The Heart of the Matter
January 02, 2019
Sushila Wood's Lifelong Journey of Learning Continues to Unfold

9951755_300x300.jpg ED NOTE: This just in from aspiring Waldorf educator, mother of three, and long-time student of Prem Rawat, Sushila Wood...

Herein I commence the new year tradition of letter writing, carrying a small flame of what once was our primary method of communication. It's 5-6 minute read.

How did I get here?

At age 11, I uncovered a deep need for a relationship with my inner self. A story I had listened to several dozen times suddenly took on another dimension and understanding my inner resources became my focus. A few years later I ran away from home and school. I remember the crisp beach-side autumn air and the ridiculousness of riding my bike wearing my favorite white linen baggy pants that kept getting caught in the chain. The stains never came out, but I appreciated what they represented for years after. I did something.

I got a $5 an hour job flipping burgers at a gourmet burger joint in North Sydney's business district. I loved the endless supply of alfalfa sprouts and avocado and the lone morning walks along the harbor foreshores. I particularly disliked going to bed smelling like meat and grease. Looking into the eyes of all those kind-faced, educated customers was difficult -- they could afford to eat out daily and were convinced that it was worth paying an extra few dollars for one of our specially crafted burgers. Some of them wondered what I was doing there, exactly the minimum age to start legally working.

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I got a free lunch daily, but otherwise couldn't sustain the gourmet eating, living in a hostel room with a moldy, shared bathroom and a blocked shower drain. It was the glaringly obvious daily stench that pushed me to not give up on being educated.

I came to my senses.

More than 20 years later, I can look back and laugh at my naivete. If I could tell my younger ego-filled dragon one thing, it would be:

"Humbly, learn from others' mistakes. You don't need to make all the mistakes for yourself."

My career dreams and life goals played out. I got a dream job and bought a house at 21, completed a Bachelor's degree and moved to California. There I became a producer of the very videos that had so inspired me to seek a connection to my inner self. (At the end of this letter is a link to one such video, called Always Remember.)

When all the dreams on my list had been fulfilled, I took a step back. Did I just need a new list of dreams? I realized dreams are fleeting, like the hugs from a one-year old when their arms don't quite reach around your neck, and the way they say "Wuv" instead of love. Precious. Beautiful. Fleeting.

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In 2011, I became a Mom and identity crisis 101 happened. Being Mom, suddenly nobody cares what you do, or once did. Motherhood is the best gift imaginable, yet it requires the most amount of effort conceivable. Success is happy children, a happy family, and a happy mom, yet all of those things seem to cancel each other out at times. I want to do my best. I fall again and again. I get up and keep trying. It's like learning how to walk. There is no giving up. Sparks of light fly in every direction and the world is discovered anew with the learnings of each child. Awe is a prevalent state of being. I am indeed grateful that my own mother and father never gave up despite what I put them through.

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As my three children grow, I want the best of life for them. And in wanting the best for them, I have discovered I also want the best for all the other children and the grown-ups too. Above our basic needs, which themselves present a huge, worldwide challenge, I see the efforts of a person, whether young or old, have the potential to send them on paths of passionate discovery, with empathy, enthusiasm and kindness.

I want to teach children that it is about their effort, just like when they learned to walk. Unrelenting effort. Assuming their basic needs are met, with love and support, there is rarely a question of giving up. When you truly give your best effort, every moment along the way might not be filled with joy, but you can surprise yourself, and maybe discover something new that is worthy of attention. The best thing about effort is that you are the only one qualified to judge whether you gave something your best shot. That's a relief.

Much of today's learning is focused on what we can fill our heads with. But our thoughts are only one part of what makes us human. When you ask a person, "How are you?," the complete question is really three questions: "How is your health?" "How is your mental state?" And "how are your relationships?" These are all essential parts of our existence in this world.

The year 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of Rudolf Steiner's approach to education, beginning as the first Waldorf school. The impulse for starting it was pure -- do something good for humanity after the devastation of World War I. It is the one approach I have found that resonates closest with my vision of learning. It's not because I like dogma or old fashioned things. It's because Steiner's vision was of a holistic education, educating the body, mind and spirit -- the hands, head, and heart. The child is the curriculum and each teacher has complete freedom to choose what will best help the child along their way.

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The very beautiful caveat that Steiner presented regarding education is that the education must be living. So I am honored to be living and learning and now helping those awestruck, smaller people learn all the things, including about their inner self. In Steiner's words:

"Inner knowledge is no different from other kinds of human knowledge and ability. It is a mystery for the average person only to the extent that writing is a mystery for those who have not yet learned to write."

For that inner aspect of learning, Prem Rawat really knows what he is talking about. He's the one who told that story that awakened my need to know my inner self. Thankfully, he is prolific in sharing his wisdom.

In assessing all the options for helping the children learn, I was compelled to study Steiner's education methods and theories. If all goes well, I will graduate as a Waldorf teacher in May 2019. You may already know that I started a GoFundMe campaign to help me graduate. You can read more about that here: So far, 25 people have helped me reach over 10% of my campaign goal. If one of those people was you, THANK YOU!

In lifelong learning, it is a relief to know I can always seek the advice of others. I humbly finally understand that it is always -- always -- okay to ask for help.

NOW I MUST ASK: Are you able to help me with the funds needed to complete my education? If so, I gratefully accept your support in any amount.

May you carry your light into the new year with empathy, kindness and passion. I wish you prosperity of the heart.

Happy New Year!

Sushila

PS: If you feel to share what's been happening for you , I would love to hear from you.

PPS: Here is the link to the video I produced, as mentioned above. It's a 9-minute investment of your time.

PPPS: Here is my GoFundMe campaign link

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at January 2, 2019 06:48 PM

Comments

James James Morrison Morrison
Weatherby George Dupree.
Took great care of his mother
Though he was only three.

James James said to his mother.
"Mother!" he said, said he.
"You must never go down to the end of town
If you don't go down with me."

AA Milne.

My most recent mistake
Is not my last
Only my latest.

Murray Willis 1998

Amaroo adventurer.
Boonah Warrior.
Ah those were the days.

Posted by: Murray Willis [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 2, 2019 10:35 PM

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