Podcast 23/52 – the wisdom of tenderness

I can’t help it. Here’s another On Being-episode that I so hope you will listen to. Krista Tippett in a conversation with Jean Vanier, an episode recorded in 2007 when he was 79 years old. Jean is the founder of L’Arche, just having celebrated it’s 50th anniversary, hence the re-broadcast of the interview. And I am grateful for that, since I might not have discovered this particular episode in the archives of On Being otherwise.

(But there’s a thought – how many other gem’s are hidden in the archives? I might just set my mind to listening through all of On Being, every episode produced…. now there’s a quest!)

Being very interested and involved in the school debate and the educational system, I found this bit especially interesting to listen to:

The balance of our world frequently is seen as a question of power. That if I have more power and more knowledge, more capacity, then I can do more. […] And when you have power, we can very quickly push people down. I’m the one that knows and you don’t know, and I’m strong and I’m powerful, I have the knowledge. And this is the history of humanity. And that is all of what I’d call the whole educational system, is that we must educate people to become capable and to take their place in society. That has value, obviously. But it’s not quite the same thing as to educate people to relate, to listen, to help people to become themselves. 

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There’s something to ponder, for me, and others, of whom I ask the question Why school? The reason for asking, for me, is to get people thinking about the society we create, through the whole educational system (as well as other structures, but for me, the educational system and family are the top two factors.), and if we are creating that which we want to see more of. Like Jean Vanier said, capable people taking a place in society is all fine and dandy. But then what? What else is needed/desired?

L’Arche, which centers on sharing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, is new to me, as Jean Vanier is. I get intrigued, as I listen to what Jean speaks about, which is the thing I dream of. A world of people becoming themselves, relating and listening, sharing tenderness and love. A culture of welcoming. To and of all.

Fascinating to listen to the wisdom of tenderness this old gentleman has, towards life, all of it, regardless. And to hear him speak of growing older, and absolutely loving it. Witnessing the increasing frailty of his own body, being in total acceptance that his mind no longer can keep up as it used to, that his body demands an afternoon nap and so on. It’s just pure love. Magnificent.

What if…. I met the world from the wisdom of tenderness? What if…. we all did?

 

A man of convictions

Possibly you’ve already read the story about Daniel Norris, the baseball pitcher in the US, who definitely stands out in a crowd? I read the article some weeks ago and got very inspired by what I read. I wanted to write about it, but only got around to it now. And since it’s been a while since I read it, I just re-read it, and listened to the clip as well. It’s all there in the article. Read it. Listen to Daniel.

When I come across a person, who – like Daniel – lives according to his values, rather than according to his circumstances, I get filled with hope. Hope for the future. For humanity.

Here we have one man standing out. Refusing to conform. To the norm. To do what, according to the masses, probably should be the proper action to take after signing a multi-million dollar contract. BoldomaticPost_Research-the-things-you-love

To do what he himself thinks makes sense. Being able to hear the inner voice of wisdom, act upon it, rather than having it drown in the constant barrage of noice from outside. That voice which can sometimes whisper so silently one really has to listen very very carefully. Get knowledge. Be kind and loving. Be happy with what you’ve got. Yeah, why couldn’t it be that simple? It’s truly inspirational! 

How do we ensure we get more people into the world with this ability? To listen within? To stand for ones convictions, in the face of rags and riches alike? Do I?

A cruel and heartless world, anyone?

BoldomaticPost_It-s-not-our-job-to-toughen-oI read the quote by L R Knost on what our job is, what my job is, and I nod, agree, and then give a deep sigh. Not because I disagree. I don’t, not at all. I agree wholeheartedly!

The sigh comes more from having met so many people – in person, or via their writings, articles, blog posts, or through their social media presence, tweets, Facebook status updates and the likes – who seem to think the opposite. People who state ”It’s a tough world and if kids don’t get knocked around a bit – metaphorically at least – during their upbringing and time in school, they will not know what hit them when they grow up and join ‘the real world’ as adults”.

Maybe not spoken in those exact words, but definitely sending that message. And I simply do not believe that is the way towards a more loving and peaceful world. On the contrary. And for me, the trick is this: I cannot raise my children to be more loving and wholehearted if I am cruel and heartless. Again – kids (and everyone else as well, I dare say) do as we do, not as we say.

It’s time to walk the talk. For real. Because I want to do my job, I want to be a part of making the world a little less cruel and heartless, and more loving and peaceful.

But how? How do I do that? How do I act lovingly? What is a wholehearted action? How do I show up in the world, lovingly and wholeheartedly?

I think I might write down a few bullet points for loving and wholehearted respectively, translating the fluffy words into actual activities (actions, words, gestures). Then I can look within to see if I am walking my talk, or not. What do you think, are you?