Category Archives: taking time

The necessity of taking time for yourself when travelling

When travelling, one of the greatest challenges for me is staying true to myself, my values, and my principles; sometimes travelling makes it hard to stay in tune with yourself because you are constantly exposed to new things; new people, new places, new sights, smells, tastes etc. etc.

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enjoying the beautiful sights of Cali, Colombia

Being on the move a lot makes it especially hard for me to pay enough attention to my own thoughts, feelings, and needs. And of course this affects my behaviour and my interactions with the people around me, especially with A. We are used to spending all our time together at home, but travelling adds another dimension to this and, naturally, some challenges. It can be challenging for me to stay rational and fair at all times, when I get stressed out or overwhelmed I tend to have less patience and I become irritated more easily, and it isn’t fair to A if I am not capable of taking the time to myself that I need.

I have sometimes found it difficult to take that time. We don’t always have the possibility of taking time to ourselves while travelling, or doing what we feel like when we feel like it. At least not the way we usually do it at home. That is why it is so important to find ways to take that time.

One of the ways I take a little time to wind down these days is to enjoy my coffee a little extra, simply dwell on the taste. Shut everything out. Just me and my coffee.

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a break with a cup of coffee

A too needs time to process everything and to stay tuned into her own needs. She has different ways than me of coping with being on the move and it can be difficult for her as well, but she is very good at adjusting to different situations. This is something we have both learned and are both learning as we travel.

As such, travelling for us is also an exercise in listening to ourselves, our bodies, our minds, and our needs.

What helps us when we feel disconnected is to settle down and stay in one place for a longer period of time. We need these breaks from all our experiences and choices and impressions so we can process what we go through, and take time for ourselves to do simply nothing.

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relaxing in Popayan, Colombia

It is easy to get caught up in a belief that we have to rush to see all the things that all the places we visit have to offer. At least I sometimes get caught up in that belief. Luckily, A is much better at taking it easy. She is good at listening to her own needs.

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A taking time for herself at our home in Bogota

She reminds me of the need to take it easy, which is a big help for me from time to time. She has a way of settling in the moment, an incredible ability to be content in the present, which allows her to enjoy the moment to the fullest. No matter if we are swimming in the Caribbean, walking down a busy street in Bogota or Quito, visiting an ancient ruin in Peru, or simply lazing around in our accommodation. A is good at being in the present. And she is good at letting me know if she needs a day to relax.

 

The other day A said she wanted to stay at home while Niels and I went into town. She spent the whole day with our host, Nini, and was so happy when we got back that she had been able to relax and unwind. She had been talking to my dad on skype, playing cards on the laptop, playing wii, simply enjoying herself. This time that she took for herself makes it possible for her to process some of all the things we have experienced on our travels.

When we take time to ourselves we don’t necessarily need to be alone. For example, as I am writing this we are three people in the room; one is reading, one is playing the ipad, and one is writing. Everyone is absorbed by their own thing, which is exactly what taking time for yourself is about. You don’t have to be alone to take time for yourself, you simply need to tune out of your surroundings and into yourself. This is an ability that A has mastered.

I am not the only one to notice A’s ability to be present in the now and to listen to her own needs. Numerous times people have complimented this ability in her and reminded me of how important this ability is. In a room full of people she is able to sit quietly in a corner, looking in a book, or watching some show on mute, or having a conversation with herself. And being able to do this is paramount, especially when on the move.

Our travels are continuing along with our learning and our exercises in staying true to ourselves and our own needs and values. We treasure the moments we have, the moments we get, and all the time that is given to us.

 

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Salar de Uyuni, a natural wonder; where I wish I had more time to ponder

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Salar de Uyuni. This amazing place has been a place I’ve been wanting to visit for years. For A, it is a place she has only heard about because I have told her and we have seen pictures. She is excited to see the salt flats, she talks about it a lot. But of course to her, the experience is a different one than mine.

She hasn’t had time to ponder about the salt flats for hours on end like I have. And she doesn’t have the same expectations.

Even so, the experience is incredible for both of us. Visiting this place has truly been an adventure. It’s breathtaking beauty and grandeur is almost indescribable and pictures don’t really do the place justice.

As with so many other wonderful places in the world, Salar de Uyuni is difficult to get to if you don’t go on a tour. I swallow my ideals once again and pay up. 1400 bolivianos for the two of us. It is actually a discounted price. And food is included, luckily.

The good thing about going on a tour is that we get to meet other travellers. This is almost always a lovely experience and this time is no exception.
We meet Valeria and Lucas, from Italy and Brazil. And we meet Brooks and Angelica, from the States.

The tour lasts for three days and we’re not the only ones going, lots of other travellers are headed the same way. We all bundle up in the same locations. We meet each other at eating times and when we’re accomodated for the night. Everything is shared, from restrooms to sleeping quarters and there is not much time to contemplate impressions or to catch your breath and just relax.

These things are hard for me I wont deny. It is as if my body is always tense around so many strangers. All the chit chat all the time, the having to small talk. It is draining me. I get tired. I get sad. And I get lonely.

For A it is a different ball game. She loves having strangers around. She talks to EVERYBODY. She speaks in English and Spanish (she is learning) alike and she doesn’t get exhausted the same way I do. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it isn’t exhausting in some way for her too. She just reacts to things differently than I do. With her ability to stay so amazingly present in the now her experience is a different one. She gets exhausted, she simply saves her exhaustion for later and sleeps it off when she has the opportunity to do so.

In these situations I have a really hard time keeping my focus and staying relaxed. When I don’t have enough time for myself to sit quietly and mull things over my brain slowly turns to a kind of muddy texture that wants to press the pause button. I need to be ALONE.

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alone in naure

I love being out in nature. It is one of my main goals of going travelling. But somehow the nature experiences we have had so far have been cramped with other people looking for the same kinds of experiences. So the idea of nature, solitude, and time for meditation and mental relaxation is somewhat skewed; on tours you don’t get to spend all the time you want alone on a mountain side or breathing in the fresh air of a salt desert. You are a part of a group, ever moving on, ever in search of a pretty picture to put on facebook.

I wont lie; I’ve have been posting lots of pictures from our travels on facebook. It’s a way of keeping people back home updated. But I don’t like the idea travelling through countries only to be able to say you’ve been to all the “highlights” of said country. I don’t like tours actually, for exactly that reason. They are tours, a kind of tourist traps. But they’re SO hard to get around if you want to discover some of the wonders of the natural world.

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A takes in the beautiful view of Laguna Colorada

These are the times when I think to myself that it would be nice to have a partner. Someone to share some of the hardships of travelling with. Someone to plan a trip out in nature with, alone, with no tour companies involved.

Anyway. Bolivia is mindblowingly beautiful. No doubt about it. The Sala de Uyuni is such a fascinating place it is hard to fathom. Salt, salt, and salt as far as the eye can see. And the mountains with all the colours, the flamingos, the colourful lagunes, the weird rock formations. Everything looks out of this world.

In one place, it feels like we’ve been dropped down on Mars. The red sand and rocks around us look eerily unearthly.

Our driver, Jose, is not a talkative guy. He turns up the Spanish rap music as we speed through the deserted landscapes, bumping up and down in the car as we go.
A and I sit in the back. We both look out the window, amazed at what we see. The nights are freezing cold and we bundle up together in the same bed to keep warm. It helps a little bit.

Our group is the quiet one. Valeria and Lucas are both artisans making their own jewelry and selling it to earn a little cash. Brooks and Angelica write their diaries and I try to write mine but am unable to concentrate because of all the noise around me. A has found a couple of Bolivian kids to play with. She offers them gifts from her little gift bag. Erasers, paper, candy, and stones she found by a lake in Peru.

Always making new friends, A laughs and makes suggestions for games they can play. They end up playing tag and red light, green light. Brooks and Angelica join the game. I talk to Valeria about children and learning. She likes the idea of unschooling. We talk about many things. Like rainbow gatherings, activism, how capitalism is ruining the world. About the poor people of Bolivia. About how to sell handicrafts.

The tour lasts 3 days. in the car back to Uyuni A and I are the only ones left from the group. Everybody else is crossing borders into Chile. We are joined by one of Jose’s friends. She smiles and waves at A. “Hola chiquita”, she says. The Spanish rap is replaced by Backstreet boys and we speed along the windswept roads with the tunes of “bacsktreet’s back” blasting from the speakers. I can’t help but smile. And at the same time I am overwhelmed with a strange kind of nostalgia. It quickly passes though. A likes the music.

When we reach Uyuni we hurry to buy a ticket for Potosi. Uyuni is not a town we want to spend another night in.

And with the breathtaking sights of Salar de Uyuni fresh in our minds we relax on the bus to Potosi. A falls alseep with her head in my lap while I contemplate how lucky we are to be having this experience together.

The beauty of the natural world is unfathomable.

Settling in the travel mode, or trying to take it easy

We have been in Peru for about three weeks now but it seems like much longer. All the places we’ve seen, all the people we’ve met and all the things that are so different and yet so similar.

I have still to get into the best suitable pace of travelling for us. It seems we haven’t yet found our right pace. And even though I am trying not to rush things it seems I can’t completely let go of the voice in my head telling me to figure out where to go next. So many places to see, so many places to go, so many things to do, and so little time.

Yet I am coming to the conclusion that travelling is not about going to as many places as possible as quickly as you can. Or rather, I already knew that, so the conclusion is that travelling is about feeling at home where you are. Being content with where you are and what you are doing. I know this intuitively. But why is the rushing so hard to shake?

It seems A is a much better traveller than I. She is where she is, whether it is a crowded combi bus in Arequipa’s crazy traffick or a quiet restaurant in downtown, or somebody’s kitchen etc. She settles where she is and lives in the now. It is wonderful to see her doing that. Not changing her ways no matter where we are. But growing with the person she is.

Still I can’t help but wonder how it may feel for her. Does she have enough time to savour all the moments. To process all the inputs that she gets. I am not sure I myself have had enough time so far. I am wondering if maybe Peru has too much to offer for two such dreamy souls as A and myself. If maybe the vastness of this country’s culture and geographic offerings is too much for us to handle. One single country and SO many treasures. It is absolutely overwhelming.

Even the people who live here that we have talked to say there are SO many things to see in Peru you wont be able to do everything in an entire lifetime. And I agree.

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upon climbing a small mountain in Arequipa
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A has an eagle (I think) on her head

So, it is with the knowledge that our travels are not going to show us everything, nor are they supposed to, rather, they are going to let us grow as people, open up our minds and hearts, and give us unforgettable memories, that I post this. And I am happy about that.

Out and about

We have been spending lots of time outside the past few days. We have found a place not too far from where we live that we both love. It is a meadow with a very small pond bordering some other meadows where cattle are grassing on one side and a small forest on the other side. We have very little wild nature where we live so it’s great to find a place like this where you can go and enjoy a bit of at least partially wild nature. We always bring a blanket and books.

On our way there we usually go past this playground where A likes to climb a little before we move on. She enjoys playgrounds a lot, even if there are no other children, but she likes them even better if there are some kids to play with. Yesterday she got lucky.

We also met a woman who was walking her dog. A loves dogs, especially if she gets to play with them and this one was very amiable and really liked playing.

We often don’t leave the house till well past midday since we’re both slow risers and we are definitely B-people. Thus, A likes to spend her mornings like this:

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And I like to spend my mornings quietly with time to read and write, do projects and practical stuff and with a good cup of coffee.

There are lots of wild flowers on the meadow we pass to get to our little place and on the way home we picked some of them.

The forest where my parents live is a wonderful place to go for a walk. A and I always go there when we visit. I took these pictures last time we were there.

Just living is not enough.. one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower – H.C.Andersen

 

It is all about the little things

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. – Khalil Gibran

A has a great eye for details. She often makes me notice little things I might not have noticed without her pointing them out to me.

It could be anything. A snail slithering it’s way across a road or path or up a plant, a little bug, someone’s facial expression, a sign, graffiti on a wall, a special stone, a flower, the new moon, how it smells a certain way after it’s rained, stars coming out in the sky, if our neighbour is wearing a new hat, if I bought something new, rain drops on a leaf, the way candle wax melts and runs down the candle. All the little things A notices.

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A took this picture because she was fascinated by the dripping wax

Yesterday we had been talking about spiders because a pholcidae spider (long legged spider) bit A a few days ago in the garden and neither of us had known that they could bite. We were trying to find out why the spider had bitten her by googling it. But we only managed to find out that they are capable of biting through skin and that they have almost exterminated the small tegenaria species in all of Denmark, since they hunt and eat other spiders. So when we went for a walk yesterday A stopped at a spider web because she had noticed one of the small spiders, which had made her very happy because it meant there were still some left.

On our walk we also encountered lots of different looking snails. We noticed that the snails like to eat nettles. A told me that the flowers on the nettles are edible as well as the leafs, so we ate some nettle flowers. The taste is very neutral and we quite liked them.

If you look closely you will see a small creature here:

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I think A’s eye for details is well connected with her strong intuition and her ability to ponder for a long time over things. She likes to tell stories and always wants me to write them down for her since she doesn’t like to write herself.

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A likes to look for four-leaf clovers and almost always finds them

This past week it has been very hot and we have been spending several hours at the beach. One day A brought a book and pencil so I could write down the story she was thinking of. We wrote two chapters in her story about a friendly dragon.

It is always in nature that we find most of our inspiration. It gives us a sense of connection with something greater than ourselves and it is there we can feel the most free. The other day when we were swimming in the sea A said to me: ‘I always feel so free when I’m in the water. It is like I can fly!’

I knew exactly what she meant.

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Love

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love possesses not nor will it be possessed, for love is sufficient unto love – Khalil Gibran

Free love? as if love is anything but free. Man has bought brains, but all the millions in the world have failed to buy love – Emma Goldman

Not long ago A and I were sitting at the table talking with my brother about different things. A was telling my brother about things she remembered from her time in kindergarten. At one point she was reminiscing about a boy she remembered. She said ‘He had long hair. I often looked at him’. Then she thought for little while and then said ‘I sometimes wonder if that is what it feels like to be in love’.

The way she put it was so poetic and beautiful and so full of wonder and curiosity about life and love at the same time. My 7 year old was actually wondering about love and it’s great mysteries. Remembering something she had experienced more than 2 years ago. At first I was surprised but then I had to revise. I remembered that I also, as a young child of perhaps 5 years old, had had the same experience with a boy in my class. I was always chasing this boy when we played tag, exactly because I had feelings of love towards him.

What surprised me wasn’t that A had had the experience of falling in love. Rather, it was how eloquently she put the experience into words. And how vividly she remembered the experience more than 2 years after.

I am not doubting for one moment that what enables A to describe her feelings so well and to ponder over what it feels like to fall in love is the fact that she has time to reflect on her experiences.She has time to process her thoughts and feelings after she experiences something. And this helps her understand what it is she experiences.

We all know that love takes time. It cannot be forced. It can grow in the tiniest of spaces and become greater than we can imagine. And when it does it doesn’t matter how many problems we are facing in our lives. Love will overcome all of them. But only if we give it time.

I cannot know how many times A has had the experience of falling in love so far. I can only know that her ability to process her feelings makes her all the more stronger and all the more capable of experiencing love ❤

Achievement is not everything, not even close

There is an emphasis on achievement today that is completely out of proportions. Our lives, from the moment we are born, focuses almost solely on what we achieve. Who we are is pinned on what we have accomplished and we learn to narrate about ourselves in a way that puts emphasis on what we do and all the things we have done and are planning to do.

It is as if achieving (exceptional) things has become a goal in itself and while it isn’t per se a bad thing to achieve things there is a problem with the way we value what a person has achieved or what a person does. It creates a believe that the goal is to accomplish something and that the process is not important and this is a mistake.

When something interests A she will pursue it with the kind of enthusiam that characterises a child. Immediate, strong an undenying. She can have enthusiasm for something for a short period of time or for a longer period. It all depends on her mood, what it is she is doing, the setting and lots of other things. The main importance of being free to occupy your mind and body with what you find interesting is that you do it because you are motivated to do it. You don’t do it to gain recognition.

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museum of natural history
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a big block of ice
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pouring water down a hole

The problem with doing something with the sole purpose of gaining recognition for the outcome is that the sort of recognition you get is usually based on the set of values that dominates our society today. At least in great parts of the world, and definitely in the Western societies those values focus on achievements mostly and for a great part academic achievement. I am not saying there is anything wrong with academic or any other kinds of achievements. What I am saying is that these aren’t the only skills we should pay attention to. There are MANY more skills that are of equal importance to the well-being of our society as a whole and to the well-being of individuals. All kinds of skills are needed if we want a harmonic society. And if we place too much emphasis on a certain set of skills a huge part of ‘lesser valued’ skills are going to be forgotten or abandoned. As of now a great deal of very important skills have already been forgotten or abandoned. For example the knowledge of how to grow your own food. This is not something that is taught in school, at least not in Danish public schools. One could suspect that this isn’t knowledge the powers that be would like children to have.

The process, which is the part where you learn things is also forgotten if the focus is mainly on the goal. There goes pondering, contemplating, re-focusing, changing your mind etc. all down the drain. These are important things to go through in order to find out what you actually like to do.

I hope that providing A with the freedom to choose what she wants to do and not putting more value into certain (more academic) things she does can help her to develop the skills she feels she needs at a certain time and the confidence to pursue them.

The freedom assigned to her to abandon any project she may have started and pick up a new one provides her with the confidence to start new projects because there is no pressure to finish a project she may have lost enthusiasm for. As a parent I sometimes have to remind myself that this is a good thing. On many levels this is a good thing. It is a good thing because the initiation of a new project (this doesn’t have to be some kind of huge accomplishment. For all I know it could be blowing up a balloon) comes from the ability to come up with ideas which come from her own head. Ideas that have not been put there by somebody else. This is not to say that being inspired by others is not a good thing; it can be a very good thing. It is also not to say that coming up with ideas is a goal in itself. What I am pointing to, really, is the importance of being able to trust yourself and your own abilities and to feel comfortable with your own abilities. That is what I hope for A to be able to do.

If you are not all the time reminded to think that there are some things you do that are better to do than other things you will not automatically value your own accomplishments all the time. What you do will not be the core of who you are. The things you do are a part of who you are of course, but they shouldn’t define you as a person. And they certainly shouldn’t define some people as ‘better’ than others.

A while ago A was very into playing the ipad. Especially the game hay day which, as far as I know, is about getting your online farm to flourish by developing it in all kinds of ways. You have to sell stuff in order to earn money to buy other stuff that you can use for improving your farm and so on. Well, while I am not always myself that enthusiastic about playing video games I do understand the value of having an interest in a particular game. I see that she is really into it. She is on skype chatting to friends about what she needs to buy and sell etc. and she tells me about how she just set up a new machine on hay day and so on. Thus, there are many more aspects than the game itself to playing this game.

As a parent who has been schooled all my life I sometimes find it hard not to judge her activities and interests exactly because I myself have been put through the whole system of value and judgement that the educational system is. It is a system that wants to mold you and put you in a box from a very young age and people are so used to being judged that by the time they finish school they are judging themselves just as harshly.

About time

Time. Our most treasured commodity. The one thing most people complain about not having enough of. And can we ever have enough time?

One of the things I most greatly appreciate about living an unschooling life is having time. Or rather, taking time, to do things. Because, granted, you do not have time, you need to take it. And when you take time to linger over the little things and savour the moment you will come to feel that you own your own time.

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If you don’t take the time to hug the tree the tree will never know how much you love it!

Because granted, time won’t be given to you by anyone around you. Whether it is your family, your friends or the greater establishment. You have to claim it for yourself. You have a right to time.

Ever since we are born we are met with certain expectations from our surroundings. Or, at least, from we are very young. We need to fit into the establishment. The government has a plan for us, the state needs us to grow up and be good workers. Young children are put in daycare, then kindergarten, then school, then there’s college and work and loans to support the education and mortgage and rent and so on and so on. It never stops. Unless we take the time to reconsider. To stop. And think. Think about what it really is that means something to us. If it’s important for you to be successful and rich then by all means go for it. But you won’t have much time. If you can settle for less then you will have more time. It is a perfectly conscious choice that everybody can make. But it is probably not a choice everybody thinks they can make.

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My brother and A taking a moment

I have made the choice to be neither rich nor successful (in this capitalist day and age sense of the word) in exchange for having time. That doesn’t mean that I have enough time. There is never enough time.

I have a friend in whose company I never consider time an issue. Since we are on the same level when it comes to time; we take it. And we don’t let the clock harass us. So, when I’m with her I never look at my watch. And I don’t think about what I have to do next. I just am. This way I get to experience the moment in a way I think is very rare to a lot of people. I get to live and to be myself and enjoy being alive. I am sad to say that I can’t do this with very many people since most of the people I know don’t have time for it. Anyway, I take the time I need when I am with this particular friend to enjoy life together with someone else. I do the same thing when I am with A. She is my greatest teacher when it comes to savouring moments. She does it with such delight that I am surprised not many more parents learn that from their children. The joy and effortlessness with which A lives in the present is so profound that I hope and wish for her to hang on to it for as long as she can and to bring it with her into her adult years. So that she can still, when she is a grown up, enjoy the moments she has and claim the time she needs for each moment without feeling the pressure to hurry up and get on with it!

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Time for biscuits and marshmallows

I am not saying it is easy: It is difficult to take that time to reflect. It can be hard to let go of all the stuff that you need to, or want to, do. And to take the time to identify what is really important to you. You have obligations and expectations. You have responsibilities, especially as a parent you have responsibilities. But if you don’t look at the sunrise or the sunset or the small flower by the side of the road or your child’s beautiful smile. And if you don’t feel the soft breeze against your skin or the sense of salt water against your body as you swim or the sun’s rays on your face and smell the smoke from the bonfire accompanied by the fresh scent of freedom. Then what is it all for? It takes time to experience those things, to inhabit them and feel them. And if you do not take that time can you still honestly say that you experienced them?

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Time for a break

I feel very privileged that I had time as a child to feel and inhabit my moments. I grew up in a remote place of the world where time really was granted to us. We could take as much as we wanted (after school of course) and we could spend it however we wanted. If I wanted to go somewhere I walked. We had no cars, no scooters, no buses, no trains, we could only use our bikes in the short summer period. And we had time to walk to places. If I wanted to go into the nature, I did that. If I wanted to sit and watch the dogs howl at the moon through my window, I did that. If I wanted to build a snow cave, I did that. I had time. Of course, all other things being equal, as a child your concept of time is different from what it is as an adult. But as a child I was certain I had all the time in the world. And I did actually. I had that growing up in Greenland and there was no pressure on me to hurry up (except all those terrible mornings where I had to get out of bed and go to school). And children in any other (Western) society did not have that if they did not come from a certain conscious kind of household.

I loved having all that time to reflect. To imagine that I was a bird or a bear. Or to day dream about becoming an actress. Anyway, my point is that I was (almost completely) free to claim the time I needed. And that is what I think should be possible for all children (and adults) all over the world.

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One of the beautiful sunsets you can enjoy from the sea side when you take the time

As the saying goes ‘time is money’ but what if we didn’t put that big an emphasis on being materialistically well off. I can say for myself that the further away I have gotten from a mainstream way of life the less I have needed material stuff. Yes, i can’t afford new stuff, new clothes, new furniture, new this and that. I have never been able to afford that. But so what. I don’t want those things. I don’t want A growing up contributing value to dead things. That is not what our lives are about. We need to have our basic needs met. Everybody has a right to have their basic needs met and to do whatever they want of course. But after that, time is what we need. What I cherish the most are the moments in my life when I am with the people I love and I don’t think about what I have to do next.

Our time here on earth is so short. And who knows when it will end. Therefore, I think we should take the time to savour the precious moments and enjoy the gift we have been granted that is our life.

Moments:

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My brother, A, and my dad enjoying life
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Take a moment to write with a bird’s feather
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A as a Harry Potter wannabe

From Brighton 1119

From Brighton 2165

From Brighton 2070

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Drawing with chalk

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We are witches for Halloween
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Take time to carve a pumpkin
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That moment!

Deschooling: learning how to live

I haven’t started unschooling my daughter yet. I suppose I can only say I have started once I announce it to the authorities and make it completely official. Furthermore, she is still enrolled in kindergarten, albeit she is not attending it very much these days. In fact, she is not attending at all. Since I told her she could choose to stay at home if she wants to she hasn’t gone there. That tells me something about her kindergarten and about her. It tells me that she probably is not as happy about her kindergarten as I told myself she is and it tells me that the kindergarten is an institution, like all other institutions, that deals with what it does in what I assume is the best way it can, but that the people who work there are not able to see that my daughter is not happy there. And this again tells me something about our system, namely that we have all these institutions with lots of good and well-meaning people, who are not in a position where they are able to meet the needs of all the children who are there. The children are too many and the institustions are too big and have too little staff. All in all it has really made me think.

It has made me think about all the things I have already put my daughter through that were not in her interest at all. These are things I have felt compelled to do for many different reasons, not least how our society works and what possibilities it leaves a single parent and her children. These are things I will probably address again at some point.

We have started a so-called deschooling period my daughter and I; that is, I have lifted all restricions I have had for my daughter in the past such as screen-time, bedtime, candy-eating etc. Those are mainly the areas where I have set limits for her. But of course there are other areas that I am only just beginning to realise myself, things I have thought were my only options, such as sending her to preschool/kindergarten and to daycare. These are major things that cannot be undone now. But I can try to mend them. There are other restrictions too, things having to do with my own believes and ideals, but I will not comment on these just now and there are probably things I do that I haven’t yet realised.

My daughter seems to adjust really well to our new way of living. She is at peace, content, happy and self-confident. It is as if she is truly learning to be herself, or actually, she always knew how she is just learning that it is perfectly okay to be herself. Really the one who needs deschooling the most is me. I can feel fear gripping me every so often; it starts with a kind of restlessness or impatience, a feeling that I need to do something productive. I have talked about this before I know, and this is because it is not an easy thing to handle. I think everybody relapses into this fear once in a while. It is a fear that we have learned to obey all our lives; the fear that we wont live up to the expectations of our surroundings; the fear that people will think we are strange or rude or that we just don’t fit in. This fear can be observed and felt everywhere, but it can also be dealt with and we can learn to control and perhaps even use it as a guideline; when something feels truly scary we should probably just do it!

So, deschooling; my daughter needs a lot of downtime these days. She needs to come back inside her own body, to feel safe, loved, accepted and heard. Just like me she is a very sensitive being and she has always needed a lot of time, especially in the evening, to relax and calm down before being able to go to sleep. It has been like that ever since she was a tiny newborn baby. And now she is five and a half. She needs downtime after all the mornings we’ve had that have been stressed and unpleasant, she needs downtime after all the evenings where I thought I had to make her go to sleep even though she wasn’t ready and she needs downtime after all the hours she spent at her noisy and confusing kindergarten without ever having had a say as to whether she wanted to be there or not.

She watches a lot of TV-shows on netflix, she plays a lot, she thinks out loud a lot, she sings a lot, dances and moves around a lot, plays on her iPad some of the time, all of this while asking a billion trillion questions that I do my best to answer. Generally she is mostly interested in being at home these days. She is not in a hurry to get out and be somewhere else. She really enjoys just being. And I let myself be inspired by her calmness and her joy and curiosity for life.

I have learned a few things already myself; I have learned that we do not need to go for a long walk to feel like we have been outside enjoying the weather, we might as well go to the backyard. I have learned that we can bake bread with flour and water and a little bit of salt. I have learned that my daughter is perfectly capable of saying when she is hungry and when she is sleepy and when she needs what kinds of food. I have learned to trust my own instincts more and I have learned that I am not done learning at all!

It has been about a month since we started deschooling and we still have a long way to go. I have taken up a few of my old hobbies like drawing and writing, and I started learning how to knit again, and I really enjoy it.

The best thing about deschooling so far is, once we settle into the holiday feel of living a happy and content life, communication simply blooms; it flows naturally and we have long and deep conversations almost daily. It has opened up a new room, a new space that is there just to be used to speak and be silent together, a space where no clock demands us to do certain things at a certain time, a space where my daughter can laugh and play and use her imagination as much as she wants, a space where there is room for everyone who wants to be there. We started our journey and we are happily continuing seeking wisdom, truth and happiness in our souls and our surroundings.