Mississippi Moments

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A soft rain and a fire in the woodstove,
coffee perking, and puppy chasing after kibble coming out out of his purple Martian toy...it's a peaceful morning.
I like it that way.
And miracles.
Lots going on around this quiet place. But not within it. Or my Head or my Heart.
I withdrew from the doc program. Feels exactly like the right thing to do.
I am not finished with this path but just not right now, in this way.
Had to walk a couple of steps onto the path to find out though and I feel really good about that. Taking the risk.
I also drove to Tacoma yesterday to meet with a mentor that the Universe has gifted me with. It turns out (to my great surprise) that I may be sort of a mentor to her in her life. She was on the Education faculty in the Doc. Dept. at the UW for 30 years until recently. She was originally a first grade teacher. She abhors when children are labeled and boxed into The System just as I do. She does and did much of the research refuting the boxing and labeling. She and her colleagues, many of them doc students that gravitated toward her vision and foci. It turns out she coauthored some of the most important books and studies I have used in my learning and leadership paths over the years. It just didn't click when I met "Nancy" because she was Nana. Her granddaughter was in my class last year, for only four months due to some unfortunate family circumstances. Nana would come in to read and support with the children. On several occasions, Nana stood in the back of the room smiling at me with tears running down her face. And then quickly she would wipe them off and get back to the next child coming back to read. So I knew something was going on with "Dr. K" but until now I haven't had the chance to ask or to listen. So we made plans to meet for coffee. At my fav spot in Ruston. And I asked her why she was crying in the classroom. This was two hours into our visit. She smiled and started to cry again (something she told me she didn't want to do at the beginnning of the visit and something which I said I probably WAS going to do because it was part of the healing gifts of any "turas"--she liked that and said that she would look at it that way, too, (Behind the scenes aside-I read in that wondrous book Brigie gave me yesterday that there are three gifts of healing from the Celtic Welsh perspective-tears, forgetfulness, and laughter...bring 'em on.)So back to the story, she took a deep breath (and I quote), "It is a rare, rare, RARE thing when you come across a teacher who can SEE THE CHILDREN and who BELIEVES in them. AND THEY KNOW IT. And they BELIEVE in themselves.' She made some additional comments about the challenges in the group of students I had last year, and I told her that I had chosen those kids. She said she knew. She also told me that their family witnessed a complete turn about in their daughter/granddaughter that is still there today. She told me that she is forever grateful to me for turning that child ON. She found her light, her joy, her confidence, her sass, her confidence, her truth. That was a powerful and loving thing to hear yesterday. That was the gift for me. And I thought I was just going to be asking questions about the Academic FOcus Plan I had written adn then ask her about some "crazy" ideas I have about children and learning...and those who teach them. Here are some of the things I learned yesterday---
*I am not crazy.
*There are a lot of others out there like me. We haven't found each other yet.
*She said that I need to be part of a Leadership Team so that I can draw others to me. There is power and community in that.
*She said that yes I would need the Ed.D. credentials for this. She also affirmed what I already knew-that I was not in the right program.
*She gave me her recommendations about where to go for this. Funny thing-they matched other research I had already done.
*She called "the (my) classroom"---The Learning Home. (Aiyeeee!!!! Yes! That's what it is! Yes! I have never thought of it that way before! Yes!--and this image comes up for me of the kitchen at 1806 with everything that has gone on there. We saw the ripples of that a couple of weekends ago at the 50th Celebration!) I told her that I have been approached at three different times during my career about starting my own school-in San Diego, in Virginia, and here in Seattle. She looked at me for awhile and she said,"You'll do what you need to do.
*She affirmed my choice for working where I work and why. She then told me that I shouldn't go from there because the kids there need me. I told her that I couldn't consider that a factor anymore. I don't choose to give my energy away like that. She argued that these privileged children would be the leaders and owners of the next generation. I said I know. And it wasn't my job to save them from the toxicity of the Mayberry where I teach. I told her I listen to my Heart, my Head and the Lord's Mother. And that it works for me. She agreed. especially about listening to the Mother. She has our backs.
*She said that I can write. And I can think. Nothing I don't know.
* She acknowledged that I already behave and think like a Teacher-Researcher. This is a good thing, but the even better thing, is that I am learning how to disaggregate the data and think about what to do with it to help students...but not in a linear, meet the standards only, and we're-done-because-they-passed-some-part-of-a-test...and there are a lot of others doing that, too. I just need to read more. Okay. That's always been something I shied away from.I'm lazy that way and most of that stuff is BORING. Now, I am finding that it is giving me words and concepts for things that I have only sensed as this next wave in education (and it is an outdated, broken system) moves toward community-based, "matriarchal-(in the sense that it is inclusive and circular in energy and form), vision-centered, power-shared, stories heard, acknowledged, and honored, data driven for the right reasons with the right tools, child-honored, inclusive, intergenerational, nature/spirit/moral/stewardship ideals in actuality--it's all moving, folks.
*Nancy remarked about Indigo children after I brought it up. I told her that I knew some about them and that I have several in my classes (most actually) and in my own families of origin and choice. She smiled and said she was just beginning to look at that. She had a quizzical look on her face and said"You know about them already? Then she shook her head and said,"Of course, you do." And then she laughed. I said it was something we could learn about together. Maybe we will write about it together.....
*She said she had been experiencing difficulties leaving her house. Panic attacks and anxiety. Talking with her few friends over the phone and email. The she looked at me and said that it was amazing that she was there with me at the coffee shop-no medication, no angst, no panic. She smiled and said-Tears, forgetfulness, and laughter! AND THEN SHE LAUGHED!
I asked her if she liked to walk. (She walks 4 miles a day.) I asked her if she likes dogs. (No, but she could tolerate them.) I asked her if she would like to walk sometimes and to see if we could grow a friendship. She said YES.

Last night's Magical Strings concert was very special. Philip played "Spiral Suspension" on his new Dragon Harp. I was transported away. So was everyone else. It was a shamanic moment where you are carried to Nonordinary Reality on a "horse" of a different kind--this time it was a dragon harp and steel and bronze strings. I am still carrying the power and healing of that here...it spoke. Peace is possible. Flow is possible. Healing is Possible. Connection is Possible. Hope is Possible.


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