Summertime and Self-Care
Summer is often a time when we stop thinking, we stop planning. We just lie around feeling the heat, and watching things grow. For some of us, summer numbers are lighter than the rest of the year. The children have been with us a long time, and they know the rhythm of the day in their bodies.
Summer is a time like no other when we have the opportunity to think about self-care. What feels good? What nourishes us? What renews us so that we can greet those children with a smile again and again?
Now is a time when we can put some of those things into place, build them into our own rhythm, so that when autumn comes with new children, and swinging into the holiday season, we will still be taking the time to do those things that rejuvenate us.
Faith Baldwin, editor
New LifeWays Trainings
New LifeWays Training in Buffalo, NY
Starting October 2011
Contact Judith Frizlen
New LifeWays Training in
Starting Fall 2011
Contact Margo Running at email@example.com
check them out at
New LifeWays Trainings:
Boulder, starting August 2011
Wisconsin, starting Oct. 2011
New England, July 2012
New LifeWays Training in Hawaii
Contact Kim Raymond firstname.lastname@example.org
Cyndee Fehring email@example.com
for more information.
Graduate Credits for
College Credit Option through
Ashland University, Columbus, OH
Meg Freeling, Adjunct Instructor
In addition to the actual LifeWays certification, LifeWays students can also earn up to 12 semester hours graduate credit for the LifeWays training. This can be accessed by students in ANY of the LifeWays trainings. Ashland University's credits are recognized and maybe transferred to other colleges and universities.
To learn more please go to www.ashland.edu/pds. You'll be in the Professional Development Services section where you should be able to type in LifeWays to get to the course description. It will be for Session No. 1 only. There should be instructions for registering on the website.
Meg Freeling, M.S. Ed.
|Favorite Self-Care Rituals|
Submitted by Laura Olson
~Soak feet in warm water for 10 minutes then coat with lavendar lotion.
~Swing in the hammock with my husband at day's end.
~Light a candle and watch it glow for five minutes in silence then snuff.
~Drink hot chamomile tea with milk and honey.
~Write reflections in a journal for a few minutes each morning upon rising.
~Once a season paying someone to come help me clean my house from head to toe.
|Discounts at JoAnn Fabrics for Daycare Providers|
Jo-Ann Fabrics has recently changed its policy on teacher discounts to make child care center teachers and family child care providers eligible for the 15% discount. If you shop there, be sure to ask for the teacher discount card.
|The Holiness of Sleep|
These words are to awaken in us a feeling of the holiness of sleep - a feeling of the fact that sleep unites us with the spiritual world.
I go to sleep
Till I awaken
My soul will there meet the higher Being
Who guides me through this earthly life
Him who is ever in the spiritual world,
Who hovers about my head.
My soul will meet him,
Even the guiding Genius of my life.
And when I waken again
This meeting will have been.
I shall have felt the wafting of his wings.
The wings of my Genius
Will have touched my soul.
Publicity for LifeWays Programs
Shea Darian has recently taken charge of the Waldorf Shop website http://www.waldorfshop.net/
and is featuring the LifeWays work in several ways. Check out LifeWays listings in the "Community" section. For more information o special rates, please contact Shea directly at
"20 Minute Retreats" by Rachel Harris
"Being Home" by Gunilla Brodde Norris
Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal by Renee Trudeau
Becoming a Father by William Sears
|From Ashley D'Ambrosi Masters|
I'm happy to share this news with you...I just had four of my needle felted wool creations be accepted in a juried art museum show here in South Carolina! How fun!
|From Cynthia Aldinger|
My mind sings, "Yes, all is as it should be"
My body sings, "And so it continues . . ."
My soul sings, "Allelulia"
My spirit sings, "Thank you for this most sacred reminder of I Am"
Born 9:01 A.M., April 12, 2011
|The Best Rice Cooker |
"Consumer Science Review" *
by Rahima Baldwin Dancy
It's taken me a bit of work to find a stainless steel rice cooker that works for cooking the grains for the children--we do brown rice, quinoa and millet because we have children who eat gluten free, and then add various sautéed/steamed veggies and seasonings at the end.
After much trial and error, I recommend the Oyama 10 cup stainless steel rice cooker-you can read the reviews on Amazon, but the shipping is half as much from www.qvc.com, which is where I bought mine (the price is the same, $67.35; if you only have six children, you could probably use the 7-cup for $58.37-note that their "cups" are smaller than ours).
We essentially put in twice as much water as grain with millet and quinoa, and slightly more than that with the brown rice (we also include ½ cup of red lentils in the amount of grain to make it thicker). With these proportions, everything cooks well, but we start first thing to make sure we have enough time. There is no bell when it is done and switches onto warm, but it stays on warm without burning or drying out, and there isn't excessive sticking. I do NOT recommend the one by Miracle, which had no bell and burned onto the bottom if you weren't there watching it-not practical with little ones!
*PS* Did you know that "home economics" is now called "Consumer Science"? What does this say about the role of the homemaker in today's world?
Help Get the Word Out!
Have you read LifeWays' book, Home Away From Home?
It's now available for sale on Amazon.com
. You could help others by posting a review on their site!
It's easy: just search Amazon for the book and click on it, then click on "Write a Review." Just a few short sentences are fine.
Thank you to everyone who has posted a review so far. On July 1 the review writers' names were entered into a raffle, and here are the winners!
Ideas for Self-Care
Created by Carrie Contey,
Early Parenting consultant, Austin, TX
30-60 seconds fill ups
These are great to use preventatively and when you and/or your children are heading towards a meltdown
- Pause - Just stop what you are doing. Stop moving, stop talking, Stop. Just stop.
- Check in - Notice and name sensations you are feeling in your body, i.e. "My neck is tight, my shoulders are hunched, my stomach is in knots..."
- Admit - Say out loud how you are feeling "I'm scared and I'm about to lose it!" "I'm feeling angry and I'm about to blow my stack!"
- Breathe - Breathe in slowly for a count of four to eight and out for a count of four to eight. Do this at least four times.
- Drink water - Stand up and drink a full glass of water slowly.
- Look around - Say out loud ten objects you see around you, i.e. "Green plant, yellow bowl, red rug, colorful painting..."
- Outside - Walk outside for a minute and breathe in the fresh air.
- Make contact - If another adult is around make eye contact or ask for a hug. If you are only with your children look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are safe and loved.
10-30 minutes fill ups
These are some suggestions for when you are feeling crispy or on the edge of flipping your lid
- Get wet - Take a hot shower or bath.
- Call a friend - Talk to an adult who can empathize and reflect with you and how you are feeling.
- Make tea - Make a cup of tea and sip it slowly.
- Move - Take a walk, do some yoga poses, do jumping jacks, run up and down the stairs...
- Eat - Make a healthy yummy snack and savor it.
60 minutes or more
These are some ideas for when you have time to maximize your fill up and/or you've been thought a very emotionally and physically draining time.
- Date - With your mate or with friends. Get out and have some adult time with people you love!
- Exercise - Walk around the lake, take a yoga class, play tennis with a friend. Whatever brings you joy and gets you moving for at least an hour.
- Movie - Go to a movie and get lost in a dark theatre and a great story.
- Nap - Sleep whenever you can.
Articles on Self-Care from the Blog
by Faith Baldwin
Changing the Face of Childcare in America
Our very own Mary O'Connell was published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Way to go, Mary! Check out her editorial here:
|Letter From Cynthia |
Recently our two grandsons were visiting our home. Little Sam is two months old, still so very fresh from heaven! He is pure sweetness - honestly! Benjamin is two-and-a-half, delightfully old enough to do things like plant flowers, work in the kitchen, share stories, and walk to the creek for a turtle safari.
When Benjamin is tired or needs comforting he likes to scrunch his fingers gently into my hair. [Mind you, the preferred hair is mommy's, but grandma's comes in second.] Anyway, those little fingers in your hair feel even better than going to the beauty parlor and having your hair shampooed. So, while he is feeling comforted, I am going into a somnambulant state that stops just short of drooling on myself!
At the airport, once he realized that all his lobbying for me to get on the plane with them was not going to work, he cast the line that hooked my heart when he reached his hand out and said, "Then can I touch your hair?" One more hug, his little hand claiming a last caress, and I noticed that he kept his hand curled shut as they departed. It reminded me of when a mommy or daddy puts a kiss in a child's hand to sustain them while they are apart.
Lump in my throat, eyes starting to pool, I returned to our car. Love tucked away in a little one's fist and sweet memories tucked into a grandma's heart. Once again I remembered, "It's the little things that count."
As our newsletter is featuring self-care and nurturing, I hope you will be reminded of simple things that fill you, things that strengthen your body and fatten your soul. So often in our
trainings, students speak of how experiences in nature create soul solace. I am convinced it is a major player in what sustains me through the vast amount of traveling I do.
People often recommend to me exotic places I should visit when they hear of where I am going. Indeed, they can be lovely and intriguing. However, what truly stirs me is the feel and smell of the air, the sunsets and the trees. Even when driving, I am drawn to the landscape around me. And because I have sat under a tree, indeed I have hugged a tree, because I have felt a breeze, been warmed or chilled by the air, and heard birdsong wafting, I can imagine those things happening in the landscape that is speeding past. In fact, it is happening right now. I just saw swans on a pond just south of the Arbuckle Mountains as my husband is driving me to the Austin training. There are swans on "my" pond in the neighborhood I bike to when I am home, so I can relate. I see the sweetest calves with their mothers on pasture lands as we speed by, and I remember the newborn calf that sucked my thumb on the farm in Wisconsin where my son milked cows when he was a youth. I see the gathering clouds and remember how energized I feel by a wild and wooly storm.
A curative eurythmist taught me the importance of drinking deep at the well of "the moment" - the moment of the red and purple sunset, the moment of seeing the father cardinal bird feeding his offspring, the moment of getting drenched in a sudden cloudburst. Drink deep, for in so doing you are creating your own deep well from which to draw sustenance when you most need it.
People. The encounter. The conversation. Barbra Streisand sang us, "People who need people are the luckiest people in the world." Friends and colleagues get excited for me when they hear I am going to the Virgin Islands or Australia, Hawaii or Ireland. I know it is a blessing, but you know what first appears in my mind's eye when I recall such trips - the people. The hysterically funny Australian kindie teachers, the endearing sincerity of the island caregivers, the robust vitality of the Irish, the life-polished beauty of my dear Hawaiian colleagues. Drink in your people, and let them also live in your deep well.
You already know how I feel about pausing . . . can't fill your well without it. We don't measure a pause by clock time. It can be 3 seconds or it can be an hour, a glance or a stare, a giggle or a belly laugh, a solitary tear or a full sobbing cry, silence or song. It might be a footbath or morning meditation, a monthly massage or dancing with your true love, walking barefoot on the grass or slowly sipping your
favorite drink. It might be reading a Rudolf Steiner lecture or watching a bird build its nest. A good pause will always help you breathe.
As you read the offerings in this newsletter, I wish you the gift of a deep breath. Whether it is the delightful routine of a family grocery shopping, the wonderful offerings found in Faith's Joyful Toddlers blog, the joyful sharing of our various training groups, or one of the lovely descriptions of self-care, enter into the descriptions with your own imagination. Enjoy!
By Joy Wegs
So there I was, enjoying my last week of my LifeWays training watching Cynthia and all her glory as she set for us many tables. A table with paper plates, a table with opened Tupperware containers, a table with matching dishes and silverware, etc. etc. After each table she set, she would say, in her joyful but pondering voice, "When?" Each time she would say, "When?" I would think back to my own dinner table editing the view in my mind and thinking, "I need to get on the ball and beautify our dinner table."
Next thing I know, Cynthia asks one of us to share our grocery
shopping experience. Well, I love to talk and I love to grocery shop with my family, so quickly I raised my hand to share! Having never once actually putting any thought to how we grocery shop, here is what I learned that fine afternoon with Cynthia.
I have 3 boys. That equals, 1 husband (Scott), an almost (more than half, he'll tell you) 7 year old (Aizik) and a 2.5 year old (Ember). Every Sunday, Scott and I create a list of meals, lunch items and snacky snacks. After Ember takes his nap, usually around 3pm, we head to "the new City Market."
Before we leave, Aizik grabs the grocery bags and tosses them in the car. Once we get there, Aizik gets to decide if the boys will be using a race car cart, or if Aizik will walk with us and Ember sits in a regular cart. Aizik gets to decide because he is really too big for those car carts, so if both of the boys are in one together, they really have to share space. From there we head directly to the produce department. For the purpose of this article, let's assume that Ember is in a normal cart and Aizik is walking with us. Aizik shops almost all of produce for us. First, he gathers a few produce bags and then asks what is on the list and goes to town. Scott makes the final decision with Aizik as to whether the items are ripe enough, etc. We then head to the deli counter where the employee behind the counter always slices each of the boys (yes, Scott included) a sample slice of meat. We then head over to the bread area, and the meat counter.
From there, we go aisle by aisle if we need items on that aisle. I will often let Aizik go an aisle ahead to gather something that is on the list. By the time we get to the middle of the store, which is the chip aisle, we find our snack and enjoy a few nibbles while we shop the rest of the store. Yes, I do let my children eat in the store! They are used to it, and it provides for a much happier shopping experience.
Once we are at the register, I put the open item up first and if the Cashier does not know us, I mention how my little ducklings turn into little mice in the store and that is why this one is open. Aizik likes to get the bags out and ready for whoever is bagging our groceries and often times I will let him work the pin pad for payment. I should also mention that just recently, Ember wants to tell the cashier that, "mama's little ducklings (THAT'S ME - he says, louder) turn into little mice in the store." It always makes the cashier smile.
Once we get home, since Scott is the chef in the
|At the Vancouver LifeWays |
house, he will begin dinner while I am putting away the groceries. If I remember to set the plates out on the counter, Aizik will automatically set the table, otherwise he and Ember will rambunctiously play on the back patio until it is time to wash up and eat!!
What I learned that rainy afternoon at LifeWays is whythis is our favorite day and outing together. Cynthia helped me to understand the purpose behind moving through the grocery store in the same way each time we shop. Scott and I (rather unconsciously) have set up a framework to running an errand. Our children know what to expect from start to finish, our trip is not hurried, and it is not an inconvenience. Both of the boys are getting to talk with others in our community (the workers in the store); Aizik gets to spread his wings a bit and actually do a little shopping. It is really a win-win for everyone and I thank you Cynthia for helping me to see why we love our grocery shopping trips. Now I can take these tools and apply them to other areas in our week that may not be so beautiful.
Scott and I both worked for Natural Foods stores when we met, so we both have a love for the grocery store. Granted our City Market is far from a beautiful Whole Foods, but we still enjoy it. Our children live in our etheric - if we are genuinely happy, then guess what, so are they! Yay for our Sunday shopping trip! We are getting ready to uproot and move to the Boulder area and I can guarantee there will be a lot of changes in our lives, but we are still going to grocery shop on Sundays! Scott even said to me the other day, as we were driving around the area, "We need to find the stores and plan our Sundays!"
Thanks for reading.
One of the most nurturing, and yet profoundly healing ways to care for myself was learning how to honor my menstrual cycle. When I was a young mother and midwife caring for my own family, as well as many other mothers and children in my community, I was gifted powerful teachings about 'Moontime'. I learned then about women's mysteries from first nation elders here in the United States. While there are many cultural perspectives on a woman's menstrual cycle their teachings resonated for me in a soulful way, and I readily integrated them into my life.
I was taught that during the time a woman bleeds, she has more clarity. It is as though the filters from daily life are removed and she is opened to a different vision, to an ability to see more clearly and recognize what is true. She experiences a clearly different state of mind and consciousness apparent to the senses, along with acertain vulnerability. I think it is similar to giving birth, when a woman is drawn from the outer world into an inward yet expanded consciousness. Indeed, when a woman menstruates, her uterus contracts and her cervix dilates. In essence, a labour if you will, giving birth to some form of her creativity. Much can be said about this perceptual change, and each woman has her own unique experience. Yet, there seems to be a common experience in which women find themselves feeling irritable, drained and emotional when they attempt to carry on with normal activities and demands while experiencing this expanded consciousness. These are 'symptoms' expressed when we do not practice self-care and honor ourselves during Moontime.
I find striking parallels with the Moontime teachings from many years passed and those I have recently received during my LifeWays training. Utilizing my thirty-five years of experience in menstrual self-care, I have identified what I call the 'Three R's for Moontime'. The following are some of the ways I have practiced self-care, as well as suggestions I offer. There are many ways to give special attention to this part of our fertility cycle. I hope you will be inspired to create your own nurturing ways.
For many years, I was a self-employed midwife and made my own schedule (with the exception of when a baby would be born!). Because of this, I was able to make Moontime self-care a priority in my life. I essentially created my yearly calendar around my menstrual cycle, acknowledging Moontime self-care as critically important as my diet, nutrition, or healing practices for my overall health and well-being. Primary was to retreat from the demands of the world, taking care of no one but myself; rest, nurture and nourish myself. It too was important to honor my bloods in a symbolic way as well, which I learned over time was a deeply nourishing act. I was also in a circle of women that supported one another during our Moontime. I called on them to take my children for a while, bring me a meal - especially if my children were with me, run errands for me, do my dishes or maybe rub my back or feet. The important part was to ask for support and know that someone was there to give it. Creating your own circle of support is an important first step in self-care. When you gather a few women willing to support one another in Moontime self-care whole families are enriched.
Most often I was able to take at least the first 24 hours of my Moontime to retreat completely. To eat and sleep whenever I needed. To bathe, get a massage or some other relaxing practice. Keeping warm was important. During cool seasons I took hot baths and drank nourishing herbal teas; nettle, oatstraw and red raspberry. During warm seasons, I was in Nature as much as possible lying in the sun. Because I lived rurally and spent time in the wilderness I was able to sit on moss that grew on the ground, and bleed directly onto the Earth. This was a way to give back to the Mother and be Nature. [ Note from Cynthia: It is my understanding that offering human blood or excrement to nature spaces like forests and wilderness can be of service to the earth; however, it is not recommended for food gardens according to agricultural practices inspired by Rudolf Steiner.]
There are many ways to care for our menstrualblood besides well-known commercial tampons and pads. Sea sponges and handmade napkins are lovely alternatives that call us into a more intimate relationship with our menses to cultivate self-honoring. I know some women now use a menstrual cup but I have not. During the time I did not bleed directly onto the ground, I wore
handmade sanitary napkins; wild animal prints, floral prints and bright red with a red satin covered belt - I loved being creative. I kept water in a large ceramic jar where I soaked the pads until I was ready to launder them.
When I did leave my home, I often wore menstrual sponges. Sponges (most natural foods stores sell them) are placed in the vagina just like a tampon. But every few hours or so, depending on one's flow, it is taken out rinsed and put back in, rather than discarded in the trash.
I included moontime teachings in my midwifery school curriculum and had occasion to build moon lodges for women at a few community gatherings. These were temporary structures built for the very purpose of giving women a special place to retreat from community into sacred space for Moontime visions. You don't have to live in the wilderness to do this. Pick a room in your house, half of a room or even a huge walk-in closet. Use silks and soft things to create an adult version of a cozy corner. , and use it every month. The energy of the space will build and give you inspiration to deepen in your practice. Invite a bleeding friend to join you! I once had a friend who ran a women's center. She created a 'Moon Room' in it that was filled with fabric, cushions, beautiful art and lots of red. I also knew a woman who opened a 'Moon Hut' in the city. It was a building open to the public where women came during their Moontime to sleep, rest, get a massage, acupuncture or just hang out and visit with other bleeding women. The possibilities of community support and sharing are limitless.
The Three R's of Our Menstrual Cycle
Allow yourself to rest, sleep and be dreamy like a young child. It is in this relaxed and dreamy state that you will have your visions. Resting and sleeping are also critical in strengthening and rejuvenating you before 'going back' into the world. Providing oneself with wholesome and healthy food is in some ways a form of resting as well. especially when we put ourselves first even for a short duration.
Just as establishing rhythm supports the Sense of Well Being in young children so does following the innate and natural rhythm of our menstrual cycle support us as women. Our menstrual cycle is our natural clock, our seasonal calendar and guide to what is true. When we give a very clear "no I cannot give at this time", those who love us can trust and feel secure in our "yes I have it to give'. Responding in truth to our internal rhythm strengthens us emotionally and thereby ultimately supports our families in a healthier way.
Ritual practices lift us out of the ordinary and enliven our senses. Many times simple practices engage us equally as well as more elaborate ones, especially during Moontime. The flicker of candle light, the scent of an essential oil or the sound of a singing bowl each can announce that we have arrived at a different time and place. Moontime rituals done repeatedly also live in the body. When we recreate the same rituals one's body remembers 'it is time to relax, to be nourished and honored', and responds accordingly. Creating a special space for moontime rituals can be done simply and easily too. Silks, fresh flowers, shells and stones transform an ordinary place into a Moon Lodge. What's important is a sense of privacy and retreating into ourselves away from the demands of the outer world. With time and practice bleeding itself becomes the ritual.
·Rest as much as you need. Period.
·Keep your abdomen warm. Cotton and wool 'belly bands' are great to use yet even a cozy under shirt works well.
·Wear loose comfortable clothes. Let the down and out nature of menstrual bleeding reveal itself, and try alternatives to commercial tampons. Just once.
·Drink lots of water. Drinking nettle and oatstraw herbal infusions are particularly nourishing during this time of your cycle. Red raspberry infusion and ginger root tea are good for uterine cramping.
·Eat lots of fresh foods. Deep leafy greens and other chlorophyll rich foods, miso broth and grated raw beets are all excellent for you.
·Avoid sugar, caffeine, processed and other depleting foods.
·Lavender or rose water full body baths are so relaxing, but just not too hot.
·Journaling is a wonderful way to empty your thoughts and be in a more feeling place.
·Treat yourself to a massage, even if it just your feet. If you can't pay for one ask a loved one to gift you,
or to give you one their self.
·Spend time in Nature even if it is a city park. Find a spot somewhere you can be undisturbed to feel, touch, see and hear the natural world. Lie on your belly on the ground.
·Create a 'cave' and retreat space for an hour, six hours or a full day and night. Begin with what is realistic and gift yourself the opportunity to ask for a little more each cycle.
·Take prayerful time to ask for clarity and insight about specific issues (and be specific). Listen carefully to what you hear.
·Bring out special bed linens, pillows and such that you use only when you are bleeding. I had fiery red Ralph Lauren Egyptian cotton sheets!
·Make or purchase some special jewelry that you wear only when you are bleeding. I wore a long beautiful garnet bead necklace.
·Create sacred art. Draw, paint or sculpt. I found working with wet, muddy clay particularly inspiring. I made many miniature wombs, which I kept as ritual objects or gave to cherished friends. I also used my menstrual blood to paint pictures. Yes I did.
LifeWays Training Maine
We are excited to be welcoming a student to Maine who will be earning college credits through Ashland University for her LifeWays training. These elective credits in Professional Development will enable her to renew her teaching certificate in Pennsylvania where she works in early intervention with families of children from birth to three. She will be bridging the Maine & Buffalo trainings. (No, it's not a railroad line.) And here's what we did this spring:
Caring for the Caregiver ~ a Vernal Equinox Festival for Our Own Renewal
It was with some trepidation that I dared to suggest that we rise before dawn to see the Super Moon set and greet the Spring Sun rising as our native Abenaki (People of the Dawn) did on the coast of Maine . Imagine my surprise and delight when every one of the 13 students appeared on the beach in the frigid darkness. The northeasterners wore their parkas, and those who had traveled from more southern climes wrapped themselves in blankets.
We sang up the sun with our music teacher Amy Robbins-Wilson, dubbed the Lark of LifeWaysia. (You can find her Voice for New Moms at www.amyrobbinswilson.com.) It was also Purim, so Lynn Gatti Coons gave us a stirring rendition of the story from the Jewish scriptures of Queen Esther who thought not of her beauty and privilege, but of how her circumstances might allow her to serve her people. We also sent our good will to those souls who had just passed over in the earthquakes of Japan , and according to Japanese lore would be gathering in the Moon sphere before journeying onward. We said good-bye to the end of the world as we have known it, and we each carried away a stone polished by the sea to remind us of our resolutions for the new world of Love that we are co-creating. I am inspired by these LifeWays students!
The next cycle of LifeWays training in Maine will begin next July, continue with two long weekends in October and March, and finish in the summer of 2013.
Contact: Susan Silverio at firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit us at www.lifewaysnortheast.com.
California Coast LifeWays Training
Marianne Alsop, Director
A wonderful year has come to a close with the 2010-2011 LifeWays class of 14 women finishing their year of work, study, celebration and friendship in June.
Final project presentations and a moving graduation ceremony were held inside, around the wood stove, at Hill of the Hawk Farm in Big Sur as Mother Nature belted out a hurricane force song of rain and wind! Fortunately we were able to harvest strawberries and lettuces from the garden and eggs from the chicken house before the storm hit so we were well nourished and warm.
Many thanks go to our teachers who each brought their knowledge, skill, humor and passion for their work to the students this year and to Jane Mc Coy who helped in so very many ways. A special thanks to Greenwood School in Mill Valley for the use of Peggy Rock's beautiful Kindergarten room for our classes and to the San Francisco Waldorf School for the use of the Parenting Classroom and Monique and Dagmar's Kindergarten spaces.
Our 2011-12 session, which begins in late August, is already fully enrolled. The California Coast LifeWays work will expand to include a new Parenting Seminar which runs concurrently with the training. Two, four session each blocks of classes will be offered on the Inner Development of the Parent and Child Development respectively. Admission will be limited and information can be found on the California Coast section on the Training page of the LifeWays website.
With gratitude and thanks to the delightful, inquisitive and striving California Coast LifeWays class of 2011...Have a wonderful summer!
The Wisconsin LifeWays training is coming to a close for the current year, as our students who began in October ready themselves for graduation! Our last week will culminate with a graduation ceremony on Saturday, August 6th, after a week includes eurythmy, silk dyeing, students sharing their projects and papers, uplifitng music, and rich lectures. The warm summer weather will be a wonderful gift to the training students who have experienced Wisconsin weather in all seasons. Not that wintery Wisconsin snow isn't magical, but I think we've saved the best for last.
I've heard it said that every group of LifeWays students is inspiring, but since this is my first time as director, I have no basis for comparison. So, let me just say that this group of students is fantastic...welcoming, funny, engaging, deep, and practical. It has been a real joy to work with them!
For those who are considering the Wisconsin training, now is the time to register for the next training which starts in October! Dates are available on the LifeWays North America
wensite, or you can email me for specifics. email@example.com
LifeWays in Austin, TX
Lifeways Austin launched on June 12 and welcomed 25 wonderful students from Texas, California, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mexico. Want a taste? Read on:
"What a privilege, delight, and did I mention FUN, it was to be a part of the launching of our new LifeWays training in Austin. Director Laura Olson and Administrative Assistant Melba Caldcleugh gathered an amazing group of women and man who spent two weeks together at the Austin Waldorf School during record-breaking heat. In keeping with the newsletter theme of "nurturing" I would love to share just a few images.
Laura, with her beautiful voice, got us going each morning with a rousing song while Melba tended the hearth in the adjoining room where she could hear the lectures and we could appreciate the kitchen smells. The kindergarten we inhabited truly became our home away from home. The students tended the space (both inside and out) remarkably every day with a helpful chore chart to identify their tasks for the day and the week. Every day at lunch, people had the option to eat inside or out. Several chose to eat outside where nearby kiddie pools were filled for sitting around and having a nice cool foot soak and meaningful conversation.
One day, we practiced a skill we all need to develop when caring for young children - NAPPING! We actually experienced a full nap routine starting with refreshing face cloths, practicing a hand washing routine that actually gets the hands clean in between the fingers and gets them well dried, learned a tooth brushing song, and experiencing a restful body game (The Golden Boat) to gentle everyone toward sleep. This was followed by a s-l-o-w-l-y and softly spoken story accompanied by soothing lyre strumming and finally silence. And, yes, I think some of the students fell asleep! Gentle awakening included opening the curtains with a gentle waking song, toe tweaking and helping each other fold the cloths they had used for cover (the room was air conditioned!).
A well-used space in the room was the cozy corner - a wonderful sleeping mat (room for two) set aside and protected by covered play stands. With two pregnant students, students who were travel weary, and some who just wanted a quiet place to rest, it was an often-occupied space throughout the two weeks. It was just one of the many things that whispered of the quality of care and interest Laura and Melba created for the Austin LifeWays students. In November they will be further nurtured when Nurse Trish McPhee travels from California to offer the home health care course."
|Dying silks in the cold Colorado spring with hats and gloves on!|
LifeWays in Boulder, Colorado
Dear Friends of Lifeways Boulder, CO
It is a blue sky day in Colorado, and I am pondering our last May session where 8 students graduated. I am so thankful to have had such a wisdom filled, strong, seeking group of women in a learning and sharing circle. We have 6 others continuing on, and the applications and inquiries are rolling in for our new training series beginning this August 12 - 19 2011.
While the new group is filling up, there is still room - so please get your applications in soon if Boulder is the place for you! Contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, thoughts, and wishes toward your Lifeways Training.
|Featured LifeWays Program: LifeWays Childcare Society, North Vancouver, BC
In 2004, the Vancouver Waldorf School built a new early childhood centre which included room for the first infant and toddler childcare program connected to a Waldorf school. Since then, many schools have tried to include care of the younger children, with varying success. After 2 years at VWS, more space was needed in order to offer full day, full year for 3-5 year olds as well. A new organization was created and a new location found. To open the childcare at the school, MargoRunning was brought in from Arizona where she had been operating a childcare for 4 years. She was one of the first graduates of the LifeWays training. Margo now administrates the current location, is looking for new locations for expanding and is starting up LifeWays Training in the fall. The training will be one weekend a month for a year, in order to serve local students and build community.
The current location is in Margo's large home, with 2 programs on the first floor; 8 children under 3 and 8 children ages 3-5 years. There are 5 staff and usually volunteers and practicum students helping out as well. Monthly staff meetings are held, starting with a meal together right after work.
Margo also gives many talks in the early childhood community. Anyone interested in the list of workshops/talks that the mainstream community has welcomed, please ask at email@example.com
|The Pause that Refreshes
Submitted by Margo Running
If we can pause a moment before we respond to what we think is needed, we can observe and see if this is really the best action. In order to care for ourselves, for another, we first must understand what is needed. We use our senses to get a feeling for what might be received. Do I need rest, food, time in nature, meditation, a friend to talk to....? Does a child need to be held, to be given space, words of comfort...? We can discern needs by observation. In order to observe, we must be separate from what we are viewing. Listening to our thinking and our body's senses is a form of separating from our self and seeing what is needed next. Much of this we do by habit. A goal is to make our responses truly that, not just a reaction created by unconscious habits.
When we react to a situation, we are not really awake to what is being asked for; we have an assumption and a response based on the past. When we truly respond to a situation, meeting what is coming towards us, there is a possibility of a true connection with others. A difference between a reaction and a response can be made by pausing before acting. A child falls and is crying. A reaction might be to rush over and scoop them up and tell them he/she will be okay. Whereas a response might be to move close, pause, reach out a hand, see if the child reaches out or not, pause, affirm the tears, pause, and then see what the child is asking for.
The same pause can help us working with each other as adults and ourselves. We get in such habit patterns of how we speak with each other, how we judge each other. The more space we give, the more we pause to see what is really being asked for or offered, the deeper and more real our conversations have potential of becoming.
The staff of LifeWays in North Vancouver daily is working on how to respond to children's' and each other needs. We have found it takes more pauses than conversation. If we just pay more attention to what is before us, amazing solutions happen. Science tells us there is more space than matter in the universe. Life energy, the etheric lives in the spaces; the meditation exercises help us deepen our etheric forces; Christ lives in the etheric.
Working daily with young children and with colleagues dedicated to deepen self awareness has been the best work I can think of as the opportunities for self education are limitless. Yes, understanding child development and strategies for transitions and plans for rhythms of the day all are vital; but it is the pauses of reflection and listening for guidance within and without that I believe builds my forces and energy each day. On the days that I am tired, I look back and see I didn't pause enough, give space between my actions and thoughts, and give time for prayer and communion. I invite you to try more pauses in you day and see if when the sun goes down, you feel more rested and your relationships with others felt more true to what was needed.