Our days are full of adventure, fun projects, creative exploration, and time in nature. No reason to complain – only to celebrate. But, my own nervous system has four decades of The Forty-Hour Week training – a completely linear, controlled, externally time-managed reality where even my bladder has to answer to someone or something for permission to follow its instincts.
So, fridays often find me pacing around the kitchen waiting for my tea to warm up, plagued with the feeling of not-enoughness. The to-do list in my mind is longer than my life and I’m only now learning to burn the list whenever necessary. It’s like a weed in my monkey-mind and grows back again. Meanwhile, Kiya – undisturbed by my turbulent inner moment – is usually busy building something like her play-dough-based production set for an upcoming kids’ youtube how-to video – shooting set for some unknown time in the near future. Kiya’s goals and dreams matter deeply to her, but she isn’t burdened by the need to meet an artificial timeline. She intuitively trusts the process of her life.
Our homeschool journey can be medicine for my anxious tendencies with its gentle, forgiving pace and open-hearted inquiry into life. And… it’s usually a crazy rafting trip through the wilderness of our family’s imagination – ever-changing without collective consent!
We will be cruising along for awhile in a wonderful flow, everyone happy, getting along, ‘learning’, ‘growing’, doing our own thing together. Then some big boulder – sore throats, growing pains, bad news, staying up too late watching movies, running out of the only-good-cereal-ever made, or just not getting to do what we want right now – knocks us into the rapids. Oars fly out, bags in the water, kids screaming, parents ranting. It’s a mess.
By the time I’ve collected myself and all of our oh-so-important-gear (whatever that is), the rest of our tribe is already wandering off into the woods following the call of an owl or the smell of lavender. I’m a mess. What about our ‘plan’? Our agenda? What if someone sees us ‘off-track’? Usually I’m near tears before I catch up to Rob & the kids. What are they doing now?!
And, as usual, they’re fine. Everyone is fine. And happy. There they are – crouched together in the forest, discussing the evolution of moss, photosynthesis, the importance of loving even the mean, ugly creatures, or something little like the healing power of light as it dances off a nearby branch.
On a good day, I feel Success Is Upon Us!! It’s really happening, learning is everywhere all the time. I don’t have to worry! I can trust the process of life! If anxiety wins, this Momma won’t calm down until we’re back in ‘the boat’ heading safely and predictably down the ‘education’ river again. Whatever that means. Either way, by the time the kids are asleep and I’m sinking into my pillow, the truth of my lucky life finds me again. I can’t stop the learning. I can’t really control its direction or what passion might dictate in the hearts of my children. I can only suit up everyday and be willing to get in the boat. Try to remember my camera, notepad, some snacks for when we get hungry, enjoy the water… and get ready to swim.