Seeing the world differently can be a challenging way to live. I don’t exist in this world anymore. This makes me weird, and not the fashionable insta-weird but the what-is-your-problem weird, please can you just be like most women your age - kind and invisible - and grow old quietly in cheap elegant clothes and fade from view.
The what-is-your-baggage weird, let’s put you on a couch and blame your daddy weird.
I do ask for it. I question everything. I have long loathed labels. Categorising. Pinning things down. Putting things in boxes. I love to try to see and explore the world as it is, to free the mind. I may have been born that way. A kind of toddler-adventurer, whose arch enemy was the playpen, I was found on a footpath exploring my neighbourhood soon after I could walk. Another time, I found a way to start my parent’s car, but not in reverse gear. Much to the anger of my siblings, I destroyed the swings in our yard.
But of course, one can’t get very far in this world without labelling. Not even to the end of this sentence. It’s not that I reject the way we compartmentalise, or even out loud. It’s more of an occasional questioning, and mostly in my head. And years of unravelling and meditation have meant that my head is not the whacked-out noisy place it might sound, though you might argue with that if you keep reading. But it is different, I think. As far as I can tell.
And predictably, I can get lonely. I do ask for it. I struggle to find my like-minded. A therapist told me if I couldn’t find them, I would be in serious trouble. I thought of sharing with him that I do feel companionship in nature, comfort from leaning against a tree, elevation on a mountain top, a lighter heart swimming in the sea, and I do have close human friends albeit spread around the world, but... I was already causing his sanity richter scale to malfunction.
And I am a walking celebration of contradiction. Nothing here will make an awful lot of sense.
So then, where does that leave you, the reader. Why am I writing this?
Have you ever had a burning calling to put something on paper, an incessant pull in your heart, a clutch around your throat desperate to be released? I think I will be ill if I don’t write this note. Simple as that. My body will get so fed up of me not expressing what I need to say, it will send me to hospital to force it out of me. Even if the string of words I put together interests no one, I need to get it down.
Wow, I feel a bit better already. Before I started word one, I felt like I would be the idea for a short story - The Exploding Woman.
“I don’t exist in this world anymore”. I mean really. This is ridiculous. What could she possibly mean?
Well, it’s kind of like ‘eyes wide open’ meets ‘relentless optimist’ meets ‘we create our reality’. The thing is, I have one foot in the future, what we can be. I see your best you. I see our best us. It’s so very pleasant I am often there or my version of here or a future here.
Let me try to paint some kind of comprehensible picture.
Schools are places we can’t wait to get to, where we explore the world and what it means to be human, what it means to flourish as a part of nature and part of a wider community, what it means to find your voice and passions and a part to play that makes you come alive, and how to develop those talents and dispositions, alongside the flourishing of others.
Where we learn what it means to respect others and what it means to 'do no harm', to your self, to others, to all life and the planet we call home.
What ‘do no harm’ looks like ‘lived’ day to day, and lifelong, in the world outside school.
We learn what it means to look after the amazing body and mind we were born with and to challenge ourselves, and continuously learn. What it means to live a whole life, and the importance of play and laughter and music and friends and family (however we define family), and rest, nutrition, exercise, good sleep, calm, time alone, and connection with nature, alongside purpose and meaning and the zing of productive life.
How we can respond skilfully to pain, fear, hardship, crisis, breakdowns in understanding, and the demands of life. What does it mean to build resilience and how can we develop this in a healthy way.
How can we be open to and respectful of difference in all its manifestations? What does that mean?
What does it mean to genuinely forgive, ourselves and others, to show gratitude and appreciation, to really listen, to be fully present, to tune into our inner wisdom, to be mindful, to plan ahead smartly and manage our time, to be productive and feel the joy of accomplishment and the development of our skills, while remaining alive to the beauty of the present.
What does it mean to be financially responsible? What are good habits we can learn that will serve us through life?
What does it mean to be a teacher, an elder, to be a parent, a grandparent? How important are these roles? How do we show respect and appreciation? Is it meaningful?
What do we mean by life and death? What does it mean to be human? What do we remember of our beloved? How do we honour them? What do we think is a good life? What do we think is a good day?
What can we learn from history and the gifts of past generations, from different cultures, and different ways of seeing and thinking.
What is it to create and be creative?
What does it mean to have an independent mind, and to engage constructively and collaboratively in our communities and citizenry.
What does it mean to love, to love ourselves, to love one another and to love and appreciate the gift of life and all that is alive.
If we all go to a school like this, what kind of world do you think we would live in?
What kind of community? government? society? planet?
Now I can rest. Thank you. Thank you for reading this far. Good wishes to you.