After writing the Are You Waldorf Enough? quiz with a humorous look at what being influenced by Steiner may look like, I’ve pondered it in a more serious tone. Around the web, two other lovely blog posts have hit home on the subject of what “being Waldorf” looks like- Carrie’s post “Am I Waldorf Enough?” and Sheila’s “What Waldorf Looks Like In My Home”.
For me, the most inspiring aspect of Waldorf education is the importance of the mother/teacher being a vibrant, growing, striving human being- fulfilling a meaningful role (destiny)- and co-creating goodness, beauty and truth into existence on this earth from seed thought to physical reality. As I take in the world around me, and “digest” it into bits and pieces that are manageable for my children, I nourish their mind, soul and spirit in the same way that I would physically nourish my newborn babe at the breast. This is the picture I have of learning at home after studying Steiner- we study the world around us, and each bit of information we bring to our children is filtered through, and dripping with, “Mama Love”and Trust in the Goodness, Beauty, and Truth of our Source.
In order to be this vibrant, growing, striving human being, inner work is paramount. Quite honestly, I have felt like a failure lately, because my own inner work has been weak. I grew up in a Christian home and attended a Christian school. I attended church 2-3 times a week. It was hammered into me over and over that to be a successful Christian, I had to have a regular time of prayer and reading the bible. But, to be perfectly honest, when I read the bible, I struggle. The only way I have been able to come to terms with God as depicted in the majority of the Old Testament and even parts of the New, has been to sort of “live” within the Garden of Eden. I recognize and connect with the God who created a paradise in which to fellowship with us. I recognize that there was a disconnect between the Divine and humanity, and the greater part of the bible is showing us the impact of that disconnect, until the gap could be bridged. So- now that the gap has been bridged, I have a hard time dwelling on anything less than that Garden of Eden state. We were made for, meant for, and spawned of perfection, goodness, beauty, truth, love… reading about the discord that existed in the middle does nothing to nourish my soul right now. I’ve listened to so many people speak about these words of the bible with a lot of ego inserted, that it has been used as an attempt to: motivate me to get involved in their personal work or cause; convict me of my shortcomings in a harsher way than God Himself would have dealt with me, leaving me “bruised”; convince me to interpret the words I am reading through another person’s perspective and experience, as if they are the authority and speak “gospel truth”; and produce their vision of holiness in my life. Although they may have had good intentions when they took to the pulpit, the result is that there are many times where I simply feel used and abused when I read these words again, and incapable of determining what God Himself is trying to say to me personally amidst the clamor of what these words meant to other people. I grew up feeling guilty and scared of God; I only just started to see Him in a different light after my teen years, but with the business of marriage and 4 children, there hasn’t been much time to reconcile how God was presented to me through my childhood and how He makes Himself known to me one-on-one. It will take some healing before I will be able to read the Bible and come away renewed and encouraged. So, I have floundered a lot with what to do for inner work. After a consult with Melisa Nielsen through her wonderful Thinking, Feeling, Willing program, and some words of encouragement from the other ladies on this journey, I keep coming back to Dr. Wayne Dyer. His ideas really give me the lift I need.
I always want my blog space to be a happy one- a “complaint-free zone” in my life. So I don’t often share personal struggles in depth here. But recently when I reached out to the Thinking, Feeling Willing support group mamas, I was truly surprised by how many other mamas share in my struggle of feeling alone and overwhelmed. So many of our husbands are working two jobs, or working and going to school. Just around the time I had our fourth baby, things got very busy for my husband and he is only home a few nights before the kids go to bed. I know I really need some strong inner work now, to face feelings of overwhelm/resentment, and shift my paradigm.
When I listen for answers, I hear two messages. First of all, this is a loving opportunity for me to become stronger as an individual; to rely on my Source… as my friend Becca shared with me…
“Remember God/Love is the true parent. Trust God to meet all your needs. Your children’s needs too. It doesn’t come from you. You just naturally reflect God’s parenting, Mothering qualities. That shift is so freeing for a Mother. From feeling like we’re ALL to our children, to feeling like God is Mothering you and your kids together. Rest in action, you reflect God! You get all your strength, courage, Love from Divine Love & that is inexhaustible & never ending. Feeling that love is restorative. You are completely cradled in God’s love just as you cradle that little one & all your bigger ones too. Let all your cares melt away and just feel the joy that is always there. Joy doesn’t come & go. It isn’t attached to a person and absent when they are. As a quality of God it can only be eternal, never ending, it’s there always. Just part the mental cloud that obscures it. These aren’t just words. It’s Truth! & as you live it and feel it you’ll notice more proof of God’s care. All those little signs and messages, saying, ‘hey, I’m here for you, I haven’t left you alone.'”
After Becca shared this, my children did the sweetest thing. They spent a few hours outside creating a circus show just for me. I had been wallowing a bit in self pity, but by the end of their show, I truly felt as if they put this together for me as one of God’s “little signs and messages”, as Becca wrote. Here is a picture I took of one of their “acts”- you know, the classic “bunch of clowns pour out of a tiny car”. What little blessings they are to me!
Secondly, I have been meditating on the idea that my work “alongside” my partner is not limited to physical proximity. Being “by his side” in spirit is no less powerful in his life. Feeling “alone” is a mental construct that will only bring me to a negative place. There are seasons of life, and during this current season, I get to experience the more powerful aspect of giving him vital spiritual support. It is only a season; eventually, he will be able to shed some responsibilities. It doesn’t need to be a season of resentment, jealousy, or overwhelm; it can be a time for me to draw closer to Source, spend evenings I would have shared with him reading or knitting or planning; and the baby and beautiful spring weather has been such a joy for the children, I don’t think they are feeling the loss of a family member being present, very strongly right now. Beyond that, I have the opportunity to create new opportunities that don’t currently exist. Who knows what possibilities may allow our family to be together more often, that I am not yet able to see?
I hope this might encourage other mothers who share my circumstances- it seems there are many more of you than I would have imagined!
Another mama suggested creating an inspiration board with pictures and quotes that keep her “calm, inspired, motivated, and focused.” I hope to make mine prettier, but to get started I put some sticky notes on a foam presentation board that I happened to have around. Here are the highlights of the first chapters of Wayne Dyer’s “Your Erroneous Zones: Bold But Simple Techniques For Taking Charge of Your Unhealthy Behaviour Patterns”…
And the two questions to ask myself throughout the day…
Care to share any of your favorite inner work resources? Maybe we can archive them for future reference!