Sister Iris Clarke
Giving Up Barriers and Worries for the transformation of the Philippines.
Having lived half my life in the Philippines, I consider myself a Filipina. First thing you must know is that I am NOT a writer! Linguistic abilities were not in the list of talents that God decided to give me. Math and Science are my field, with a Masters Degree in Mathematics and lots of studies in Philosophy and Theology on the side. Right now I am teaching math (algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus) in an all girls school.
I must admit the easiest time I ever had as a teacher was when I had all boys in college and taught electronics. It required practically brute force to get them to leave the lab. It's a teacher's dream to have students love your class. But never mind, I think I am lucky to be known by my peers as an excellent teacher, and even by my students!
2003 found me seated in the back row of the Landmark Forum (even though
repeated offers of the front seat were offered) with a good book in my
pocket. This is the usual way I attend any of these things. So when it
starts to drag, I slip out the book so I don't waste my time. Surprise!
During the entire time of the three days and one evening, my mind never
once went to the book. I was so completely engaged in the conversation
and enthralled by the Landmark Forum Leader!
Before I did the Landmark Forum I was quite cynical about people. But
starting from Day One, I started to see new things about myself through what is proposed in
the methodology of the Landmark Forum as the hidden power of context. I could see that I had "protected" myself from hurts by putting up barriers. I had collapsed what actually happened with my own stories of those past incidents. In the Landmark Forum I was able to draw the distinctions between these two and so much more.
I realized then that the barriers had not protected me from new hurts, but had just kept the old ones inside and stopped any joy from reaching me. After the Landmark Forum, I looked at everyone from such a different view that my life has since changed for so much the better.
I always had trouble in spelling. I could read at the age of three, and had my own little library by four. I was about seven years old when a teacher asked me to spell sugar. I still remember the word since this was the time that I made up the story that I was stupid. He laughed when I spelt it wrong! It didn't matter that I could do the math in my head and get the answer before the others, or that I read books they wouldn't be reading for some years. Even when I got a scholarship to the college of my choice, I still looked at others as the smarter ones.
I love being myself and FREE since I did the Landmark Forum. It is almost unexplainable that this can happen, and yet it does. I can now enjoy people without imagining what they are thinking. I can distinguish my stories as my stories whenever they come up. And when I do there is no fear. Now I do what I want to do, without worrying what will people think.
Just one example of the many, I have joined a Star Trek club and we meet every Wednesday. I would never had dared to do this before. Of course, one reason I would not have done it is because one does not expect a nun to be interested in Sci-Fi. Also one expects only the youth to want to join clubs. But I am enjoying myself, and my fellow members are such interesting people. I would have cut myself off from this had I been not able to question my stories, give it up, and create new possibilities for myself and my life. That is a victory from the past.
Since my Landmark Forum I have taken part in many occasions of
Assisting Program in Manila. This is one way to express my love for the transformation of the Philippines and for its benefits to the people. I stand for as many members in our various and diverse communities in the Philippines to live a life they love, as I now do.
Live long and prosper,
Sister Iris Marion Clarke,
Manila, The Philippines.
Sister Iris and I are good friends. We often go out together for movies, chit-chats, visits to bookstores, exhibits, etc. She is a very "game" person, open and fun to be with and a commitment to the Transformation of life itself.
In mid 2003 we both attended the first
ever Introduction Leaders Program in the Philippines. You should have seen her doing the "mosquito" poem at one of the weekend sessions of this program, which is designed to bring out full self-expression from us. She was rolling on the floor and pasting herself on the blackboard like Spiderman! She could have won an Academy Award for that performance!
Sister Iris Clarke was born in England, raised in New York and Miami where she joined the convent at 19. She has worked in different parts of the Philippines for the last 32 years. She speaks Tagalog, the Filipino language, and even speaks English with a Filipino accent. She is a nun at the Assumption College teaching math subjects via computers in Antipolo, one of the suburbs in Metro Manila known for its beautiful green hills.
After she graduated from hers in January 2003, Sister Iris has been assisting at each of the Landmark Forums in Manila. She is one of the "old reliables" working behind the scenes, especially at the computers and reception desk during the Landmark Forums.
I am so privileged to introduce you all to Sister Iris, a much beloved and an amazing human being!
Manila, The Philippines.
Grads In Action
Forum has inspired me to reach for goals and objectives that seemed
unattainable and difficult before. I am delighted by the results and how
practical and profound it is at the same time.."
Anjeline Eloisa J. de Dios
Ateneo de Manila University
Manila, The Philippines