Sunday, December 14, 2008

this makes me want to create my own mythic walking shoes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

from khalil gibran's the prophet

"When you work, you fulfill a part of earth's furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born."

These words paint a picture to me of a baby being born. The earth and its people community say, here is a child. To this child, we entrust the safeguarding of this dream.

And so that child has a dream, a commitment, an obligation, to bring something unique, special to this planet, that only she or he ever could.

I wish that our jobs felt like this for us. I know that almost everyone I know does not experience this in their employment.

Currently I earn money by helping students to understand math. I like to help people overcome hurdles that are between them and what they would like to achieve. I like explaining math to minds that are curious. I like giving the underprivileged an advantage so that they can live up to their potential as humans. I like showing people that math is understandable and accessible.

But there are times when my student doesn't care about anything except passing, with minimal effort. When their cellphones go off and they try to hide that they are looking at them. When they want me to do all the work and thinking for them.

There are other times when the student is earnest and hard-working, but the skills that they are expected to master are so unbelievably silly, convoluted, and irrelevant to their life. I can see that the only way they are going to learn to do the math is to stifle the voice that says "why, what is the point?" "I would so much rather be learning something I am interested in!"

Why shouldn't they learn what they care about? Why has the curriculum of so many students been pre-determined? Why can't each child learn to follow their curiosity?

I think this brings me back to the quotation at the top. If a student has had to silence their true voice in order to get by, is it any wonder that when they turn 18, when they graduate and face an unbelievable array of choices of "careers"...that they are unable to know who they are, what they are supposed to do?

I am learning that each of us is unique, with a purpose, with special skills, gifts for our families, our communities, and our world. And I'm learning that children, even while quite young, need to be nurtured to discover their own uniqueness. Not in a spirit of arrogance, but as future contributors, as givers, caretakers, creators. In a spirit of generosity.

And what about my gift to the world? I think I have more to give than explaining math, although it can be fun. I would like to become wise, to learn to live at peace with myself, with others, and with God, my Father. I would like to learn how to live wisely and gently on this beautiful earth. I would like to give kindness and love to my family and my friends.

The amazing thing is that so much has been given to me by others who lived the truth of the prophet's statement. And I am grateful for that. The books that I read are gifts from writers who worked to express the wisdom they had gained in their short lives. People who do not write have taught me to live.

I guess it is a cycle of giving. Sort of like the cycles in nature, where nothing is ever wasted.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

books i've been reading lately

I'm not too far into it, but the first 3 anecdotes are vivid, unforgettable examples of how the global industrialization of food threatens the loss of so much wisdom and uniqueness and nutrition worldwide. More positively, this book promises to tell of many who are working to combat the trend of making food the same everywhere.

This book tells about traditions lost, that we thankfully can revive in order to regain health. It's a great resource. I'm reading about sprouting grains and soaking them.

An early Christmas present. I'm enjoying reading about Fukuoka's journey in trying to put his beliefs into practice, and after 30 years of trial and error and struggle, finally having remarkable success. It's encouraging for anyone who wants to change how they live. Never stop trying new ideas.

Maya Angelou's shares what she has learned with her spiritual daughters.

An inspiring book of photographs of traditional homes all over the world, primarily made of earth, thatch, and some wood and stone. It makes me happy to think that all that is required is ingenuity and work, because the materials are there already. And many of these homes can be built by women as well as men.