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The Magnificent Void

By Sheri Plybon.

Citation: First published in the SENG Update, October 2009

When I began this article, I was listening to the music channel on TV. I was not surprised to find that the title of the piece fit perfectly with my thoughts. It was something I had never heard, but it was beautiful. This prompted me to begin a listing of the songs as they played: again, I was not surprised to find that they flowed with my thinking. You are probably asking, and how does this fit with emotional needs of gifted?

Reflection is a powerful ability that one must nurture to begin a journey of living. As I have always mused at the poetry, music, and art of those whose passion is to create it, I also find that it is the ability to put those ideas, thoughts and sounds to a form that is shared as a form of reflection of sights, sounds and thoughts that amaze. Again…how does this fit with emotional needs of gifted?

The title of that musical piece was The Magnificent Void by Steve Roach. It gives one pause for thought, almost as an oxymoron, and thus I launch into my ‘void’ of thought and reflection.

What does it mean?

Everyone asks this at one time or another, and in the end, we each have to find our own response. With this is mind and my focus on adolescent years, I want to encourage parents and adolescents to become involved in reflection. Just as I ask, “What does it mean?”, we must ask many other questions that will bring clarity and understanding of self, purpose, vision and goals, and we must take the time to do so.

First I would propose a few random thoughts for personal reflection:

· What does it mean?

· These are the best years of your life.

· Life is good.

· Set your own pace.

· Life is a journey, not a destination.

· What brings us to share or withhold? (holding back vs. holding in)

· What does it mean to be an introvert / extrovert?

· How do I know my journey will lead to the destination I seek?

· How do you know that it won’t?

· Vision sets the course, goals chart the waters.

· Fighting the good fight (in school to make sure that one has a learning opportunity).

· Life is sometimes a struggle.

· When is it okay to ‘fit-out’ and NOT ‘fit-in’?

· What is reality?

· Power (control) vs. power (knowing).

Following a practice:

Andrea, my daughter, and I had a blank book that we would write in, and then pass to each other to respond. This was a way for us to share thoughts and feelings when it was hard for her to say things to me during her teen years. It was more about reflection than anything else, but provided us both a channel to continue our conversation.

Bill Watterson, the artist of Calvin & Hobbs, consistently provides us with existential thoughts & questions in a humorous, but very serious way through his cartoons. Locate one of his books at the used bookstore. Cut out cartoons that would give opportunity for reflection. Tape to the refrigerator.

Write a quote on the bathroom mirror with a vis-à-vis pen, and then wait for comments.

Read aloud from The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, the chapter on Cottleston Pie. Write a quote from the chapter at the top of a paper: each family member should write a response, fold the paper so that his/her response does not show, then pass it to the next person until all have written a response. The last person should read the quote and then each member’s response. This gives each person a chance to respond, shows the diversity of thought, respect for another’s ideas and acceptance of differences. (This can be done with quotes, poetry, etc. as well.)

Select favorite songs to listen to – share thoughts – for example:

· If Today Was Your Last Day, by Nickelback

· Vincent, by Don McLean

Adolescents need literature that is at their level and above, to challenge them to think, reflect and grow: Suggestion:

· The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet, both by Benjamin Hoff

And of course, music titles heard today include, in order:

· The Magnificent Void – Steve Roach

· Journey from the album Awaken – Brian Scott Bennett

· The Africans from the album The Spirit of the World – Terry Oldfield

· Gift of Light – Shastro

· North Wind Renewal from the album A Shaman’s Vision Journey – David & Steve Gordon

· Hummingbird from the album Colors of the Mind – Steve Gorn

· Tribe – Once upon a Time from Sound of Spa Tranquility– Krishna Das

· Touching Silence – Shastro

Become a poem.

The Magnificent Void travels

A Journey to Awaken The Spirit of the World.

The Gift of Light gently brings The North Wind Renewal as A Shaman’s Vision Journey Through the Colors of the Mind Bring Tranquility and Touching Silence

May you always travel the magnificent void in tranquility and touching silence.


Sheri Plybon is a SENG Model Parent Group Facilitator and Trainer, and she has been a Gifted Specialist for 28+ years in public education, K-12. She has worked on curriculum development and staff development at state and district levels and served for 8 years on the Texas Association for Gifted Board of Directors. Ms. Plybon has presented at both national (NAGC) and state (Colorado & Texas) Gifted Conferences. Her passion for understanding giftedness was inspired by her three gifted children and by her own personal experiences in gifted education. Ms. Plybon earned her Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Science from Loretto Heights College, and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Colorado State University.

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