Four weeks of Nia on Wednesday nights has left me feeling refreshed and confident. I am loving my class and enjoying the opportunity to teach again. I was wondering if the positive effect of Nia was as visible to others as we sensed it in our bodies. Last night I took a before and after picture. I see a difference...what about you?

Which picture do you think is the "before" picture and which picture is the "after" picture?

Mistwalking Mama

I've been loosely following the recent flurry of posts on an un-schooling yahoo group about being ready to un-school. Reading the responses has caused me to remember, just six months ago, when I was sitting in the hallway at my daughter's school. We had just left school office, where the guidance counselor had told Sophia that she should toughen up, teasing was just going to get worse next year in middle school.

There I sat, on a bench by the front door, with my beautiful 11-year-old daughter clinging to me like I was her life boat and she were in the middle of the ocean surrounded by sharks. My bright beautiful girl had never been clingy before in her life. What was going on here?

We'd been trying to figure out how to deal with all of the teasing and bullying at school, and we had come to the end of the line. I sat there and thought to myself, if I were to make her go back into the classroom, if I were to make her be near that kid who was teasing her and bullying her and was in every single class with her, then I would be forcing her to live with her abuser. Now, I know that the kid who was teasing her was in over his head, all kids are in school - too many kids, too few parents. But, from Sophia's point of view, sending her back into that classroom would be teaching her do something I NEVER want her to learn - silently suffer abuse - NO WAY.

So, I sat there with her.

I breathed.

I looked.

I looked at the kids and the teacher, the windows and the sun light shinning onto the polished floors.

I looked at the front door.

And, I thought to myself, I can walk out of here with her.

I can walk out with her and never come back.

I can home-school.

And, so, the week before winter vacation started and without having said a thing to my husband, I walked out of the city's best elementary school holding my daughter's hand. And, together we began our homeschooling adventure.

That afternoon, I picked up my son from the same school. I shared my plans with him and asked if he'd like to join us in homeschooling. And, over the course of the week, he came to the decision to home-school too.

We then discovered un-schooling two months later - and I am ever so grateful. This approach is helping to heal relationships that were damaged over the past several years.

In the midst of the first month of unschooling my husband broke down - Elli, this feels so crazy. Elli, you can't work and I need you to make money. Elli, we've got the family bed in our room again.

I listened to his fear, let him rage, and again, I breathed.

I held to my truths - that un-schooling is delicious beyond belief, that my kids and I crave time together and that this was the best thing for all of us, that we had things to recover from and things to discover together, that we needed to slow down, that the Universe would deliver.

I can tell you, though, that sunny morning that I sat in my daughter's school and came to the realization that I could leave it all behind, felt to me like I was on the top floor of a skyscraper and that I had decided the best thing to do next was to open a window and walk out onto the mist.

I am so glad that I listened to my heart and not my head!!!



Jewels, Frogs, and Mirrors

I have sisters who catch my tears. They catch my tears like gems and jewels cascading out of my eyes. They catch my tears like water in the desert. Cupped in their hands, my tears splash and sparkle.

And, when I am done crying, only then, do they set my tears down. Gently.

On the table, "Oh look," they exclaim, "a rosy ruby, an emerald of the deepest green, a perfect pearl."

On the parched and sandy soil, my tears seep through their fingers, and drip into the ground. Together we watch a once-in-fifteen-years flower bloom, its delicate petals open to the sun. Wide eyed we hold hands and watch as a little desert frog emerges from its dry hibernation, mates and lays eggs, and then slips back into the mud just as the land starts to crackle and dry, nestling down for another long slumber.

Yes, I have sisters who catch my tears. And, when I find myself spinning alone in the dark, wondering which way is up, my heart breaking in two, I call them. And, they listen to my tale through the moans and the hiccups. I call them, and they tell me back my story. I call them, and their gentle voices soothe. I call them. I call them.

Oh, I have sisters, tear catching, dancing, singing sisters wearing beautiful dresses, gowns covered in mirrors.

I love them, my sisters. I love how my call to them saves me. I love how they tell me things I wish I had the wisdom to tell myself. I love to hear their voices. I love me shedding my tears and them catching in cupped hands, my tears. I love them, tears and sisters; sisters and tears.