Fear and I have been really good mates, the fearful lady has lived rent free in my head for a long time, in fact the fearful lady over the years has entertained my inner gremlins and had a party in my head almost way back since I can remember. I am not sure when she first joined me, maybe I was a teenager, or maybe it was the day my parents’ marriage fell apart when I was a kid. Or maybe not, it could have been school…who knows, or even cares all I know is that the fearful lady and her entourage of gremlins and I have been firm friends, I know her and her crew well.
A friend of mine who I met a few years ago was one of those bright shining people, my 50 year old friend shone. She bounced when she walked and if she was a flower she would have been a daffodil. We lived in a community set up, a big house with shared meal times and cooking etc she lived there too and seemed strong and fearless. When there was maintenance to be done on the huge 18th century house, she would do it. When music was playing she danced, where ever.
This shining one had a story, we all do but she carried her story like a fire within her, sometimes she was enveloped by it sometimes it seemed to be what drove her forward to embrace life. She was ill and she had bravely lived her life knowing that each year was a gift, years passed by but her illness came back to get her. It twisted her in its grip and did all the things that this illness does and it left her on the front line of an inner war that was marching through her body. A war that she knew she couldn’t fight and one that she grew to accept painfully but gracefully. One day in my small dark kitchen in Devon I asked a few questions. I asked her ‘What have you learned about life?’ and she told me these four things…
Be Fearless There was nothing to be scared of and that she had learned that she was here to live fearlessly, if music is playing and you want to dance, dance!
Fall in love with yourself She had only then in that time of her life realized how lovely she was and she had fallen back in love with herself she looked at me and said ‘I am really lovely, I wish I had known that all my life’
Life is so very beautiful this rang out to me like a clear note that life is so very beautiful and that each day is a gift. She talked of the trees and of how the light shines through them and she turned to me and said ‘it is so beautiful out there.’
It is a privilege to get old She told me that she had realised what a beautiful privilege it would have been to get old.
She told me the stuff we hear all the time, it is staring at us in every moment and having her in my kitchen shifted something for me. Through her wise and simple words I saw things in a different way. As I look at my crow’s feet doing their thing on my face I see that they are a gift, as each grey hair fights its way out of my head that it is a gift, as I have my time with my kids I can choose to step in to having a lot of fun with them, this time is an unbelievable gift. And yes when that song comes on in the supermarket, I dance to it, if I like it and so does my husband, you can sometimes find us in the aisle by the gluten free pasta dancing. I have also realized I am actually very lovely and that fearful lady does not need to consume my head and spoil my fun and dominate my life. Nor do the night time gremlins need to dance at the end of my bed reminding me of all my failings at three in the morning. Because really this time on this planet is a very precious, beautiful shining gift and we are all at choice as to how we show up.
My biggest hope within in all of this unschooling journey is if I can just pass a seed of fearlessness on to my children, if I can help to gently wrap bravery, courage and joy like a blanket around their precious souls then maybe I would have done a good job.
A version of this piece is in an American magazine called Bella Mia
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