Winter Newsletter 2021 ~ Letter from Cynthia Aldinger

When our LifeWays Board decided a few years ago that it was time for our newsletter to be online rather than print, I actually left the room and cried!  I know – a rather dramatic reaction!  To this day, I still love to hold newsletters and books in my hands.  HOWEVER, I will say that the interactive nature of this particular newsletter is so inspiring!   Many thanks to our gracious contributors for lifting our hearts and minds.  From numerous links and other attached articles to further enhance our caring, to Lynn’s hope-filled practices and generous sharing of a number of songs and games (so engaging and delightful), this feels like an edition worthy of your favorite cozy chair and spaciousness of time to savor it over days.  Each article evokes an inner calling in me to remember the things that matter most in life.  They truly did lay seeds of hope in my soul.

 What an inspiration also to read about Little Farm School, a wonderful representative of the Living Arts.  We are so happy for Mary and the children and families in her care that they are able to build a new facility on the sacred ground that has been filled with love and care for generations.  Whether you have a large property or a small backyard, we can drink in the bountiful simplicity and wonder that inform the joy and delight that happens there and bring that into our own lives and programs.

I’m grateful to Mary O’Connell for bringing to our attention two biodynamic organizations worthy of following and supporting as well as the insightful ideals around a more sacred approach to science than what is being touted on our daily news feeds. I encourage you to listen to Orland Bishop and Charles Eisenstein.  Mary’s testament to the healing activity of bringing awareness and interest to everything is a great reminder that truly our highest purpose is to serve others.  Offering attention is one form of service.  And Kate reminds us in her article on community and connection that first we want to learn to connect with ourselves.  She mentions exercise, meditation, good sleep and bodily care as starting points.  Erika offers heartwarming ideas that both connect us to others and to ourselves.  Her suggestions are like a balm for the soul, a salve that soothes the wound of separation being experienced right now.

Speaking of a soothing balm, I actually felt my breathing change as I read Veronica’s Miss Mouse story.  We could all benefit from a nice bowl of Love Soup!  Simone brings us to a loving awareness of a very different creature from Miss Mouse in her marvelous tutorial on how to become a Monarch Mama.  I followed Simone’s journey from the beginning of creating her nursery to the release of her final butterfly (number 23!).  When she referred to the nursery, preschool and mixed-age environments she created for the various chrysalis stages, my heart swelled with tenderness for these beautiful creatures and for this dear friend and colleague who responded to a need to save the Monarch.

Gosh, I just realized that our last newsletter was a special edition months ago called The Invitation, a long essay meant to help us navigate the challenges of the times.  As I was watching a video of a caterpillar creating its chrysalis by surrendering its whole physical body to a process of utter transformation, eventually emerging as a beautiful butterfly, I wondered if we could imagine this time of isolation as a chrysalis-building time, a time to surrender all that is no longer our true self, all that may have been binding us to matter (similar to how the caterpillar spent its life consuming).  Then once we have divested ourselves of that which we do not need and awakened to that which truly matters, perhaps our newly formed wings will help us to take flight and recognize that true freedom lies within us regardless of what is happening in the outer world.

Enjoy reading, dear friends.  Perhaps you would like to contribute to our newsletter one day.  We all, each of us, have wisdom and beauty to share.

Sending you a loving embrace,