Saturday, July 17, 2010

Reviewing the Day

Marsha Johnson of Waldorf Home Educators was recently asked the question, "why do you review the day going *backwards*? "

To which she provided this response:


We humans are quite asleep most of the time, even when we are walking about. We have a tendancy towards inward awareness, our feelings, impressions, judgments, worries, plans, ideas, ourselves...and we can become quite insulate as well as quite unaware of what is transpiring around us.

We can be so interested in 'self' that we forget 'other'.

Recalling the day, recalling the sensory and soul impressions, starting with what was immediate, and then practicing replaying the day, re-seeing it with the eyes of the soul, recalling a small gesture, an unspoken impression, the glimmer of an eye, the small pieces that come to us with time, helps us to sharped the pencil of our mind in a way.

Builds our memory-organ.

We do this with the children, quite directly. We tell them a marvelous tale, and then the next day, we ask them, what do you recall?

Over the night, things shift and move, dreams imbue, the spirit world whispers to us and reveals to us many things...when we have really developed our spirit organs, perhaps we can be dreaming and yet feel quite calmly awake and observing, recalling later what went on.

Practicing at night just before sleep will reveal to you the most amazing things! Small things pop up like jack-in-the-box moments, and we can nearly clap our hands to our foreheads! AH! How could I have nearly missed THAT!

Running backwards is not as easy as it seems. Our minds are disorderly these days, full of silly impressions and perceptions, sloppy minds trained to 30 second 'bites' of stuff, much of which is less than meaningless. We discipline our thinking and our memory life and we discipline ourselves.

We feel ourselves taking shape, become firm, finding the bones of the mind, so to speak, discovering how to make a flame that burns bright and heats well. Not a wild sparkly crazy inferno or a weak sickly effort that repels...but a steady bright perfect flame of a memory that illuminates here with quiet brilliance.

Take it slow, start with each little part of your day, if you manage to walk back through dinner time at first, why that is beautiful! This is an art and a true art takes time to hone and further.

As you move through your day, resting with your eyes closed, let those people, those beings who were present, come to your eye of your mind and the mirror of your heart and view them...simply without assigning any outer manipulation, just hold them like you would hold a new laid warm egg, fresh from the nest, in the palm of yourself, and see what was there.

Developing these inner organs and capacities is the very thing that will set you apart from the crowd. Truly seeing self, yes, and truly seeing Other. Avoiding that inner Frown, that face of conclusion, departing from making assumptions or judgments.......singly coming just as fresh as a summer slight breeze...listening for what is being asked of you in each moment.

If you can take this up, say in September, on the first day of that month of Micha-el, you will surely hear the songs of the cosmic choirs, rejoicing at the thought of another soul on Earth, making its light shine out into the farthest reaches of time and space! A twinkling beacon of beautiful light will begin to ray forth!

This self-moderated meditative activity is a key part of beginning to employ the fundamentals of spiritual science in your life and particularly in your teaching. It is truly one of the most valuable habits you can acquire in your life.

Try it and see what you find!

Mrs. M

Thank you Mrs. M!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Manners, Courtesy and Gentle Politeness

As adults we know what it is to be treated courteously and politely. We  know the basic rules of civility, of how to get along with others in the world, at least in public and most of the time. Yet with children the lines are more easily blurred.

Others, and particularly strangers and family members, may not know our child well enough to know that our child's play is simply play and may at times take behavior to be offensive. Loud squeals may hurt someone's ears in the grocery store and a fast moving tricycle may be dangerous around the legs of an older person walking with a cane.

How do we give our children free rein to be children and respect others at the same time?

When it comes to behavior with children and others, I often reflect back to the basic rule of three:

1. You may not harm yourself. ( a discussion on the perception of harm might follow among us adults)
2. You may not harm others.
3. You may not harm property.

Yet there is something missing in this rule of three, some nuance between the lines that is not exact and not easy to codify. It's that behavior that might be acceptable outdoors but not indoors or the rising voice in the grocery store or the use of certain slang in public. It calls for a discernment of the environment and of the audience and of what makes people comfortable and puts them at ease. This is what manners boil down to, putting people at ease in social situations.

And so appears the notion of courtesy. The word courtesy according to Wikipedia means, "gentle politeness or courtly manners." It arose from the days of the royal court and was codified in books of etiquette. I like the term gentle politeness. Somehow the word gentle which means, "of or belonging to the same stock, clan or race" brings warmth to the term. We are all human and worthy of consideration by others, all of the same clan- the human one. 

With children so many opportunities arise for reflection on language and behavior in social situations. From being in close quarters and noticing the rising volume of sound or being inside or waiting in line with a small child who needs to move and finding the lack of space for free movement or the blurting out of words or phrases that make me want to turn invisible and vanish from the spot. How to respond to that? 

I've come to use the words at ease and uncomfortable as in, "that makes others uncomfortable" or "that puts others at ease" in discussing behavior and language with my children. When my youngster starts raising his voice in the store I remind him that others might not like to hear the loudness. Or when my older child tells me that the F word is a good word, everyone uses it, I agree that it is a powerful word and when used discerningly has a great impact- and I remind him that some folks might be uncomfortable with it and encourage him to discern if his audience and his environment are at ease with his use of it.

Manners and courtesy had their origins in discernment, in discerning the social group to which one belonged, and in doing so, discerning those who did not belong. Today, in a time that acknowledges the dignity of all human beings regardless of all factors that once were considered social dividers, it seems possible to plant seeds in our children and to remind ourselves that the experience of others does matter and sometimes it is in the relating to the other human or humans that meaning is made rather than in some absolute right or wrong of the act or the word.

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