They did not feel they could choose what they wanted, independent of circumstances. … it always seems that circumstances are powerful- more powerful than you are. You feel that all you can do is react or respond to them. Even if you have developed great skill in outmaneuvering circumstances, like a lion tamer outmaneuvering the lions, it is still the circumstances- the lions- that hold the ultimate control in how you live you life. -Robert Fritz
This has been the way i have lived life, for most of my life. My first considerable circumstance that defined how i would move was my first child. In trying to choose the best life for her, I married her father and began creating the story. I wish i could say with Truth that it was out of a deep love, for him, but i can’t, it was out of a deep love for her. And i knew this at the time, even at twenty. I stayed quiet, silenced the voice within and did what needed to be done to ready myself for the making of a family. I pretended that it was all that mattered. Believing that there was enough love to make it look as though it was always going to be part of the plan. But it hadn’t been my plan, it caught me by surprise and i reacted. This story played out for seven years in all the usual ways, and for the most part i was content with all the distraction children brought. I was abundant in the circumstances surrounding the way i was moving through life and avoiding my truth. It simply was just too much to allow to rise to the surface in this story. We do that as mothers, leave ourselves behind or worse in the dark to keep the story going. And we usually think we do this well, but it’s never really far away, and life has this divine way of always bringing to you what truths you are needing to see at the time. And when my husband decided to leave one day, i remember i felt terrified and relieved in the same breath. Terrified at the idea of caring for three young children on my own and relieved that he had found the courage to leave, something i would silently be eternally grateful to him for. I’m no longer living this way, allowing the circumstances of my life to define my life. I’m moving from a different part of myself now, the one where the answer isn’t always clear right away but you know it’s there and you know that it will be revealed as its meant to, so your content in the waiting. The strength i learned about myself during this time, has carried me forward. It’s what brought me through the chapters that followed to where I’m standing now. It’s whats giving me the courage to stand strong in my truth, in the midst of this chapter. And with all resistance that comes up against it, I’m thankful to them for they are the continuum of reminders on how i need to be ever so mindful of my Truth.
I’m excited about my children’s education for the first time. After spending too many years on opposite sides of the bench with the school system and the education of my older children, it’s a much welcomed relief and an exciting new prospect for us. For the past 2 years i have been endlessly searching for alternative schooling approaches to educate my children that differ from the mainstream system that we so often seem to be hauling our children through. Homeschooling or better still un-schooling has gotten my eager attention. It’s not the conventional way to go, or even the most popular form for alternative ways to educate your children, nevertheless something is swiftly moving us in that direction. And really after having already been down the conventional schooling road before, i’m afraid it leaves little to be desired for at this stage. After researching the array of approaches to begin embarking on the homeschooling journey, it became apparent and with a much welcomed relief that we were already innately flowing to this rhythm of learning. And whist it may seem alternative now, my predicament is, as a society facing the enormities of such neurological diversity we will begin to explore these new learning styles more predominately in the future anyway. Right now, everything we are doing feels right. Moving in the natural flow of the children is easy, much easier than the rush of meeting expected time tables and fitting into a routine that doesn’t really fit with us. Now, we move slowly in the mornings, especially on the stuff that doesn’t really matter, like washing faces and getting dressed. The creativity usually begins before the first cup of tea. Everything is always open, accessible and available, nothing stops or finishes at a certain time. I know the learning is happening when they wake and look out to see if anything has grown in the garden or changed form while they were sleeping. They notice a bee has taken up residence in the lounge room and they are unbothered by its presence, ensuring me that its alright, because it’s just pollinating our plants. Painting in your pyjamas is normal, brushing teeth at some stage before lunch is alright, imaginary play is unrestrained and not restricted to any parts of the house, and can take over and last for hours. I can’t emphasis enough how important this kind of play is and how important it is to allow the space in children’s lives for this to happen naturally. We live in a world that is on sensory overload most of the time. Children are losing their way, forgetting how to be without the aid of an electronic device, clouding their minds. I’m seeing it so often now, children are struggling to think of ways to play. They have forgotten this innate wisdom they have been born with and its disturbingly heartbreaking. Playing this way for us happens often and easily, they listen to each other, contemplate and cooperate together, most of the time my involvement is unnecessary and is kept to a minimal. The children are happy, excited to wake in the morning and begin their days, they know that they have the unique experience of leading the way on how the day will unfold and its alluring to watch them in the freedom of this space. It would be hard to imagine now, a life of rushing them out the door by eight with breakfast on the run to spend 6 hours in a classroom, five days a week. I’m thinking we have stumbled onto something uniquely wonderful here, un-schooling is undoubtably unorthodox and still really quite seldom, nonetheless we do like the idea of taking the road less travelled.
It takes courage to follow your own innate wisdom’s, especially when it concerns more lives than just that of your own. I have always followed the mantra, when you know better, you do better. I am watching carefully how my children are learning, even how other children i am around are learning also, by simply observing, allowing, and encouraging a child-led process to unfold. This area in my children’s development has become a necessary pursuit and now a passion. When developmental learning for a child doesn’t play by the generalised rules, it becomes necessary to begin the journey of discovering new ways for the information to be grasped, finding a way for the learning to happen. Our way has come to us on an instinctual level, i simply allow my children to lead the way in their learning, most of the time and almost every day. It may seem unlikely that we could possibly be covering all the developmental learning targets with children taking the lead however, if we are able to get out of our own way of old views on how things must be done in order to achieve results, we open up a new space of possibility for things to unfold. And children are born knowing what they want and need already. We know this to be true from babies who cry to have their instinctual needs met. Nobody teaches a new born how to be hungry every few hours or how to be tired, or how to feel uncomfortable. We trust babies to tell us what they need, to eventually get their needs met, even without the use of spoken language. So why is it that we stop trusting them, stop trusting that they instinctively know what it is they are wanting to learn, wanting to know more about? Maybe it started around the time the first three-year olds began contradicting their parents? A mass collaborative decision to get things under control before an ensue of outspoken three-year olds possibly unraveled? What would happen if we continued to trust them, kept them safe and allowed them to lead the direction of what it is they want to know more about. All children are curious we know this to be true. Usually about absolutely everything. This innate curiosity starts to take a certain shape and head in certain directions as they grow. I watched a small boy yesterday, load his 4-year-old arms up with off cuts of wood and lug them down to another part of the play area where he was building. He continued this process of going back and forth, carrying the wood to his construction site with immense importance and determination. He lay the wood pieces in parquetry style, perfectly creating a flat image of a house plan from his imagination. What was remarkable to me was that he was constructing this project in amongst a highly distracting group of twenty or so four-year olds. I wondered what would have happened if he was left to remain focused on his project for sometime, and given the opportunity to further explore this creative venture, with access to tools and supplies. Who knows what would have become of his fabrication. This is child-led learning. This is the perfect example of a child who clearly has an interest in construction. All sorts of learning can be applied to his choice of project, maths and geometry, comparing and measuring all of which can be explored. Creative thinking, conceptualisation, problem solving and independence all play a large role in a project such as this. Most importantly you will have the desire, willingness and enthusiasm of the child. Isn’t this ideal? Children learning in a way, that allows them to set their own course, a direction of learning where we are simply not filling them with masses of information that they cannot relate to, or have little interest in learning about and possibly will never again use in their lives. Of course, when we leave the education system as young adults we usually once again return to learning more naturally. When we want to know more about a topic or subject, we begin the process ourselves. Technology allows us to research and explore information on just about anything we want to know about. We pursue our interests, and intern continue the process of learning by our own innate wisdom once again.
So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery, and the sacrifice of wealth and charity which used to be said to be the greatest of human disasters, a mere flea-bite in comparison.
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
if i were sitting with you, teaching you how to gain access to your own unconscious companions, I would symbolically take you by the hand and say, “Follow me, because i know how to find them .” I know how they disguise themselves in your psyche and spirit and how they hide themselves in the events of your life.. When I look at someones face, i look beyond that face and into the cellular memory in my heart that says, “Finally you and I have met again. And now we must find out why.” To sense an archetypal thread connecting you to another person is to connect with a soul agreement that has finally manifested in time and space.
-Caroline Myss, Sacred Contracts
‘forgive yourself not because of all the signs you failed to acknowledge or all the things you did not ask for but because you did not understand that the only way to discover what you want is to spend time in what you do not.’