Winter Newsletter 2018 – Greetings from Cynthia Aldinger

Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.
Helen Keller

Dear Friends,

I am so grateful for our theme of Living and Embracing Joy! Be inspired by the wonderful articles. Some are like joy tutorials and others are heart-lifting stories of finding joy after significant and challenging life changes. Thank you Marguerite, Kerry, Pamela and Michaeleen. Your stories always move me. We also are privileged to share an article by John Bloom who is the current General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society. Being acquaintances with John over many years, my experience is that he is brilliant in his leadership and research skills and also one who warmly brings levity and humor to his work – an inspiring example of how joy keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.

Claiming joy, digging for it if we must, and finding it sometimes in the most surprising places, is life affirming, truly holy fire. If you are like me, you realize that joy often arises out of quiet, simple moments. When you recognize them, place them deep into your heart’s consciousness. Truly you can draw them out and feel the joy again. Another somewhat unexpected way that Michael and I have found as a pathway to joy is to put life’s hardships on a scale of eternity. When we recognize the transient nature of life’s varied events and how the ups and downs comprise the transformative experiences of both sorrow and joy, we sense a wholeness that is much larger than any single event. This much larger view of one’s biography can release a heart that feels constricted or broken and allow for a deep breath that renews and refreshes.

We are grateful to share the precious levity of Estelle Bryer, highly esteemed retired early childhood teacher from Great Britain. I could watch those videos over and over again! Estelle is the mother of friend and colleague Janni Nicol who is the editor of Kindling, one of my favorite Steiner Early Childhood journals (see the information below). I have subscribed for years.

Along with the heart-lifting articles on joy, we are also featuring one of our sweet new representative sites, Honeycomb Kids in Vermont. Welcome! We have other new sites we will be featuring in future newsletters. Also, it is fun to see the transformation of our beloved Spindlewood into an Air B&B in Maine. I’ve stayed in Spindlewood and recommend it to everyone! It’s like living in a fairy tale forest!

Friends, this is one of those newsletters that is juicy to the very end. My mouth watered over the cookie recipe Kerry submitted! I’m excited to point out the workshop in June at Kimberton with Laurie Clark and hope that many of you will sign up. Called “Developing Therapeutic Deepening in our Work with Young Children – Cultivating Heart Wisdom in the Teacher” it is a great example of the type of courses we are beginning to offer. Laurie’s work is life-changing for those actively working with young children. We will offer attendance certificates and can also offer payment plans for the tuition if you need it.

I also extend a personal invitation to each of you to join me online in May for our Discipline with Loving Attention course. It has been such a joy to put it together, and it is full of new discipline tools and shared wisdom from many sources. It is a 15 CEU course for EC teachers and caregivers and is equally accessible to parents and anyone who cares for children.

Lastly, I cannot end without noting that our two upcoming trainings are in my home towns! I was actually born in Norman, Oklahoma and can attest to the fact that it is an urban-forest progressive community and home to a state-of-the-art LifeWays Center, a lovely mansion where Mary O’Connell and I will be joined by other colleagues to carry this training in the Heartland. And the further north Heartland city of Milwaukee is another kind of home to me in that Wisconsin is where LifeWays got its start. I have a special type of fondness for each of these sites. Now I am living in my new home, California, and am grateful to become an integral part of the California Coast training in 2019 as well as other endeavors we are exploring for the near future. May our joyful work continue across North America and beyond. In fact, I hope in our next newsletter we can share photos from working with our recently graduated group of students in South Korea!

In closing, I wish for all of us to develop the capacity to find joy in life and want to share one more quote.

“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.”
Albert Einstein