Listening Session Paintings

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Keep the Channel Open

This week, Stella shared a quote with me from Martha Graham:

There is a vitality, a life force,
an energy, a quickening 
that is translated through you into action
and because there is only one you
in all of time,
this expression is unique.

And if you block it,
it will never exist 
through any other medium 
and be lost.
The world will not have it.

It is not your business
to determine how good it is 
nor how valuable
nor how it compares with other expressions.
It is your business to heep it yours,
clearly and directly,
to keep the channel open.

You do not have to believe in yourself
or your work.
You have to keep open and aware 
directly to the urges that motivate you.
Keep the channel open.

                - Martha Graham

There is so much that is noteworthy for how we approach reinventing education for young people in the future.  Let's start with

"There is a Life Force that is translated through you into action"...  I think of this as a voice, a unique voice that exists within every child - every child.  This Life Force is so precious in all of us, but when we are young, it is particularly innocent, alive, and powerful...especially if it is allowed to flourish. Can we design education so that it enables the voices of our children to thrive? I can hear a cynical voice arise within me - it is an old voice, a tired tired in fact, it can barely utter the words, "no one can create a system like that for all children. It is impossible."  Thank goodness it is so tired and useless in my world now. There is no place anymore for standardized, regulated, graded and evaluated in the new education we are seeking to create.

"And if you block it, it will never exist...and be lost"... Can we create an educational system for ALL children that holds this line as precious, and undeniably true if we are not vigilant stewards of the opportunities for their Life Force to grow and be nourished?  So often in the current system, we see how blocked, cynical, jaded, depressed and desperate young people are becoming or already are as a result of years of being subjected to a system whose drumbeat is numbingly the same year after year.  In the Listening Sessions, once the students have created their visions and shared them with each other, we ask them how the experience was for them.  Quite often they say to us in disbelief, "You mean this could actually happen?" "Do you believe we could create this in the real world?"  Through the process of the Listening Sessions, their inner hearts awaken and hope and possibility begin to grow. It is a remarkable change that occurs.

"It is not your business to determine how good it is..." No judgment! No Comparison! No Inner Critic! No Fear! Can we create an educational system that eliminates these qualities?  This would require courage of the greatest degree, for it would first mean listening within ourselves and healing our own judgments and inner critics in order to be present to this possibility. Yet, I believe it is a process worth undertaking if we are to nourish the Life Force of every child.

"It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open"... Can we create a system that enables young people to have the sense of presence, awareness and skills to be self-sovereign? Their inner light is their own and to know that they are the creators of their own future,  that they are the lighthouse keepers, that their actions can grow possibility in their own lives is a worthy intention of an enlightened system.

"Keep the channel open"... Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all sit down together and explore the possibility of creating an education for young people that enables them to thrive in a world of possibility?