Another beautiful interview, this time with the amazing Shevonne Hunt from Kinderling Radio in Sydney. She’s found her passion and when it comes to her interviews and podcasts, you know Shevonne’s found her Dharma, her path in life, as not only her eyes, but every cell of her body sparkles. Encounters like that make me happy. Thanks Shevonne and everyone else, enjoy the short and sweet 10 minute interview.
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying good-bye so hard!
Winnie the Pooh
Last week I had a moment when I dropped our five&1/2-year-old off at a PlayBall camp organised by lovely friends of ours. That same bench in the park which was loaded with kids’ lunchboxes, balls and drink bottles, something like 8 years ago was where Pablo proposed to me. Had I known back then that little later I’d be standing here with three toddlers back in Sydney after a three-year sailing adventure…
Where has the time gone?
And tomorrow Noah will start big school and I’m feeling rather sad about it. Last minute doubts and reconsidering all the home-schooling pros and cons. Yes, a hard time letting go. When we’ll be back on a boat, no doubt we’ll embrace home/un/free-schooling in the smoothest manner suitable to each family member. But being land-locked for a few years – I’m keen to equally embrace all that schooling has to offer here in Bondi Beach.
Besides a few hick-ups, I have great memories of school myself and that is despite (or because) of changing school and country many times. Have the ‘hick-ups’ screwed me up? Probably a little, but not less than what the great memories, experiences and friendships have allowed me to become the person I am today.
Where I’m at right now?
Living in Sydney, it feels to me home-schooling my boy who’s 150% ready and keen to throw himself into our local community’s amazing, sustainable and creative school environment would be egoistic more than anything else. When we’ll be travelling again and the world and its oceans will be our home and classroom, it will be a different cup of tea – an extremely stimulating environment more prone to something less structured. And yet, a little bit of structure no matter where and how – although labelled as the ‘baddy’ or ‘creativity-killer’ in most home-school circles – I have found provides children with safety, and through that more smiles, less tantrums, a higher self-esteem and ultimately even more space to explore their creativity in different ways.
As a last word it seems to me that there is no one solution to fit all. Every child is so different. And like in Yoga and Ayurveda, the paramount to optimal well-being on all levels, and there within the optimal space to learn and grow, is taking the individual into account and finding the most suitable approach at the time.
Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is not a preparation for life. Education is life.
First time in exactly three years of blogging that I haven’t posted a thing for a month. First time in three years that I am ten moons pregnant again around this time of the year. With another baby pretty much ripe in my womb, Swadishtana – our creativity chakra – is ringing and vibrating again at its fullest. But this time all that creativity is harder to channel. Where do you put it when you’ve just come back from living your biggest dream?
Luckily the last two weeks we have been blessed here in Sydney’s iconic Bondi beach with the presence of the Dalai Lama’s Gyuto monks from Tibet. Each day’s incredible (and FREE!) program started with kids meditation followed by arts and crafts. My boys loved it so much the first day that we went every single day which followed, found heaps of peace and healing listening to their teachings and chantings, simple inner contentment as we spent hours with the monks in the park playing and chatting, observed the growth of the stunning sand-mandala – and the complete detached and equanimous desolution ceremony of the same once the event was over. This has been resonating so much so with me that nothing really seems to matter anymore – whether we make it to the birth centre or not in time for the birth; weather one of our friends will make it in time to look after the boys; whether we are having a boy or girl; whether the next adventure is here or there; whether we’ve got a boat at the moment or not; whether some friendships are real or not…
Somehow the sand-mandala made visual to my eyes, what only the inner eye could comprehend before. Everything is impermanent, including the most beautiful and the most challenging piece of art or living-aboard adventure with your kids. Everything in life is a phase, so why get too caught up in it? With the kids still asking every single day when we go back home to our boat, Happy Dancer, it is obvious that sooner or later there will be a Happy Dancer II with us on board crossing the Pacific Islands. I tell them when all three cannot only swim, but snorkel like little champions, the time will be ripe. Until then, it’s easy life in Sydney, or maybe a stint in Asia, but for now, it doesn’t matter much as I’m sinking deeper and deeper into the forceful presence of an impeding labour-land meditation.
Lastly let me share the latest Orion message with you which strongly resonated with me, especially in the last month. It also would be a great standard answers to all the lovely emails I get from you, dear blog readers, with 1001 different reason of why you think you can’t live YOUR dream the way we did ours…. In summary; sometimes digging in the dark does not make things better, but simply letting in the light does.
“Take inventory—not of the room full of debris—but of the place in your life where you store your hopes, dreams, visions and intuitive flashes! Then, arm those delightful thoughts and feelings with intention, surround them with Light and let them manifest into reality already! Stop holding yourself back! Be free.
Do not even look into the drawer of fear. Simply take the entire contents and burn them symbolically. Then, do not return to that room. Open all the windows, allow sunlight to pierce through the darkness, strip away the maudlin curtains and breathe life into that part of your inner self where you allowed darkness to creep in.
Henceforth, do not permit the dark energy of negative thinking into your mind. Keep the windows wide open, the sunlight flooding through. One does not have to shut one’s doors to keep out darkness. One simply has to fill every crevice with Light, and darkness will automatically be repelled. This, do. This, do daily. OM.”
Notice since the beginning of year I have changed the Sailing (via the Travelling) to the Sydney Yoga Family. On Facebook we have stayed the Travelling Yoga Family and on Twitter the original Sailing Yoga Family. What remains the same is the Yoga and the Family, my base pillars – and I guess, the undeniable fact that we are nomads who love and live the sea and the mountains, blue and green in all its shape and everything life has to offer – from the depth of our souls, past the doubts of our minds, to the highs of our hearts.
Here’s another recently published interview with us – the last which was done on Happy Dancer just before this third pregnancy threw all our cruising plans upside down and led us back home to Sydney (for now…). Thanks Hannah for another great piece and all the efforts you put into it – elephant journal or not, lol.
Little sailors missing their home…
Consistency is the playground of a dull mind.
Oxford Professor Y.N. Harari on the evolution of humans in his fantastic book, Sapiens – a brief history on humankind
Strangely silent and unusually solo I arrive at Barcelona airport with the neon orange rising sun. I spent my few spare minutes between check in and boarding observing the airport crowds in the wee morning hours – especially the women as I haven’t detached from my mother role, but started missing my boys already.
Even in the anonymity of the setting, it seems quite clear to me who is a mother and who is not (this goes beyond the grey line between the ones having the time to spend an hour in the bathroom each morning getting themselves ready, and those who don’t… like my sleepy looking self). There’s people with the typical busy city looks on their face, phone on their ear and laptop in their hands and there’s a few freshly in-love couples in holiday mood. But there’s barely anyone who retained that sparkle often only found in children’s eyes. That innocent smile, the open joy, the uncovered expression of life supreme and creative free flow in every movement. On my flight to Teneife I get the seat next to the only child on the plane.
After take-off, the mother serves her little boy breakfast: A packet of crisps, a packet of salamis and a packet of chocolate sweets, together with a sugary mix of chemicals outrageously labelled orange juice. She complains to me about how little time she can spend with her son in the busy life which she seems to be forced to lead. I feel even more immense gratitude than usual for being able to spend all the time in the world with my kids, discovering Mother Earth in all her facets with them. Being allowed to become a child again through them. In fact, although this morning travelling for once without them has been easier and more relaxed in many ways, it also felt emptier. Walking up the stairs to board the plane or accelerating for take-off on the runway did not even have half of the usual magic which I often observe contagiously in their eyes.
My plane-mate refuses to eat the load full of life-less food placed in front of him and I wonder why the mother refuses to eat it herself, whilst not accepting his ‘I don’t want anymore, Mummy.’ Why don’t we build a society which allows us to nourish our loved ones (including ourselves!) with wholesome food, time to breathe deeply, space to express our love and creativity, the ability to do what we really dream off, respect for the planet and the trust and confidence to truly connect with ourselves and one another? Instead, the older we get, the more we rush through the rat race and lose our inherent tendency to embrace life and truly live. Instead we are trained to just blindly do, accept and endure – never just be.
The mother continues to tell me proudly how her son already started kindergarten at six months, how he was completely potty trained by age two, how he can write and count up to fifty now aged four etc. I think of my children and how they spent the first years of their lives – our past few years of nomadic adventurous family living – digging sand castles, splashing from beach to beach, fishing tuna, chasing butterflies, observing sea urchins and octopus, singing with dolphins, painting and arts-&crafting almost every waking hour of the day and discovering abandoned ruins and castles playing a mix of Columbus and Darwin – honouring their inner explorer, artist and priest.
Our four year old, too, can write most letters and count in 2.5 languages. But he seems to have learnt this through play, not through school. I observe my little plane-mate stuck to a screen, wondering if there’s not enough time in adult life for that – for ruining your eyes on a screen, for destroying your creativity through video games, for living in a reality far removed from Mother Earth, for performance pressure and a rushed life in general. I wonder how we will fare going back home to Sydney and sincerely hope that we can keep educating responsible, conscious and trustworthy global citizens at home – if not only in the space of our own home, now in a place which feels home to us. They were born with three nationalities and are being brought up in two languages. But I hope it is not only their passports which make them global citizens to be proud of, but also an approach to life in line with the environment, people and spirituality around them.
At the retreat centre I have a long chat with Dennis, the heart and founder of Hacienda Cristoforo – a holistic retreat centre in the Canary Islands. He’s approaching ninety and has that aura around him which only people in tune with every depth of life can have: Environmentally conscious architect, spiritual seeker, relentlessly creative father and probably 101 more facets are to this old and wise man. The retreat he has created here in Tenerife hosts houses built with natural materials into the surrounding nature. Rocks, trees and lagoons blend in seamlessly with natural, cosy and inviting living spaces. We talk a lot about Rudolf Steiner – given the little Waldorf School on the grounds. Dennis explains what I couldn’t put into words on the plane: Once we move from mainly intuition-lead to a mainly intellect-lead life, our organs start to harden up and therewith our creativity – our connection with the Divine – to suffer. If this happens to a child before he hits the age of seven (an important number in people’s life according to Steiner’s philosophy), s/he cannot develop a solid base of learning through creativity. Instead he becomes indoctrinated which later on in life can lead to all sorts of issues observed in today’s society – first and foremost starting with IBS, constipation and related tummy issues symbolizing a stiff core and suffering inner sun. So who wouldn’t want to create not only a more global and conscious, but at the same time healthier future?