Looking within to who we really are

Bird Droppings January 24, 2020
Looking within to who we really are


Where do I start several key elements of my day yesterday brought about thinking and pondering that lead me to now? It has been nearly ten years since I would sit with students and start talking about James Kavanaugh, author, poet, thinker and theologian. I seriously miss my visits to the Early Childhood Education room at my previous high school. I ended up in a discussion on one of my favorite topics learning with several teachers and from there the education program at Piedmont College. So here I am this morning sitting writing about two topics that sort of crept up on me. I was reintroduced to James Kavanaugh in a roundabout way. I recall in the 1970’s having read some of his poetry as he was popular for several reasons in the hippie culture of that period. A renegade priest he wrote out against the church and was rather quickly no longer a priest in the Catholic Church. His conferences, seminars and books were a cult favorite in the time.


“Dr. James Kavanaugh was a man unlike any other. He could be a bit stubborn, always stood up for the underdog, and was forever ready to speak his mind. Jim enjoyed a variety of music including Latin hymns and Georgian chants, Irish songs, and both jazz and classical music as well. Some will remember Jim for his love of nature or his weakness for cookies, but all will remember him for his generosity with both his time and his heart, and the inspiration he shared with all those near him. He will be dearly missed. Dr. James Kavanaugh died on December 29, 2009 in Kalamazoo” jkavanaugh.com
I started my Master’s Degree at Piedmont College in the spring of 2002 side tracking some of the basic entry requirements with a very high Millers Analogy Test score. As I progressed it seems I needed to be interviewed for acceptance into the Education Department which was odd since I was nearing the end of course work for my Masters. I set an appointment and went to my interview. In the line were about twenty people who were all there for that initial interview. Here I was already completed and doing an initial interview sort of the cart before the horse perhaps. I went in and was asked several questions relating to the Mission Statement of the Piedmont College Department of Education.


“The School of Education’s mission is focused on mastering the Art of Teaching: Preparing Proactive Educators to Improve the Lives of All Children. Supporting this mission, we strive to prepare reflective, scholarly, proactive educators. These practitioners effectively educate their students to become knowledgeable, inquisitive, and collaborative learners in diverse, democratic learning communities.” Piedmont College Education Department

As I thought about my questions and answered and proceeded to head home I felt good and was ready to finish my Masters Degree program. A few days later I received a letter stating I had failed my interview. I called my advisor who called the Dean and set up another interview with the Dean of the Education Department. So here I am failing my initial interview and I can rub some people the wrong way relatively quickly but I had felt good about my interview back a few weeks and was confused. As I went into the Dean’s office the Assistant Dean was present also. My first question was from the Dean, How do I get on the Bird Droppings email list? I liked this conversation already and proceeded to pass my interview.
I continued from my Masters at Piedmont directly into the Specialist Program and met with the Director of that program to set up my plans for a course of study. It was interesting as the professor who failed me in my interview was by chance one of the professors in the cohort recommended to me by the Director of the program and I was sweating bullets heading into class with him. A few months later we met and have now long since been good friends it seems that one interview day was a bad one for him, a wrecked car on the way among other things. As my Specialist classes unfolded this professor would start and or finish each session with James Kavanaugh as inspiration or as I look back maybe a starting point for the thoughts to come. Within a few weeks I was acquiring copies of Kavanaugh’s work. Again, I had become a fan. I wanted to share this piece today from his book, Quiet Water, published in 1991.


In the Center of Your Soul
By James Kavanaugh


There is quiet water
In the center of your soul,
Where a son or daughter
Can be taught what no man knows.

There’s a fragrant garden
In the center of your soul,
Where the weak can harden
And a narrow mind can grow.

There’s a rolling river
In the center of your soul,
An eternal giver
With a rich and endless flow….

There’s a land of muses
In the center of your soul,
Where the rich are losers
And the poor are free to go.

So remain with me then,
To pursue another goal
And to find your freedom
In the center of your soul.


I read through this poem now twenty times this morning each time getting a bit more and each time literally another tear. These are very powerful words for today. I do believe in this day and time we all need to have some inspiration and additional meaning to our lives. We could ask, what is the soul, and go off on numerous tangents and wanderings but for today have the soul be that piece within that is who you are. The soul is your essence borrowing from James Hillman and Karl Jung. So many days ago, I started asking as I write to please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts and today is no different with headlines blaring of so many in pain and suffering through the world. A quick reminder as I finish search your soul and please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart namaste.


My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
Mitakuye Oyasin
(We are all related)

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