Kalen Wilfred Lonneberg Marquis
I am a reader, writer and thinker who scribbles long, reflective notes in the margins. What may be found here will be revised over time as I challenge and synthesize previous expressions of thought, feeling, intuition and experience. It is a playful privilege born of wide margins and yet the necessity of living an 'examined' life. In the words of Michelangelo, "It is only well with me when I have a chisel in my hands."
After three decades of service as a teacher, librarian and therapist in public and private practice, I am semi-retired, seeking new opportunities, while living this 'liminal life' in greater alignment with my soul's purpose and inner vision. I am also the wordsmith and editor for Wide Margins Museletter with the hope that it will evolve and grow with interest and support from families, parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians and counsellors--anyone and everyone who likes to create and connect with love, empathy and encouragement. In this regard, I will always be a word traveller.
I am in the company of inspired and soulful models, mentors, and companions who demonstrate that it is not 'what' we do, but 'how' we do it that creates deeper meaning. As a 'meaning-maker,' creating, connecting and sharing with like-hearted people is essential for a sense of fulfillment in each moment. As I endeavor not to 'rush the river,' I am reminded of the song I often sang with my youngest students: "Row, row, row your boat, gently down life's stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream."
After all, it all begins and ends with the sage words of Chief Dan George, "The young and old are closest to life. They love every minute dearly."
They know. As they have always known. The rest of us need only remember. This awareness, coupled with the "noblest pleasure" of the "joy of understanding" as Leonardo da Vinci wrote, is satisfying indeed.
"In order to understand something,
you have to be one with that something."
Thich Nhat Hanh
"No seed ever sees the flower."
Being Seen and Heard
In the same spirit that John O'Donohue writes, "One of the deepest longings of the human soul is to be seen," it is equally important to consider the human soul's need to be heard. As Karl A. Menninger says, "Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand."
Whether as a family member, friend, or human being in any role, there is immense therapeutic power in the capacity to listen. Just listen. Nothing is harder. Or more profound. It costs nothing. It gives much. Between each word, between each sentence, there is the silence. This is the gap where the love and light get in. The connection is deeper and more transcendent than just the twist or tumble of words.
We have much to learn from others--especially the misfits and the mercurial. They have their viewpoint and perspective too. We are infinitely richer and more empathetic for hearing what we may never see, feel, or experience ourselves. As Leonardo da Vinci said, "The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding." Empathize. Encourage. But most importantly...
"Loneliness does not come from having
no people around, but from being unable
to communicate the things that seem
important to oneself, or from holding
certain views which others find
(Carl Gustav Jung)
In the spirit of Joseph Cambell's advice to 'follow your bliss' with faith in the 'invisible supports' that emerge to guide us on the 'hero's journey,' I acquiesced to 'Ms Universe' by retiring early as a teacher, librarian and counsellor to be in greater alignment with my heart, soul, and spirit during this transformative and alchemical stage of adult life.
As Eckhart Tolle says, "Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge." The key to more expansive and enduring fulfillment will, I'm sure, be a literal or figurative return to the 'humour and heartstrings' of the past. This old, stone heart and cobwebbed brain are full to the brim but life continues to unfold with mystery and delight.
So here I am, finding solace and creating joy in life with wide margins. I am inspired and affirmed by Carol Shields who seems to have read my heart and soul when she adroitly wrote, "This matters, the remaking of an untenable world through the nib of a pen; it matters so much I can't stop doing it." Or, to paraphrase Joseph Cambell, it is when we see the light at the end of the tunnel, that we have sauntered off the path." So, in a word: Onwards!
Love and best wishes on the journey! As Ram Dass so poignantly says, 'We are all just walking each other home.'
“I really love your new virtual approach and the work you have been doing to reach kids and families in this time. I watched your YouTube videos, so great!!! It feels like I'm sitting with you in your comfy office.”
'I just wanted to say that I am very happy that we have this chance to work together. You appear to have a very intuitive sense of humanity and your empathy is duly noted."
'Kalen breathes his work. He is one of the most caring, giving, dynamic teachers I have ever met. A diamond in the rough of education."