Immersion over obsession- Autonomous education.

Recently I’ve found myself preoccupied with little niggles about the amount of Terraria the boys have been playing. Where do these niggles come from after more than 6 years of autonomous home education? The same place every other parents niggles come from. And also.

There might be guilt in there from being so ill the past 3 weeks and feeling like I’m not being present enough.

There might be feelings of lack from seeing so much home learning stuff online currently, that ties to curriculum learning. Which breeds comparison.

It might also be all the conversations online I keep seeing on how much screen time is healthy/unhealthy for kids. This is a long term argument thats been debated for years now with as many arguments for, as there are against.

And also, maybe its a little of all of these things.

Heres the thing

When an adult finds something new that they are really interested in, we don’t bat an eyelid. When a child does it? Words like obsessed and addicted get thrown around instead.

These were some of the first words I had to learn about and unpick when it came to autonomous education and the really simple switch to the word immersed that completely re wired my thinking and approach.

When I recognise that my boys are currently immersed in Terraria I notice that it must be engaging, fun and interesting.

It must be providing a solution to a need that has come up otherwise they wouldn’t be so immersed in it, but as an academically minded person I also feel a strong need to understand more deeply, what this game is firing in my boys minds too.

The easy route when we as parents have niggles about something our child is doing is to restrict it. And we can find every reason under the sun why that restriction is best for them.

But in my own work in psychology and especially in the psychology of eating I know that when we restrict something, the brain cannot stop thinking about that thing and how to get the thing.

Restriction doesn’t work. You can definitely train yourself to go without but the mental and emotional stuff that causes, often outweighs whatever goal you had in mind. What does work? Is adding options.

In my experience the same goes for children. It feels counter intuitive but a child that has always had access to foods of all types at all times, without any food group being classed as a treat, naughty, good or bad- generally regulates their own intake beautifully.

This kind of self regulation is generally a lot harder to achieve for a child that has had food restricted and then been given unrestricted access.

And the same goes for stuff like gaming. When a child has always had access to gaming in an unrestricted way, they self regulate really well. They pick up gaming and drop it. They immerse in a game and then drop it when they’ve got what they wanted out of it. (Whatever that may be)

You see, they trust its not going anywhere so their brain doesn’t see it as something that needs to be thought about and fought for at all times.

But every single time that a parent reverts back to restrictions because of self doubt, worry, niggles- that trust disappears.

Many people reading this might be thinking that I clearly don’t know their child then because if they had unrestricted access to gaming (or food) they would NEVER come away from it. They’d make poor choices. They are too obsessive to be allowed to regulate this for themselves. They have SEN etc etc.

I have 4 children. Ranging in age from 7 up to 18. 3 of my 4 children have complex additional needs. We have autism, communication disorders, dypraxia, developmental disorders, medical needs and mental health stuff too.

And no, I dont know your children but I do know mine and I know many other autonomous and unschooling families too.

What I do know is that when I have niggles its my job to investigate those niggles and get under the surface of them. Why am I worried about how much Terraria they are playing? What am I really worried about?

Because even after more than 6 years of unpicking what learning and education means to me, I still find myself occasionally worrying that they arent learning anything.

When I realised this was my worry I didn’t restrict their access to the game and start downloading curriculums. (Been there in the early years many times!)

Instead I began researching the educational value of sandbox games like Terraria and Minecraft. I read forum threads on what people gain from playing these games. I chatted to my kids about what they have been doing in the game and what fun stuff they’ve discovered.

And I added options.

‘Do you guys fancy doing this?’

‘Shall we do some painting?’

‘This new documentary on reptiles is out, shall we watch it?’

‘I’m going to do xyz do you fancy joining me?’

‘Your Kiwi box arrived, shall we do it?’

And sometimes they say yes. Sometimes what they are gaining from the game is more important than the thing I’m offering and that’s okay too.

Because I’ve calmed my own niggles by doing the work on what I was worried about. I know they are learning. I’m back in a space of recognising that learning happens naturally in all moments.

And that stuff is my job. As crazy as it sounds its my job to partner them in having the best learning experiences they can and they do that best, when I get out of the way and let that happen.

I was taught children couldn’t be trusted to learn for themselves. I was taught they couldn’t be trusted to make choices for themselves. I was taught not to guide and partner but to instruct.

And that stuff? Will continue being unpicked because I need my kids to trust themselves first, which is something we all deserve.

Off now to go look at my sons gorgeous painting he’s been doing after his tablet ran out of battery. And to smile at the memory of us giggling together this morning reading ‘The owl and the pussycat’.

Maybe we aren’t doing so bad after all.

Massive love,

Nici

2021 the year of communication

For me, numbers and numerology are huge in everything I do. Its not an area of my work I speak of much, but I was guided to do so last year and I’ve been guided to do so again today. Numbers and music are the languages of the universe after all! Be warned, it’s a long one!

2020 the year of the heart space

My take on 2020 was a beauty and I believe firmly that we experienced exactly what I felt the numbers were telling me.

2020 was all about relationships, friendships, collaborations, grace, charity, giving and loving. About joy and compassion. These qualities most deeply show up and have opportunity to grow with adversity. At least that has how it has best worked for the past few thousand years anyway!

2020 was about realising your deepest most authentic truth and trusting you have created a circle around you that will support, push and encourage that.

It was also about healing. Healing those connections, healing that self trust and walking forward, letting go of everything that holds you back with grace and understanding.

It was a year all about getting to the heart of what matters to you and LIVING that.

Hello 2021!

And so, we have entered into a new energy as we’ve moved into 2021. This energy is that of the throat space (my numerology work sits within the space of 9 key chakras working up from root to seat of the soul and does not currently include the further chakra system as this has not been fully integrated into consciousness)

Where 2020 asked us to look for the helpers and to become them, 2021 asks us to look to self for our knowing and to reconnect to that which we know to be true.

2021 is all about communication that strengthens the bonds built in 2020.

Its a year of immersing into the emotive, intuitive self, reconnecting to the gut feelings, the instinct, the intuition and the wisdom you hold within you and recognising the ways in which these knowings show up in your life.

We do this best when in presence and communion with ourselves, and others.

Do you best find your way through emotional reactions? Through a strong physical reaction? Through speaking out loud and allowing yourself to hear your words? Through the sounds you make in reaction to what is heard or seen? These are all the ways of the throat space, assisting in leading you on paths that are right for you and yours.

No path is wrong, however some will bring growth and experience through suffering and others through joy and grace. You can choose either as we now sit in a world where growth through adversity or joy are equally possible. When we listen to our inner world we can navigate our paths however we wish.

Your personal year of 2021

My take on areas you will personally have in focus this year, is based on your age. I dont work with standard numerology, I work with my own design.

You see, the overarching energy of the year will of course centre around the numerology of that year, 2021 simplified to a single number being a 5, but within that, your age will also give you personal energies that you are working with.

➡️ This is where your age comes in.

Whatever your age right now, simplify it down into a single number. (No special 11, 22, 33 here)

For example my age is 38. So 3+8= 11. 1+1= 2

Once you have your single digit see below for your personal energy that may provide a focus this year.

1️⃣ Root space energy
The space of stability, security, grounding and fears.

As a 1, there will be opportunities to focus on easing fears that have been experienced. You will be given opportunities to trust and connect back to yourself, enabling you to fully embrace the intuition you have available to you in 2021.

2️⃣ Sacral space energy
The space of creativity, sexuality, pleasure.

As a 2, there will be opportunities to step into your powerful creative self. You will be given opportunities to step into intimacy and vulnerability to enable you to fully embrace relationships in new ways in 2021.

3️⃣ Solar Plexus space energy
The space of personal power, confidence and worth.

As a 3, there will be opportunities to sit in self trust and self love. Solar plexus is the partner of the throat and so you will be working on putting your beautiful abilities into practice!

4️⃣ Heart space energy
The space of love, connection, joy, compassion

As a 4, there will be opportunities for forgiveness and stepping into a solid grounding of gratitude and joy. These opportunities may feel hard or easy to walk depending on the paths your choose.

5️⃣ Throat space energy
The space of emotion, communication and expression

As a 5, there will be opportunities to be heard and seen for who you are. What you have to share is important and you will habe the opportunity to step into a connective space of sharing yourself with others and allowing your vulnerability to shine into others lives, gaining deep and true connections.

6️⃣ Third eye space energy
The space of intuition, manifestation and perception

As a 6, there will be opportunities to face your own perceptions and to trust in your intuition. You will be given opportunities to step into full trust of what your sixth sense is telling you. We all have these senses, it’s time to step into trusting yours!

7️⃣ Crown space energy
The space of unity, wisdom, the soul

As a 7, there will be opportunities to face your own wisdom and integrate that knowing into what you express. You will experience opportunities to solidify this new expression of self into your being. In doing so, you will ultimately find yourself able to understand and trust more deeply in your connections and to remember what you are hear to do.

8️⃣ Soul star space energy
The space outside of self, into being

As an 8, there will be opportunities to face your powerful infinitely amazing self. You may experience opportunities to connect into past lives to gain deeper understanding of your reason for being here and expressing this with confidence and trust.

9️⃣ Seat of soul space energy
The space of total unison with the universe/God

As a 9, there will be opportunities to step into your knowledge of reality, what is true for you and what is not and trust that you are on the right path for you. You will be provided opportunities to connect with your soul family, and to walk your journey with knowledge, faith and wisdom that comes from complete and total connection to that which is bigger than yourself.

Its gonna be an amazing year of communication and community my friends!

Use your age energy to lead you into 2021 with knowledge and wisdom to adjust those sails for your best journey!

Massive love

Nici

Yuletide- Perseverance & Celebration

I pride myself on my solid grounded approach to get done that which I’ve decided to get done, but I also have an ability to see when it’s time to let go too.

The real kicker is how often my perseverance can become stubborn and override my common sense or grounded perspective…me? Stubborn? Never!

This year has definitely been a year of perseverance, but also a big year of scraping everything back, taking an honest look at stuff and getting back to the basics.

Sticking to plans regardless of whether they are working out or not is a hard one for me. I have an inner shadow that cannot abide failure and its genuinely really painful when I hold on to things for too long in the hope that if I just try hard enough, it’ll all come good.

And it doesn’t matter how much self development you’ve done, or healing- we all have certain things we struggle with. The beauty in the work is being able to see them sooner and reduce the suffering you are causing yourself.

Perseverance is only as helpful and good as the intention behind it and if the intent comes from fear based processes you are likely to struggle more. (which is totally normal btw!)

For example as I’ve mentioned before, I knew in my heart that I was struggling to continue my business before covid, but the idea of announcing I was closing was what prevented me from doing it sooner and so I persevered. And not in the good way.

It was knowing so many people would have opinions and thoughts on it. Knowing some would be quietly pleased with what they perceived as my failure. Worse, knowing some would feel sorry for me…of course in truth I dont necessarily give a fuck what those people think- they’re not my people. But we feel it deeply all the same.

I feel a little deflated thinking of how I expected to be journaling these last 2 days. I imagine I would have been talking about how the year has been tough, but I was tougher. How my business has survived with my perseverance and strength, what a celebration it is to still be here given what 2020 has thrown at us!

But as I sit here writing this at 11.40pm on new years eve, in the midst of my second Covid-19 infection of 2020 I instead am celebrating a different kind of perseverance.

The ability to get done what needs to be done.

The ability to accept, surrender and embrace to needs to be.

The ability to recognise and take action towards what is best for me and mine.

And the sheer balls to stick 2 fingers up to those who would be glad to see me down and instead celebrate all I have achieved, all those I have helped and all those I continue to help by simply being me.

The need to push on through regardless has been healed this year and replaced with a beautiful trust in myself to choose what’s right for me and an inner wisdom to know when to go, when to stop and when to sit the fuck down and enjoy the ride.

And so, in a year where many would think it weird that I be so self celebratory, I say cheers to me for putting down that which needed putting down before it destroyed more than a fractured ankle.

May your troubles be less,

Your blessing be more,

And nothing but happiness,

Come through your door.

All my love and blessings for the year ahead

Nici

Yuletide- Self Reliance

When I first began this practice a few years ago, I had a very different opinion on self reliance than I do now and looking back over my journals from previous years, its been beautiful to see my views and thoughts grow and change.

You see, I used to see self reliance as a thing to aspire to above all other things. A strong independent woman who needs no one else to get the things done. After all, when you rely on others for anything it just all goes to shit anyway right?

When I met my husband 10 years ago I had a fierce independence that I was misguidedly proud of. It was born from hurt and pain of past relationships and abandonment issues. It was independence created from trauma and fear, a survival mechanism to cope.

And it was within the love, care and authentic truth he showed me, that I came to understand the harm I was causing myself. How I was pushing away support and help in favour of struggling alone.

Self reliance is not about independence, but inter-dependence.

Its about the ability to meet your own needs and most importantly, to trust your own intuition and judgement. But in order to meet your own needs, you need to be able to accept that not everything is your strength.

True self reliance is recognition of our inherent tribal and symbiotic relationship with each other. Its recognition of our strengths and the strengths of others, and how when we are able to trust ourselves, we will make the right choices in how to get our needs met in a way that is healthful.

My husband is amazing at coming up with wonderful ideas, I am amazing at organising and making those wonderful ideas happen.

I’m great at folding clothes, its a genuine talent! He’s great at getting all the washing through the machine and dried.

I’m amazing at patiently working with the kids day in, day out, managing their needs, their difficult moments and helping them to regulate. He is amazing at getting everyone bedded down and settling to sleep.

I’m great at knowing what I need to be well, he is great at helping to carve out time in my day to make those things happen.

I rely on my own powers and abilities and I welcome the powers and abilities of those I’ve chosen to have in my life, to compliment them. Because that is truly how to get the shit done without causing damage to yourself.

I know that I am my own person, able to get all the things done. I trust and have evidence in my ability to do so, and if I had to, I’d be more than capable. But where is the fun in that? Where is the beautiful connection and collaboration?

And so, while I am proud of my ability to be self sufficient and self reliant, I am more proud of my journey to heal how those things were dangerously out of balance and actually coming from a trauma space. I am proud of my recognition in how in balance, self reliance is the act of using all things available to you, to provide yourself with what you need- and that when we are interdependent, our self reliance is not lost, but inhanced and complimented.

I welcome more of that as I move into the new year. More trust in self and more trust in relying on my ability to choose the right people to have around me to enhance the beautiful connection we all have and need.

Is your need to be independent and self sufficient in balance? Or is it born from fear of trusting yourself and the people you have around you?

Massive love

Nici

Yuletide- Attentiveness

Life is what is happening the whole time, whether your attention is in the moment or elsewhere.

And as we step into our final few days of 2020 I’ve been taking a moment to look back over the last calendar year.

Often I see posts asking people to share their best bits of the year but I say, if you can choose one ‘best bit’ you weren’t really paying attention.

And for those saying 2020 has been the worst, I too say you haven’t been paying attention but its all about our subjective experiences of course too.

There have been awful inconceivable struggles experienced. Injustices and pain. Loss and grief and illness and disaster. And although we may be experiencing these things through a new mode of delivery, via a virus, we have all experienced these things in years gone by and for many, this year has been more of the same pain and injustice experienced daily.

We’ve had a challenging year as have most and I’ve been reflecting on the moments I’ve experienced, enjoyed, found challenging, the stuff I have endured and navigated through. Because honestly, when you pay attention, life is actually pretty special.

Regardless of what the date is, the struggles being faced, the unknowns to come- the clock continues to tick and wind its way. Because life is a continuation, of each day melting into the next and when we are on autopilot or fight and flight, we often miss the important stuff.

If this year has taught me anything, its an even deeper understanding of what the important stuff is. Its not the new suit or the house or the car or the sky TV. Not the latest phone upgrade or designer handbag.

Its the passion that sets our eyes alight. The Joy that fills our soul. Its the moments of connection, of sharing or supporting and 2020 has had that in buckets (when you pay attention)

Ive noticed that although contentment does not live in the material world, I’ve learnt that the material world is important.

For example dealing with sudden redundancy, having to close a business, low stocks in the shops, medication stock issues, injury, illness, job searching. The material world is important.

A smaller issue was our car went to the scrap heap in the sky this year and it wasn’t too big a deal to be honest. 2020 hasn’t been a year of long road trips after all, but trying to ensure we were able to get shopping and attend appointments if needed, for the 3 months without the car was interesting for sure!

Being able to be in a position to get a newer car for the first time, not having to worry about it breaking down or going wrong has definitely helped me feel more positive and less worried. Which in turn has enabled me to be more attentive and present in my days.

Even in the hardest of times, us humans have a beautiful resilience in finding that which brings a smile to our face and which causes a laugh to escape our lips.

And that is where true contentment lies. Not within things, but within presence. Within you and within that which makes you feel alive, happy, proud and strong.

So if there hasn’t been enough contentment in your life this year, maybe more presence is what is needed this coming year. More paying attention to what you want to see in the world and in your life.

More noticing of what you do have, even on the hardest of days. And this doesn’t mean a false positivity but a gentle grace of turning your attention inwards to what is in front of you and within you.

Because although I cannot know what 2021 will hold in terms of the pandemic, economics or livelihoods, I do know it will continue to hold the best of things and those things can only be found in the quiet, attentive, presence you place upon your experience.

Pay attention my friends, 2020 hasn’t been half as horrendous as you think and if you still believe it has, I’ll say it again- you haven’t been paying attention.

As a famous man once said, always look for the helpers. 2020 has been full of them from the most unlikely of places- you just need to pay attention.

Blessings and love

Nici

Yuletide- Loyalty, Hospitality & Discipline

Merry Christmas my friends! We are officially in ‘what day is it’ territory and I am currently sat in my kitchen writing this while baking vegan camembert.

The past 3 yule virtues have been floating around my space over the last few days and showing up in many of my reflections and actions.

Loyalty.

When we think of this so often we immediately think of others or our actions towards others but this year for me, loyalty settled firmly at my own feet. I was called to question whether I was being loyal to myself. This led to me outing myself across my social media yesterday relating to how I am no longer vegan.

My choice to add 2 things back into my diet over the past year (which means I no longer label myself as vegan) has nothing to do with my dietary needs or morals but it has everything to do with being loyal to myself.

You see, for me loyalty is about respect and supporting the best interests of a person. Its about being true to that person and being honest even when it feels yuck.

Remaining loyal to a lifestyle label that was causing damage to my emotional and mental wellbeing was detrimental and I believe that we can all make a difference to the world when we are doing what we can, rather than doing everything to fit a box instead.

The same applies to so many other areas of life too. How often have you agreed to go through with stuff in the name or feeling of loyalty when it meant being disloyal to you?

To me, that isn’t loyalty that is martyrdom and I refuse to martyr myself.

Hospitality

This year has possibly given us the least opportunity to welcome people into our homes and share what we have, and yet I see that hospitality has actually been a key feature in my life all year!

Its felt even more important to ensure others know we care. I’ve spent this year going out of my way to say hello to people, to smile when not wearing a mask, to speak kindly and be friendly to strangers, to push through the mask and distance to connect with others in those original ways of connection we fall back on without touch.

I’ve spent more time looking up away from my phone or screen when not on a call.

I’ve spent more time calling friends and family on the phone as well as video calls and providing a weekly kitchen disco via zoom at the beginning of lockdown. I’ve welcomed people into my own experience as honestly as I can throughout this year, which was as much for me as for them.

Zoom kitchen dance parties!

I’ve shared what I have, both physically as well as my skills and expertise and I know its kept many people sane and feeling less alone, especially me!

And this leads me to todays virtue- discipline.

Discipline

2020 has been a huge learning curve for so many of us and for me, I learnt the hard way that my need to remain loyal and hospitable to those who look to me for support can break me and did, literally. I broke my ankle!

Realising the boundaries that you pride yourself in, have actually prevented you from seeing your own stuff happening, feels horrendous. Being loyal to the idea that as long as you do xyz you’ll be fine. Being loyal to the idea that you cant let others down.

Guess what? You can. And sometimes letting others down is the most loyal thing you can do for yourself and them! And although it feels like the end of the world at the time, you will be fine and so will everyone else.

A year ago, I decided to give up alcohol. It took and continues to take, a huge amount of discipline to maintain my sober status. I had used alcohol as an emotional crutch my entire life and it was time to say goodbye to it. 2020 was potentially not the ideal year to do that, looking back! But actually it was perfect because without alcohol I’ve been able to manage anxiety, low mood and emotional pain so much better than before.

2020 without alcohol has allowed me to take real honest assessment of areas of my life without the softened lenses that alcohol brings and its enabled me to make decisions I probably wouldn’t have made for another few years. I would likely still be pushing forward in misplaced loyalty to an idea of my business if I hadn’t experienced 2020 without alcohol.

And its taken discipline not to jump into other ventures since closing my business. That is something we humans tend to do isn’t it- lose something and fill the hole with something else, to distract us from the loss. I’ve had to choose not to do this and to recognise when I’m stepping towards those behaviours too.

And as I move into 2021, discipline takes on a new role in my social media usage and phone usage too. With us using mobile devices more than ever because of Covid-19, I have removed social media apps off my phone completely (except for Instagram as I haven’t yet worked out how to post on there without the phone app) so that I can consciously choose to use them when they are of benefit to me.

The friction of needing to go to my laptop to join that world, is a good one for me because this is a big one! As I surrender to the knowledge that I am totally addicted to checking my phone, to scrolling as a past time, to filling my quiet moments with social media, of being entertained constantly. And I am aware that my phone usage increased as my alcohol consumption disappeared.

When we lose something we seek to fill the hole right?

But we get to choose what to fill it with. I’d like to fill it with loyalty to myself and my needs, hospitality to my loved ones by giving them all of myself when I am with them, and with the discipline needed to make my days more intentional and true for what I need.

Filling my days with actions that I can recall doing instead of hours I can’t account for because of Facebook and YouTube rabbit holes.

I received new books and watercolour pens and pencils for Christmas. These deserve my attention and passion more than Facebook does. 😉

Heres to filling our days with love. With loyalty. With hospitality and with the discipline to keep these as priorities when we slip. (Which we will!)

Massive love

Nici

Yuletide- Honour

For the past several years its been an honour to serve the community with my work, my heart and my soul. To see the changes that have happened in peoples lives has been a genuine privilege and my word this year has been just as important, if not more so!

But there is something else that I’ve been unknowingly teaching that I didnt realise had such a profound impact.

It wasn’t the workshops, live classes, daily prompts or worksheets.

It was the simple act of taking you all along on my own journey. Allowing you to see all the ups and downs, the pain and joy.

It was in being me and sharing that. Honouring myself in every process, whether that was difficult to watch or not. Sharing the humanness of it all.

That, I hadn’t realised is what we actually hold in the highest regard. Someone’s ability to authentically communicate the journey itself, rather than focusing on the destination.

Because its in honouring the arduous journey that we allow others to accept themselves, to know they arent alone, to appreciate their ups and downs and to know they will rise up again from the ashes.

When I had to choose to close Dare To Be, I could have simply said the economics of Covid-19 was too much for my business to bear and that would have been okay, everyone would have understood.

But it wouldn’t have been true and because I honour my journey so deeply it felt only right to share all the reasons that it was right for me, just as I did when I took a break from the business at the beginning of lockdown. Just as I did when I shared my concerns about continuing my work when my husband found his new job.

I’ve always been told that I share too much of myself. But actually, this year has taught me that if sharing the ugly details of the reality of lifes ups and downs, means just one person doesn’t feel alone? Its always worth it.

And maybe, its in the sharing that I’ve been teaching all along. Teaching to honour self and all the messy imperfect humanness that comes with it.

2020 has taught me to respect myself and my needs above all things. To be selfish and then to see where that puts me.

No matter how much we preach about self care, the idea of putting yourself first is still filled with shame and guilt and anxiety isn’t it? As if to not half kill yourself for others means you are a bad person.

But actually where practicing this put me was into a recognition that I am a good person. A kind and giving person. A strong, resilient, courageous person who will do anything for anyone. But heres the important part, not at detriment to myself.

Because it all starts with me. I must honour myself first. Care for myself first. Ensure I am okay first. Because in doing so, I can better care for all those I love.

Honouring me, meant closing my business and saying goodbye to a way of life that has existed within and around my family and I for years.

And we are all the better for it.

I have time for me, so I have time to honour the most important people- my children.

I have time for me and time for my husband. I no longer resent his long hours taking away from the hours of work I have ahead of me.

Turns out, honour this year hasn’t been about keeping promises or deadlines or work- its been about letting it all go instead and as we move into 2021, I know the kind of honour and respect I want to see more of.

More honouring of my time and energy so that I can keep being the awesome, amazing, messy, human being I deserve to be.

And this doesn’t mean only caring about myself and fuck everyone else. Its precisely because I care for others so deeply that I MUST care for myself.

My heart honours your hearts my friends.

Happy Christmas eve and may the universe shone upon you and hold you safe this Christmas and Yule.

I’ll be back in a few days with more of my yule virtues, after Christmas

All my love

Nici

Yuletide- Truth

Its been a funny old week so far hasn’t it? Also, is it seriously only Wednesday?

Truth. Its a weird one.  This quote always sits well with me- ‘Most people don’t really want the truth. They just want constant reassurance that what they believe is the truth.’

Its a stinger and I’m afraid I can’t remember who said it, but it resonates deeply. Especially this year.

We all have stuff we believe to be true and this year truths have been in technicolour…as well as for many, a feeling of having no idea what to believe as true too.

Relating to covid, many people have sat firmly in a mantra of ‘believe in the science, science is truth and fact.’ As a way to feel less unease around all that’s been happening this year, but honestly even the best scientist will tell you that science is ever evolving, moving and changing. A scientific fact is a fact until its not, and then a new theory or hypothesis is brought forward and confirmed, to become fact. This doesn’t dismiss the value and importance of science and its definitely easier to believe in science even with its movement.

And scientific truths are also argued and debated amongst scientists too, there are many truths and so many of them are all true at once, depending on which slant you give it. What I feel most sad about though, is a growing disbelief and distrust in science.

Being able to separate the scientific minds away from the politicians and companies using that science is super important and its getting harder to do, especially with so many programmes and studies funded by people looking for specific outcomes to the studies. Science is not immune to bias no matter how well intentioned the origin of the study may be.

I guess the truth of the matter is that truth is subjective. I may have many truths that exist in total opposition to things that are truth to you. There are very few things that can be defined as complete immovable truths and yet we give such faith in the truths that fit each of us.

I think for me, this year has been a space of really getting in touch with being better at accepting that. In accepting that my truth is mine. My stories and beliefs are my subjective experience and that others will have differing ones.

But not only accepting this but also looking honestly at my truths as things come up and asking myself if they may cause harm to myself, or others. Because if they do, maybe I need to take a deeper look at whether that harm is worth it.

A lot of this year has been spent continuing my personal journey relating to racism, ableism, transphobia, fatism, sexism ya know- all the isms. Again that quote returns to me. Do I really want to see the truth of things as they are or am I just looking for reassurance of what I believe to be true?

I know for many, it would definitely preferable to believe for example, that blanket racism died a long time ago. Of course there’s those people stuck in the past like your racist uncle but widespread systemic racism? Nah, not a thing.

As a white woman it would be so easy to find plenty of truth to back up that belief right? I mean that confirmation bias is everywhere. But its there because I’m not the person that daily systemic racism happens to. When you arent the one being oppressed, you have to actually seek out the truth to see it clearly and if we arent seeking it out and challenging it? Well. Yeah.

I do not speak for black people and people of colour and I really don’t believe I should. Because when you listen, they say over and over again that they don’t have the luxury of pretending racism is dead or turning a blind eye to it. They are confronted with it daily and have constant background questions about whether things happen as they do for them because they just didn’t match something, or because of the colour of their skin. Daily fear, daily worry. Daily anxiety. Daily mistreatment. Daily experiences of a world that has been designed to put them bottom or worse, dead.

Just because someone may not want to believe it, doesnt make it not real for those experiencing it.

As a mum of non gender conforming and questioning children, I would love to believe that life is much better for the LGBT+ community in 2020.

I’d love to just look at how much better the male gay community is treated and presume its roses for every other person too. But just because the truth is uncomfortable and scary, doesnt make it a truth I dont want or need to hear. I need to know and understand what my children are facing, so that I can face it with them. I may not be able to join them in their experiences, but I can join them in body and voice and mind (loudly) so they are not fighting the hate and discrimination alone.

You see, when you are a truth seeker you are more at home sitting with uncomfortable truths than pretty lies and that includes looking at your own lies and truths within as well. It includes having a group of trusted people around you who lovingly call you out and call you in when you are lying to yourself.

And it includes putting skin in the game instead of silently sitting on the sidelines.

Because how will you ever find out about what you believe, have those beliefs questioned, changed, strengthened or thrown away, if you spend your life in ignorant bliss of never standing for anything.

I respect every person who has stood up and shared their beliefs and truths this year, whether I believe in the same things or not.

Because that is where humans are at their most wonderful. When given the opportunity to explore, debate, argue, be passionate.

And you know who gives you those opportunities? You.

Blessings on this evening of truth.

Nici

Yuletide- Courage

As always when I sit in this practice, the virtue of the day tends to float around in my space throughout the day.

As I reflect on the year that has passed, I’m acutely aware of how courage has probably sat centre stage for most of it and its bedfellow surrender, has held fast as the follow up act too!

I began the new turn of the wheel in surrender this time last year and that particular practice, takes courage. Masses of it.

You see having the courage to surrender for me, means actually seeing what it is you have been avoiding. It is not the act of rolling over and saying its all fine, but the act of seeing that snapshot, accepting how you feel about that and choosing.

Courage to accept doubts and fears.
Facing them and choosing how to move forward.

Courage to accepting change and choosing how to move forward.

Courage to accept your part in stuff from the year that has past and choosing how to move forward.

Courage to accept yourself in all aspects so that you can move forward as you.

And my word have I faced a lot this year and had the courage to surrender, accept and embrace, even if I shook while doing some of it.

We rarely give ourselves enough credit for all that we go through and manage to get back up with grace.

This year I’ve faced a return of some of my chronic illness, had lots of tests for horrendous kidney and womb stuff, my husband being made redundant, having to close my beloved business, not seeing my friends and family, supporting my children through a pandemic, having covid, being terrified covid would kill my son, navigating new rules, changing rules, worrying about family members, worrying about friends, navigating significant stuff with my eldest child, supporting my middle child in her schooling, supporting my youngest two in their home education, etc etc.

Its been A LOT. But I’ve faced it all with a quiet, sometimes loud courage and I have seen each of you do the same too.

Whether its been the courage to face difficult situations, heartbreaking moments, anxiety and fear, illness, or financial crap, you and I, we have faced it all.

And as we move into the new, we will continue onwards with the flame of courage and the wisdom of surrender to keep us company along the path.

Because in all things there must be balance and I feel we walk into the future with a clearer and deeper understanding of how we can achieve that.

Blessed Be.

Nici

Winter Solstice

Today has not been the day I envisioned it to be. But then thats a bit of a theme for 2020 isn’t it.

For those of you following yuletide this year you can read yesterday’s post here where I share my thoughts on the eve before solstice and honouring our family ancestors.

So back to today. I had quite the ambitious plan of a yummy woodland walk, decorating our yule log, writing our gratitudes and wishes, decorating Christmas cookies and hot chocolate with marshmallows in the fire light as the sun set for the longest night.

But I didn’t take into account little things like it being a Monday after my kids have been away for the weekend at their dads, me experiencing PMDD again this month, my eldest swapping sleep cycles to that of a vampire and the broadband engineers coming out.

These are all things I generally deal with and flow with well, but not so much when in the grips of day 7/10 of PMDD.

Nothing like the longest night to really push all those shadows to the surface to be looked at in one go eh?

Firepit containing yule log, evergreens, dried oranges and wishes for yule

A picture tells a thousands words doesnt it?Well not this one. It doesn’t tell of the refusal to participate this year. The difficulties some of my children had in finding gratitude for anything despite my support and suggestions.

My tears and aching heart that maybe I haven’t done enough to keep their hearts full and buoyant in the face of this difficult year. The overwhelm on what is usually a day of celebration for me and joy for the children.

To pretend our practice is fine this year, feels untrue and inauthentic, Its not fine and its not the same as before, but its important that this is acknowledged. Back when our people didn’t know the sun would return, I can’t imagine they would have been celebrating this long dark night either!

Fires were lit to keep the darkness and cold at bay while also an acceptance that not all will make it through the winter and those that do, may not be the same the other side either.

I feel a kinship to that energy today and as I lit our own fire of hope, I felt many burdens burn away. Burdens to hold it together, to be strong, to light the way for others, to be the organised helpful one, to light the load for other, to be superhuman.

Yule fire

I’ve been shedding much of these burdens over the past year and I felt more rise and be released with the smoke tonight. I cannot carry the weight of all that expectation (placed upon me mostly by myself, but occasionally by others) and still manage to keep myself upright, strong and head high through the cold months ahead.

I am thankful for that release and for giving myself permission to let go. I feel the return of my humour, resilience, trust and faith that although today wasn’t a good day, many are and as the darkest longest night draws out ahead, I know the light will return.

To the earth, to my heart and to the hearts of my children too. It just might continue to be a little bumpy along the ride and that’s okay, because I can now be there for myself and therefore them at every wobble.

Blessed Solstice night my friends. May the light in your heart be bright and strong and your cup always overflow.

All my love

Nici

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