The Fire

Here is anger. A gift to rise your fire. A gift to stir your soul.

Here is a gift too hot to keep, not meant to be held, to wake you up in this moment.

Maybe you hold it strongly, or maybe it shakes you to your bones. Maybe you are rooted to the spot or your feet itch to run away.

It’s ok. You’re ok.

This fire is yours right now. Yours to burn away the weight of sadness, or the stagnation of doubt, yours to remind you how incredibly alive you are as the world turns around you.

It takes strength to feel anger like this, some people avoid it their whole lives, but there you are standing with your world ablaze and your heart trusting even as you feel so much.

Anger doesn’t own your words, anger doesn’t own your actions, anger doesn’t own you. When you’re ready just let it wash over you, it’s a gift too hot to keep for long and you don’t need to keep anything that doesn’t serve you.

And it goes. Maybe because everything is alright, or maybe because you realised that everything doesn’t have to be. Maybe you found peace – maybe it burned away all the stuff that kept you from finding the peace you already had.

Trust it, when it comes, this fire in you is a powerful teacher. But know you are bigger than this anger, than these clenched fists or racing heart. You are big enough to find kind words, even when they seem lost in the heat of this moment, you are big enough to find forgiveness, even when you are hurt, and you are big enough to find calm in the heat of this storm.

Here is anger. A gift to rise your fire. It’s ok to need it from time to time. May it bring you peace.

anger

To the woman with the broken heart

I’m sorry you’re hurting right now. I’m sorry he left, but if he wasn’t going to love you with every fibre of his being I’m so glad he set you free.

You see you weren’t put on this earth by accident. Your heart isn’t one of the kindest, most genuine and loving hearts by chance. You weren’t put here to hurt, or feel alone. You are here to love and be loved, to laugh so hard you forget everything else, to help people, to discover things you didn’t even know you were looking for, to adventure. You were put here to have a life of stories, and one day you’ll tell the one you’re living right now… and it will have a happy ending.

There are so many things waiting for you. Friends who you haven’t laid eyes on yet, books you will get lost in, cats to purr on your lap, foods that wake up every single taste bud, and somewhere someone who’s heart beats in time with yours, who has spent his whole life looking for you.

Someone you can’t even imagine yet, but one day wont be able to imagine your life without.

Maybe you’ll meet him in the supermarket or a far off land, maybe you’ll bump into him in the rain, maybe you’ll find you share friends and recognise each other with a lightness that shows you that your souls lined everything in your lives up to bring you to that moment. And you’ll think “Wow. So this is what I was missing?”

He’s not the point though, you know that? The point is you. And in losing someone else you get to find yourself even more. You’ve known hurt before and you shouldn’t have to know more, but there are treasures in this pain right now.

Don’t regret one single tear you shed, because every damn one of them is a poem about how hard you love.

Don’t regret not seeing it coming because thats a testament to how beautifully you trust. Never stop.

Don’t think you’re weak for grieving this loss – it takes guts to feel so deeply.

Don’t think you’ve lost the love of your life because there is SO much life left for you yet, and there’s no way the best parts are over. You were put here for joy. It’s coming. It’s yours.

Know that it’s ok to love someone and still let them go. You’ll get there. There’s no rush.

It’s ok to feel broken, but know that you can’t be. You are strong, you are smart, and you got this. You really, really do.

Pour yourself a cup of tea tonight and sip it slowly. Feel the warmth as it fills you. Know that it’s going to be alright. That feeling might only stay for a moment today, and thats fine, don’t force it, because tomorrow it will stay for a little longer, the next day a little longer than that. One day the moment will come when you couldn’t get rid of it if you tried. When you know that not only are you going to be alright, but you are, you’re better than alright, in fact you’re better than you ever thought you could be.

This is your story beautiful friend, and I’m on the edge of my seat about what comes next as much as you are. Know that seat’s a long one. You have lots of us on your team. At the moment you probably feel anxious about what comes next, but sooner or later things are going to get better. That anxiety will melt away to excitement. The day will come, before you know it, when you can’t wait to see the next twist in your story.

Love to you always x

darkness

The Push – a homeschooling post

(I am part of a beautiful homeschooling community that is based on mutual respect as well as a love of our kids. What I’m about to write is my opinion, yours may differ, and that’s ok. I respect you for the path you choose, and I trust that you feel the same xx)

I often hear in homeschooling circles the idea that children should never be coerced to study. That learning should only happen when, where and how, the child chooses. Tied in with this is the idea that we should never teach, only provide opportunities for learning. Apparently, this is trusting our children.

The thing is, we need to trust ourselves too.

There is a focus on being child lead, and rightly so. My son and I regularly explore his random questions to their conclusions, and we love learning together. Going on the treasure hunt for answers together is one of the joys of homeschooling, along with education fitting in with life’s adventures, rather than the other way around. But part of my respect for him is respecting that he is a child, and just as I have learned what he needs when he’s hungry, tired, or sick, it’s also up to me to learn what he needs when it comes to education.

Sometimes that’s freedom; other times it’s a gentle push.

You see my five year old is as beautiful and complex as any other kid out there, and part of that is that new things scare him. He is not the child who will find the workbook and begin trying to figure out the exercises, or the child who will pickup a notepad and try to write, just as he’s not the kid who will try to master a new skill at the playground or to figure out his bike. For him there is joy in learning something only when he feels like he can do it.

He also possesses a unique laziness. He’s proud of it, so wouldn’t mind me telling you that. Be it a long walk or writing a letter it is often ‘work’ best avoided. The other day at the zoo he walked joyfully for three hours before reaching the car, when his face dropped and anger filled his voice “Oh no!” he breathed, as though about to deliver terrible news “I just exercised by accident! I hate exercise.” Exercise too, as you can imagine, is ‘work’.

So if left entirely to his own devices he would avoid school work all together. He’d also avoid brushing his teeth, making his bed or exploring new places that he now adores. He is my gorgeous boy and his positive qualities are endless, but get up and go and mastering the new are not amongst them.

That’s why I’m allowing my child to lead me to what he needs. He needs a Mum who will tell him to make his bed and go and brush his teeth, he needs a Mum who sets rules and boundaries, and he needs a Mum who will tell him it’s time to sit down and do school for a bit – even if he’d rather be playing LEGO.

There is the myth that homeschooled kids live in a perpetual bubble of joy about learning. Life is learning, and they get more time to explore the richness of it so in a lot of ways they do, but they’re still kids, and there will likely be days when they tell you school is BORING, or RIDICULOUS, or RUBBISH and that it should be thrown in the BIN.

This is not an idyllic world and it’s unfair on each other to pretend that.

More often than not my son runs to his desk when it’s time to do his school work, he sits down and he giggles and he focuses and he tries hard. He has a ball. But other days it just doesn’t go like that, and those are the ones when I need to dig my heels in a little. We don’t do as much on those days, but we still do school, and it’s because of that that his enthusiasm for the rest of it grows. It’s because of the consistency that he’s finding reading and writing and spelling and math become easier – he likes easy.

The more he learns, the more he wants to. He’s bubbling with ‘I can do it!’ But because of who he is I will probably always have to push a little from time to time. I will probably need to take a deep breath here and there when he decides he HATES his books one day and ADORES the very same ones the next.

My son is very lucky, not only because he has the better part of his days to follow his passions and interests and explore the world, but because he has before him the gift of an education. And it matters. Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t.

Around the world, hundreds of thousands of children would give anything for the opportunities our kids have. Some walk for hours to sit in dusty classrooms just to gain a little of this precious gift of knowledge and the skills that make it possible.

This reading and writing business? That’s the access code for everything they could ever want to know. In giving them that you’re opening up a bit more of the world for them that they couldn’t have accessed otherwise. The grammar matters, the spelling matters, the vocabulary allows them to wonder a little more vastly than they could have otherwise.

This maths business? Those are the numbers that underlie our finances, our sciences and the schedules of our days. They are not only useful, but exciting, and our mastery of them can lead us to places we can only imagine.

When you give your child an education you give them a gift that is probably too big for them to unwrap right now, so don’t be surprised if they don’t always appreciate the magnitude of it. They will in time, just as the skills you help them build and the virtues you encourage in them will help shape their world.

By all means give them opportunities for self-learning, but don’t be afraid to teach any more than you’re afraid to be taught.  A child needs to learn the value of listening, of focus, of gaining knowledge from another. You don’t go to a language class and have the teacher sit down and say “Ok, now you figure it out.”

Being taught is a skill, just as self-driven learning is.

I’m not saying I’ve got it all figured out, but I am saying that I’ve been there. I’ve been an intelligent child in an environment that went out of its way not to teach (I attended a democratic unschooling style school for four years as a child) and as smart as I was there was a MASSIVE amount I missed out on learning before I moved to a more structured approach at home.

You wont harm the thirst for knowledge in your child by setting a little structure for an hour or two a day, you may even spark more of a thirst in them, or give them more tools to explore their wonderings. A child who knows little of history cannot find their passion in it, a child who knows nothing of geography may miss out on fascinations about the world.

A child who picks up a book and teaches themselves how to read is remarkable. But so is a child who needs a bit of encouragement to give it a go. Both will have strengths, weaknesses, challenges and joys. It’s our job to help them navigate those.

When you home educate your child you are taking on something amazing. I commend that. And I admire anyone who trusts their child to guide their education… but more so those who put the same trust in themselves.

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Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013