Lines of dialogue from movies and television shows often get under my skin, and become a focal point for my ponderings. One such line comes from the West Wing episode “The U.S. Poet Laureate,” where staff member Toby is charmed by Tabitha Fortis, the scheduled honoree at a upcoming White House event.
Tabitha and Toby are opposites in many ways. While he’s a practical thinker, she’s much more of a dreamer and idealist. She tries to explain her sensibility to him, and in this moment she says: “I’m a poet, Toby – that’s how I enter the world.”
That phrase stuck with me, nagged at me – “Enter the world.” When Tabitha says she enters the world as a poet, her meaning is twofold: She carries a poetic sensibility with her into life, and the world reflects it back – she sees poetry, and the world delivers poetry. Even the “bad parts” are poetry to Tabitha.
I enter the world as a student and teacher. I look at my surroundings as a dynamic laboratory for learning and growth, and an opportunity to share insights with others. It’s not what I “do,” so much as what I “am.” Whatever my job title might be, teaching and learning are what I’m about. That’s how I enter, and interact with, the world.
Some of us enter the world as artists, writers, musicians, helpers, organizers, leaders. Our sensibility becomes the glass through which we see the world. When we share these different views, we enrich the landscape for each other and for ourselves, as we learn to appreciate different facets of a prism.
How will you enter the world today?