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We are blessed to be able to flow with life.

We have the flexibility and freedom to move with the ebb and flow of life, move in cyclical ways that match Mother Earth’s, and follow the natural rhythm of nature. It is a gift for us to not be limited by schedules or bound by routines and obligations. (We do have some of those, of course, but not to the same extent as many in our culture).

In the winter, we were going to bed earlier, rising earlier, spending more days inside. Reading more books, doing more projects, working on hobbies, wanting to be close, cuddle in, be warm and quiet.

Now spring is here. The daylight hours are longer. Bedtime creeps later and later each week. Mornings are spent dreaming as we sleep later each day. We find our days filled with walks outdoors, doing springtime clean up, preparing the yard for new growth, getting our bikes ready to go again. I’ve noticed in just a few weeks how we’ve become much more active, less inclined to pick up a book and read or work on a project inside for hours and more willing to get out and be doing almost anything.

Everything changes with the seasons, our desires, our motivations, our diets. We have new needs, new interests and new challenges and it is wonderful to be able to embrace this as a lifestyle and move with what feels natural.

We are not bound to get up at the same time every day, go to school or work even when the great outdoors is calling us to play. We are able to enjoy a rainy day baking or creating something, cuddle in and enjoy a movie, run outside and splash in puddles. It is a gift to be able to move with the Earth, with her cycles and rhythms and feel like we are riding the waves with her instead of creating some counter-balance kind of life.

I’ve been talking to the kids about connecting. The importance of finding our place in our own lives, in our family, community, in nature…in the world. What a great way to really understand this as we listen to our bodies and nourish ourselves with hearty meals in fall and winter and lighter fare in spring and summer. What a great way to understand this as we move with the seasons, with the weather, with the changes we experience; being able to play endlessly outdoors on warm days and seek shelter on cold days. What a great way to understand this by simply being who we are in each and every day…letting most days carry us wherever we feel we want to go.

Connecting like this with nature, with the Earth and her rhythms feels very natural for us right now. It feels nurturing, healing and powerful. It is a powerful lesson that I am learning again and feel very blessed to be connecting.

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I had the most interesting conversation over the weekend with somone who believes strongly in the importance of critical thinking. It was interesting for me to participate in this conversation and once again confirm that what I’ve been doing naturally; allowing my children the space to think as they choose, experience life through their own lens, question life and put together things that make sense for them, is paving the way for them to be free thinkers.

Freedom, growth and expansion requires people who think outside the box. It requires people having the resources, time and energy to think expansively, the ability to share their ideas with others, expound on their ideas and implement them. It requires a society that encourages it. Our culture seems to be sorely lacking in this area. Sure, we think of ourselves as ‘free’ in our democratic society, but are we really?

If we look at our cultural institutions and the collective view of raising children, is there anything that demonstrates our society actually values and encourage free thinkers? One would think if it were an important value, it would be something we would be strongly supporting and creating institutions to foster this in our children.

But our societal view of children is still largely focused on them being a group of people who need to obey, listen, follow rules, talk only when spoken too, not be rude, etc. I hear people talking all the time about feeling proud that their children listen to them, that they follow rules, get along well in school, etc. Kids in our society are frequently told what to do, how to do it and when to do it. How are any of these things encouraging free thinking?

My kids ask a lot of questions. Every topic is open for discussion. We often talk about rules and laws…many of which I’ve discovered are as ridiculous to explain as they are difficult to enforce. We talk about life and share ideas. And when they challenge me about something and say they just don’t think it’s true, I smile and believe I am doing my part to help foster their critical thinking.

I am encouraged to see a shift occuring. I have surrounded myself with many people who are encouraging their children to be free thinkers and giving them the space and freedom to do just that. It’s not easy at times, but I think it’s what we need to make necessary changes in the world. Time and time again we are seeing that old ways are no longer working and new, critical thinkers are needed to move us forward collectively. I think it’s long overdue to start encouraging our children to be free thinkers. It will not be the old ways that will continue to move us forward, it will be the next generation of free thinkers.