aging · change · creativity · culture · life · poetry · recovery · writing

Underestimated

Novice, a word that negates
experience, knowledge, merit –
capability under suspicion.

I novice myself frequently,
as if vulnerability is a sideline
and humility commands denigration.

A tired and weary state –
yes, this is me, new and willing
to learn, but I am not novice.

So before you judge, adjust
your professional spectacles,
snub my potential, hear this:

Value is immeasurable –
unique contributions
enhance collective offerings.

(Reena’s Exploration challenge this week is based on “The Story of An Hour” which challenges us to examine our life and limitations.  I dream over and over again that I have returned to teaching only to find that the years I have put in have been negated by my absence and I have to begin again.  Starting over is not a new theme in my life, but my attitude about is finally changing, as represented in the poem.  Image from personal collection.)

aging · disability · life

Educational Lapse

Confess, I am a proponent
of life as education, and would love
to expand on the lesson at hand,
but haven’t made the morning class yet
as consciousness and I have no early rising
agreement, and higher learning
involves climbing, and
staircases are out
at the moment

so even if the term
is in progress, I lack essential
energy to aspire to enlightenment
and I appreciate that you have prayed
for me, and Mary and her Son
may have inspired motivation,
but without working memory
directions are lost –
I could guess

at a destination,
would likely discover that
my aim has been off base,
could pretend I am gleaning
reams of information from the process,
just to appease higher-ups, but healing
is what I really need, not learning,
and help finding those elements
of self that others

have come to depend on
and now grieve, and if life is
education, then my time is fading
and as day gives over to darkness,
I’ve found my bed beside
the ocean of consciousness
calling me to another cause.

education · life · nonfiction · spirituality

On Wisdom

The difference between knowledge and wisdom is experience.

A young man once asked me if he could shadow me for a summer, so that he could learn from me.  I asked him to tell me about his life.

“It’s good,”  he replied.

“Tell me about a hardship that you have overcome.”

“None that I can think of.  My life has been easy.”

“Are your parents together?”

“Well, no,” he explained.  “They separated when I was fifteen.”

“That must have been hard.”

He shrugged.  “That was about them.  It wasn’t about me.”

He was a nice young man, and I believed him to be very sincere.  “What will you do with your summer, if I say no.?”

“I was thinking I’d try to get a job at a resort up north.”

“That’s what I would recommend!”

His disappointment was visible.  “But I want to help people;  I want to do what you do.”

“Let’s look at this hypothetically.  If someone came to you suffering from deep depression, how would you help them?”

“I would meditate on it and look for answers.”

“I see.  And if none came?”

He had no response.

“Let me explain something,”  I was starting to feel a little bit like David Carradine talking to Grasshopper.  “Much of my ability to help another comes from life experience.  In the case of depression, who do you think would be in a better position, someone who has lived through it and come out the other side, or someone who has meditated on the possibility?”

He didn’t need to answer.

“The best thing you can do for yourself right now is gather experience.  Learn all that you can, too, but when your intellectual knowledge, meets your experienced knowing, then you will be ready.”

“How long will that take.”

I had to suppress a smile.  I was impatient once too.  “That depends on you.  From where I stand, you have a ways to go.”

“Why’s that?”  He looked offended.

“You haven’t even recognized the pain of your parents’ divorce.  How can you help another deal with their wounds, when you haven’t looked at your own?”

“There is time for everything,”  I said more gently.  “Now is a time for gathering.  Go North.  You’ll learn much more there than I can ever teach you now.”