Darbella MacNaughton was born in Campbellford, Ontario, just after Hurricane Hazel blew through Ontario. She grew up in Whitby, Ontario.
After completing a B. A. at York University in Toronto, she attended the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Ontario, where she earned an Ontario Teacher’s Certificate. An additional year was spent at the Sir James Whitney School, learning to be a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
From there, it was off to Kitchener, Ontario, to teach for the Waterloo Region District School Board. Most of her 31 years were spent teaching Grade 7 and 8 Deaf and Hard of Hearing students who were integrated into the regular school programs. Other subjects taught included math, science and technology, computers, and Lego robotics.
Darbella retired in 2011, after 31 years of teaching.
During her time in Kitchener, she met and married Wayne Allen. She has enjoyed many opportunities working with him with clients and leading workshops.
In recent years, she has developed a passion for Qi Gong. She is working toward an online certification course for teaching Qi Gong.
She believes that her daily Qi Gong and meditation practice has made a tremendous difference in her life, allowing her to enjoy each of life’s moments to the fullest.
Darbella’s other interests include hiking, knitting, quilting, and designing and making mosaics and stained glass.
Current Article – The Return of Darbella!
As happens often in the staff room at school, an Internet joke gets printed and posted. This one is a blond joke but it relates to a currently taught concept - the Pythagorean theorem. For those of you not current with grade 8 mathematics – this theory, developed by Pythagoras, states the square of the hypotenuse of a right angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. This way, in a right-angled triangle, you can mathematically find the third side if you know the other two.
In the joke, the instructions were simply “find x”. This problem was given to a blonde and her solution is found below.
I shared this joke with Wayne and he responded with – How Zen! I thought about that answer and realized that the blonde’s response truly did answer the question. This would not be my natural tendency. I would be looking for a much more complicated solution to this problem. If there were more than one way to solve the problem, I would include all the possibilities I knew. Doing the simple thing and just circling the “x” because that is what is asked – never would have crossed my mind. How could you possibly know all that I know if I only provided a simple answer?
This reminded me of an exam I wrote during my year of deaf education training. We had just learned all kinds of new information about hearing losses, their implication on language and learning, audiograms and how to read them. On the exam, we were given the following question. You are in an interview situation with a family who has just had a child diagnosed with a hearing loss, and here is the audiogram. How would you explain this audiogram to the parents?
Off we all went, passing on all the wonderful new knowledge we had just acquired and felt they needed to know – at the same time – impressing the instructor with all the information we had learned in the course. The point we all lost sight of was that the parents had just found out the their child has a hearing loss. This would have been a devastating position for most parents to be in. All that wonderful information we were passing on would have likely fallen on “deaf” ears. We lost sight of the situation and focused only on what we knew. We missed the simple answer. We lost sight of the parents and focused only on our knowledge and ourselves.
I find that drawing a card from the Osho Tarot deck each morning helps me to set myself on the right track for each day. If you are interested in trying this you can pick a card from a deck on the Osho website. I have started reading books written by Osho as my morning coffee reading. At the time that this joke went by, I was reading an interesting chapter in the book titled, Zen, The Path of Paradox. In the chapter called Too Much Zen, Osho talks of a Chinese concept called mo chao. He explains it this way. “ Mo chao means serene reflection. The lake is silent – no ripples. It reflects perfectly. It is a full moon night and the full moon is reflected in the lake.”
Osho explains that the reflection of the moon is more beautiful than the moon itself. The serenity, silence and coolness of the lake have been added to it and it has become something more. Mo chao is when God reflects in you. Something has been added by the reflection of God, and you have become even more beautiful.
This serene reflection requires quieting the mind. Too much thinking causes too many ripples in the surface of the lake. This creates a situation where reflection is impossible. This can’t be a forced stillness – which I think reflects in how I live life if I am not paying attention. Like the duck, the surface may seem very calm but my little feet are madly paddling underneath. In this situation, the reflection is still not very clear. Too may ripples - too much activity. Too many ripples - too much thinking. Too many ripples - too much drama.
This has been an interesting school year. With three job assignments, the juggling can be interesting – all the jobs want to be full time. And there are all the extra things. It has been an interesting learning experience that all the drama, all the activity, all the words, and all the mad paddling under the calm surface are created by me. I am learning more and more to keep “me” calm and serene in spite of all the busyness around me.
In spite of all this busyness of life, there is nothing to know. Thinking, words, knowledge – just ripples blurring the reflection of life. Life is mysterious. Life is something to wonder at rather than know. Serene refection.
A card that I found a few years ago and framed, reminds me daily that:
Light reflects straightest on calm water.