Thursday, August 15, 2013

It is A Level results day

In England it is A Level results day. 

I realised this morning over my tea and porridge that, for me, this was another one of those mindful parenting moments.  I blogged three years ago about our schooled life and how despite my feelings about formal education it was important to me that Calum found his rhythm and that we found a way for it to work for our family.

This morning those decisions felt significant.  The A Level results represent the culmination of his formal education (at the moment he has no plans for University).   I need him to know that I don’t value him any more or less because of academic results.  I know he knows this but it felt an approrpriate time to reinforce the message.

I am writing a series of articles at the moment on sustainable authentic parenting.  If we declare a parenting ethos and believe in it whole heartedly how does that live in the day to day?  How do we stay awake to being socially, culturally, economically, emotionally and environmentally sustainable in the moments that make up our lives?

I intellectualise – it is how I make sense of my feelings and my place in the world.  It matters to me that what I believe and how I behave match.  It matters that I am authentic.  Like anyone interested in a topic I have read many articles on parenting and taken advice from people I respect and I have really thought about why I have disagreed or agreed with particular things.

In our information saturated world the challenge is how to take all the different bits of advice, support, ideals etc and combine them into an authentic approach to parenting…….to anything.  Walk your talk.

So this morning, on my way to work, hours before we knew the results I gave Calum a big hug and told him how proud I am of him and the man he is becoming.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

On a pause

Yesterday someone whose opinion I respect challenged me on that last blog post.  The one where I said I had perhaps run out of things to say.

Although it pains me to admit it - they were right.  For the past few years I have been busy, very busy.  I needed to recreate a career, a life - I discovered a passion.  I like to learn, to develop to be made to think.  I've been busy putting things into this life of mine.  Studying, working, reading, volunteering and loving every minute of it.

Then earlier this year life caught up with me and suddenly there was too much.  Too much life filling my head, my heart and my soul.  There was no space for me amongst everything and everybody else.  So I paused.  My Great Pause started.  I withdrew from courses, workshops, volunteer roles, I cut down on my teaching hours.  I stopped putting things in and waited to see what would fall out.

It's been a difficult time and a really interesting time.  It took at least three months to feel any benefit from the Great Pause.  Slowly as the space around me grew me I began to see all kinds of things, opportunities and realisations.  A different reality emerged through the fog.

What fascinates me about all of this is that the realisations I have come to, the things that are sticking around during this time of the Great Pause are those that were highlighted during a recent astrology reading (check out the talented Veronika Robinson for more information about her perceptive and challenging psychological astrology sessions).  This has been both validating and challenging. 

On one hand it is good to know that the choices I make are not a whim, another imagined reality to capture daydreams and while away hours.  On the other hand if my conscious, mindful realisations are confirmed in other more esoteric ways I feel as if they are more robust, more resiliant.

Of course everything is a choice.  I believe strongly that we create our reality.  Of course we can't account for the unexpected outcomes, the disasters, the random acts of goodwill or how others influence our lives.  But there is a lot we can influence, a lot of choices we make that can be authentic and congruent.

That for me is the constant challenge.  I want to live an authentic life - one that I am proud to say matches my ideals and ethics.  A life that challenges me and a life where I can explore my life's purpose.

This is what my Great Pause is all about.  I needed the space, the time, the quiet to gain a sense of my life's purpose.  By listening and just being in this moment I can see things I couldn't see admist the noise and clutter of before.  Workshops, courses, volunteer roles were all loud background noise that disctracted and hid the opporutnities and possibilities from me.

So it appears I haven't run out of things to say at all and since I realised this I have been saying all sorts of things.......