passions and compassions

haiku for today:

blue, bare, blustery

woodsmoke drifts across sunlit

backyard chill: dreamland

~ ~ ~



These are two of my favorite words.

Earlier today I was writing a post for Steve Hargadon’s “Teacher 2.0” challenge activity related to discovering/rediscovering passions.  I’m copying most of that post here:


The H tree!

~ growing, admiring, photographing flowers; carefully picking and designing floral bouquets and arrangements to give to others

~ walking and photographing in natural settings, walking in lovingly cultivated garden areas

~ reading and writing

~ intentional dialogue groups

My paternal grandmother taught me to identify flowers, observe their preferred growing conditions — beginning at a very early age. This love of flowers has been a strong steadfast joy in my life ever since.  Most people who have met me know this about me — often at the very first meeting!

I was privileged to grow up on a 32-acre farm (agricultural farm) with 3 ponds, two creeks, woods, fields (with Native American arrowheads turning up once in awhile!), and with parents, an uncle, grandparents, and two other nature-loving families living on those 32 acres along with my family.  Ample opportunities to explore nature, learn from nature, abounded.  In addition, my dad planned wonderful family outings and camping trips to explore beyond our farm.

My dad was an avid reader, my mom read to us frequently. Our home included a substantial library. I recall being quite proud of my ‘always with a nose in a book’ status, and striving to borrow and read more books than anyone else my age from school and local libraries.  Currently, I continue to read an average of 3 or more novels per week.

Intentional dialogues:  Sometimes I’m accused of not knowing how to have fun (but do not believe this is an accurate accusation) because I prefer meaningful activity over meaningless activity most of the time. Meaningfulness is subjective, at least to some degree.

I’ve been teased because I often actually like meetings (well-organized, well-facilitated meetings).

I like learning opportunities.

I like listening to people speak about their passions, their compassions.

Freshman year discussions — sitting with classmates on sofas, chairs, floors, bunk beds — sharing as we probed philosophical questions: loved it!

Anti-racism  Undoing racism / Dialogue on race groups have been important, still are important, in my life.

Intercultural groups, Parent groups, class assignment groups, community groups, all of these and more = fit into the realm of what I refer to as intentional dialogue.  And while I agree that talking is not enough, I also passionately believe that intentional dialogue is a needed part of any process of change.

I would be surprised if people didn’t recognize my passions and compassions fairly quickly; a poker-face I have not! This is true for ‘students’ as well as colleagues or any other citizen of the world I might meet.

Passions and talents: how are they different?  I’m smiling as I read this question, think about my response to this question, smiling because the two words/meanings hadn’t crossed paths in my mind until I read the question.


I do have some talent at floral design, at speed-reading, comprehension, teaching reading, writing, listening, caring, building community.  But I believe it’s my passions that enable those talents to emerge.  There are a few people who seem to have innate talents, but unless those talents are presented, explored, shared, developed with a passion at their core, they lack meaningfulness.

Do I spend as much time ‘as I need to’ focusing on my passions?  hmmm….  If I were given the scale of “rarely / sometimes / usually / always” I would respond, “Usually.”

Compassions generate and perpetuate meaningfulness.

Pursuing my passions generates healing, healing generates energy to persist in following, acting upon my compassions.

Interesting reflections…

What do you agree with?  Disagree with?  Why?  How would you respond to any or all of the above-referenced questions?