Photo found Here
Very meaningful writing time today!
Was very touched, validated about the value of this project through a character that introduced herself:)
Essentially, the main theme emerging was helping children learn that it is okay to be a beginner.
A couple years ago I came across an old 1940's book by Imre Reiner, called Creative Desire, where he writes, 'In matters of art everyone has to begin at the beginning.' I could not stop reading this sentence over and over. It had never occurred to me before that I could be a beginner. Sure, I'd called myself that, but I'd never accepted it about myself.
I always thought I was the fruit already plucked, and that any ripeness that ensued would be bonus. But what I read in this lost little out of print book, was that in matters of art--and I inserted, with art, everything else in life-- we have to start at the beginning. Not like we have to, as in should, but we can, as in it is possible! I started to think that maybe I wasn't plucked! Maybe I was still on the limb, absorbing life-force from the earth and the sky, yet to form a bud, to bloom, to bear fruit. Maybe I had it all wrong! The curse of so many amazing artists, writers, thinkers, that came before me, could now be a blessing--as I wasn't required to piggyback on the Greats, but find my own great, by acknowledging an integral and benign beginner within.
So, we can't compare ourselves with those out there who have launched out of the gates and achieved great speed. We can allow ourselves a beginner's mind, ignorance--the state of not know anything, and find in this a certain truth, that it is okay not to know, that that is what learning is for. What if learning is a process no different than the growth of our body from a seed in the womb, grace to a force that animates us until our last breath. What if that same force animates our learning?
I am reminded of a sweet 7-year-old piano student, who earnestly wanted to do everything right by me. After her very first lesson, she looked panicked, and I could sense of wave of stress come over her body as the lesson came to an end. She asked me with an anxious expression, not able to make eye-contact, "How am I going to learn everything?" I came to understand that she had no idea that the piano lessons would be weekly. She thought that this first lesson was it.. I was so touched by her question and so awakened to a condition in which our children believe that they should truly be born fully formed and all-knowing--a disease that is somehow perpetuated in our society, and causing kids and adults to feel inadequate before they even begin.
I've thought about my own role in perpetuating these ideas. Maybe it is our over-involvement in our children's lives, encouraging them to try and to excel at many things--to find their niche, before 'it is too late'.
I have certainly been run by this kind of a dialogue in my head with regard to my children and the enormous pressure to give them every opportunity to realize their dreams and potential, and to grow up to be successful and abundant.
However, is anyone, including me, slowing down enough in the education process to make sure to emphasize to the children, that they are beginners? Is anyone telling them--and making sure that they understand-- that learning is continuous, builds upon itself, deepens with awareness and relevance, and that their learning will age just like their bodies, akin to the aging of fine wine or cheese?! How about telling them that their judgement of their performance is not a good indicator, at least short term, of their abilities! And can they hear us with all the noise, distractions, and bulletproofing in society?
Is anyone telling these kids that there are multiple types of intelligence, and that each unique make up adds another dimension of awesomeness to the world? Are we helping children access their unique intelligence blueprint?
One of my favorite teachers and founders of the human potential movement is Jean Houston, who states regularly that, 'there are no stupid children, just very stupid systems of education'.
In that moment with my piano student, I explained to her that, firstly, she would come back weekly for lessons, and secondly, that the world of piano was like visiting a different planet in the dark. I would be her guide on our exploration, and I would shine a flashlight on different parts of the piano world, and in time sufficient light would be shed on enough of the world, that it would make sense to her, as to understand it and conceptualize it.
Leonardo Da Vinci wrote, "The knowledge of all things is possible." I would add to this, that, yes, it is, especially when we start at the beginning, and give ourselves the chance to discover and absorb, to feel the learning in our bodies and in our relationships, to learn facts side-by-side a bigger meaning about our place in the universe, our story,--how every idea is just a part of a bigger organism of ideas--how the more parts that we reveal to ourselves, the more comprehensive our experience becomes--and the funny thing? The more we know, the less we know we know--and the more we find ourselves in awe, and the Love is big.
"For in truth great love is born of great knowledge of the thing loved." Another quote by Da Vinci.
The more we know ourselves without judgement, the more we can know others and celebrate them where they are--to access a compassionate, curious love that builds bridges to one another--adds shine to dull and listless eyes--brings us to the place where the game we are here to play is out in the open: who was going to wake up and see the other first?! And bring about the most profound exploration of an alien race, that precious human right in front of us.