Lies

Lying to the young is wrong.
Proving to them that lies are true is wrong.
Telling them
that God’s in his heaven
and all’s well with the world
is wrong.
They know what you mean.
They are people too.
Tell them the difficulties
can’t be counted,
and let them see
not only
what will be
but see
with clarity
these present times.
Say obstacles exist they must encounter,
sorrow comes,
hardship happens.
The hell with it.
Who never knew
the price of happiness
will not be happy.
Forgive no error
you recognize,
it will repeat itself,
a hundredfold
and afterward
our pupils
will not forgive in us
what we forgave.

-Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Translated by Robin Milner-Gulland and Peter Levi (revised)

This poem hangs on the side of my bookcase in my office at school. I’d almost forgotten about it until I went to get some magnets during class today.

My Drug of Choice

Like many teachers, I am an addict.

Of caffeine.

Obviously.

At least I hope that it was obvious.

In my lexicon caffeine = tea. Here’s a picture of my at home tea station:

IMG_2343

So you can see the enormity of my problem.

Or rather, you could, if you could see how little counter-space my kitchen actually has.

Life Reading List

Every year the staff and faculty at my school put together a list of books we recommend to the graduating seniors. Our librarian curates the list. She just sent out the annual update email, inviting us to revise our lists from last year. The list is a lovely tradition and it was really fun to put together my list last year (the first time I submitted). I didn’t make many changes this year.

In case anyone’s interested, here’s my list:

Fiction:

  • The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
  • Animal Dreams, Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
  • Imperfect Birds, Anne Lamott
  • Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear
  • The Temple of My Familiar, Alice Walker
  • The Things a Brother Knows, Dana Reinhardt
  • Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
  • Watership Down, Richard Adams
  • The Wind-Up Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Ursula K. Le Guin’s Powers and EarthSea series
  • Also, anything by: John Green, Madeline L’Engle, Tom Robbins

Non-fiction:

  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  • I’m a Stranger Here Myself, Bill Bryson
  • Listening Is an Act of Love (StoryCorps Project), Dave Isay
  • The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten
  • Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six Word Memoirs, Smith & Fershleiser, eds.
  • Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg

I also like our librarian’s “professional librarian advice”:

Don’t read any books you don’t want to unless you have to.

What books are on your “life list”?

 

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

-Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Our mindfulness teacher shared this poem on Monday, during morning meeting. I thought it was lovely and decided to share it with you.