Listening Session Paintings

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Beauty of Cameron

This morning I had breakfast with Cameron Maddux, a friend of mine and a person with whom I taught at the Academy of Art for a couple of years. We talked for a long time about Imagine Learning and all of the wonderful things that are happening. He was and has been a deep believer in changing education. He has a young son, Sam, who is a beautiful sprite of a lad, full of creativity, energy, and curiosity. He worries about what will happen to Sam's light as he gets older and faces high school and more.

So as we were finishing our breakfast, he reached into his pocket and pulled money out of his wallet and handed it to me. At first I thought he was trying to pay for breakfast, but then I remembered he had already paid for breakfast! I realized in a flash he was giving me a donation to the cause!!! It was an overwhelming gesture of generosity, but moreso, belief in what we are doing. "This should cover a listening session," he said. I tried to give it back but he wouldn't hear of it. "I am passionate about what you are doing," he said.

Folks, this is the first donation to Imagine Learning! I believe in the purity of the seeds we plant in the world. As the person charged with holding the integrity of the seed of Imagine Learning, this first money could not have come from a purer intent or a more beautiful human being. It was a very moving moment.

This is the way money should flow in the world - through people's beliefs in the intentions of others and answering a calling inside to support those intentions. We thank you Cameron for your generosity and your wonderful belief in what we are doing.

I think I will go to the bank and open the flow!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Listening Session in Deli, India

Many, many thanks to Imagine Learning team member Anne Stadler, who is traveling to Deli, India and as a part of her travels has arranged to lead a Listening Session at The Modern School when she is there in April. This expands our International effort and it will be exciting to read the student's answers to their questions and to see their thinking in the paintings. Thank you Anne!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Importance of What is Not

We join thirty spokes
to the hub of a wheel.
yet it's the center hole
that drives the chariot.

We shape clay
to birth a vessel,
yet it's the hollow within
that makes it useful.

We chisel doors and windows
to construct a room,
yet it's the inner space
that makes it livable.

Thus do we
create what is
to use what is not.

I love this verse (11) from Lao Tzu in the Tao Te Ching. I read this book often, but in this case, it is so appropriate to what I have been working on. I am working on a presentation about why we need a whole new question in education; about why the old system has served its purpose; and that young people hold a Knowing within themselves that is filled with Wisdom.

The stanza that reads:

We chisel doors and windows
to construct a room,
yet it's the inner space
that makes it livable.

Is particularly significant to me because it says that we spend more time trying to build a space than focus on what is not in it... in other words, the inner life of a child is much more important than grades, policies, procedures, standards of learning, tests, desks, bells, and on and on. The inner life of a child is more important than money, and thus every child deserves to be in a setting that has been built for his or her inner life, no matter the cost.

Life becomes livable when we find the beauty of our inner life. This cannot be manipulated into students, forced upon them through external motivation, nor can it be feared into us by a system designed to determine for us whether or not we are a failure. Life becomes livable in a structure where love, compassion, light and abundance predominate. It's the hollow within the vessel that makes it useful and the hole in the wheel that drives the chariot.

For too long, we have been consumed with the structure and instead, should be pouring our attention into seeing what what is not.