“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” Jalal ad-Din Rumi (Persian Poet and Mystic, 1207-1273)
My fortune cookie today read, “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” As I often do, I pasted the quote in my visual journal and did a quick and tiny reflective drawing. What is beauty? Plato, the Greek philosopher considered beauty to be the primary topic for discussion and instruction. In the teaching life, beauty is central to why many of us work with students in classrooms around the world but rarely do we describe our practice using these terms. Yet, teaching calls upon an inner beauty that manifests in action and in service through heartfelt and soulful qualities that touch students’ lives: creative, artistic, imaginative, original, curious, inspired, flexible, confident, engaged, reflective, self-aware, empowered, compassionate and empathic are but just a few. The inner landscape of a teacher is comprised of the emotional, mental and spiritual; Parker Palmer, a well-known advocate for teachers explains the importance of tending to these three important paths:
“intellectual, emotional, and spiritual-and none can be ignored. Reduce teaching to intellect, and it becomes a cold abstraction; reduce it to emotions, and it becomes narcissistic; reduce it to the spiritual, and it loses its anchor to the world. Intellect, emotion, and spirit depend on one another for wholeness. They are interwoven in the human self and in education at its best.”
Tending to your inner landscape requires an inward gaze that witnesses the beauty contained within each of us.
How does beauty manifest in your teaching life?
Palmer, P. (1998). The courage to teach .Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life.