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Posts Tagged ‘mindfulness’

My spirit—you know, that intangible part of me that’s connected with God—I’m not sure it lives inside me. Sometimes I think it’s as if I made her a little house out front. Like a birdhouse, pretty and ornate, but probably too small, now that I think of it.

I go out and visit my spirit every day, sometimes a lot. It’s very important to me. Sometimes it sends me back with little gifts, like flowers that I put on the table and draw strength from, and bask in their beauty.

But I don’t invite my spirit inside. Well, sometimes for a tour or a cup of tea. But not to live here. She lives near. She is part of my life.

But what if she were inside and saw me, head in hands, drowning in depression? Would she have something to say?

Or if I said, “Yes, yes, I’ll do this or that,” to please someone else, when I knew the promise would compromise me—what if my spirit saw that?

What would my spirit do when she watched me sitting at the computer, lonely, longing for love and thinking that it comes from outside of me?

What does she think of my physical exercise—is she present? Does she come along for the walk, and jog when I jog? Does she surround my body and take pleasure in the feel of strength and sweat?

Why do I leave my spirit outside in her little house when I’m worried about where I’m going to live or what is going to happen to my family? Would she not comfort me?

Why don’t I let her in, with her golden connection with God? Why don’t I let myself feel my heart full of Divine Love that pours and pours until I can’t hold any more and then it still keeps pouring?

Why don’t I let her be my advocate, and feel her tangible confidence protecting me when I need someone to tell me, “It’s okay to say no.”

What would it feel like if I let my spirit live throughout my body, see through my eyes, notice the sounds that I normally ignore? What if I lived from that place of unity with my spirit instead of just going to visit?

 

P. S. Dear friends, please take this as metaphor, not theology. It’s about realizing that I often forget that my spirit, intertwined with God, is my life, not just an intimate part of my life.

Photo by Valerie Everett

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The other day in a math reader (The Great Number Rumble), I read to the kids about the “butterfly effect.” The theory is that something as small as the wind from a butterfly’s wings can set in motion a series of changes that can lead to huge weather events months later (small causes can stir up large effects). 

This year I made a change in the way we are approaching math in homeschooling, and I am beginning to notice ripples of change and am wondering where those changes will lead. (Bear with my brief background of the change, and I’ll get to what I’ve noticed.) At the end of last year, I felt that I needed to experiment with our approach to math because of some of the blocks that Bethany was experiencing. In researching ideas, I came across a program called Living Math, developed by a homeschooling mom named Julie. It takes a literary and historical approach to introducing math concepts; we read about the people who first came up with different math ideas and what was going on at that period, and why they came up with innovations in mathematics, and it gives a framework for the kids to then explore and learn those mathematical concepts.

This has been a fun and interesting way to come at mathematics, and I think it has been positive for the kids. However, it was some resistance that tipped me off to one of the main changes coming through this program. Bethany expressed some frustration with not being able to check something off and be done with it. Last year, she could do the workbook pages I assigned, and yes, there was a whole lot of negative emotion involved in the process, but she could do it, be done, and move on. This new way of doing things, however, requires us to all be present for the process– engaged, willing,  hopefully enjoying, but most of all, completely there.

I would say that I have thrown up resistance to really engaging myself in the present with things that I don’t want to do…and even some things that I enjoy. It’s often easier to be mentally in the past or the present or in some alternate reality, and to just let now be on autopilot. Yet, being present, and accepting the present, has probably been one of the most valuable, persistant, and life-changing skills that I have been learning over the last several years. (And I want to say that I’m not very good at it yet, but just having that thought reminds me that I can enjoy where I am now in the process even if it’s not where I hope to be someday.)

That resistance that I glimpsed in Bethany (and see regularly in myself) is to me a sign that we are wrestling (in a good way!) with allowing ourselves to be right where we are, whether it’s in learning math, daily jobs, relationships, spiritual upheaval, or identity upside-down-inside-out-ness.

One of the things I really want for my kids as I homeschool them is that they learn to enjoy and immerse themselves in the process of learning rather than racing ahead to an end or an outcome. That’s really what I want for them in life too, and what I’m learning for myself–to go ahead and enjoy the process, even when (and because) we’re still learning.

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