Written on: January 26th, 2009 in Learning Journeys
Laura here: A friend sent this imaginative quote to me to share with Honoré who suggested I share with all of our readers:
"In a library we are surrounded by many hundreds of dear friends, but they are imprisoned by an enchanter in these paper and leathern boxes; and though they know us, and have been waiting two, ten, or twenty centuries for us,—some of them,—and are eager to give us a sign and unbosom themselves, it is the law of their limbo that they must not speak until spoken to; and as the enchanter has dressed them, like battalions of infantry, in coat and jacket of one cut, by the thousand and ten thousand, your chance of hitting on the right one is to be computed by the arithmetical rule of Permutation and Combination,—not a choice out of three caskets, but out of half a million caskets, all alike."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Written on: January 19th, 2009 in Learning Journeys
Honoré here: One of my bright ideas for 2008 was to teach my nieces, ages 7 and 16, how to sew and quilt. I believe this idea entered my mind sometime during the summer. I finally got around to setting up a session with and for them the Saturday after Christmas. A part of their Christmas present included a pillow form and the opportunity to select fabrics – from my stash – for a pillowcase and also a "bucket bag." I'd also bought a them a book to read in preparation for the first lesson.
Saturday came and tho' we had a late start, we finally got the "show" underway. The younger niece had her first lesson on threading a needle and making a knot in the "string" – which is what she calls the thread. Eventually she will use the correct nomenclature…I noticed as she threaded the needle and managed not to make a knot , regardless of how hard or as many times she tried, that she was so patient with herself. She just didn't seem to become frustrated. It was a delight to observe that and also, a challenge for both her older sister and me, I must admit, to attain that "being in the moment" state.
How many times do we as adults decide we just can't do something even before we try and definitely after several unsuccessful attempts? How often do we just give up, defeated and/or disgusted or convinced that we aren't creative or we won't ever learn? How many new learning ventures have we abandoned or never really ever started because we're convinced that we aren't creative, can't learn, don't have the time, are klutzes, etc? Count me among the group.
I learned a lot from my 7 year-old niece that day: patience, perseverance, appreciation, admiration, extreme self-care. As I contemplate and embrace my current and new learning experiences, I shall keep her in mind as a role model and try, the very best I can, to be as patient with me as she is with herself.
Written on: January 13th, 2009 in Learning Journeys
Kathy here: We tend to focus on the long view in these conversations. I
mean, the words learning journeys conjure specific images in the mind's eye, don't they? A road meandering over the hill, a sailboat on the horizon…you get the idea. But, what about the learning we do in short bursts? That learning that may not be high – or even listed – in our traditional "learning areas?" My current book list triggered my thinking about this phenomenon. Let's call it Sprint Learning or In-The-Moment Learning, shall we?
I have been feeling a bit behind regarding tech toys and the World Beyond Blogging; so, I dug in and researched news feeds that would keep me in the loop without absorbing my life. Coincidentally, a colleague recommended an aggregator called Tabbloid that sends a digest update of your feeds to…your..email. Great, right? Finally, along the way, I found book reviews for iBrain and Geekspeak…why not check them out too? Sure! I was on a roll!
But now…the point. I can already feel this surge…this sprint…winding down. I have been skimming through Geekspeak, not really reading it.
The next sprint? Who knows…that's where the merriment emerges, isn't it? Have you sprinted through a subject recently? We would love to hear about it!
Written on: January 5th, 2009 in Learning Journeys
Honoré here: In my post of December 3, 2008, I toyed with the idea of depriving myself for a week without reading as prescribed by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist's Way. In that post, I posited that I might just try my hand and I did – last week, December 27 , 2008 through January 3, 2009. How did I fare? Well, first off the bat, know that I, as with countless thousands, totally balked at the idea of a week without reading. Heresy! But, I willed myself to at least give it a try…and that I did.
This was especially more difficult because of the time of year and I had received two new magazines – one, a special issue – Somerset Art Journaling that I'd been awaiting for three months; another, my favorite Cloth*Paper*Scissors; and a new title Making It All Work by David Allen, author of the NYTimes best selling (for years) Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Wouldn't you know that three items would show up on my reading table during that week?!
And there they sat – beckoning me…I did read a little: the proverbial emails, news headlines, and a knitting magazine for the Great American Afghan – a class I'm going to take at the end of this month. Other than that, I was pretty faithful; know though, I battled daily with myself: why not? who cares? what's the use? who will know? etc, etc.
Sunday, January 4 arrived and I was free – I could read again! And I didn't; can you believe that? Why didn't I? Well, only because I had a very early morning engagement: A friend and I went to the newly re-opened Smithsonian American History Museum to see the Gettysburg Address that's on display. Quite an impressive display and the document, writ in Lincoln's own hand, just totally underscores the impact of those 272 words (there is a variation of the total number of words, ranging between 246 -272, depending on which of the five copies one is reading; the version on display is the Bliss copy and is owned by the White House. For more on the address, check out this wikipedia article ). Finally, later yesterday afternoon, I was able to sit down and read: I leafed through the Art Journaling magazine and started Making It All Work plus looked at the newspaper headlines.
I wrote in my journal: Whew! RD (reading deprivation) week is over. It's hard not to do something, to break a habit. Harder yet —>consciously making a habit…anyway, it's o-v-e-r and hopefully never again. Sometimes I have clutched at the thought that I was "out of something to read." What would I do? How could I go on? Horrors! Well, in actuality, I'll never be without – there are a few books in this house I've yet to read; there is the Internet and my Kindle. And I can also write, art journal, re-read, click, etc…In short, what I discovered is that I do have things to do to occupy and exercise my mind, to engage my artist's brain, to explore some new and many old learning paths. Reading is just one method I use. But after all is said and done, I am so-o-o glad I can read again!