Naomi Shihab Nye Shares Why Kindness Is The Deepest Thing Inside You


Naomi. shehab nice. Childhood unfolded between ferguson missouri. Near where her mother grew up and her father's palestinian homeland. Our conversation in two thousand sixteen spoke to so much that he's even more alive in the world. Now i always start my interviews by inquiring about the religious or spiritual background of someone's tighted and i just wonder where you'd start reflecting on what that was in your life all. I felt very lucky as a child to have open minded parents. And i knew they were open minded because they were unlike any other parents. I met my friends parents I also knew that they didn't practice the religions of their upbringings. Either one of them so this fascinated me as even a little child. And i would ask a lot of questions. There was no sense of a taboo subject on. My father had not really had a difficult time telling his family that he didn't want to practice islam. He said i will respect it. But i don't want to practice it and they had accepted that my mother's family on the other hand had been more hard hearted about her rejection of their german lutheran missouri. Synod background but this was something. Both of my parents. Talk about with each other and with their children. You know that people are raised in all kinds of different ways. And if it doesn't feel a meaningful to you maybe you have to search more. You have to keep searching. And i was a religion major in college. Of course you work. Because of my appetite for this topic and i was fascinated to study more about zen buddhism which appealed to me very much from the beginning and it seems like hugh became a writer at a very young inch. You're like seven six. I was six. When i started writing my own poems and seven when i started sending them out and And just today Some students i was talking to a skype class in kuwait. How much. I love the modern world that we can do these things. I was with these students for two hours. And i feel like i'm going to think about them for the rest of my life but one young man asked me. How were you brave enough to do that. What gave you the confidence. he said. i've been trying to run a publication here at our university campus. And i can't get my friends to give me their writing. They're not brave enough. What gave you confidence. And i think just having you know that sense of voice while other people have done it. That's what we do if you know words if you compose wanna share them. Because they'll have a bigger life if you do that so you know. I certainly wasn't thinking about a career. Just thought of myself as having a practice you know if you have a practice of writing then you have a lot of pieces of paper on your desk and you can share the if you chose to. And it seemed more exciting or illuminating. Share them and see what happened next than just keep for myself. So i'm very interested in general in this question of you know what poetry works in us but i think even that question itself hasn't holds the implication that poetry is something separate something distinct but it seems that in your sensibility. You see it. As very organic i mean there's i think it was in in some of your writing for poems by children. He said i do think that all of us think in poems i do i do think that and i think that is very important enough feeling separate from text feeling sort of your thoughts as text or the world as it passes through you as a kind of text the story that you would be telling to yourself about the street even as you walk down or as you drive down as you look out the window the story you would be telling a. It always seemed very much to me as a child that i was living in a poem. The my life was the poem. In fact at this late date i have started putting that on the board of any room. I walk into. That has a board Came back from japan a month ago and every classroom. I would just write on the board. You are living in a poem. And then i would write other things just relating to whatever. We were doing that class. But i found the students very intrigued by discussing that you know. What do you mean. we're living in a poem or win all the time or just when someone talks about poetry and i'd say no when you think when you're in a very quiet place when you're remembering when you're savoring an image when you're allowing your mind calmly to leap from one thought to another. That's a poem. That's what a poem does and they liked that and grow in. Fact wrote me a note In yokohama on the day that i was leaving her school that has come to be like the most significant note. Any student has written me in years. She said well here. In japan we have a concept called you todi and it is spaciousness. It's a kind of living with spaciousness for example like it's leaving early enough to get somewhere so you know you're going to arrive early so when you get there you have time to look around. Or whether she gave all these different definitions of what you tori was to her but one of them was an after you read a poem just knowing you can hold it you could be in that space of the poem and it can hold you in its space and you don't have to explain it you don't have to paraphrase it. You just hold it and it allows you to see differently. And i just love that i mean. I think that's what i've been trying to say all these years.

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