And…the inner child steps forward.

I am laughing at myself a bit this morning as it dawns on me that my inner child has been running the show the last few days.  Pouting about how unfair life is.

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I discovered a false belief that she carries that someday there will be a time when I can just focus on – one thing.  “In two weeks, it will be calmer and I can just focus on creating or healing or my family.” or “This weekend will be easier to…”

Even though life keeps proving to me that saying it doesn’t make it a promise, I kept believing that it did. Just this morning, I realized, I feel disappointed all the time because that is not realistic!  Life will happen. Sure, there will be times that it all works out – but there is no promise – no setting life aside or stopping everyone and everything else so they might not interfere and change our plans.  Most of us are, after all, living interdependent lives. Choosing relationship over isolation.

How many times have I said these things to myself?  How many times has Spirit pointed out my folly? It’s rather like the belief that God will never let anything bad happen to me.  It just simply isn’t the true promise. It’s a child’s view of deeper truth. What does this look like in my life right now?

Well, I quit my job to focus on building a business and healing myself.  I felt the rush of excitement at having this simpler focus in my life – less distraction or others pulling at me.  Well, one month in and I received a phone call from the property manager that we would have to move in 60 days. It may seem like nothing to many of you but my parents and I have been renting this home for 37 years.  This is my childhood home, my children’s childhood home. As such, it holds life, death and a ton of wandering children’s belongings. You know what happens when you raise or help to raise 10 children? You acquire a lot!  And then you tell yourself you will get around to sorting through it – this weekend – this summer…and then a parent gets sick, a friend is in need, your child gets depressed or you’re so tired from work or overwhelm…

Annnnd… here we are full circle.  Ummm…someone is trying to tell me something about waiting around for the perfect time that never comes.  Or is it more about “fairness”? Maybe I should accept that LIFE waits for no man.. Maybe it is more about embracing who I am – or finding balance.  Could it be about choice? Balance? I am an inner-personal/intra-personally focused person – everything else in life is a distraction for me – an annoyance.  I guess that means I have some strong avoidance behaviors.

So what is the deeper truth?  What is Spirit’s promise here, if there is one at all?  Perhaps Spirit simply is asking me to know choice and gratitude when the opportunity presents itself.  To recognize that when I respond to the people in my life, it is because they are what matter to me. Responding meets my need to be of use, to matter to others, to belong…it is where my joy lies.  And yet, there are other needs…to have order in my life, to have time for self-nurturing, to provide shelter and sustenance for myself and my family. And so I step back for a minute and recognize that this is just like any other time when there are conflicting needs – we hold it all – we compromise – we adjust and finally we bend and flow.  The peace is in the knowing we are meeting needs by making choices – not by force – not as a victim but as a heart centered human.

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Reflecting On High School Graduation

I’ve been contemplating graduation ceremonies.  I have always felt conflicted about them.  When I graduated, much to my mother’s chagrin, I wasn’t interested in marching.  Our school was big!  My class was big, all I imagined was, so many kids, so many names and so many people.  I am an introvert, after all.  I also felt it was hypocritical.  I seemed to me that I hadn’t really done anything, high school was easy for me.  All I did was what I was supposed to do and had I not, I would have been in trouble.

I realize that context is everything and it is not always an easy thing for children to do.  It has varied meaning for varied folks and for me in various circumstances.

My nephew is quite the young man.  He has faced so much adversity.  He was raised by us all.  His mother was mentally ill and died when he was in 7th grade of an accidental drug overdose.  Following that his cousin/brother, my son died, his father became very ill and my father, his grandfather, died.

He loved public school for a very long time but eventually the stress overwhelmed him.  He needed to heal his heart and that was taking more time than public school expectations would allow.  He began homeschooling his sophomore year and that is when I asked him, who and what he wanted to be.

“I just wanna be that cool skater dude who’s been through so much and never touched a drug.  I wanna be an example.”

 

Noah has always been deeply spiritual and reflective.  Always loved exploring faith and symbolism.  Whenever we did ceremony at home or spiritual reflections he was always the first to answer questions or offer his thoughts so it was no surprise that he wanted to attend church.  He needed a regular dose and the big feels of community worship.  He is a social kid!

They became his extended family.  They supported him through it all, picked up where we left off and gave him a safe space to share and not have it complicated by our struggles or feelings.  They have given him scholarships to camp, paid for his mission trips and given him a place to grow and develop.  They probably have no idea how much of his homeschooling was from their support and expectations.  That is where he learned public speaking.  It’s where he became a youth leader and worked with children, learned collaboration and responsibility.  It’s where he gained friendships, found his girlfriend and found a reason to be an example.  It took dedication because he was the only Christian in our family.  We practice more traditional indigenous spirituality.

So there it is, he is an individual and we have done our best to honor that.  He learned to love homeschooling but sometimes longed for some of the traditional experiences of public school and he sometimes felt confused by the questions of well meaning adults who had different ideas of what success looks like and requires.

My children who have been unschooled now for 7 years feel like graduation is strange for them.  They usually ask questions like, “What will change? I am going to keep learning just like I am now.  When I want to learn something I’m going to find the way to do that.”  My oldest homeschooler chose not to acknowledge his graduation.  Didn’t even want a party.  That felt strange even to me!  Isn’t there some sort of mile stone?  Some sort of rite of passage?

Where and what is that, if not graduation?  What is the natural rhythm?

For Noah, graduation mattered and although we had conversations about it, considered requesting permission for him to march at his old high school, asked about a party…his answers maybe didn’t match his needs and we didn’t really know it till his church family stepped in.  They created a small ceremony for him.  And suddenly we all knew what it meant for him, for his dad and for all of us to mark the occasion.

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Without a traditional educational paradigm, where do you think the natural rite of passages are?