Deep roots

The teacher is rarely the person at the front of the room. It is the person your heart connects with. Without a doubt you walk into the arms of their unknowingness & ask them to reveal their truth to you. The answer is always a surprise until hearing sounds too obvious. 

I walked into a room surrounded by teachers to be revealed. My nails clawed across the chalkboard of my mind. Defiant pupil scared of her own short comings revealed in nothing but the awful sound. Hip flexors cried out in stubborn unyielding, unwilling to be yoked to the fate self same sought. Tears rippling internally against a frustration fuelled by the same tired complaint ‘Why am I here?’

Determination is so beautiful.

Suddenly a truth that can not be muted answers my disheartened mewing. This is where I belong. These are the teachers I have been searching for to the questions I dare not articulate. I am here & I am ready to be played a fool. Show me the reason for this hate & fear. Where for did it grow in my heart? Where for in my neighbours? A ring of candles glisten in the dark. I don’t have the answer, but I am waiting.

Waiting is a practice that can lead to yoga.

Or maybe that’s not what the teachers said, but I am barely listening over the inaudible din of my self studying. Turning the question over & over again. Why am I here? Why am I here? Why am I here? 

I slept like a lamb new slaughtered. Blood on my hands I arrived on my mat ready to ply these butchers fingers. Awkwardly inflated, unfamiliar, groping through the dark in first morning light. I watch the shadows crawl across the wall. Somewhere in between breaths Mary started to glow. First dark like a shadow then bright golden light source unknown. Whose hand crafted such a sight? What hand supported me now? 

Under pressure nerves cracked in newly familiar places. I’m crazy for love, but I’m not going on. How many years in devotion to the tower I built around myself? Who is the brick layer? Who stained the glass? What was here before I arrived? Who will stand here when I’m rubble in the sand? This moment passed unmarked from one song to the next. I crave oneness with one of it, so I pack light, travel alone, watch my own back as I walk away from myself on the ledge. Why so guarded on the mirrors edge? 

A deer crosses the road & I am too empty to feel my heart beat in excitement. Saturday night pilgrims march towards fortunes neon glow, but Lady Luck slipped out the back while I unlocked the front door. Sweeping the floor well past closing time. I remark to no one in particular the parts of myself that I am afraid to name.

6:00 am comes easily when the purpose for rising is unclear. In the vast darkness my sneakers carry me through old haunts. Up empty streets to pick up berries in colours that remind me of secrets long forgot. The cashier gives me a knowing nod as I walk off into the sunrise. Silence slowly filling my ears as I walk down the street in the chord of D. Vibrations of kids laughing commune with the trees. This one cut down & that one planted. It will grow to be taller than I am in my lifetime. That door didn’t use to be red. These planks weren’t always so rugged. The sun didn’t look like this yesterday. 

As we drive the day feels more welcoming. There is a thread in the day that keeps me tied to the window. There is something out there looking for me, but today I am tied to my mat like a life raft. A raft that is filled with humility at the things I’ve taken for granted in the blink of an eye. Here my feet are. Ten toes for balancing. Here my eyes are. Two for truth seeking. Here my heart is. One of everything. 

I accept you into my heart as my sister, I promise to never speak ill of you, and I accept your love seeking only what is best for our collective highest good. 

Your heart open to mine I feel naked in a way no skin can express. In that vulnerability you accept my sins for me & I yours. We are purified of imperfections because together we are whole. Together we can do no wrong. Greater than the collective sum of our hearts. Overwhelming gratitude electrified in your presence I stand alone with only my own wildness to answer for. I have a voice inside of me that knows what it wants. It knew then what I know now I’ve just forgot. There is a playfulness not to run from. There is a security that isn’t forced. A voice asks me to be whole in my knowing.

One step.

I am grounded in laughter, and surrounded by a sea of silence. 17 lighthouses blink in the distance. In my awkward steps I will climb the ladder rung by rung to watch the storm from your safe haven. Fingers clasped together asking for a way – Om. 

A step together is a step forever.

In the quiet moments between lost & found you read to me my hidden texts. It is both a warning & an invitation to better understand this sanctity of expression. From my own silent utterance be true. Unshored it is soon forgotten. Sealed tightly it envelopes all mystery. My wholy unbroken.

A journey with no destination.

Together we have begun.

Grounded in uncertainty.

Unsure we stand united.

Pilgrimage of the heart.

Community of women.

Unknown maiden head birthed of sage wisdom.

Home.

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The pupil asks the teacher

Once upon a time there was a very sleepy pupil and a very smart teacher. Or wait, was it a very sleepy teacher and a very smart pupil? Once upon a time there was a very smart teacher and a very smart pupil. They sat down to a battle of wits, but they lost because they couldn’t stay awake long enough to see the conclusion. No wait, they were both asleep in a dream about a question neither of them could answer. Wait, I’m going to start again. Once upon a time a student asked their teacher why they always slept through their lessons “wouldn’t it be much easier to draw conclusions on the chalkboard awake?” The teacher said to the student “I am too tired to draw your conclusions for you anymore why don’t you dream some up yourself?” No, this is all wrong. Once upon a time a student asked their teacher to tell them a story that could illustrate this lesson, but the teacher asked the student to dream up their own. After a time the student said “Once upon the time there was a very sleepy pupil and a very smart teacher. Or wait-“

Often what unschooling looks like is a series of fascinating questions. 

One of my favourite books as a child was a little picture book called Ernie Follows His Nose. It was a simple story of someone innocently following their curios nose to explore the world around them. It sounds silly in its naivety, but neatly illustrates one of the corner stones of student directed learning.

To make a crude comparison: the traditional industrial education model is structured to have a single point of authority stand at the front and deliver a lot of information that is meant to impart a series of answers which students are then graded on for accuracy. In this model questions only arise as a means to get to the end of the lesson. There is a shame for having too many questions. They gum up the flow of the knowledge machine, which is why we separate students out for learning too quickly or too slowly to improve efficency.

By contrast, unschooling dives in question first with no time to raise hands to authority. The student is at the front of the expedition actively engaged in wrestling with their personal multitudinous sea of questions “Where did that smell come from? Why did this happen? How does that work? When will this occur? Who is that? What am I?” The lessons are an accumulative experience as students gather information while following their curiosity only measuring success against their own appetite. The unschooling motto is “the world is my classroom – learning all of the time.”

I believe that to be deeply curios is to hold a simultaneous respect for rigor & whimsy. Curiosity must be nimble enough to chase after the glittering fascinating thing while also plying fastidious attention to the understanding of it. Questions manifest more curiosity manifest more questions. A healthy appetite for the unknown is essential to my creative practice & self studies.

With all that in mind here are…

Questions I am currently contemplating:

  1. What is the mind/body connection? How does this connection affect our health & growth?
  2. What is catharsis? What is its role in art, and what is its role in healing, and are the two related?
  3. What does it mean to be useful in society? Is it necessary?
  4. How do we cultivate nurturing love? 
  5. How does the expression of self impact the relation to self & the selves experience of the world?
  6. What does it mean to be androgynous? In a post-binary world would androgyny be necessary?
  7. What does it mean to be in alignment? Is the idea of a best self a subtle expression of internalized shame, and if so what does self acceptance & actualization look like beyond that?
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Sunday’s we make lists

  • 2 hours Dear Devotion
  • 1 hour practicing bass
  • Lots of writing – personal & poetic.
  • One rock concert (all dudes)
  • Reading rupi kaur’s milk & honey 💖 also lots of blogs 
  • Spc fundraising meeting with Charlie
  • Audition
  • Laundry & house cleaning 
  • Lots of lady time this week supporting each other & enjoying end of summer 

Challenges:

  • Very volatile mood swings this week. Tuesday evening into Wednesday morbidly depressed, Thursday elated to the point of difficulty concentrating, Friday morbidly depressed again with suicidal ideation. Sunday another high day, hopefully not as manic.
  • Also started period this week possible connection to mood, definitely noticeable on sleep patterns & sex drive.
  • Generalized anxiety about money & future continues. As tides with moods flux.

Next week:

  • 2 board meetings – one for SPC, one for SaskMusic
  • Therapist appointment
  • Rent due, other finances to take care of
  • Start sober September 
  • Call for submissions for alt alt
  • Start regular meditation practice again
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5x nurture inner nature

Turns out I am thinking about lots of things with lots of links to share. 

Enjoy

  1. The Beginners Guide to Unschooling via Zen Habits – this is the best online description of unschooling I have been able to find it also has a great further reading list at the end for those looking to learn more.
  2. Mood Disorders & Creativity – Johns Hopkins Lecture Series with Dr. Jamieson
  3. How Nature Can Make You Kinder, Happier, More Creative 
  4. The Art of Observation and Why Genius Lies in the Selection of What is Worth Observing via Brain Pickings
  5. I’m a huge fan of the album Flash & Yearn by tooth ache. You can learn more about her on She Does here
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Sunday again

  • 2 hr Dear Devotion
  • 1 hr bass practice
  • Chaired board meeting for SPC
  • Caught up with Tom & Tant per Tant
  • Watched: Star Trek & Pokemon
  • 3 music gigs (1/6 bands feat. Women)
  • Mieka’s birthday – campfire jam
  • Read Anatomy of Meloncholy and lots of blogs
  • Therapist appointment 

Challenges

  • Came down with cold kept me in bed a lot of weekend
  • Anxiety about future feeling pressure to be a lot of things I’m not & go a bunch of places I can’t.
  • Behind on housework due to illness weighing on me.

Next week:

  • 3 hrs Dear Devotion – sketch out plan moving forward
  • Make up missed band practice
  • Get new journals
  • Start new book
  • Prepare for board meeting
  • Fundraising meeting
  • Follow up on new mystery project
  • Clean house
  • Start writing
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Sunday progress report

  • Worked out 6 month funding timeline for projects
  • Began looking at scheduling for Dinner Tables
  • Met with Charlie to discuss Embrace Theatre plans
  • 2 hr band practice, completed one song
  • 1 hr rehearsal for Dear Devotion
  • Create working plan for Dear Devotion rehearsals in August
  • Cleaned house
  • 2 volunteer shifts at the Fringe
  • Saw 3 fringe plays, 1 punk show, finished Jane Jacobs: The Last Interview, listened to CYG podcast, watched Mean Girls, Star Trek, X Files, Stranger Things
  • Practiced bass, cat yoga, mindful walking, seated meditation, flow yoga, non-judgement, positive affirmations, poetry

Challenges of the week:

  • Persistent anxiety mixed with everyday apathy
  • Distracted by heat
  • Poor meal choices & bad sleep habits

Overall: made good progress in spite of (because of?) pervasive anxiety & self destructive thought patterns. Was (mostly) able to channel excessive restless energy into constructive possibilities. 

Studies for next week:

  • Working with recorded text for Dear Devotion development
  • Break Dear Devotion studies into 6 parts
  • Learning scales on bass
  • Get new journals to write
  • Practice mindful speech, non-judgement, cat yoga, seated meditation, mindful walking, conscientious eating 
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The Illiterate Writer

I write things

I write them so you can read them

If you so choose

No one is forcing you

I can barely be bothered myself some days

Reading is such a gift

That I’m grateful my mom gave me everyday

I was a late reader

Too active to be interested in sitting and starring at the page

There was so much world to explore

What fun was learning by book?

By the time I started to pursue reading more actively

I was already old enough to understand how complex the English language was

It daunted me

How could we expect anyone to remember all these rules and exceptions and definitions

Layers upon layers of symbols

That I wasn’t apart of

So I bolstered my ego with it

It became part of my personality

That I just “don’t like reading”

As if it were a matter of preference

I would put the bare minimum effort in to learn

When it didn’t click I would shrug and confirm

“It’s just not for me”

Meanwhile I still spent most of my time outside playing

I started to learn about story, and fantasy, and history, and drama

Our games unfolding their own complex narrative

I started a writing group with my friend although neither of us could spell and we both struggled reading the back of the cereal box

But we knew we could write

We would sit opposite one another on the floor in the basement

Pencil and paper in hand

Each taking turns reciting a line from the story

As one of us would spin the tale the other would jump in with revisions and edits in real time

We carefully crafted plot, character, dialogue, subtext

As we each wrote the story out in our own secret language

We called it our magic language

Because if you didn’t know how to spell a word you would just make it up

Like magic

Little did we realize how important innovations like ours were to the strength of the English language

From Shakespeare to Twain to Snoop Dawg

English is a shapeshifter

Constantly evolving

To welcome the uninitiated

To expand the new frontier

To reflect the many tongues that have enfolded it

To reveal the unknown minds that have shaped it

Once I learned to live with language without the constraints of written literacy

I fell in love

I wanted to know more

To read for myself the stories of the classic authors that had come before me

To seek other worldly knowledge myself beyond my backyard escapades

I wanted to be able to record my thought, ideas, and stories

As scraps of information for future explorers to discover

Once I sat down full of intent to read and write it did not take me long

Granted I already had nine years of experience

Telling stories

Discovering mysteries

Exploring complex ideas

Understanding nature

Questioning everything

Years of listening to my mother read to me

Of being immersed in theatre and oral storytelling

Of seeing the world uninhibited by language’s explanations for things

These were the hidden gifts my mother left for me

The most important of them all was time and trust

Only once I came back to it with my head emptied of ego

Full of wide eyed wonder

Did I learn how to read and write by heart

No sooner, no later

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