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Somehow the Christmas tree escaped the attic and showed up in its usual spot the day after Thanksgiving. I did not put it there and I was surprised to see it. The sight of it inexplicably infuriated me. Last year’s lights were still on it, but otherwise it stood unadorned. A week passed. Every time I walked by it, fury. November passed into December, as it does. The tree stood undecorated as presents came and went beneath it. Christmas came; Christmas went. The tree shined its naked light. Then it was January. January kept happening – day after day after day of it and the tree stood in stark indifference. Then suddenly and undeniably it was time to decorate the tree, so this happened…

It feels a lot better now.

So far this is how February is going:

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Hand+Brain+Heart=Art

“The basic human need to be watched was once satisfied by god. Now the same functionality can be replicated by data-mining algorithms.”

—Morpheus, Deus Ex

“Show your work!” Do math teachers still say that?

This is just a little bit of the messy business of creating something new and a few of the steps involved in my process of getting a dance from ear to “here.”

The Lotus

On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying,
and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded.

Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my
dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind.

That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and it seemed to
me that it was the eager breath of the summer seeking for its completion.

I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and that this
perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.

—Rabindranath Tagore

May you bask in the starshine and moonbeam of the eve’s radiance!

In April, I quit the awesome new job I started at the beginning of the year. I had really wanted the job and I was happy to have it right up until the day I sat down in the office and suddenly everything inside me revolted. In a move that baffled even myself, I resigned on the spot without offering advanced notice. That was weird. But it happened. Then I spent several weeks feeling like Alice, wandering about in the wood, growing my right size again, and finding my way back to the garden.

My own garden is usually started in March, but I was too busy helping other people do their work in March that I neglected doing my own stuff. To make up for lost time, I spent much of May sitting in piles of dirt, alternately feeding and slapping mosquitos, tickling worms, scaring spiders, and wishing the creatures wouldn’t be so easily offended. The best laid plans went completely unmade. Still, I awoke with the birds and followed a Cheshire Cat’s advice; letting my need guide my behavior, I did whatever seemed like the right gardenly thing to do at the time. At the end of each day, I wrote it all down in the month’s goal-tracker.

And the lovely garden unfurls its splendor day by day.

“The first thing I’ve got to do,” said Alice to herself, as she wandered about in the wood “is to grow my right size again; and the second thing is to find my way into that lovely garden. I think that will be the best plan.”

–Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1865

I woke up in a “six impossible things before breakfast” sort of mood today,

managing her flamingo

so I took myself on a playdate

to the Memphis Botanic Gardens to chase wonder.

oh my ears and whiskers

She wasn’t hard to catch.

I should like to be a queen best

I wrote this post almost 10 years ago. Today I stumbled across it while looking for something else and had a weird moment with myself – a sense of younger me telling older me what I really needed to remember. Reposting to stay reminded.

My Little Spacebook

“…have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…Live the questions…live  your way into the answer.”

–Rainer Maria Rilke

~~*~~

Last year Parker Palmer shined my teacher’s heart when it when was tarnished.  His book The Courage to Teach got me through a teacher’s heart crisis and showed me how to teach (and live) with greater integrity.

Though untarnished this year at semester’s end I figured the teacher’s heart was due for routine maintenance, so I picked up a copy of The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to RenewalPhysicist Arthur Zajonc joins Palmer to bring educators back to the big questions underlying what we do.  In this work lives the question: “How do we promote educational efforts that address the whole human being (mind, heart, and spirit) in ways that contribute best to our future on this fragile planet?”

This and other questions posed in…

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Today’s offering in celebration of Earth Day: Precious moments aboard this beautiful planet with a reading of my favorite poem by e.e. Cummings, #26

So, about that job interview…

…You know, the one I wrote about in my last post?

…You know, the one with all the gravitas and questions that made me ponder how I do the work?

Well, I was offered the position! And I accepted it!

And I took all the unicorn smarts and BIG IDEAS (!) to someone else’s office,

where I sat at a computer

with all the e-mail,

and all the systems,

and all the passwords,

and all the plans,

and all deadlines,

and all the importance, day after day,

after day,

after, day,

afterday,

afterdayafterdayafterdayafterday

…like any normal person might!

(I really, really wanted “normal person” to work for me in this instance.)

And that went on for 11 weeks until I realized:

No!

and also:

whycoloured worlds of because 
do not stand against 
 YES
which is built by
 forever & sunsmell

(thank you e.e. Cummings)

…and then I quit.

Nearly everything.

All at once.

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