Tag Archives: learning

Learning from children

I found this very interesting article that I would like to share with you. Dr Stephen Cowan is a pediatrician since 25 years and in this article he writes about “the larger picture” of having children or living with children.

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10250/11-things-i-wish-every-parent-knew.html

FatherAndSonPlayingOnPath900-850x400It is a very eye-opening read, go check it out.

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The magic pony

One day, 13 years ago, while driving through the countryside I saw a small black pony on a hill and I knew we belonged together…don’t ask me how or why. There were horses all around, but this one…he caught me. I spoke to the owners and they allowed me to buy him. I hadn’t ridden for 20 years, I had no money for a pony nor did I have a stable but I had some nice fields at home and a shed. It was crazy but there was no doubt in me. Now this pony was rather aggressive and I was a bit scared of him but we figured it out over time and became friends. More than friends, he protected me. Together we hung out on the fields and in the forest. I learned so much from him, not only about horses but about myself, movement and communication, about slowing down and silencing my inner chatter. Every morning when I woke up he would stand outside my window waiting for me.

The day came when I decided to leave Sweden. Everything was a bit chaotic and though he knew I was leaving, he didn’t know if I would bring him because I forgot to tell him. He fell ill for the first time in his life. I sat with him and told him that he would come with me. He healed and then came to Luxembourg after I was settled in my house. The first summer he lived in my garden until I found a stable. For the first time in his entire life he was in a bustling village with traffic, people and noise. He enjoyed it. After a few years I realized that I couldn’t keep him. I didn’t have the money to pay his rent every month nor did I have time enough since my life had changed so much. With a heavy heart I gave him up and he went to a family with children, he loves children. A friend of mine kept tabs on him and I made the family promise to contact me first if they ever decided not to keep him. I was seriously heartbroken, I would wake up at night dreaming about him, us, playing in the field and I cried. I hated myself for having to do this, but It was the only choice possible, I couldn’t give him what he needed. Still I had this feeling that we were not done, that I would see him again. My friend kept me updated on his whereabouts and how he was doing.

A couple of years later the people didn’t want him anymore. He was sick and sad. I had no possibility to take him back so a friend of mine took him, as sick as he was, to her riding stable (riding school). I am forever grateful to her. I treated him with oils and sat with him, promising that I would never again abandon him. but he didn’t want to either look or “talk”  to me. When he was young we created a game; he would take off my hat and wave it in the air and one day when I was sitting in his box, he came over to me, bent his head, took my cap and waved it in the air; I was forgiven. He healed quickly then and became his own happy self again. Now he works for his living, he has a wonderful life and a little girl that cares for him. I go visit him and ride him sometimes. We are friends and we’ll stay friends. Twice we were separated, twice he was ill…

Now he is 16 years old, he has turned all white, my little magical pony. He is in love with a pretty  mare. When he has holidays he spends his time on the field and I can see him more often then.

I am not surprised that he came back into my life. We are friends and connected in a very deep way. We don’t spend much time together as he lives in the other end of the country, but the moments we have together are wonderful and fulfilling. He doesn’t need me, he just wants to know that I am there, in his life. And I continue learning from this wonderfully clever and brave little pony.

WHEN CHAOS PATTERNED ITSELF

This has been a long quiet summer of contemplation, mentoring young adults, learning and letting go. The summer just went on and on forever but yesterday I felt the first real breath of autumn and I know it is here to stay. Today the last young ones left me and I am finally alone with time to gather, synthesize and activate the input from summer’s activities (and lack thereof 🙂 ).

At the time I paused in my writing my head went into simple chaos and I could find no pattern, there was nothing in there but scattered pictures, words, ideas and feelings. I could do nothing about it and I felt myself losing control. That was the first learning, the illusion that I had control. Then everything I had been doing or planning just exploded into little fragments and I realized that I could only let go and hope for the best. Sort of freaky. I was alone for some time which I spent meditating and waiting while sitting on my terrace or working in the garden. The village went silent as people went away for the holidays and then the young ones started coming, young random people who came looking for me asking me to teach them. At first I was weary; teach what? and why? But I let them stay. Then, as I started learning, I could teach them what they needed, what they came looking for. They became my teachers and little by little the chaos in me started forming into patterns.

All summer I have been receiving words, just simple words, and I write them down in a book, giving each word a page. Little by little these pages get filled with clues to the meaning of the words, what all those chaotic pieces in my head mean. I am still in “reception-mode” but I feel it is coming to an end and it will shortly be time to take action. I am still not sure how that will look, getting only one clue at a time 🙂 but it is exciting.

I spent much time watching nature around me; a little miniature universe of teachers. Watching nature takes time and there are great teachings to be had.

This summer was unusual, it was amazing (and scary) to be thrown into chaos and having no control over anything at all. I realize this is the only place in which we can truly receive, because all the “chatter” and what we think we know sort of disappears. The teachings I have received astound me and I am filled with a kind of exaltation. But now I want to work.

CHILDREN

Children live and act from their hearts until they are told differently. A child is forever telling their world around them of their love; little physical gestures, a picture, doing a chore unasked… The list is long. If you pay attention to this, and see the child and her efforts, she will stay loving and generous. All children need to be seen, not because they are children, but because they are people who will become adults. Biologically a child needs to be seen to survive, not only on an emotional level, but also physical; a child who is seen will be fed and cared for. The worst thing that can happen to a child is indifference.

If you are indifferent to a child and forget to pay attention to their communication they will try another way, usually the opposite, by becoming obnoxious, loud and aggressive. This kind of behaviour always attracts attention, and the child got what it wanted – even though it is not positive: A seen child is fed and cared for. This stretches all the way back to our origins. We might have evolved but our basic needs are still the same.

Children are constantly hungry for knowledge; they are forever asking why, what is that, how does it function. They learn and remember easily and effortlessly, because usually what they want to know is connected to understanding their world. A child will always learn from her level of need. I have seen children teach themselves to read, swim, ride, count and much more, only from curiosity and need. Still society seems to believe that if children are not trained according to the “rules” of schooling, they will grow up to be uneducated imbeciles!

Often children are forced into a pattern of learning that does not fit with their development or skills and they feel stupid. A child who feels stupid either gives up or fights. A child learns while in movement, still we force them to sit still. A child can hold concentration for a maximum of 20 minutes, how many minutes does a class last? Children need to move constantly through the day, yet the sit and sit for hours.

We are guides for our children, our job is to back them up on their journey to becoming adults, not to tell them what to do. Children, more often than not, have a much stronger sense for right and wrong than do adults and their world is non-judgemental and caring.

I heard about this school: Sudbury Valley School where the whole learning process is built on children’s ability to “get what they need”. Take a look and prepare yourself to be most impressed by their work.

Tao te ching

Tomorrow I start living the Tao. I will document this in a special blog:

http://annastao.wordpress.com

In this blog I will chronicle every aspect of the journey; frustrations, learning and understanding. I believe it will take about a year. If anybody else is doing, or about to do, anything like this, please share.

THE BRAIN

Previously I have talked about how we react to scents and how essential oils can interact with us through the limbic system of the brain. We constantly program our brains (subconscious) with different information; the more emotional the information is, the stronger the programming. Every time we are subjected to an impulse we immediately go to our archives and do a rapid search to find a correlation. Once some kind of correlation is found, we judge the latest impulse from this.  By doing this we are re-acting on impulses instead of acting upon them as something new and unknown, which hinders us from learning and experiencing. Another result from this is that we stop being in the present which lowers our ability to learn because the mind is associating to a known past or unknown future. Children are amazingly good at being in the present,  learning and remembering continuously.

Children learn better than adults on average not because they have better brains, but because they are still using their brains in the way they were designed to be used, and have not yet taken on board so many incorrect formulas” Tony Buzan

I have looked at the work of Tony Buzan and I like the simple way he structures thought and learning. By doing the mind-map work you stay in the present and by working creatively you enhance the memory. The mind-map is nothing new, I have done this off and on in my life, and I am sure plenty of you have done too, especially when you were kids!

Here is an interesting page where Tony Buzan tells his story, it’s well worth a read.

SELF-HELP

There is a saying; “don’t give them fish, teach them how to fish”.

Many people who  come to see me want a “quick fix”, hoping that I will wave my magic wand and all that is difficult will just vanish. It doesn’t function like this. We have become so used to the quick fixes of medicine and drugs, that we have become unaware of how we live and influence our lives. When there is imbalance, be it physical, emotional or whatever, something needs to be changed and a quick fix only postpones this moment of change.

Often people are shocked by what they need to do to change a negative situation; nutritional habits, sleeping habits, medication, drugs, thought-patterns…. and they get upset by this. Well, we often sit in our imbalanced situations because we allowed ourselves to get there through bad habits and/or choices. We are all responsible for our lives and we are the only ones who can change anything. And no, it’s not easy – but who ever said it would be? If we really want something badly enough, we go for it – no matter the cost or work it entails. This is how we should live our lives.

Some people call me a life-saver, thanking me for saving their lives, others say that I do nothing for them. To both groups I say the same: “I am only a tool, albeit a very good one, but you are the one doing the work and using me as a tool. Results or no, it’s all up to you”. And the people who do the work and stick with it always, ALWAYS, reach their goals. Sometimes we fall down, or off the wagon, but that is also learning, look for the mechanics; why did it happen? then get up, brush yourself off and get on with it. Nothing is ever lost because of small “mis-takes” on the way, but they can be valuable lessons and keys to success.

Everybody can do it