BENEFITS beyond just "be a better parent"

Providing things usually obtained formally in other ways.


Fellowship
In early 2012, Rippy Dusseldorp wrote something very interesting about the value of the feedback on "Always Learning." She was responding to something Pam Sorooshian had written. I'll put the links of the full responses below. Part of Pam's and all of Rippy's are here:

Pam Sorooshian wrote:

I don't know of anywhere else outside of a therapeutic relationship where you can get this kind of direct, critical, and honest feedback. Over the years, I have very often been amazed at the insights expressed here. I have sometimes reacted emotionally and felt something was harshly said, and I have felt defensive, but it is worth it to take the risk and learn to get over it. I have learned SO much about myself and relationships and parenting and, really, about living, through the interactions here.
Rippy:
While I was growing up, I used to get this type of feedback when my family went to 'sangat'—small fellowships in the Sikh faith where in part people learn about living with kindness and integrity. Sikhism believes that we are all on a path to reunite with the source (God) and for this to happen, you need to become kinder and more compassionate. "Direct, critical, and honest feedback" was highly valued and appreciated.

 photo IMG_2105.jpg My family used to regularly travel to India to a Sikh ashram where we were encouraged to examine our thoughts and words. The philosophy there was that helping one another grow into more loving, mindful people is one of the greatest acts of service one can do. Some of the most valuable skills that I learned in life and use every day were learned in the fellowship and ashram.

I was frequently reminded that 'thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits, habits become your character and your character becomes your destiny'. My dad was gifted at helping me be more thoughtful with my words and actions, and make better choices. He was the kindest person I knew.

This list is especially dear to me because my dad passed away before I had children. Often when I read here, I realize the advice is probably similar to something my dad would have suggested. Reading here makes me feel closer to him. For me, Always Learning feels like my fellowship.

Rippy


Therapeutic benefits
Pam Sorooshian wrote:
I don't know of anywhere else outside of a therapeutic relationship where you can get this kind of direct, critical, and honest feedback. Over the years, I have very often been amazed at the insights expressed here. I have sometimes reacted emotionally and felt something was harshly said, and I have felt defensive, but it is worth it to take the risk and learn to get over it. I have learned SO much about myself and relationships and parenting and, really, about living, through the interactions here.
Marta Venturini Machado responded:
I have a psychology/family therapy degree (having clinically practiced for some time) and I was in therapy (cognitive-behavioural therapy) as a client for five years, some years ago (from my mid-twenties up until my thirty-something's). As a psychologist and as a client, I very much believed and accepted the common therapeutic approach to people's issues, but I have to say that I'm not so sure about it's effectiveness anymore. I know I don't have all the answers yet, as I'm still learning and at the beginning of this journey (not even remotely as experienced as some of the awesome moms who write here), but still, not sure...

First of all, five years of therapy didn't come close to all that has happened to me from reading and thinking daily about everything that is discussed on this list, in terms of personal growth. As Pam said, not only have I learned tons about unschooling and life-learning, but I've also been learning about relationships, about parenting, and ultimately about myself—everything seems to come hand in hand! ;)

 photo MartaSmile.jpgI'm a much happier person, more balanced, more thoughtful, calmer (not on a regular basis, I certainly still have my moments, as my husband can attest (ha!), but I'm working hard to do better every day, bit by bit). I try to be a sweet and joyful mom to my daughter, a thoughtful and loving wife to my husband, and a kind and attentive owner to my cats (just recently, by taking the time to really look at them, I found out that one of our cats, who I thought hated being petted, loves it... while she's eating!). I crave attention less and less. I crave people's approval less and less, to the point that I think I don't even need it anymore. :P I've dealt with problems in a totally different and new (to me!) way, in a more positive and confident way. I'm more secure of myself. I hardly ever feel anxious anymore. I stress less. I let go more. I've matured in ways I never thought possible. I see my parents differently, I understand them better now. I feel more empowered. I'm much more aware of when I'm reacting out of tiredness, or hunger, or hormones, or whatever, and I usually try to go take care of whatever I need to collect myself again, or simply just get out of the picture so I won't hurt anyone. I'm much more creative in problem-solving. I shut up when something unkind will probably come out of my mouth, or something that won't lead to a more peaceful moment. Not all the time, but a LOT more than I used to. I wake up with a smile on my face every single day. I feel a tremendous amount of peace in my life. Wow, just wow, as you can see, you guys beat the c*** out of my therapist, no doubt about it!

Secondly, a few years ago, before my daughter was even born, I recommended my therapist to a friend's wife. I trusted my therapist, thought she was the best. Well, my friend and his wife split up in January this year. They have a twelve year old son and had been together for almost twenty years. She's off with a new boyfriend, but with so many things still to be worked out inside herself (I know, I was a lot like her). I feel like apologizing to my friend now... Of course I don't know the details of everything that happened, but I do know that, had she been advised in another direction (other than "listen to your heart" or "listen to what you need", "focus on yourself now", which is what I'm guessing she was told), maybe they would still be together. From reading on this list and Sandra's site and book and the chats and thinking about all this on a daily basis, plus from my own personal experience already, what I do know now is that people can turn their lives around, they can turn their relationships around.

So, not even in most therapeutical relationships can a person find what I've found here, I'd say. There are tons of so-called experts out there that seem to not have a clue about how human beings work on so many levels! Plus, where can you find free therapeutical relationships that can take place on a daily basis?

I think this list and the work and dedication of such wonderful women like Sandra, Pam, Joyce, Schuyler, Brie, Meredith, Alex, Jenny, Robin, just to name a few, are priceless. I feel so blessed to have found it, to have found all of you. I'll be forever grateful for what you do, it's life-changing and world-changing, one family at a time.

Thank you Sandra, for dedicating yourself the way you do. You are such a special person. I'd also like to thank the moderators of the list for keeping it so solid, so grounded -- if it weren't for you, how could we be sure that what was being said here would lead us to more joyful and peaceful lives with our kids, with our partners, with ourselves? In my opinion, your hard work is what gives credibility to the information that is shared here. It was what it took to convince me to try what you were advising! Thank you to everyone who kindly and generously contributes to this list, with your insights of how things happened for you, I don't know if you can imagine how important it has been in our lives. You guys totally rock my world. :)))

Marta        November 29, 2012


Buddhist Precepts
Pam Sorooshian wrote:
I don't know of anywhere else outside of a therapeutic relationship where you can get this kind of direct, critical, and honest feedback. Over the years, I have very often been amazed at the insights expressed here.
Alison/almadoing responded:
I have been practicing Buddhist meditation at a centre near me for two years now. The teachers there are from a Dzogchen lineage which supports a transformative approach to Buddhism rather than the usual (in the West) renunciative.

Some have been curious why I have not chosen to "take refuge", which is a little ceremony to declare that you trust that the dharma (Buddhist teachings) are your "bottom line" in how you choose to live your life. Most people who stick around the centre do so after a few months. Well, for me, I have a second, secular, bottom line, and that is the wisdom of this list.

In fact, the two are telling the same truths. I was in a class the other night. First there were quotes from the Song of the Owl Headed Dakini (a Dzogchen interpretation of the five precepts for anyone interested). Then there was some discussion around the Buddhist philosophy, and finally the nitty gritty of what this means in everyday life. At that point I recognised, as so often, the voices from this list – Sandra, Meredith, Pam etc.

At the heart of Dzogchen Buddhism is the experiential knowledge of the non-duality of emptiness and form, and their constant exquisite interplay through energy. Emptiness can be experienced through wisdom and form through active compassion. In everyday parlance these are recognised as awareness and kindness. And where do I hear these concepts discussed on a daily basis? Here of course!

That's why I do not take refuge exclusively in the teachings of the Buddha, because I see the teachings there, and on this list, to be beautifully complementary. This list supports my growth as a person in exactly the same direction as my meditation practice does.

Thank you Sandra, and everyone, for your continued wisdom, helping me be the best I can.

Alison
DS1(10) and DS2(7) December 2, 2012


Rippy responded:
Alison wrote:
-=- the teachings of the Buddha ... and ... this list, [are] beautifully complimentary. This list supports my growth as a person in exactly the same direction as my meditation practice does. -=-
This is true for me too.

Earlier this year I started a blog called Seeking Nectar. Before I named my blog, I googled 'seeking nectar' to make sure another blog of the same name did not already exist and found this poem:

As a bee seeks nectar
from all kinds of flowers
seek teachings everywhere.

Like a deer that finds a quiet place to graze,
seek seclusion to digest all you have gathered.

Like a lion, live completely free of all fear.
And, finally, like a madman, beyond all limits,
go wherever you please.
- A Tantra of Dzogchen

From the Crystal and the Way of Light: Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen (Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy) by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu
The poem inspired me to describe our unschooling lives in this way on my blog:
To be nourished from beautiful and interesting ideas, people, places and things.
To learn from everywhere.
To take time to reflect.
To be daring.
To have adventures.
---

Happy Anniversary Always Learning!

Rippy


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