We struggle, we grow weary… We are changed… (For students and their advisors in April, a prayer by Leunig)

Early April in the U.S. academic year is a time when graduate students often make a shift—sometimes after a small crisis—in their view of their work (referring here to the process as well as the product, to the current challenge as well as the way they see the future after graduation).  To help in this re-seeing, I just sent my students this prayer from the late 1980s by the whimsical Australian cartoonist, Michael Leunig. It also helps their advisor!

We struggle, we grow weary, we grow tired. We are exhausted, we are distressed, we despair.
We give up, we fall down, we let go. We cry. We are empty, we grow calm, we are ready. We
wait quietly.

A small shy truth arrives. Arrives from without and within. Arrives and is born. Simple, steady,
clear. Like a mirror, like a bell, like a flame. Like rain in summer. A precious truth arrives and
is born within us. Within our emptiness.

We accept it, we observe it, we absorb it. We surrender to our bare truth. We are nourished, we
are changed. We are blessed. We rise up.

For this we give thanks.

Michael Leunig (A Common Prayer)


About Peter J. Taylor
Peter Taylor is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston where he teaches and directs undergraduate and graduate programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society. His research and writing focuses on the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context, incl. Unruly Complexity: Ecology, Interpretation, Engagement (U. Chicago Press, 2005) and Nature-nurture? No (2014, http://bit.ly/NNN2014). On reflective practice, see Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research & Engagement (with J. Szteiter, 2012, http://bit.ly/TYS2012).

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