Sunday, March 20, 2011

You Good Scholar

I've been learning my lessons in the weirdest places lately. I get it--we are constantly presented with opportunities to learn, but it seems like the more I turn to books or teachers for answers, I'm presented with these really decisive messages from other places.

I think learning to be honest--with ourselves and with others--is a life-long journey, but currently I'm getting reeeeeal schooled in it.

I learned a little factoid recently that told me someone I work with had sold me on a pretty big lie. I had believed it for a long time. Unfortunately, I didn't learn this factoid until the person left, and I probably won't be in contact with her for a few months. So, upon learning this, I sat, stunned and steaming in anger, trying to think of ways to let this person know how she'd lied to me and how pissed off I was about it.

There is really nothing I can do, though. She is gone, and even if she were here, what would my confronting her do about the situation? I fantasize that my lecture would turn her into the upright citizen I want her to be, but it's doubtful my words would do that ;-) Only she can do that.

Since I can't inform her that she's a liar and what to do about it, I've been sitting down with myself and asking the same question. What did I lie to her about? Turns out, plenty. I had (and still have, I suppose) a lot of professional respect for this person. She is good at her job, so any suggestion she had about my work or personal life, I figured I should immediately put it into practice. I put winning her approval first so I might feel like I was the professional I always wanted to be. Rarely was I honest about how I really felt. So I lied to her pretty much all the time, too.

Jeez. When I let myself go there in anger, I have plenty to get pissed off about, but really, is there anything I can do but go sweat it out? Or healing that anger by being more straight with the people I come in contact with from now on? (Are ya throwing up by now? ;-)

I don't know much of anything, really, but this beautiful poem by Mary Oliver deals with how the world around us is really our teacher. I hope you good scholars see that "untrimmable light" everywhere you go!

From "Mindfulness" by Mary Oliver
Oh, good scholar, 
I say to myself, 
how can you help
but grow wise
with such teachings
as these -
the untrimmable light
of the world, 
the ocean's shine, 
the prayers that are made
out of grass? 

Other random factoid: speaking of nature, did you know that seals are known by environmentalists as "charismatic megafauna" due to their sweet, big eyes? I can't get over that.

Cute seal


Anonymous said...

Mary Oliver is one of my favorites!

I've always had the mindset that I want to be a lifelong learner. However, the lessons we learn aren't/can't always be sweet and easy, right? And that is why we have yoga---and poetry---to set us right again. :)

Lacey said...

I love Seals... So pretty! :)

Martina said...

Oh my girl! This is the pith of honesty. I mean how much would we would lie (sugar coat, whatever) if we knew how little other people actually care or how little they would actually be shocked by what we are covering up with our lies. Like those butterflies that mimic the poisonous ones...little phonies. I guess lying is at the root of biology aka survival.