educate education

“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom. ” Albert Einstein

 

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learning from a barefoot movement

‘First they ignore you then they laugh at you then they fight you then you win’ – Mahatma Gandhi

Any proposed new idea that is going to  challenge a way or belief that has been followed and indoctrinated  for so long is going to gain immense resistance. But to keep going along with systems and ideas that we know are no longer working especially when those systems are ones concerning our children, is no longer justifiable. We are in a time that is requiring brave people to come forth with new perspectives, even if the perspectives are seemingly unorthodox, in the beginning. It is no secret that the education systems in western civilisation are having an adverse effect on children. Some of the most revolutionary ideas of how we may move towards a more diverse and nurturing educating way to serve future generations of humanity more effectively, is coming forth now.  Having  had children that patently do not fit the mainstream educational systems without having to clearly identify necessary provisions in order for them to participate, indicates that change is necessary and any system that no longer endorses notions of what we are deeming to be normal and abnormal is much welcomed from where i am standing.

untainted paths

If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

-Toni Morrison

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More and more I’m leaning towards leaving my children alone. I am no longer standing in the way of their freedom. They are free to develop, discover, learn and interact at their own will. I’m  trusting my children in their natural instincts and better judgements in knowing what it is they are wanting. My parenting is radically different now compared to what it may have looked like fifteen years or so ago. I too, are radically different now. The more I allow myself to flow into the ease of life, the easier life is becoming. There is no longer any one story i am endeavouring to fit into or trying to make my children fit into whether they are wanting or not. There is no direction that has been set before us that we are wanting to follow, that feels right anymore. This story we are creating is new. The way we are moving is new. We are walking a path that few are walking, and we are alright with that. We are unafraid, and faithful to ourselves and to our journey. Maybe there in lies the answer to contented happiness. More of trusting life to happen and allowing it to flow, welcoming whatever arises rather than pushing against and struggling in what comes about. Even the seemingly negative experiences can be blessings if we open to their messages.  My children were not born to conform in this world as it is before us now,  that i am certain of. I too have resisted  for most of my life to agree and go along quietly with ideas and ways that innately have not felt like the right way. Maybe that is why they chose me to be their mother. But ultimately, it has been the determination of my children’s Will to not bend themselves towards people or experiences that they innately know will not serve them well, that has bought us to where we are standing now.  I find myself questioning everything, especially things that rise resistance in us or simply just don’t feel right. I am listening to them in their no’s as it holds as much power as what they are saying yes to. And i want them to know from the beginning of their lives what they say yes and no to in life, matters. They are not here to simple follow those who went before them around in their ways. They have their own way, most of the time they are leading it and most of the time its going against everything that has gone before us. Still, we go forth fearlessly trusting ourselves and unafraid of laying new paths that have yet to be walked by the many.

my Möbius Strip

“If you take your index finger and trace what seems to be the outside surface, you suddenly find yourself on what seems to be the inside surface. Continue along what seems to be the inside surface, and you suddenly find yourself on what seems to be the outside surface. ” Parker Palmer

 

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I’ve spent 30 days nurturing the inside,  gently saying no to most things on the outside and intern saying yes to myself. It’s necessary every now and again to reassess all that is going on in life and sort through all that’s not flowing in the same direction, if we are to keep ourselves wide open and remain steady on the path of our truth.   It is finding ways of bringing the outside world into aliment with what we are seeking for ourselves on the inside.  The space was easy to be in and flowed more naturally than i expected it would. It was easier to say no from this space. A space where i compassionately gave myself permission to matter more than any other for this moment.  And before giving anyone my yes, i foremost required a yes from my inner world first. More often, it was a no, which helped me to realise just how much of my inner world i have been compromising for the outer worlds wanting. Finding the balance is essential in keeping the two worlds flowing harmoniously. For now, I have become my highest priority in my story. My well-being is the one that’s vitality matters most if i am to continue to carry the weight of my tribe and also stay on the path of living faithfully within my truth.  And i am understanding ever so clearly now, that it must be for the sake of my children that i remain it to stay this way. For me to be my highest idea of myself as a mother, daughter, friend or anything on the outside world,  i must foremost be the highest idea of myself in my inner world first. It’s the only way to keep moving forward. I’m not interested in standing still or bending myself in ways that i know are going against the inner flow.   I’m only interested in keeping myself wide open and in the certainty that what ever path I am to embark on from here on in,  will be one closer to a truth of who i am now, and will perhaps have little resemblance to any i have travelled before.  I am reawakening the dreams that have been with me forever that i had some time ago decided could never be, and I have decided that they could be once again,  for this Is my life.  I’m focusing less on the intricate details of how and when things will come about and spending more time in the knowing of they just will.  My children are on this journey with me, and they flow closer to their own rhythms of truth the closer i flow to mine. So it is as much for them as it is for me that i endeavour to stay on this journey of compassionately tending to myself, endeavouring to close the gap between my outside and inside worlds.

intentionally moving off the path

Asperger would often just sit with the children, reading poetry and stories to them from his favourite books. “I don’t want to simply ‘push from the outside’ and give instructions, observing cooly and with detachment,” he said ” Rather, I want to play and talk with the child , all the while looking with open eyes both into the child and into myself, observing the emotions that arise in reaction to everything that occurs in the conversation between the two of us.”

-NeuroTribes, Steve Silberman

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This is how i want my children to learn, i want to be the observer not the dictator to their curious and instinctual  minds. I want to watch what they are drawn to, and where they take themselves naturally when provided the space, opportunity and environment to do so. I don’t want them ever to become accustomed to what is perceived as normal or abnormal about themselves in a class room, by the  opinions that are deciding where they sit on some grand scale of intellectual competence.  Children are loosing their natural flow. They are being denied the access to learn by  instinctively following from their own interests, a naturally occurring process that is inherent to everyone.  There is no room for individual self-directed learning anymore.  Instead they are being shaped and moulded, and filled with information about things that are meant to support them in their lives, but really have nothing to do with their life at all.  By the time they are reaching high school it’s all but gone. Thats when it really becomes prevalent to what is happening. It is then that they too  begin to realise the sad truth of how little they matter in the system, how small their voices are, unless of course they have an exceptional skill that can offer some personal gain to the school.  It becomes entirely about working hard, retaining the masses of information, memorizing as opposed to learning, endless testing and our children tirelessly keeping pace, trying to  prove themselves over and over again.  It is about them illogically having to have their whole life plan set out before them, at the tender age of sixteen.   This is not the learning we are striving for. The learning we strive for is one that doesn’t require forcing information upon them with the expectation that they retain it and then perform it back in some way, as proof of a job well done. My children are learning to count, I know this.  I hear them practicing all the time, for their own pleasure.  I have also watched them refuse to count on demand or worse feel so under pressure, to prove themselves that they simply can’t.  Testing children is much the same. It fills them with dread, panic and insecurity, and really is no way to conclude where a child’s level of understanding is really at. Testing children in this country in the educational systems is out of control.  We test everything, even how fast they can run, in ‘beep tests’. This has nothing to do with nurturing the physical health of our children, or guiding them towards naturally being aware of how to take care of their own bodies, and everything to do with competition and adequacy verses inadequacy.  Never before in our history has  the pressure to perform been so rampant, you have to wonder how much learning is actually taking place.   We are living in a time where we are now recognising the expansive neurological diversity amongst ourselves, more than ever before, and the educational options to cater for the diversity in our children’s differences is few. Parents are wanting a new approach, they are wanting individual learning styles for their children as they are uniquely learning individuals. They are recognising that many children cannot learn effectively in a traditional school environment anymore.  With the number of children being diagnosed with learning differences it is inevitable that something will have to change. There is simply no one size fits all model that can be followed effectively anymore.

 

rational, irrational?

“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”
― Jane AustenPersuasion

 

When is it acceptable to raise a voice? Be assertive, aggressive in passion, view, thought, idea, belief? Perhaps behind closed doors? Perhaps in the safe confinements of a home? Is there a time and suitable place that such emotions would ever be deemed justifiable and acceptable?   Is everyone not made of the same stuff?  Is anger never to be expressed? Or is it that some fall into the  ambivalent class where expressions as such are permissible.   Must we shut down, be equable, behave only in ways others can suffice?   Is it appropriate to condemn and belittle when expressions are not kept in the rigidity of nice, or pleasant, or more importantly agreeable?   Why must one’s very persona come under attack simply for being angry?  Yes, I am not pretty all of the time.  I am not going to be pretty in the moment if the moment calls for something other. I will not be told to  settle down, or not to raise my voice, i will shout from rooftops without permission, now.  It will not serve well to belittle my integrity. I am a pillar of strength, and will not whimper to manoeuvring ways.

 

takings from T.S. Eliot’s, Little Gidding

chère douce Paris, je reviendrai un jour

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We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

 

What we call the beginning is often the end

And to make and end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.

For last words belong to last years language

And next years words await another voice.

 

But the passage now presents no hindrance

To the spirit unappeased and peregrine.

Between two worlds become much like each other.

So i find words i never thought to speak.

a prayer -RUMI

I have come to drag you out of yourself  and take you into my heart.

 

I have come to bring out the beauty you never knew you had and lift you like a prayer to the sky.

If no one recognises you, i do because you are my life and soul.

Don’t run away, accept your wounds and let bravery be your shield.

It takes a thousand stages for the perfect being to evolve.

Every step of the way i will walk with you and never leave you stranded.

-RUMI

free range kids, free range eggs

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There is nothing simpler and nicer than wandering outside and collecting the eggs to then cook them up immediately  for breakfast. If you have ever had eggs like this you will understand what I’m taking about..

 

ingredients:  sourdough bread , free range fresh eggs, organic butter, organic baby asparagus spears, 1 avocado, juice of a lemon, olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper,  a couple of free range kids

method: Heat a non stick grill pan on low, put on a small pot of water for the asparagus. With a glass cut holes into the centre of the sourdough, lightly butter on both sides and put aside. Gently snip with fingers the ends off the asparagus and place into the water when it comes to the boil. Blanch for 2-3 minutes, then remove and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Slice the avocado all the way around and remove the seed. Scoop the flesh out into a bowl and add the juice of half a lemon and season. Mash with a fork and set aside.  Lightly oil the grill pan and turn the heat up to a medium heat  then add the sourdough slices, as many as you can fit onto the pan. While toasting lightly season with salt and cracked pepper. Allow to toast for a minute or so then begin cracking your eggs into the holes of the bread. Allow the bread to cook to a buttery golden brown before flipping over to cook the other side. The second side will take less time than the first. Try not to over cook the eggs. When nicely toasted, take out of the pan and set aside on a board. While the grill pan is still hot add a little more olive oil and add the asparagus, gently sear for a minute,  lightly season with salt. Serve the asparagus spears on the toasts, and add a spoonful of the avocado mixture to the plates.   Give thanks and enjoy!

Why i want a Wife

In August 1970, a woman named Judy Syfers stood before a crowd gathered in San Francisco and read a humorous essay she wrote entitled ” Why I want a Wife”.  The crowd was gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote. In 1971 it was published in an important anthology of feminist works, ‘Notes from the third Year’.

 

I belong to that classification of people known as wives.I am a wife. And, not altogether incidentally, I am a mother.

Not too long ago a male friend of mine appeared on the scene fresh from a recent divorce. He had one child, who is, of course, with his ex-wife. He is looking for another wife. As I thought about him while I was ironing one evening, it suddenly occurred to me that I too, would like to have a wife. Why do I want a wife?

I would like to go back to schools that I can become economically independent, support myself, and, if need be, support those dependent upon me. I want a wife who will work and send me to school. And while I going to school, I want a wife to take care of my children. I want a wife to keep track of the children’s doctor and dentist appointments. And to keep track of mine, too. I want a wife to make sure my children eat properly and are kept clean. I want a wife who will wash the children’s clothes and keep them mended. I want a wife who is a good nurturant attendant to my children, who arranges for their schooling, makes sure they have adequate social life with their peers, takes them to the park, the zoo, etc. I want a wife who takes care of the children when they are sick, arranges to be around when the children need special care, because, of course, I cannot miss classes at school. My wife must arrange to lose time at work and not lose the job. it may mean a small cut in my wife’s income from time to time, but I guess I can tolerate that. Needless to say, my wife will arrange and pay for the care of the children while my wife is working.

I want a wife who will take care of my physical needs. I want a wife who will keep my house clean. A wife who will pick up after my children, a wife who will pick up after me. I want a wife who will keep my clothes clean, ironed,mended,replaced when need be, and who will see to it that my personal things are kept in their proper place so that I can find what I need the minute I need it. I want a wife who cooks the meals, a wife who is a good cook. I want a wife who will plan the menus, do the necessary grocery shopping, prepare the meals, serve them pleasantly, and then do the cleaning up while I do my studying. i want a wife to go along when our family takes vacation so that someone can continue to care for me and my children when I need a rest and change of scene.

I want a wife who will not bother me rambling complaints about a wife’s duties. But I want a wife who will listen to me when I feel the need to explain a rather difficult point I have come across in my course studies. And I want a wife who will type my papers for me when I have written them.

If, by chance, I find another person more suitable as a wife than the wife I already have, I want the liberty to replace my present wife with another one. Naturally, I will expect a fresh, new life; my wife will take the children and be solely responsible for them so that I am left free.

When i am through with school and have a job, i want my wife to quit working and remain at home so that my wife can more fully and completely take care of a wife’s duties.

My God, who wouldn’t want a wife?

when a daughter of my closest friend gave me this piece to read i did so lightheartedly thinking in the beginning how truthfully funny it was.. however the further i read, the humour was lost to how implicitly relevant this piece is to the women of today.  How do we change the story? How do we teach our sons and daughters differently, to expect different and fairer for themselves when all they see are mothers taking care of them, taking care of all that needs to be done for their lives to feel secure and loved as children? How do i show my daughters that their lives are abundantly worth everything and that they need not lose themselves to the children they bear and the husbands they marry, when it is all they have ever witnessed and not by their mother’s choosing? This piece was written in 1970, it could have been written today, i could have written it, for myself.

A Room of One’s Own

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

pecan pie

Where you’ve been is part of where you should be and it’s the experience you need to go where you will go.

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pecan pie

ingredients for the sweet pastry:125grams unsalted butter softened, 1free range egg,90 grams icing sugar,30grams ground almonds, 250grams plain flour

ingredients for the filling: 3 free range eggs, 150ml  pure maple syrup,80grames brown sugar,50grams butter,195grams roughly chopped pecans

method for the pastry: place softened butter,egg,icing sugar and ground almonds in a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment and beat until combined and smooth. Gradually add the flour and stop mixing as soon as mixture is combined. wrap dough in plastic film and refrigerate for an hour or over night.

method for the filling: pre heat oven to 200°C. Over a low heat melt butter with maple syrup and brown sugar. Remove from the heat and whisk in the eggs and stir through chopped pecans,put to the side to cool slightly while you prepare the base. Roll out the pastry to 3mm thick and wide enough to cover the base and sides of a greased pie pan. Lightly bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour in the pecan filling and return to the oven to bake for a further 20 minutes or until centre is just set. Allow to cool slightly before serving with a dollop of thick cream.

pastry addapted from Manu Feildel

Remember if you want to make progress on this path and ascend to the places you have longed for, the important thing is not to think much but to love much and so to do whatever best awakens you to love.

-Mirabai Starr, St Tereasa of Avila

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“we all begin the process before we are ready, before we are strong enough, before we know enough; we begin a dialogue with thoughts and feelings that both tickle and thunder within us. We respond before we know how to speak the language, before we know all the answers, and before we know exactly to whom we are speaking.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves

She asks now not for guarantees or assurances of things to be alright. She asks now not for anything to make sense or even to play out in any particular way. She no longer needs all the right answers or to even really understand why life seems to be so much harder now, even though she’s older. When all she ever really imagined was it getting easier. All she is wanting now, is the courage to simply be still, with it all. If she can accept everything her life is presenting, without the need to change or move anything, if she can truly be alright with the uncertainties and resist the need to give into bitterness or regret or blame of another, then maybe, just maybe, she will be able to move a little closer, sink a little deeper, towards her centre, towards a new truth for herself. Maybe then she will see that all that has ever happened to her in her life, has really happened for her. She will understand that she is the creator of her story, that she has always been the one painting the picture.  And if, she can bring herself to move though this, with love as her centre then maybe life will begin to flow differently for her. Maybe she will finally be able to be, the love she so deserves.

 

 

 

 

 

Being

When your deeper sense of self is derived from Being, when you are free from the psychological need, neither your happiness nor your sense of self depends on the outcome, and so there is freedom from fear. You don’t seek permanency where it cannot be found: in the world of form, of gain and loss, birth and death. You don’t demand that the situations, conditions, places or people should make you happy, and then suffer when they don’t live up to your expectations.

Everything is honored, but nothing matters. Forms are born and die, yet you are aware of the eternal underneath the forms. You know that”nothing real can be threatened.”

Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

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I can see now that in small ways I have always been on this journey, the one towards truth, life, the essence of what Is. I have at times paused, challenged, denied, become lost, held great doubt, regathered, left and come back many times to this path, i now find myself back on. Maybe it is that i am only now really ready. That i have searched long enough and i have finally come to the understanding that the truth of what i am seeking is not out there at all. I am beginning to understand the depths to which our intricate beings travel, far beyond this thought or that, far beyond this world and that world. We are so very lost, within our minds, within the stories that we hold with so much faith and so much pain, and really they are only just stories. We are not our minds, we are not the stories we shape our lives with. We are so very much more than that. On some level I have always deeply understood this to be true, maybe that is why i have never been able to just settle into anything. And i have always been able to walk away in the end and continue the search, for what truly matters. I understand that really there are no endings, we are just all in some way trying to find our way back towards understanding the vast depths within ourselves and was it is exactly we are meant to know.