True and Important?

I am a big fan of Seth Godin’s newsletters. There are always gems in his postings. Here is one that I read and re-read:

Just because you don’t understand it

…doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

…doesn’t mean it isn’t important.

If we spend our days ignoring the things we don’t understand (because they must not be true and they must not be important) all we’re left with is explored territory with little chance of improvement.

Sometimes, I am not sure that what I am writing is true or important in a general sense. Writing helps me to understand what is important and what is true for me. This leads me to unexplored territory, that landscape that leads me to my True Self.

Why “unexplored territory”? Mostly, because as a work-in-progress, there are always areas of my emotional, intellectual, and mental processes that morph. There are terrains that I am familiar with and / or comfortable with (You can’t have unexplored territory without knowing that there is something out there, after all).

Is this true and important, this exploration of, seeking for, my True Self? For me, it is. As an educator, coach, writer, person on the planet, I am in constant dialogue with others personally and professionally. In these conversations, we often indicate the importance of knowing where the other is coming from. It is also essential to know where I am coming from.

Why do I teach, write, coach, or do any of the other things that bring me joy, keep me in contact with others, or help me to better understand the world and myself? That is an ongoing exploration and it is important to know what is true for me.

The Power of Words Conference

If spoken, sung, or written words comprise your creative expression, the TLA Network might interest you: https://www.tlanetwork.org/

Their annual Power of Words conference takes place October 12-14th at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. The theme is Transformation, Liberation and Celebration Through the Spoken Written, and Sung Word.

The conference, founded in 2003, features workshops in four tracks: narrative medicine, social change, right livelihood (and making a living through the arts), ecological literacy, and engaged spirituality. Check out conference information here.

New Essay: Leading and Following

My essay, “Leading and Following: A Perspective on Teaching and Learning” appears in Teaching Transformation: Progressive Education in Action, edited by Lise Weil and Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg with an introduction by Elizabeth K. Minnich. This book, published by the Goddard Graduate Institute (GGI), is a collaborative project between GGI faculty, students, and alumni.

For a free download, please click here.

To order a copy of the book, please order the book (priced at $15) at Lulu.com through this link.

You Never Know

When I attended the Launch Your Business Boot Camp in Atlanta (see my May 16 blog post), I had many wonderful encounters. The most amazing one came when a young woman let me know how I impacted her life.

Several years ago, I was an admissions officer for a private secondary school. One of my responsibilities was to talk with students of color about their educational options. This woman remembered me from a visit to her NYC middle school. She told me that visiting secondary schools changed her life, as did attending the school that she chose (not the one I recruited for). I was amazed that she remembered me, including my name, after so many years. That brief encounter broadened her perspectives and led to personal and professional paths she may not have chosen if it hadn’t happened.

You never know how actions that you take for granted impact others. I have been an educator for many years. I sometimes run into students who tell me that lessons I taught, readings I assigned, or conversations we had clarified their understanding of themselves or their purpose in life. I am grateful for such revelations and humbled because I know that I did not seek to make an impact. If there was any seeking at all, it was to connect, to communicate.

Like most people, I wonder what it would mean to make a big splash or grand gesture that transforms people’s lives. Meeting the young woman in Atlanta reminded me that in our everyday encounters we touch others in meaningful and unexpected ways. No splashing. No grandiosity. Just everyday amazing.