Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rumi's Lame Goat

Ok...I confess. I get all goofy and swoon in the knees when I see a lesson or an activity independently chosen, used and then returned to the shelf for the first time after I have initially demonstrated it.

I also confess that I sometimes feel like a birch tree in a forest of elms when it comes to applying Montessori methods to seniors. Yes, I have spent hours and hours on the web reading about its application by skilled practitioners and so, yes, I know that it truly makes sense. I have also read that senior programs, on an international level, are beginning to, or have been for years, using the Montessori method more and more.

But, now and again, I sit at home asking myself if I should put together trays or order the pink tower or maybe, just maybe, re-think it all over again, and then again. I, like all of you, need to observe what is working and what is possible. I need my own Montessori moment...I confess, I do. I know its not about our egos...but, we do want to know that our efforts are effective and are serving those we assist or guide. can imagine that my heart leaped when one of the participants at The Bridge elected to take the magnet tray off the shelf and use it independently. He took it to a table, removed all of the items and then asked for some tape so that he could re-try the magnet and the paper clip component. He was so successful that he started laughing out loud. That is really what made my heart leap.

And then...he put all of the objects back on the tray and returned it to the shelf.

This participant spends much of his day in a recliner or sitting off by himself, unless great effort is made to engage him in exercises and/or games. He does not have dementia, so he can recall how to use the items on the tray. He used them today exactly as we had two weeks ago.

I's good. It's all good. Truth is I have only just begun this new Montessori journey. Truth is I am a guide and in that role sometimes I follow and sometimes I lead. I close with a couple of poems I read this morning that spoke to me about all this. They inspired me. I hope they will inspire each of you to continue even when you find yourself asking with that quiet, inner voice of yours, "What the heck am I doing?"

The Lame Goat

You've seen a herd of goats
going down to the water.

The lame and dreamy goat
brings up the rear.

There are worried faces about that one,
but now they're laughing,

because look, as they return,
that goat is leading!

There are many different kinds of knowing.
The lame goat's kind is a branch
that traces back to the roots of presence.

Learn from the lame goat,
and lead the herd home.   --- Jellaludin Rumi


The Seven Of Pentacles

Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food,
if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,
if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and the bees,
then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.
Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.
Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: Make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.
Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after
the planting,
after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.   

---- Marge Piercy


Susanne said...

Thank you Susan. These are word gifts.

Susan Y. Dyer said...

your welcome my friend.

Love your photo albums - keep up the great work Susanne.

Susan Dyer
The Moveable Alphabet