Saturday, January 9, 2010

ellen's question


ellen popped by here the other day and asked
"are you ever anything but serene?"

i thought about that.

about
me as a person.
about
the blog as an entity.
about
the connection between the two.


i know that there are vast areas of my life
that get little to no space here.

i work with really clever, cool, creative people every day.
i interact with over three hundred students
in some way shape or form.
i am blessed with the privilege
of teaching thirty of them.
i have three really lovely and amazing children.
one from my first marriage and two from my second.
i have a very small but deeply important to me family.
i have lovely and good friends.
i have dreams and wishes.
i have issues and challenges.
and of course,
i have thoughts and ideas
that go well beyond those expressed here
explicitly or inferentially.

i love a vast range
of art
and music
and writing
much of which
doesn't end up getting shared here.

i have tremendous sadnesses
and overwhelming joys.
i have inexplicable fears.
i achieve things that are difficult to explain.
i know things that i shouldn't
i don't know things that i should.


i am human,
and so i allow
the full range of states
that i am willing to take responsibility
for either creating
or welcoming
as a part of my experiencing.

i'm fortunate that
i have a refined internal dialogue
that allows me to manage
the trials
and tribulations
of those sometimes difficult states.

i've watched the blog
change shape as i have
gained confidence
in expressing an understanding
of what matters to me
first on the outside edges of my world
and then gradually
moving inwards.

so, that part of me that celebrates
the natural world
beauty
love
kindness
grace
peace
connection
joy
and
simplicity
is serene.


it finds its voice here.
in this place
that i've created and
that i especially like to visit.

i hope that that answers
your excellent question ellen!

46 comments:

Pauline said...

I like that you express serenity here with both pictures and words - everyone needs places to go where the energy is calming and powerfully regenerative. This is one of my favorites. Thanks, Steven.

steven said...

hi pauline - it might seem strange to some to create a space where something can be shared and then revisited for affirmation of that something's presence but that is what this is about for me. i have serenity, i also have everything else on the spectrum of being a human. i'm glad you enjoyed the words and photographs!!!! have a peaceful day. steven

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

Ah yes, of course, but you are sharing, like the rest of us, your mind, your brain, your thoughts and of course your dreams.

steven said...

hello abe - yes i am. but not the whole of it!! have a peaceful day. steven

Golden West said...

Much in the modern world seeks to turn beauty on its head and numb us to coarseness. Be it soulless architecture that crushes the human spirit or music that denigrates and mocks decency or art installations that exist merely to shock.

It's a pleasure to visit the place you've created that celebrates beauty in many forms.

Barry said...

Beautifully stated Steven and I love the accompanying photos.

Yur prose helps me to understand why I like coming here, to this place I especially like to visit, as well.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Perfectly answered steven and just how one's life should be.

ellen abbott said...

Yes and beautifully so (as if I expected anything different). Your thoughts, sharing, and the photos are simply wonderful. thank you.

willow said...

I enjoy visiting your blog for a taste of your peace. You are very fortunate, indeed, Steven. Lovely post.

willow said...

...and I forgot to mention what a lovely photo!! :^)

Queenmothermamaw said...

It is a peaceful place to visit. You are a complex man. Deeply spiritual and obviously very academic. Most folks like that project a figure of serenity, and usually deep passion. Your posts make me think. I need inspiration to be more serene and peaceful.
QMM

Jenny Stevning said...

Wonderful question.
Beautiful answer!
I love the photo of you and every one of them that follows...right down to the last...the lone, red leaf!!

steven said...

hello golden west - i'm very glad that this very small place works for you! have a peaceful day. steven

steven said...

hi barry - it's something i've been thinking about for a little while - the reason why much of a blogger's life doesn't make it to their blog. it isn't an expectation i have of myself or anyone else but it's something i wonder about. i'm glad you find peace and enjoy the sort of celebration of beauty that i value here. steven

steven said...

weaver- thankyou very much!!! have a lovely day in the dale. steven

steven said...

ellen thankyou so much for the question. ask more anytime!!! have a lovely day and i hope it's warming up for you. steven

Dan Gurney said...

Wonderful expression of your intent as the author of Golden Fish. You remind me, often, of Thich Nhat Hahn in your determination to notice the miraculous aspects of existence.

I don't know whether it would be possible to see the miracles of life without also being perfectly well aware of the non and even anti-miraculous parts of life. Since our culture, especially our media culture, does a more than adequate job of informing the world about what's wrong, it's wonderful to have a refuge like your blog.

Thank you for writing it.

steven said...

hi willow! thankyou and thankyou. i rarely see myself and it's only when i do one of these self-portraits that i get a sense of my face!! have a lovely day at the manor. steven

steven said...

wow qmm - i should have had you write this piece - you're much more flattering than i am about my self!!!!! thankyou very much. there's a place for serenity and i wouldn't fool anyone if i said i am a serene person!!!! not a chance!!! have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hello jenny stevning - thankyou. i'm glad you enjoyed the images and especially my fave of them all - the lone red leaf. have a lovely day. steven

Kathleen said...

Oh, Steven . . . you are such a rich landscape in and of yourself. I think you must carry all the seasons within you. I find beauty, peace, and a kindred spirit here. And I love how you have allowed this space to evolve to meet your needs. Thank you for taking the time to give us a glimpse of your world, both what's inside and what surrounds you. And most of all, I hope you are saturated with love!
In friendship,
Kathleen

Linda Sue said...

Steven, your blog is like getting a massage and a "settle down" for my popcorn brain. I always feel the depth of thought and caring and the sweet peaceful musings of the life around you. I LOVE that you have bunnies in the yard and that you fire off carrots to them. The visual makes me laugh. Working with Kids certainly provides perspective and joy, some sadness also as you can see where things, with some, are headed. My blog would be entirely different and even more absurd I fear if I still worked with kids. Please keep doing the majic you do- your photos are also delightful- wonderful! Gush gush gush, can you stand it?

Kay said...

..what fans you rightly have....you are the place i visit every day....always beautiful and insightful....thank you for a great answer....i love the red leaf on the ice picture....did you place it or was it there for you to find??...don't answer that i know you found it just like that!!!xx

Reya Mellicker said...

YES. You are a passionate living human who tilts, intentionally, towards what's bright and good. And all of us readers benefit from that tendency of yours. Thank you.

A meme that went round the bloghood a few years ago was, "Are you like your blog?" My answer was that I'm not concise like my blog, in fact my life is really a lot more boring.

Well said, Steven. LOVE the self portrait in particular. xx

Titus said...

Yes, that was a good answer.
This is a blog I come to for serenity, and I thank you for that.

steven said...

hello kathleen - thankyou for your very encouraging and supportive words!! one of the great fortunes of blogging is the tremendous company you get to keep. people who are forever changing and yet who share each step of their journey to the degree they are capable and comfortable with amaze me. i'm glad to know you through this medium kathleen. have a lovely evening. steven

steven said...

linda sue that made me laugh right out loud because the rest of my life i am tiggerish - doing this, that and the other thing and not especially settled!!! i think about everything in fact the people i am closest to in my school have asked me to stop thinking - "just try it steven" they say, "you'll see it's not that bad!" but i can't!! so this little space i've carved reflects my quiet thinking. i'm glad that i connected up with you linda sue. you're one cool woman!!! steven

steven said...

hi kay - the leaf was there along with several of its brothers and sisters. they had gathered together in little clumps but this one was on its own. i am really glad that you find this a good place in your day. have a peaceful evening. steven

steven said...

hello reya! i can trace that tendency to tilt towards the bright and good back to my childhood. i can't trace its source to the person or persons who offered the possibility. i've known real darkness of all sorts as i imagine you have. but it's never held any real sway over me. self portraits and i -well i was trying not to laugh at being so whatever it is when you take a picture of yourself, i wish i'd been blessed with the same fortune you had in getting a wickedlovely shot of yourself by accident!!!! have a lovely dc evening . . . i hope it gets warmer for both of us soon! steven

steven said...

titus - i'm glad that it's here for you. i like coming here as well. some of my old postings are really useful at the end of a day. have a peaceful evening. steven

Dan Gurney said...

So did you take that photo of yourself by yourself, you know, holding the camera in your left hand and pushing the shutter button? It is a good picture.

steven said...

dan, you left a comment much earlier today but processing the similarity with "thay's" approach to existence has taken this long!
when i began blogging i expected to have to provide something along the lines of a journal. i expected others to do likewise. my blog - if you go wayyy back was almost like a news magazine of what's cool out there in the world in the way of cars, objects, art, music, and there's very little of what i sense is truly of value until the past year or so. it was around that time that i started visiting other people like yourself and from that experience i learned that it was alright to share the intimations i have of the value of grace. to celebrate the simplest facets of the unfolding creation as metpahors for something much greater and also non-existent. so i am thanking you dan as one of those who has showed me that goodness and love are at the heart of all. steven

steven said...

dan i took the picture myself. it's strange doing that as i really am not by any stretch of the imagination a vain person. i rarely look at myself and so seeing what i look like in a photograph is an unsettling sensation. i took the photograph out of curiousity. i'm fifty two and a half and i wondered what i would look like against that wintry backdrop of the fields. i thought that as a token of vulnerability i would up the image with this posting. have a peaceful evening. steven

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

I'm so glad Ellen asked this question and that you have responded so well. It is a joy to read your words and enjoy your photographs. Serenity is a beautiful thing and something to which I aspire. Have a lovely weekend.

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

Please delete if a comment from me comes in twice. Having connection problem tonight. What I wrote earlier is that no matter how I'm feeling when I arrive here, I always feel serenity when I'm leaving.

Fragrant Liar said...

Um, so you are never anything but serene?

Perhaps you could rub some of that off on me.

Elisabeth said...

No wonder you are serene, Steven. What a life you lead, what talent, what work, what joy and creativity. You have so much to be pleased with.

Someone once told me its not so much what you have as what you do with it. A person with a great deal can do very little and vice versa, a person with very little can do a great deal. clearly you are one of those who makes the most of what he has.

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Your friends seem to all agree that you have set apart a place of peace. Your photos, poetry, ideas, all suggest deep roots, and far reaching branches. Thank you for your thoughtful ponderings.

steven said...

hello lizzy - well as you can see from this posting, serenity is something i have in part but not as a way of being. it's a good thing to aspire to. have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hello boomer! no problems with you comments arriving twice. i'm glad this one made it through the connection challenges you're experiencing! i'm very glad you feel some peacefulness from these posts. there will almost certainly be some that are less than serene but for now that is what this blog is focussed on. have a peaceful day. steven

steven said...

fragrant liar - what a cool handle! i am often anything but serene. i am a teacher - i don't know any serene teachers, it simply wouldn't work. at home i love to wrestle my son, play with my kids, i play loud music, act strangely, and i am loud with my friends. no fear fragrant liar - i'm human!!!! steven

steven said...

hello elisabeth, i have been blessed with tremendous fortune in many areas of my life - not all mind you - but many and so i am deeply grateful. thankyou for your very kind comment. have a peaceful day. steven

steven said...

hi richard - great to see you up and about!!! i'm always grateful that i have this opportunity to share something of what i am and what i like. even more grateful that it reaches others and gives them a modicom of peace and a sense of goodness. have a creative day. steven

hope said...

How did I miss this one?

All I'll add is that I'm glad you share...it makes the world a nicer place.

steven said...

thankyou very much hope. i really enjoy the challenge and meeting the challenge to the degree that i am capable through this blog!!!! steven

Coastcard said...

You have certainly answered any and all questions for me, Steven. I see our blogs as an empty canvas to be covered with a palette of most shades...