Hearing and Listening

Bird Droppings September 21, 2011
Hearing and Listening

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Epictetus

A simple analogy yet we far too often do not understand that statement and perhaps it is because we have more jaw muscle than ear muscle. In education ninety nine point nine percent of the time if you the teacher listen students will learn more. That almost sounds like a paradox.

“Lenin could listen so intently that he exhausted the speaker.” Isaiah Berlin

I have never seen nor heard this about Lenin but as I thought so many pictures are of him show him intently staring even to the point of death and his glass coffin that still is on display.

“Listen or thy tongue will keep thee deaf.” Native American Indian Proverb

Anyone that knows me has seen me taking pictures tens of thousands of pictures of school, grandbaby, nature and athletic events. Digital cameras can be wonderful tools in the classroom as well. I was taking some pictures of twin day last year and soon to be again during one of our homecoming dress up days and one little girl was blurred in every photo. She is very ADHD and evidently that day was a bad day for being hyper. But in her constant moving she wouldn’t stop talking as well and I would say be still and bouncing around she would ask what did you say. Even in taking a picture of two of her friends she moved and she wasn’t in the picture till she moved.

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Winston Churchill

Far too often we do not stop to hear what is being said both as teachers and students of life.

“The young people who come to me in the hope of hearing me utter a few memorable maxims are quite disappointed. Aphorisms are not my forte, I say nothing but banalities…. I listen to them and they go away delighted.” Andre Gide

When teachers ask me how I know something about a student I generally say I listened to them.

“I tell you everything that is really nothing, and nothing of what is everything, do not be fooled by what I am saying. Please listen carefully and try to hear what I am not saying.” Charles C. Finn

In our chaotic world so often we miss pieces, bits and tiny segments sometimes what is not said or done is as crucial as all that happens.

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” Peter F. Drucker

The great business consultant and author Peter Drucker offers again we need to not only listen but understand and then read between the lines.

“The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen.” Tommy Smothers

I was always a big fan of The Smothers Brothers back in the day and find interesting how such a simple thought could in effect be a powerful one. If you do not want to hear it don’t listen but let the person speak their piece.

“I guess I’ve spent my life listening to what wasn’t being said.” Eli Khamarov

If we could perhaps things would be different. In politics a journalist is free who was jailed for not speaking out and telling sources however now she is speaking and repercussions could be great.

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” Robert Fulghum

Dr. Laura Nolte so long ago said “Children learn what they live” interesting that what they hear was not as significant.

“Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” James Baldwin

Each day I watch and listen and deal with issues of teenagers and so many are simply imitating what they have learned from home mirror images of mom and dad or whomever is the one at the house. For today please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

Is it really adversity?

Bird Droppings July 11, 2011
Is it really adversity?

“If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.” Robert Fulghum

I was working in the yard most of the day yesterday when I was not at a reptile show with my son, weeding our front shrub beds and working on edging the beds as well and all during the day various birds flew by chirping and calling sort of keeping me company as I toiled. In the late morning a red tailed hawk swooped across the yard over into some pines to add to a rather interesting morning. As I thought today and much early saw this quote from Fulghum it seemed to be a good way to look at life. But it is also too how we deal with the problems we face.

“We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.’ ’A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.’” Authors Unknown

So often we get absorbed in the issues, the problems and do not see what lies ahead or that something can lie ahead around the turn. It must be that compulsive obsessive behavior that seems inborn in so many of us myself included.

“The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.” William Shakespeare, Othello

Life continually throws curve balls and learning to hit a curve ball is the secret and not succumbing to the psychological ploys of the pitcher. Of course when you learn to hit curves the pitcher may throw a slider.

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.” Mother Teresa

There is a bit of humor in Mother Theresa’s stoicism as she wondered about her place in the circle of life and questioned.

“We acquire the strength we have overcome.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

A simple thought but adversity does bring strength. Thinking back to yesterday and Dr. Garrett and the rule of opposites there needs to be weakness for the strength as we struggle through life.

“You can’t run away from trouble. There ain’t no place that far.” Uncle Remus

I recall Uncle Remus from Disney’s cartoons based on the characters and many trips through Madison Georgia that is the home of the Uncle Remus’ characters. Even in Madison you see the Disney art work portraying the various characters. In life far too often we run away trying to avoid dealing with issues and there is no place far enough eventually it does catch up.

“Enduring habits I hate…. Yes, at the very bottom of my soul I feel grateful to all my misery and bouts of sickness and everything about me that is imperfect, because this sort of thing leaves me with a hundred backdoors through which I can escape from enduring habits.” Friedrich Nietzsche

A day or so ago a comment was made about over achievers as I read various educational materials. In dotting every I and crossing every T and each capital letter exactly correct as I read I was thinking obsessive compulsive. Understanding our frailties and weaknesses can make us strong.

“If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it round. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don’t embrace trouble; that’s as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

Perhaps it is in acknowledgement of trouble that we can overcome it. It is true we learn and we grow, we develop a capacity to overcome adversity as life experiences are gained.

“The healthy and strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it, whether he’s got an abscess on his knee or in his soul.” Rona Barrett

“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.” Garrison Keillor

So often we fret over things that in truth are simply a part of life and fretting will not take it away it is in knowing how to deal with and live with them.

“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.” Erich Fromm

You have to get through the trials before you can savor the victory is what most coached will tell their teams.

“I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.” Jewish Proverb

As I think and ponder perhaps this is the most powerful quote of today. If we all looked at life this way what a world we would have, no more whiners.

“Sometimes the littlest things in life are the hardest to take. You can sit on a mountain more comfortably than on a tack.” Author Unknown

This is such a good illustration picturing a tack and a mountain and trying in turn to sit on each. The big issues we seem to deal with but those sharp tiny ones sneak in there and cause the trouble.

“How can something bother you if you won’t let it?” Terri Guillemets

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” Frank A. Clark

“As long as you keep getting born, it’s alright to die some times.” Orson Scott Card

“Bad is never good until worse happens.” Danish Proverb

Even though the smooth pavement is so much easier to travel on I do prefer a bump now and again to keep me awake. I was thinking of the ripples alongside the interstate highways before bridges they really do wake you up quick. Sometimes we need a ripple or two to keep us going.

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” Walt Disney

Walt Disney was one of the great optimists of our time. Back in the day he had the vision to see pine flats, orange groves and swamp and envision a city, an amusement park unlike anything ever built before. As I look back all from drawing of a little mouse.

“Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.” Arthur Golden

“There’s a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out.” Lou Reed

Again the rule of opposites falls into play and from Eastern thought the yin and yan opposites that need each other so you can truly see what each is often depicted as black and white which h is for many the contrast of life.

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” Mary Engelbreit

So much of life is how we see it and then what we do about it. It is a new week so as always please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

Doc Bird’s Herb Garden note:

Soothing tea – This is from Kathleen Brown’s book Herbal Teas. I tried it last evening and not bad although I added a little lime juice and blue agave nectar.

1 part catnip leaves
1 part lemon balm leaves
1 part linden blossoms (Basswood tree and no blossoms to be found yesterday)
1 part oat straw
1 part passiflora leaves (passion flower)
1 part St. John’s wort blossoms

Combine herbs in a pot cover with boiling water steep 15 – 20 minutes

Walking agian in the morning

Bird Droppings May 9, 2011
Walking again in the morning

It is hard for me to describe the feeling of losing this aspect of the day. It has been now nearly eleven years since each morning I would get up and walk upwards of five miles before dawn. Many of those journeys were with a good friend discussing various topics be it politics, theology, education and or philosophy. The past years I find myself more simply going into the early hours and listening alone to the quiet and stillness of that fraction of time before the sunrises. As I went out this morning walking the dog for a few minutes as she went about her morning business I could not help but here the sounds of spring were returning. Our morning had been rather cool and tree frogs and crickets had been silent for some time.
As I looked into the sky I noticed a small smile of a moon I feel as if I have lost time I have nearly missed a full moon cycle. The moon was barely visible through the trees now nearly filled in. In a few more days my teaching school year draws to an end, only a handful of days the next two weeks. My own schooling begins anew in a day or two as I get back seriously to my dissertation back to reading and writing it seems graduate school is composed of reading and writing.

“We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.” William Ewart Gladstone

On a morning where the news headlines is filled with headlines of retaliation, suicide bombers, conflict, war, mayhem and death it is new week what a better way to start then to think of peace.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” Mother Teresa

Through out her life she set an example lived her life for others less fortunate than she and always striving for peace in her actions.

“Peace cannot be achieved through violence; it can only be attained through understanding.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I think back to my high school days and how Emerson was approached I never did learn who he was until my later years somewhere in grad school. He was one of our great thinkers and philosophers so and often we by pass him in literature a passage here and a note there leading into Thoreau and quickly go to Moby Dick and Melville. So many authors listened to and asked him for advice and mentoring. As I read Emerson today I have many websites featuring his works tagged on my computer for quick reference.

“If they want peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks that precede cannon shots.” Napoleon Bonaparte

One of the great warriors of all time saw peace as a veil that men in general never wanted hence the constant pin pricks.

“The more we sweat in peace the less we bleed in war.” Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

Maybe it is the work needed to be at peace maybe it takes too much and we seem to always choose the easy way that of quick and complete destruction.

“The real differences around the world today are not between Jews and Arabs; Protestants and Catholics; Muslims, Croats, and Serbs. The real differences are between those who embrace peace and those who would destroy it; between those who look to the future and those who cling to the past; between those who open their arms and those who are determined to clench their fists.” William J. Clinton, 1997

While we can argue his morality and personal life for many days on end Bill Clinton was an astute and intelligent man. As I read this passage I find this is the basis for so many of the world’s wars, clinging to his past. It often is not whether it is right or wrong but just clinging to it, that tradition or ritual. My Westie this past weekend has a stuffed toy bone she has carried every where made it hard to get her outside to the yard without it. She slept on it, carried it everywhere, she is obsessed with it. Many nations and peoples are like this as they wage war no practical value and definitely no humanitarian value, just because it was this way.

“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” Indira Gandhi

Interesting how in India where Mahatma Gandhi taught peace so many leaders have died trying to attain that goal including Gandhi himself.

“Peace hath higher tests of manhood, than battle ever knew.” John Greenleaf Whittier

We have always known it takes far more to walk away then to fight but we succumb to our human nature and take a swing. Seems we always want to get in that first blow.

“Five great enemies to peace inhabit with us: avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride. If those enemies were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace.” Francesco Petrarch

As I look about this morning how do we even attempt to banish these when they are the basis for so much of the world’s leadership perhaps when we vote next time around.

“There is one armor that the world of men and women, as a world, has never yet put on. The churches have long bungled with its fastenings, but the world has gone unfended, and few have been those in whose hands the mystical sword of the spirit has shone with daily use. This armor, waiting to be worn, is the armor of brotherhood and sacrifice, the world of unselfishness, a conquering sword, with the power, where used, to unite the world in love. And there are none who may not put it on.” M.A. DeWolfe Howe

Why is it the word love keeps popping up I recall my earlier years as anti war demonstrators in the 1970’s used peace signs and many times the word love was written right next to the peace symbol. One of my all time favorite movies of all time, Billy Jack contains a song, One Tin Soldier, recorded and sung in the film by the group Coven.

“Go ahead and hate your neighbor, Go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of heaven, you can justify it in the end. There won’t be any trumpets blowing come the judgment day, on the bloody morning after…. One tin soldier rides away.” Lambert-Potter

Actually briefly back in the day it was a hit song for the group. The song and short animated film of the song are based on the ends justify the means. I find it amusing how war never does seems to bring peace. World War II ended and we went into the cold war and Korean War, war does not bring peace. I was watching, The Scorpion King over the weekend and there is a scene where the bad guy says he is going to bring peace after conquering and slaughtering all in his path. The heroine, the sorceress turns to him and says you are bringing not peace only oppression.

“I think that people want peace so much that one of these days’ governments had better get out of their way and let them have it.” Dwight Eisenhower

General Eisenhower fought for peace as commander of he allied forces in World War II during World War II and then served our country as President.

“We have all taken risks in the making of war. Isn’t it time that we should take risks to secure peace?” J. Ramsay MacDonald

Maybe weapons of peace just aren’t as cool as weapons of war and with so many video games featuring destruction who knows.

“We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

True peace is about freedom and choice and understanding.

“Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air – explode softly – and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either – not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.” Robert Fulghum

I wonder if any US funds have been spent on this weapon. I wonder if the current Congress would even address such a weapon. I wonder if Brown and Root have an inventory of Crayolas around somewhere in anticipation along with their corporate partner Halliburton.

“A warless world will come as men develop warless hearts.” Charles Wesley Burns

Peace is not an easy task when so many are against the idea and reap profits off of war and destruction. It seems so often companies who profit from destruction also make fortunes on reconstruction.

“We shall never be able to affect physical disarmament until we have succeeded in effecting moral disarmament.” J. Ramsay MacDonald

It is not an easy task seeking peace in a world so intent on war. I remember peace activists being jailed and beaten by police for being nonviolent which to me is a paradox of sorts. Gandhi was punished for being nonviolent and killed eventually because of his beliefs. Martin Luther King Jr. died advocating for nonviolence and peace. So many die for peace. Is a death in peace more notable than a death in war? I wonder if there is a congressional medal of honor for dying trying to achieve peace. Both dying for what they believe. As I search my heart this morning as I wrote I borrowed a passage from Dr. Wayne Dyer.

“When you know rather than believe you will discover the necessary abilities to carry out your purpose. Beliefs are handed to you; hence they are received with some doubt. Knowing comes from within.”

It is about knowing not simply believing. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird