Oh my… is it really that long since I’ve posted here? SO much has happened since 2020, and soon I will take time to reflect back on these last two and a half years… watch this space.
Author Archives: Jennifer K Miles
Sitting comfortably with who we really are
A thought as I sit within the chaos of birthing my doctoral thesis during the COVID pandemic.
My thesis is about connections. Connections to stories of learning revealed in connection to others and their stories, and to ourselves and our own stories of living and learning. My research is revealing the power that sits in spaces where these connections are encouraged and cultivated, where we have opportunity to dive deeply to unravel knowledge of ourselves in connection with others:
Participants’ collaborative engagement with their peers and the sharing of their stories of learning and challenge catalysed a ‘pilgrimage’ of sorts where they were able to navigate new terrain collectively. Formenti & West (2018) speak to this notion of lifelong learning as pilgrimage and quest, proposing it takes place through dialogue with diverse others—a journey to self that is unpacked and understood in connection with others. Through the cultivation of social connections, awareness is seeded in the individual that ‘the world need not be as we have been taught, and we can learn in creative, collaborative, border crossing, boundary challenging as well as loving ways, in the company of others’ through ‘finding the courage to engage with and learn from the other and otherness, not least in ourselves’ (Formenti and West, 2018 p. 49).Jennifer Miles (PhD thesis in process, yet to be published)
My research also reveals that it is in learning to sit comfortably in the authentic strengths and realities of who we are, we are more powerfully placed to engage with and influence the world around us, as Parker Palmer describes so eloquently in his discussion about the formation of great teachers:
‘If I am willing to look in that mirror and not run from what I see I have a chance to gain self knowledge and knowing myself is as crucial to good teaching as knowing my students and my subject. In fact, knowing my students and my subject depends heavily on self knowledge’.Parker Palmer (1998, p2)
I have written many times before about the deep work of Heather Plett, and today, another of her critical reflections on life and living came into my feed. In many ways it reinforces for me the the power inherent in creating these spaces where we can begin the process of ‘unravelling’ on our pilgrimage to self, in the company of others:
‘It’s time to divest of those belief systems and the cultural systems that prop them up. It’s time to live more honest and messy lives. It’s time to stop trying to fix ourselves and other people. It’s time to stop spending our money on things that don’t truly bring us joy. It’s time to stop changing our bodies to meet some ridiculous standards of beauty.Heather Plett (2020. What if we show the mess? https://heatherplett.com/2020/10/what-if-we-show-the-mess/
It’s time to let our leaves rot so that they can nourish new life’.
I hope you find a little sensemaking in amongst these words, something that might help you further along the road of your own pilgrimage to self. And (note to self) don’t forget to enjoy the journey …
Celebrating a very special birthday
What an emotional end to my day, celebrating the life of Kopika who is currently detained with her family on Christmas Island. I have been sitting here in a waterfall of tears watching the outpouring of love for this little girl and her family ❤️💚💛🧡💜 #bringthemhometoBilo
My wish for her, as it is for all who love and treasure the family so dearly, is that she returns home to Biloela with her family to live again within their community. I am filled with love and hope for their future.
Do yourself a favour and watch right to the end