January 22, 2018

Planting Mountains

Many think that I am riding this lifetime suspended in a purple basket under a giant air balloon of changing colors and in bold, bright letters the word IMAGINATION is written across my balloon. In spite of my horrible fear of heights, I love my floating home.  The world is a wonderful place and I have an awesome view!

My view is of magic, of fluctuation and in the changing tides of life.

I am accompanied on this voyage by some pretty remarkable beings not the least of whom are my grandchildren.

As many of you know I have spent hours and hours under our big blue blanket exploring the ocean depths with the girls.  Oh the magic we have seen!

We have, also, planted rocks to see if mountains will grow. Don't laugh, mountains grow very slow. Besides, the Rockies might have been planted millions of years ago by a Nana and her little munchkins.

We climb trees and walk the river trail. We observe the birds and the bugs and the changing of seasons.

I have supervised many recipes being created in our game of Worm Soup.  You never know what comes of mixing green grass and slightly wilted tulips with sunscreen, a pinch of furniture polish, a handful of wood chips and a cup of hand shredded gluten-free tortillas.  The results are not just the worm soup in these adventures but the stories that are woven as mixtures are being concocted and stirred or the holes dug and soiled tamped over the planted rocks.

We weave stories of discovery, we unlock doors into worlds yet to be explored and often find ourselves in spaces that are dusty and long-forgotten, having been abandoned long ago when the lights of creativity and  adventure have been extinguished.

Last week, as four of my granddaughters and I sat around the kitchen table doing homework we were faced with an incredible dilemma.  Alaina, she is the 7 year old who, as her mom recently discovered, is channeling a liberated Flapper entertainer of the 1930's, was working on an assignment her teacher created for the class. The lesson was designed to teach grammar, editing and sentence structure. Typically we fly through the grammar paper and get on to spelling and math.  We ran headlong into a concrete wall.  It was a simple statement followed by the question, "Real or Not"?

The statement:  The garden had fairies in it.

Excuse me?  How can we know?  We don't even know who's garden it is, how could we know if there are fairies in it?  Could the teacher, whom we really liked (up until now) think that Alaina or any other 7 year old could answer this question with the words "not real" and break the hearts of millions of fairies everywhere?

How to answer?  There are only two options given....Real or Not.  Is this how it starts? Is this how our children are forced into that tight little box of our culture? With a simple statement and limited only to two choices.

If she answers one way, (the way in which her soul just sings because it feels so right) it can be marked wrong  and Alaina wouldn't get her little Plus-sign or Happy Face at the top of the page, and she does love her Happy Faces.  Or she can answer the other way, the only other option and her spirit feels just a little pinch, the first of many to come if she lets herself be limited by another's belief in limitations.

I say, change the rules!  Write a question back:  Who's garden is this?  Are you counting glass or stone fairies? Are you counting the fairies that come and go or the fairies that actually live there? Tell the teacher there is not enough information to adequately answer the question.  Write "It is a Mystery!" in the blank space and move on.  Go out in Nana's front yard and ask the fairies that live at the base of the sycamore tree in the holly what they would say!

Do not let others' perceptions of a world of limitations get in the way of your creativity, your imagination or the abundance of options in the universe. Most important of all, don't let the need for the approval of others make you hide your light and your spirit.

Don't let someone else's happy face at the top of your paper become more important than dancing in the light of All There Is.

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