Bird Droppings September 12, 2016
I am where I need to be
“A society in which vocation and job are separated for most people gradually creates an economy that is often devoid of spirit, one that frequently fills our pocketbooks at the cost of emptying our souls.” Dr. Sam Keenre
Many the day and time I have said I am where I need to be at this moment as I teach special education in a high school in Georgia. My entire life has been getting to this point and to this degree of understanding of my life experiences. I was addressing prior experiences with several teachers earlier in the week and how we unconsciously expect kids to have the same experiences coming into a class as we do or I should say many teachers see students that way. It sort of hit me hard one semester when I was co-teaching in a class with a former special education teacher who mentioned being of the old school in terms of his style of teaching and is looking at things somewhat different. I was watching kids who have never read a book other than in school try and get involved in a discussion on physics. I got a bit carried away the other day on some topic and was amazed at how all the kids not only were listening but asking questions. We take far too much for granted in our interactions. Maybe today’s youth know more about electronics and computers but when discussing philosophy or theology most haven’t a clue. Most kids have never taken a moment to ponder outside of school.
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” George Bernard Shaw
I taught so many years ago and loved teaching but economic reasons took me into my second love graphic arts. I was paid considerable more to design flyers and transparencies and doing dark room work than teaching would ever have hoped to pay. I often wondered in those twenty three years away from teaching which I do believe is my purpose in life why I was not back where I wanted to be.
“A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the “why” for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any “how.” Viktor Frankl
“Our minds are finite, and yet even in these circumstances of finitude we are surrounded by possibilities that are infinite, and the purpose of life is to grasp as much as we can out of that infinitude” Alfred North Whitehead
Often I recall how it took a multitude of events to bring me to my senses and to get me back on track. Each one could have been enough but in a series I was often under pressure just to make it through the day. It was through the course of my daily journaling that I found my way indirectly back to education.
“All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why.” James Thurber
My first day back officially in a school building was destined to be more than a normal day as a bit later into the morning September 11, 2001 our school went into lock down. Muslim friends of my sons were picked up by their parents and the grimness of events that transpired eventually sunk in. I actually could not remember the day I started other than it was a Tuesday a week or so after Labor Day. Now nearly twelve years later I am sitting in the school after a long meeting with a parent about a child. I am no longer confused as I sit and write searching for answers. My searches now go deeper and longer trying to unravel this purpose and rationale for why we are here and why we do what we do.
“To have passion, to have a dream, to have a purpose in life; and there are three components to that purpose, one is to find out who you really are, the second is to serve other human beings, because we are here to do that and the third is to express your unique talents and when you are expressing your unique talents you lose track of time.” Deepak Chopra
Truly I have lost track of time as each moment seems to flow into the next and each day into the weeks and months. I enjoy what I do and find solace in the sanctuary of my room at school and in the students I work with.
“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Thoughts are things! And powerful things at that, when mixed with definiteness of purpose, and burning desire, can be translated into riches.” Napoleon Hill
“To actually feel like you’ve done something good with your life and you’re useful to others is what I was always wanting, and was always looking for.” Angelina Jolie
“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” Helen Keller
I recall some of my first readings on Carl Jung and synchronicity and how this seemed to be an evident power in my life each step leading to the next. I remember the day a consultant told me to close my business and find another line of work and then proceeded to suggest a book for me to read. A new age book James Redfield’s The Celestine Prophecy. One day by chance I was hit in the head at a bookstore with a book as it fell off the shelf and by chance it was Redfield’ s book. As I look back in my life to each event leaving my home state of Pennsylvania to come to Georgia and each piece of my life’s puzzle I now know there was more than random chance events. I know there was purpose guiding direction in what I learned and what I understood. I often wonder if my parents drew out a diagram of where they wanted me to be as an adult back when I was a tiny baby and then set about sending me on my way. In 1954 a family counselor wrote a poem and put it out to friends. Soon that poem took on a life of its own and millions were scattered around the globe. In 1972 or so the author saw a copy on a refrigerator of a friend and went about copywriting the poem.
“Perhaps you’ve never heard of Dorothy Law Nolte, but you’ve likely seen her most famous, in fact, her only famous work. It might even be hanging on your fridge as it has for decades in millions of family kitchens around the world. Titled “Children Learn What They Live,” the poem begins: If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.” May 6, 2005, Bettijane Levine, Times Staff Writer
So I have gone through the day and am occasionally felt a bit behind with various meetings and such that have slowed me down. The music in my classroom is always playing softly and relaxing and I look forward to another day.
“All programming for prosperity should be built on spiritual foundations. The first step is to enter the spiritual dimension, the alpha level, and determine what your purpose in life is. Find out what you are here for, what you are supposed to do with your life.” Jose Silva
In my studies of Native American philosophies this idea of inner search is the basis for many of the journeys and sources of self-understanding. Perhaps some of my own moments sitting in my quiet place at home sheltered by pecan trees and pines listening to crickets and tree frogs have helped ease me along. I wonder each day as I rise and greet the morning. Reading the news today it seems we are in for a difficult few weeks in politics and as I have for so long now closed each day please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)