“I have noticed that when I get just miserable, I relax, droop, slow down — a very slowing-down thing happens to me. I mentioned last night that being depressed is kind of a great thing. You can relax into it and be outside and then you want to look at something besides what you’re depressed about.
“So you find yourself studying ants, or little creatures come up to you. Or maybe you even have the sense to grab some raw sunflower seeds when you go out the door and you can see if anybody wants to eat them if you keep really, really still.”
— Jane Wodening
I was thinking about the end of the school year and all — not that school is depressing, but I think that many months of being told what to think, what we “need” to know and all can be a bit dampening to the spirit and we all need to relax. Mind you, we have awesome teachers and the most beautiful campuses and community in which to live and grow but, nonetheless, it is controlled.
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I believe it important to have some time to ourselves, to be “uncontrolled.” Yes, scheduled activities keep some kids “out of trouble.” But, I pose that doing nothing-in-particular for the right length of time can help make us more mindful. In that mindfulness, we can re-engage our senses, as Wodening presents above, thereby finding our center and balance in life again.
I think this is crucial for every being. Watching my chickens, I observe how they leave no moving thing un-inspected. Is it edible? We don’t need to eat, but it’s interesting. Sometimes LOML or I will sit in the coop with them, just sit, and watch their reactions, their behavior. It’s really quite relaxing.
In an interview in The Daily Good with author Jane Wodening (thedailygood.org/wodening), the concept of “mindfulness” came up. “I was just listening on the radio to this psychologist who has researched mindfulness for years. The interviewer asked ‘What got you interested in mindfulness?’ She answered, ‘Mindlessness is what got me interested.’ It’s like what you’re saying—we ‘see’ all this stuff, but we don’t really see it.”
I feel that in order to understand ourselves better, we need to better understand the world around us, particularly the minutia. Help your kids this summer appreciate that. Give them “free time.” If you’re really controlling or paranoid, you can give them a list of options of activities they can do outside on their own. I don’t know; my older son was the kind that would walk across town at an early age to a friend’s house, just to explore. I was very glad for that.
Let them loose. Ask them what they saw, how that made them feel, what they thought about it all. Help them be in touch with the world around them, not just by driving them across 13 states to some great monument or filling their calendars with lessons and tournaments and chores and family obligations, but time to just sit and not need perpetual, extreme stimulation. Get in touch with the world. Find their balance.