. As I sit and wonder this afternoon I find in Campbell’s thought so often it is searching for and bettering yourself that we truly help mankind. Earlier I wrote today to a friend about trying to understand and reduce ignorance. I seriously think it is funny how during political campaigns ignorance seems to be rampant.

 

“Unintelligent people always look for a scapegoat.” Ernest Bevin

 

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Derek Bok

 

Working with children it becomes interesting as each day you see bits and pieces of ignorance fall away only to be there again in the morning as parents and all those outside of school work on rebuilding during the night.  

 

“Ignorance is never out of style. It was in fashion yesterday, it is the rage today and it will set the pace tomorrow.” Frank Dane

 

“The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer

 

I live in a place which borders on ignorance and wants so terribly to cross over to the side of wisdom. It seems those in power always want to keep those ignorant folks in the dark hence for example the Dark Ages back in the day. During that period most could not even read or write and those that could were in power.

 

Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.” Benjamin Franklin

 

“Naiveté in grownups is often charming; but when coupled with vanity it is indistinguishable from stupidity.” Eric Hoffer

 

Looking at politics Hoffer may be very right. It does seem that in every election we watch politicians play with words against rhetoric that sounds good to that group that is being addressed. I recall when the legislation to prevent the sale of assault weapons was up for renewal and how ironic that in the midst of antiterrorism it would fall by the wayside.

“The opposite of love is not hate; the opposite of love is ignorance.” Brian Hwang

 

 “When I was fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have him around. When I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” Mark Twain

 

In a search for knowledge and for understanding so many roads can be walked. We can search in books, in schools, in our families, and in life in general, but it must entail a search. For to assume you are there is to cease the journey and to cease is to assume you have reached the destination. We are born with a starting point, point A and when we die we have reached point B it is that which connects A and B that is crucial.

 

“Life is about the journey not the destination” Steven Tyler, Aerosmith

 

Funny thing in as I am sitting here in my writing spot I was talking with my son and Aerosmith’s greatest hits was playing in the background, coincidence maybe who knows but the journey continues.

 

“Myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human manifestation…” Joseph Campbell, Hero with a Thousand Faces

 

I listen to the words and read the gibberish of the politicians and wonder if a hundred years ago or so would these same men and women be pushing for an Indian Territory and reservations. Today instead it is illegal immigration and Gay marriage that strike nerves in so many people. I was reading a National Geographic account of the salvaging of a slave ship. In 1698 humans were bought and sold for trinkets. Eleven thirteen inch bars of iron would buy a black man and forty pounds of glass beads a black woman. On this particular ship the historians believe they were from the Ibo tribe in Western Africa. These people believed no one was greater than any other. It was their life philosophy that made them susceptible to being taken as slaves. This tribe was a peaceful people they were human beings bought and sold as things. Not until a war was fought were black men legally human beings and it was not until the trial twenty years later of Chief Standing Bear  of the Ponca tribe that Indians received the legal term of human.

 

‎            “Only to the white man was nature a wilderness and only to him was the land ‘infested’ with ‘wild’ animals and ‘savage’ people. To us it was tame, Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery.” Luther Standing Bear

 

I have become spoiled sleeping late and forgetting to see the sunrise. This morning I went out and sat for thirty minutes in the stillness of morning. Morning doves were cooing around me and various other birds just waking up. A woodpecker started on the old black walnut trunk nearby our house and I felt at ease. So many thoughts passed through my mind sitting listening in the barely lit morning. Soon I will be back in my normal rising early and writing reading getting back into the groove so to say. So it is evening now and I must end my day may peace be with you all my friends and please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and to always give thanks.  

namaste

bird