Reimagine

February 1, 2016 at 6:37 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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“Words are the most powerful forces in the Universe.” – Lailah Gifty Akita

The interviewer asked, ‘What book have you most gifted to others over the years?’ I’d been provided with plenty of food for thought up to this point in the long form exchange I’d been listening to but this question gave me an opportunity to connect a passage from a book I read many years ago, to a couple of recent conversations and a quote I’d stumbled across last week. Let me start by going back a little way, to a passage I shared as a reflection post in 2014 https://explorediscoveract.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/emptying-our-cups/. This passage is one that has acted as an anchor within my thoughts since first reading it in 2003. If we are to reimagine anything, room for ‘more to go in’ seems like a pretty good place to start. It reads;

He looked at me for a long moment. “Please don’t take this the wrong way. I really respect you, John. I always have. However, just like this cup, you seem to be full of your own ideas. And how can any more go in … until you first empty your cup?” – The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (Robin Sharma)

Now, fast forwarding to a few weeks ago I am having breakfast with a friend during the holiday break. In discussing a multitude of things we paused on potential. Both working in education we were exchanging things that we were excited about as the new school year approached. Within this discussion we were also highlighting perceived challenges that were to be navigated as we embarked on another year’s journey. My friend used the word ‘reimagine’ at one point as we talked about the various systems, priorities and pressures that accompany working within this space. It was a word that resonated as important for me for many different reasons. We are provided with choices each and every day. It’s definitely true that energy flows where attention goes.

“If humans created it then it is the product of a choice that somebody made. And if it was chosen it can be changed.” – Oli Anderson

Just the other morning I was then talking with a teacher and a principal about opportunities and issues that we and others within the profession are experiencing. As we discussed research, curriculum, pedagogy, public reporting, student wholistic engagement and thriving, you could really sense the privilege and gratitude that each of us had for being involved in this process. A lot of our conversation came back to the ‘why’. Like any area of our personal and professional lives, a strong, well defined and communicated ‘why’ assists us to most effectively navigate all the distractions and busyness that can be synonymous with 21st Century life. In the absence of this (or within a mixture of conflicting ‘whys’) we are left to wade through a minefield of others agendas, goals and objectives. Coming back to our values and what’s most important is much easier when we have taken the time as individuals and groups to work on ‘why’.

“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.” – John F. Kennedy

Finally, the quote I read last week. I must confess here that I am a massive ‘West Wing’ fan (TV series that finished up a decade ago) and enjoy noticing from time to time script similarities and differences played out in the real life version happening in US politics. As the long drawn out Presidential election race happens all over their country, this time around I have been especially noticing the candidate offering ‘reimagining’ as his campaign platform. The quote below is the one that jumped out at me last week. It reminded me of the vulnerability and uncertainty that accompanies the choice to empower thoughts, words and actions around change.

“I’ve known Hillary Clinton since she was 19 years old, and have nothing but respect for her. In my view, she’s the most qualified candidate for president of the political system we now have. But Bernie Sanders is the most qualified candidate to create the political system we should have, because he’s leading a political movement for change.” – Robert Reich

I don’t believe reimagining has to be some massive endeavour to ‘change the world’. I do however believe that reimagining is about being open to ‘changing our own world’. Each time we walk into experiences with room for ‘more to go in’, we generate small and significant ripples that allow us and those we interact with the opportunity to deepen connection to self, others and the world around us. It is through this process that we create the ‘world’ that we live, work, play and hopefully thrive in. Coming back to the micro rather than the macro, and influence rather than control, and build rather than fix, is where our gift of reimagining lies.

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