May 31, 2020
May your new work excite your heart,
Kindle in your mind a creativity
To journey beyond the old limits
Of all that has become wearisome.
May this work challenge you toward
New frontiers that will emerge
As you begin to approach them,
Calling forth from you the full force
And depth of your undiscovered gifts.
May the work fit the rhythms of your soul,
Enabling you to draw from the invisible
New ideas and a vision that will inspire.
– John O’Donohue
May this find you in a place of finding restoration and perhaps even enthusiasm for the next steps in your life. In some ways we are all entering “a new work”. Even if you never stopped working through the shutdown or you are soon returning to whatever you were doing before, let us hope that we will each bring to our work something new. Perhaps you have awakened to the need for new rhythms in your life pattern, building in room for breath and nourishment throughout the course of the day. Perhaps you have discovered certain things that no longer seem necessary or important, ways you could streamline what you do so that you are not exhausted.
And perhaps you have discovered that you are ready to do something different, something you may or may not have imagined before. If you are primarily parenting, perhaps you have discovered a new level of simplicity that well serves your children and you. Particularly if your children are young, have you seen that they are thriving well without a lot of extracurricular activities, programs that wrap unnecessary form around what your children are actually capable of discovering and creating on their own? Their robust play does not require, for example, going to a gymnastics class or some organized sport for preschoolers! The spaciousness of time at home, perhaps, has opened for them the freedom of discovery and wonder that is best served in unstructured time instead of a program.
I acknowledge that for some children and families, this time at home has not been easy, and it is my hope that we can create some new social forms to support them going forward. I also note that for some families it has been a surprisingly wonderful experience. Recently, I read an article about many families that have discovered that their children have been “happier”, more content since they started staying home. They are feeling the spaciousness of not rushing to get out of the house in the morning, or not having to get from school to their next activity, or having a day filled with moving from one thing to next without fully penetrating any of it. And some families also discovered that the more formal “school” content they covered with their children doesn’t actually need to be more than 2-3 hours a day, particularly if they are also engaged in music, arts and crafts, nature discovery and robust physical play during the course of the week (not necessarily every day).
Have you discovered that what you provide for your children is enough? And can you imagine creating opportunities for other children to join you in this newly expanded life when their parents return to work? Or perhaps joining with other families to create new forms of schooling like family pods, homeschool/school hybrids, parent-child co-operatives, teacher sharing and other creative forms?
Here’s the secret. We do not have to return to life as it was. In these days, weeks, perhaps months, as we move into more things opening back up again, we can allow ourselves to think outside of the box. To consider creating new social and educational forms which have a more spacious, breathing quality to them. Let’s continue this dialogue.
May you come to know that work
Which emerges from the mind of love
Will have beauty and form.
May this new work be worthy
Of the energy of your heart
And the light of your thought.
May your work assume
A proper space in your life;
Instead of owning or using you,
May it challenge and refine you,
Bringing you every day further
Into the wonder of your heart.
(excerpt from A Blessing for a New Position by John O’Donohue)
New Online Courses from LifeWays to help you set your course!
Creating Home Away from Home begins June 3rd — learn how to open your own home program!
Living Arts Through the Seasons opens June 1st — a whole summer season of resources to deepen your family culture.
Coming Soon! Re-Thinking Care and Education: Developing Programs Outside of the Box (watch the website for more details available soon — starting in July).
Learning in Nature begins June 24th — Establishing or expanding your outdoor program!