On The Way

I feel like the life we lead requires a new term, a tidy new label.

We used to “homeschool”, then our slide from all the formalities delivered us into spaces usually labelled: “Life learning”, “Unschooling”, and “Delight-Directed Education”, etc. However, these all fall short of the way we encounter the world and have chosen to live within it.  Now, we are living in the present, alive to all it’s contour, beauty and possibilities; exchanging systematic plans aimed at a hypothetical future, for the joy of living life freshly alive to all the miracles and motion of *this* day.

Ultimately, I realize that labels are unhelpful as they begin to constrict over time anyway, and so I shall have to be content with the fact that we are simply on The Way.

We are learning to live from rest, to live from the absolute assurance that everything we need is supplied by the God who loves us.

This takes the chase out of education.  Bye, bye, panic, anxiety, hoops that wanted jumping through.

Education is now: life lived together.  It is God directing our steps and shining light on the path before us, prompting and guiding along the way.

This living-from-rest, this peaceful home-life, is dynamic and vital, pulsing with joy and grit and trust.  We practice the presence of God even as we eat, bake, sing, garden, vacuum, read, talk, laugh, dance, clean, run, work, organize, draw, create, enjoy, and revel in life together.

There is nothing schoolish about our life anymore.  I don’t even pursue “teachable moments” in a casual, off-the-cuff way.  It is like life in the good old-fashioned days before institutional tentacles strangled an entire culture and multiple generations, brainwashing humanity to think that we could only succeed if we followed their plan, swallowed their agendas, and earned their gold stars.

Freedom is a different language, a different reality.  And really, it is very silly of me to think that I could tie it up neatly with some kind of label.

Getting It Done

A drawing by nine-year-old Tucker

My husband and I are giving a talk together tomorrow at a homeschooling conference.  We’re down to the line, and we’re trying to brush up the last details of our presentation.

Our talk is on Learning in Freedom (large family style), and it is titled “Treasure Hunt: Discovering Our Children”.

But, we can’t seem to focus and get the project wrapped, because: LIFE!!

This morning alone, we’ve had two children needing help on their stop-motion projects, one applied to an exciting aviation opportunity before working on his first quilt, one is doing an online search for a pet goat (for milk to make soap with), another is looking to purchase his first car, while one makes a slew of adorable little puppets on popsicle sticks.  Someone else is finishing up cleaning the breakfast dishes, while another sings (from memory) every single song from “The Greatest Showman” at top volume, and one is soaking cranberries in a cup of water(?), even as someone else vacuums up the popcorn beneath our feet from last night’s movie night.

The life in this house is just barely containable!

The words “overflowing” and “abundance” come to mind.

We are dreaming, and working, and trouble-shooting all the live-long day and it is amazing.  We are seeing God provide just what is needed just in time for each one of us. 

There is no fear, no anxiety, no pressure, just an awesome sense that the future is exciting and we get to *rest* our way into it.  Could it be this easy?!

She Glowed

Yesterday, I watched Poppy (4) playing with a long red shoe horn and six small blue paintbrushes.  It was remarkable to me because the scene was so beautiful: the sun soaked her spot on the carpet, bathing her in light as she played.  She was dressed in her white ‘dance clothes’, and her hair was large – matted in that indefatigable tangle that haunts many little girls who don’t like brushing their hair – almost like a knotted halo.

She spent a good 30 minutes sliding those paint brushes up and down the shoe horn, experimenting with different angles and whether or not leaning it on the couch would make the paint brushes slide faster or slower.  Sometimes, they fell off, and she would rearrange the brushes to fit better on the horn.  While left alone in her own little world of observation, she was completely absorbed in her experimentation with these unlikely objects.

Unlike current modes of education where adult interference and direction ‘guides’ the ‘learning’, I did not intrude in order to teach her something.  I did not ask her questions to test her experience; I did not presume to interfere with her good work, by prompting her to count the paintbrushes or tell me the colour of the shoe horn.

Instead, I let her be.  I let her be alive in the moment, allowing her life the space to breathe and be present.  Rather than impose on her a slurry of factoids, as though I know better than her how to spend 30 minutes of a Wednesday morning, instead I become her student and learn from her ‘the art of attention’, the beauty of quiet wonder, and the joy of simple things.

In honouring her process, in allowing her space, I am giving her the room to grow, and the pace that she needs to thrive.  An untethered childhood can be a place of restful discovery that is fully meaningful, impactful and educational, as delight can guide this little soul in a way that goading never can.

Woman

There is something about womanhood that has been so tamed, restricted to debates about roles, work, and tips on how to deal with the pressures of life. Woman-hearts have been scattered into boxes of emotional and mental survival tactics, guilt-handling, pressure management, hurdle jumping, relationship negotiation, doing more, and striving for goodness in a land of confusion.

There is more.

There is a radical womanliness that flows with an awareness of a reality that glows with the Divine pulse of our Creator. It’s aroma is freedom, and it’s expression is the presence of a rested, trusting Love, absent of fear.

We lift our eyes off of the grids and patterns of the world, and no longer orient our hearts, our vision, our dreams, or plans to the illusions presented there.

Our eyes remain on the power and presence of God alone.

As we secure the eyes of our heart on the True Reality of God’s power and goodness, we begin to live from a place of security, love and peace. When we enter this rest, we begin to explore the expansiveness of who we are: those who bear the DNA of a mighty, unfathomable, remarkable God.

“How can an infinite power, a creative Intelligence, have an image and a likeness? How can an invisible nonquantifiable force be imaged and reflected and manifested through individuals?” -Thomas Hora

Imagine! In some supernatural, indescribable way, the Creator has funnelled His formless magnificence into this form we call our body.

Yet, we often choose to live constrained to the laws of this world; the mini-mindsets, the unceasing waves of thought that endorse division, judgement, lifestyle burden, duality, the agreement with pain and fear… the very places where Jesus broke through the mesmerism with True Reality.

When we become aware of the illumined nature of our source, we begin to see that we too, are blessed. We are no longer a list of symptoms, a catalogue of interests or giftings, a bundle of earth-bound contradictions, or an assortment of various limitations.

We are glorious.

We are vessels of vitality, we are co-participators in the bliss-life of God. We have these bodies to act as channels between heavenly dimensions and this earth-space. As women, we seed life in our wombs, we take on the grand invitation to create, we engage the journey with ecstasy and delight, because we are so much more than the limited laws, promises and lies of this reality.  

This is the faith life.

It takes a walking away; a transformation, and a willingness to disempower the systems of this world in our minds before we can ‘see’ the upside-down glory of spiritual freedom that is ours.  All that needs to happen is for it to be realized.  Not made, not willed, not strived for, but simply realized.  

Then, you will find out the woman that you are.  {This is the woman that religion, a law-bound life of obligation, a sin-awareness, and a focus on ‘best practices’ has been hiding from you.}

You will dive deep into the expressions and beauty of your true nature, disregarding what ‘appears as true’ for that which is eternal and real.  And you will begin to radiate with courage and boldness and beauty, as you risk leaving the tameness of this world for the wild glory of life with an infinite God who made you better than this temporal illusion ever wants you to realize.

The nature of this world is to protect and endorse it’s hypnotism at all costs, through limitation, burdens, judgement and fear.

Yet, when we begin to live from freedom, it threatens the security of the grid of this world… creating cracks for the light to shine through.

We are the light of the world, simply be the instrument for the light to get  through!

Relief

Does your soul ever snag on the badgering thought that maybe there’s more?

Even in the midst of the whirlwind of a good life, great friendships, meaningful spirituality, and purposeful momentum, you collide in your deepest, most honest moments with a restless shadow that will not let you be?

{And, I’m not talking about a demon.}

I’m suggesting an honest, genuine soul-wrestle that remains unsatisfied by the incongruity of this current reality and the ache in your heart for heaven, for a place of pure rest, and real peace, that you know in your gut shouldn’t just be for when you die?

The mental plane can get so cluttered with the useless repetition of old narratives, replaying of conversations gone wrong, and scattered strategies to set things right. We allow our minds to drag our thought life through the mud of perpetual inner conflict and fear, in an effort to iron out this pesky soul-feeling, somehow assuming that this will release us into the joy we crave.

We can apply our will, too, to this exercise in attempting greater relief – by trying something new, or doing more stuff, or following these ‘three easy steps’, or getting deeper into a religious practice, or colour-coding our sock drawer.

But these things rarely draw us into the restful soul-space that feeds the life of faith and the reality of deep hope that is our true and genuine inheritance.

“Ask yourself: How many times a day, normally, does my thought even touch upon such words/ideas as ‘loveliness, beauty, ecstasy, joy,’ the ‘extravagant importance’ of ‘every living thing’ and so on? Most of us, I think would find that such qualities, values, and images rarely register in the midst of the repetitive thought and fantasy patterns with which our minds are normally filled.

Consciousness is where God is; God’s kingdom is a consciousness kingdom. Allowing our thinking to be fogged up with images from the ‘sea of mental garbage’ makes no sense. A devoted Christian friend recently confessed her anger at the fact that God reveals Himself so rarely, when our need for His revelations is so great. But God’s revelation is continuous. What is rare is an ability and willingness to look beyond the captivating, self-centred dramas of personal sense. We must honour quality Life or we will not see it. We honour it by loving to to notice the good that is already in our experience and by longing to see more evidence of its presence.” – Ann Tremaine Linthorst

A piece of the path to the freedom we crave is through cultivating our awareness.  It is establishing what is good and pure and beautiful in our hearts and in our minds, and engaging an entire transformation of where we lend our mental energies.

Noticing beauty, becoming aware of the pulse of the Divine heart of God within the life of every person, seeing the finger of God in all of creation… this begins to crack open the door to that place that we hunger for, that place we know is possible.

A Place Called Home

Imagine an island where school had never been heard of before, and families live life together within the natural flow of work, interests, passions, and relationships, all the while manifesting joy and purpose as needs and dreams intersect authentically.

Imagine a place where adults listen deeply to children, and children are guided by adults down interesting paths, through mighty dreams, and into big ideas, while exposed to practical life skills, and the deep issues of the heart.

Imagine if there was just ‘life’; simply the reality of living together in the midst of daily discipleship, learning, and work – the rhythms of daily reality naturally and beautifully intertwined – reading, working, singing, laughing, conversation, writing, building, making food together, managing the home, honing skills, trying stuff, failing, trying again.

Home can be a place where the compass of each heart is honoured without measuring, quantifying, or qualifying each other’s efforts, or pressing those little hearts through cookie-cutter-grids so they match the neighbours.  Our eyes are not on outcomes, but are firmly planted in the present: today, it is enough to live with my child and be, and learn, and grow, and work, and love, and laugh.

There need not be academic check lists, rigid pressure systems, and giant tomes of knowledge engaged to coerce select family members into some culturally valued rank or position; there need not be fear-induced panics about hypothetical future successes (or lack of); there need not be a commitment to some strategic ramp-up to adulthood that bypasses the texture and intimacy of a live lived in the wild spaces of grace found outside of world-systems.

Another way is possible: a reality without school, without it’s tiresome residue clogging the veins of an already pulsing and vibrant life.

There is a seed of radical new life that is waiting under the soil of every family home: and that seed is called freedom. When freedom is watered and nurtured, new possibilities are born that could never compute in the old paradigms of this tired material world.

In freedom’s home, the father and the mother engage in good, meaningful and passion-driven pursuits, even as they engage with, and equip their children in their own God-given delights and purpose.

Learning who God made each person to be is the divine art and privilege of the family home.  

As we dwell together and clear space for each other, our visibility increases, our vision clarifies, and our souls taste a different kind of life.

It is a life where simply being is enough.  {No proving, no hoops, no tests, no forced curriculum.}

We learn stillness, and strength, and contour, and risk – all within the sacred rituals of life together.  This is how to build a human, this is how to launch a life.