Happy 125th Birthday, Georgia O’Keeffe. Here’s my humble homage to you.
Not convinced that Georgia O’Keeffe was a slow learner?
Consider how she honored the deliberate and intentional slowness in her work. In her own words:
“Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”
Consider her reflections on her own learning.
“I said to myself, I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me – shapes and ideas so near to me – so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down. I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught. ”
and her advice to other slow learners.
“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.”
Troubadour Hope Chest
It provokes. It challenges. It lures. It’s beautiful. It contains and protects hopes and dreams. It takes up space. It’s practical. Every home needs a Troubadour Hope Chest
A couple of weeks ago I met with friend and fellow slow learner, Tricia Postle.
Together Tricia and I formed a group we call COTH or Creativity-On-The-Hook. Once a month, we meet for tea, state our intentions, and report to each other on our progress. See earlier entry.
During our first meeting, Tricia shared the details of her intentions: her to do lists, her goals, her best intentions. I didn’t want to say anything at the time, but most of the items on her list felt dull and ordinary, full of duty and obligation and all those good things necessary to support and nurture Tricia’s brilliant creative projects.
But then Tricia started talking about how she wanted to someday travel as a troubadour musician. She spoke about rhythms, the songs, the traveling, the Persian rugs, the tour mobile, the demands of composing in the form, the possibility of a postmodern gypsy caravan. When she spoke about her future life as a troubadour, her physical presence transformed. She sat straight up. Her eyes brightened, and her voice lightened. Her visions of self as troubadour literally pulled her forward. There was a passionate woman in love with her future, speaking of longing and desire, sitting at the edge of her seat.
That’s when the idea came: why not invite some of this passion and desire into the everyday? Why not bring something physical and real into our homes as a reminder of what is possible? Why not use this container as a repository for carefully selected objects that bring us closer to a future we want to live into?
After some searching, Tricia now has her Troubadour Hope Chest.
In an email, Tricia says:
I like that it’s empty, I like that it’s there. I rearranged the studio so that it’s visible from all points. It seems to glow and make the rest of the furniture recede. In short, every household should have one.
Questions for reflection: What’s calling me forward? What kind of future might I create from my own longings? What kind of hope chest might I find?
Does learning flow?
Does learning follow a cycle? What contributes to our learning? How does our thinking get dammed up? What is the source? How might we distill our learning? What bubbles up? What sinks in? How is learning like the the water cycle? How does learning transform us? How do we transform the way we learn? How is learning deep? How is learning shallow? (Is one good and the other bad?) What happens when we get our feet wet? What’s the risk of diving in? Do you want to swim in the deep end? Are there floods and droughts of learning? (Is one better for us that the other?)
Does learning come in tides, in waves? What kinds of monsters lurk in the depths of learning? How are communities of learning like tributaries of a river system? Do we sink or swim?
“Is he a dot or is he a speck? When he’s underwater does he get wet? Or does the water get him instead?”
from They Might Be Giants’ “Particle Man” Flood
You have the right*
- To learn about how you learn
- To learn as slow and as fast as you choose
- To rearrange your room (house, garage, life) to make room for your learning
- To claim space, time, and money for your own learning
- To learn from people who fascinate you
- To learn beyond school
- To be challenged
- To learn from people who fascinate you
- To ask for and to receive help
- To learn in quiet and without interruption with serious intent
- To learn in noise and mess with playful possibility
- To make a mess and not have to clean up right away
- To learn what is valuable and to value your learning
- To choose your own team of teachers, coaches, mentors, advisors
- To work with people who find you and your visions fascinating
- To work with people who are fascinated by your brilliant visions and will hold you accountable to do what you said you would do
- To be witnessed
- To focus
- To make a difference
- To make media
- To invent media
- To study with your heroes
- To experiment
- To experience
- To test your limits
- To contribute
- To change the world
- To create your own curriculum and to stick with it
- To change your mind when it doesn’t work and start again
- To study in community both near and distant, familiar and exotic
- To savor the erotic nature of learning
- To learn from mistakes
- To join the community of practice of your choice
- To join the professional network of your choice as a contributor
- To make learning a priority in your life
- To pay your dues
- To incubate and hibernate
- To be in action and produce measurable concrete results
- To learn how to discern between the time for #38 and #39
- To work with people who have some distance and perspective and can help you with #40
- To dabble
- To dive in deep
- To cross disciplines
- To learn what no one can teach
- To learn so that you might teach others to learn
- To learn new ways of learning that work for you
- To practice
* I know this list is incomplete and much is redundant. Comment, and help make it more better.