What I’m Finding

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The reaction to my previous post has inspired me to get back to it with this whole blogging thing. WOW. Thank you. I went through some of my drafts this past weekend and found the post below. Its prescience rendered me speechless. I wrote those words before Taproot, before Wyoming, before beginning my journalling practice, before my homeschooling breakdown/breakthrough, before enrolling in spiritual direction certification. Finding it now feels like the echo from an angel in a dream. Our intuition is so incredibly powerful. It only we took the time to listen to it. xoS

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I can’t stop finding feathers. I can’t stop finding butterfly wings. We went to the river on Sunday and a pair of dragonfly wings were laying at my feet. They looked like plastic – crystal clear and shiny – but when I picked them up, thinking they were litter, they were too perfectly shaped and too ethereal to be plastic. I looked closer and realized I was holding a wing. I looked down and saw its mate. A pair of glassine dragonfly wings. At my feet. On Solstice, I went for a short walk and found a butterfly wing and half of a robin’s egg.

All these remnants of flight seem to be leaving a trail of whispers in their wake: fly . . . 

Listening to feathers and eggshells and wings sounds more than a little bit cray cray – but all of these outside urgings are really just echoes of the crescendo I’m hearing inside.

I think I lied in my last from Wholeness post. I said it takes a cavern full of courage to listen to what our hearts are saying. I don’t believe this anymore – if I ever did. Perhaps all we need is exactly all we have.

11 thoughts on “What I’m Finding

  1. This may not seem connected, but do you remember sending me an envelope of collage scrap paper? It has been used for so many things! This morning Jessie asked me if she could make an art project with hearts. So we got out the origami paper and your envelope and I cut out a bunch of hearts for her. She is so intent on her project, thank you for the inspiration. I am so interested to continue following your journey in homeschooling and life. Love and hugs.

  2. I have been struggling with homeschooling these past 6 months or so. I have been reading your few homeschooling posts with their somewhat cryptic (to me) messages and trying to join the dots. Really what I wanted was for someone else to say “I’m struggling” so that I wouldn’t feel so bad. I’m so glad you’ve decided to write about this again because, even if what we’re going through isn’t exactly the same, it sure helps me to clarify how I’m feeling.
    Here’s the thing – I’m starting to think it’s like being in a relationship that you know is bad for you but you just can’t stay away because, at the same time, it feels so good. I don’t know how else to explain it. I don’t want to leave, but somehow I have to set some boundaries or change my behaviour or something so that I don’t lose myself in it all. Anyway, that’s where I’m at at the moment.
    Your post above reminded me of a book I read a long time ago (can’t believe it’s been over 20 years) “Living Magically” by Gill Edwards. It’s all about the signposts that are out there, if only we’d notice them. I might re-read it.
    Cathy x

    • “I have to set some boundaries or change my behaviour or something so that I don’t lose myself in it all.” This sentence you wrote captures EXACTLY what I had to do. I have been thinking a lot about how I want to approach this subject on the blog. I went through some real ugliness, where (I thought) I hated Waldorf and everybody who had anything to do with it. I don’t anymore – however – I did need to separate myself from Waldorf homeschooling in a way that would let my true feelings emerge. That meant I stopped reading ALL homeschooling blogs. The comparison was killing my joy. This was no one’s fault but my own. I have come back to reading a few blogs about homeschooling, but not many.

      The other insight I had this week was that it had more to do with me than with my boys. I had to admit that my entire identity was centered around homeschooling. It was who I was. Well, if that is my entire identity, and lessons aren’t going well, I’m going to react in a way that is completely disproportionate to reality. “It’s not a lesson, for God sakes, it’s my life!!” Yikes. Not pretty. But true.

      What I know about myself is there is connection and then there is over-connection. I do it all the time. (Usually without such disastrous results. LOL) I had to disconnect in a way that homeschooling was not my entire identity. Which meant I needed to find out who I was BEYOND homeschooling and homemaking. Scary, scary, scary.

      This year was not easy. It was so hard to give myself grace and time to figure it out. But, for me, I knew the relationship (with homeschooling – to continue your metaphor above) was worth saving.

      Looking forward to continuing this conversation.
      S

  3. Yes, I know what you mean about over-connection. During my late 20s I was very much a workaholic and learnt a very painful lesson about being responsible for my own needs. So in a way, I’ve been able to recognize that happening with homeschooling and pull back before getting completely burnt again. But I got very close to the flames…

    I do think that Waldorf homeschooling is a bit of minefield to negotiate. In a way it’s set up to draw you into over-connection. There are a lot of “authorities” out there, some well meaning, others quite toxic, and it’s easy to get sucked into a life of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”. Before you know it, you’ve done more than buy a few playsilks, books and curriculum, you’ve bought a whole new persona.

    As you know, I’ve recently started exploring Julie Bogart’s Brave Writer materials and I’ve found her voice to be so supportive and confidence-building. It has made me realise how broken down I had become by Waldorf.

    I really do think that the biggest issue is that all the curricula and information out there is based on the schools and what they are doing. Even those written by folk who homeschooled their own children largely copy what’s done in the schools. I think this is a recipe for disaster. It’s certainly a recipe for broken relationships and/or ill health. But nobody seems to talk about it openly and I’m left thinking, “Is it just me?” So I start to assume that I’m the failure because I’m the only one who’s struggling with all this. Or talking about it anyway.

    There is a vein of gold in the Waldorf curriculum for us, I’m sure of this. But right now I’m just trying to figure out what my priorities are because I’m tired of spinning plates and feeling overwhelmed by my to-do list. Right now my need for sleep is more important than main lesson books and getting through all the 5th grade blocks before the end of the year. So if I need to sleep in I’ll damn well do it.

    Anyway, I’m just taking my time now. No more trying to cram things into 3 weeks or 4 weeks. No more rules about “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”. No more worrying about not being good enough to do this. Right now, I’m thinking of the curriculum as a wonderful smorgasbord of food. Maybe I just want to try something a little, or perhaps I like a particular dish a lot and just want that one for now. There is way too much choice for me to possibly manage in one sitting, but I can come back another day and try it then. I feel restricted by this idea of certain things must be covered in certain years. I’m happy to do them in a certain order but I don’t want to rush anymore. I’m quite a bit older than 11, but I’m still loving the 5th grade stories and content, what does it matter if we do them at age 12 or even 14? What’s the hurry?

    No. More. Rules.

    I’m a homeschooler, I’ll do what I please.

    So I look forward to reading about your insights on your blog and I really, really encourage you to lay it all out. I know it’s hard to put into words something that maybe keeps changing or that you’re still learning about, figuring out, but I think it’s so important that we support each other and it’s so important that we tell the truth.

    And whether you choose to write about homeschooling or not I’ll still read your blog because you’re insightful and courageous and you make me laugh.

    Cathy x

    • Well you make me laugh too.

      Wow. So many echoes of my own journey this year.

      For me, what it boiled down to was my love of the story element of the curriculum. That is what drew me to Waldorf in the first place. So that is what I am choosing to focus on. I threw out the main lesson blocks in November. We took it a semester at a time. For grade 3 this year, Jude did Native Americans for the entire first semester and Old Testament stories for the second. We read the ENTIRE old testament. At his urging. (Trust me, I was done after about Exodus. LOL) This is what keeps me going with Waldorf: how the stories speak to them. That being said, Vincent (grade 7) was also enthralled by the OT, so yes, I think there is a timeless quality that we need to trust. (Incidentally, reading Jung just compounds this need for myth and story and symbolism. I know I am preaching to the choir here.

      I stopped using curriculum (Waldorf anyway) maybe last year. I can’t remember. Anthroposophy never spoke to me theologically and once I got over that, it was easy to give up Kovacs et al.

      Thank you for your encouragement. I promise details next week.

      xoS

      • It was seeing the outline of the curriculum which drew me to Waldorf, the fact that it was seeped in the arts and included lots of history. I was not an artist, but I had learnt to play a couple of instruments when I was very young and had loved it. Really loved it. Then I moved school and there were no more music lessons and because I didn’t own my instrument, that was that. I never played again. So the fact that music and singing were part of the daily lessons was a big draw card for me. I was also drawn to the spiritual element, although I knew nothing of anthroposophy. Then when I began to look into it some more and discovered the stories, well, I was smitten.
        So, like you, I intend to keep the stories and perhaps some teaching ideas but really question the “school at home” format. I say this all the time but I truly think that Steiner would not be telling home schoolers to do what the schools do. His indications for the Waldorf school were a compromise, not his ideal. So we have to figure it out on our own what that “ideal” is for our children, our own individual family culture. Call it Neo-Steinerism if you like.
        Waldorf homeschooling has really given us such a lot, I don’t want to sound like I’m just critical of it all. I have discovered that I really enjoy drawing and painting. All those years growing up I believed that I couldn’t do it so I never really did. I have discovered it’s something you can learn, not a talent you are either born with or not (although clearly some folk do have a gift). And I love that my days are filled with artistic expression. But I’m not sure that we have to only use Waldorf resources or ideas for that.
        At the moment we are using Simply Music to learn piano. It has been an interesting experiment for me. I decided to give ds the option of deciding to do it or not, no pressure. We signed up for the online lessons (yep, using the computer), brought the keyboard (yep, electronic) in the house from the garage and put it in our main living area, then showed ds how to access the lessons (yep, on the computer). Then we left him to it. Honestly, he spends hours tinkering away with the keyboard and is ahead of me in the lessons! He who announced (after pennywhistle) that he did NOT want to play piano or any other instrument. If I go to sit down at the keyboard he is instantly there pushing me off the stool. It’s wonderful. And the lessons are great. I feel sad that for the past decade or so we have not had much music in our home because a certain authority on Waldorf education said that recorded music was “dead” and bad for my child. Music brings me joy, even digitally recorded music. I’m claiming back the joy!!!
        Oh, and I like your new bio and thank you for allowing me to say all this “out loud” on your blog.
        Cathy

        • Neo-Steinerism. I love it.

          I totally identify with the having no music because someone said recorded music was dead. Crazy, isn’t it? Mine wasn’t music but art. I didn’t bring any of my own artistic media into our homeschooling bc I believed they weren’t “sanctioned”. Collage, coloring (pre-drawn coloring books! horrors!), etc, etc. Next year, we are going to do Animals (I’m not calling it Man and Animal!) through art journalling. The three of us. Together. Mixed ages.

          Basically at 45, I am looking for those things that allow me to bring more of myself to the table. Not things that make me check parts of myself at the door. From Wholeness and all that.

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