Teaching, Learning and Life as the River Runs

On February 1, 2023, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

Once, when consulting with a special educator about a particularly exasperating student, she said, “In any family, there’s always someone who needs more.”  She uttered this in such a calm, matter-of-fact way that it struck me. A deep well of wise feeling rose up from her words and instantly seemed to shift my own perspective from one of judging and stress, to one of more openness and generosity. How often we are taught, explicitly or through modeling, that our limited energies are best bestowed up people and things that “flow,” that are easy on us, or that give us the most “positivity.” Anything otherwise could be considered annoying, a threat, or a waste of precious energy. Though paying attention to “flow” is useful awareness, we can benefit as much or more from the “eddies”– when things get snagged and/or are not so easily moved– as we do from “the easy float.” For it is in experiencing these shadowy, turbulent aspects of life– if we pay close and open attention to their murmurings– that we can become braver in giving and receiving. For such experience hews closely to the lived reality of life. In a relational universe (as opposed to a purely transactional one), there will always be moments of either giving or receiving. Sometimes we are in a position to give and, at times, we will be the ones who need. How we take care of ourselves and each other in these shadowy moments will have greater impact on human destiny than seeking achievements or personal comfort alone. Such is the ethos of those who run rivers.

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