In this vast world of institution, I’ve experienced anger and frustration but mostly very deep hurt. I’ve processed this over time and been with many of its outcomes. I’m at a very gentle place with it all now and able to find clarity as well as the many gifts the experiences have given to me. I am grateful for that, but it has taken a while and I’ve made many changes along the way to my life and my work. There were certain things that I became ambitious about, but with no way to find my voice in explaining them or asking for help with them. I always knew that every process would take longer to be adjusted too, to be realized, and for me to work out how to go about it.
My struggle with understanding formats and organisational stuff made a lot of things difficult for me. I have felt continual frustration eventually having to leave the space because everything felt like it was in a ‘foreign language.’ Which, of course, meant literally leaving the space or by ‘spacing out.’
When my mind somehow managed to catch up with something that was being discussed for instance, it would be too late and it would be as if I was bringing up an already dealt with issue that had long been left behind. Trying to ‘step in’ could leave me feeling humiliated and misunderstood. I learnt the art of keeping myself quiet through fear of this. Yet I knew I had an amazing mind, quite capable of extraordinary things, still it felt unnoticed and unrecognised by my teachers or peers, parents or elders, possibly apart from my Grandmother of whom I have spoken before.
A spark flitted about in there somewhere, it sometimes burnt a little less enthusiastically, sometimes burning to edges it would rather not play with, but often it could miss completely and the dampness of existence would become clear with no warmth for the chilled bones. No possibility of creative thinking or building a creative force inside me. Only I could re-light that fire, only I could do the work necessary, only I could blow a breeze across my own pile of earthen fuel and ignite the power source within it. So blow my own trumpet and move my body I must and ensure I speak out in a way I would be heard and dance in a way I would be seen. Not just for myself but for all of humanity.
I recognise a huge need within institutions, particularly in schools, for children to explore how they understand things, not to separate out the chaff from the wheat, but to ensure that the teacher is making sense in all of the worlds of the complex human mind. Feelings need to be taken into account and if a child does not understand, then it is important that the teacher acknowledges her own inability to help with this and finds a way to adjust the teachings accordingly. It is also important that the other children do not ridicule or belittle others but learn that we all have different minds and ways of understanding each other.
Is this ever fully acknowledged in school? Is there a way for teachers of whatever age groups to make space for discussions on how we think and feel? Institution holds many turbulent fires, and can also dampen out many creative beings, becoming the source of a dysfunctional pattern that takes a lifetime to solve.
Many times throughout my childhood I felt the need to simply ‘give up.’ This could be quite a traumatic experience evoking all kinds of feelings. I could not understand them myself or have any notion of how to explain to others. I made the assumption that I was incapable and that others were much better than me. So many of my feelings went underground as certainly no one knew how to help me or even how to discuss what was going on. The school report simply read “Caroline could do better.”
The questions that have arisen are the ones that relate to how the school addresses those with a mind that does not easily follow what others see as the norm. And I am not even talking about addressing children with dyslexia, autism or other well-known and very interesting conditions. I am curious about minds like mine, who only really see things as pictures, feelings or emotions. Hand me a load of text and I can easily look the other way and try to find the essence of it rather than what it actually says.
Children of this nature seem to be expected to make a bigger attempt to fit the organizational, institutional academic way of thinking, but I do not see any attempt for those who find this easy, to step into their way of communication now and again. I feel I have misinterpreted so much, not understood and lost out many times. How many artists have this same difficulty, musicians and poets, people who are incredibly sensitive, but totally misunderstood?
How is the creative spark ever to become the burning fire it needs to be? And my dancer shows me the pattern, a simple form that unravels itself. A pattern that was in place for a purpose and if I take my whole journey from beginning to now, this moment, I can see how necessary it has been, for I would not be in this place now if it hadn’t existed. I see the negative aspects within it, I see myself giving myself away, but I also see the quality of service that has ensued and how it has kept me connected to that greater source of power. Had I filled my life with my own small web of existence, it would never now have the opportunity to be a strong connected force deeply interlinked with the world it once belonged to in a different way. There are many ways in which I have ‘given myself away.’ Ah yes, a strong habit many of us have carried, all too easy to do and yet it holds one of my greatest teachings and as I turn it around it becomes the fruit of all my labors. The fruit of my rose, the essence of the deepest part of my soul.
Sometimes my mind is a constant stream of downloading information. There are times I long for it to stop, sleep becomes minimal and I have to write and write so that there is a channel for the words and the feelings. I can rarely read a book these days, there is enough information coming in as it is, any more and I am on overload.
Then there have been times when I have felt the need to write but had no idea what to write about. It’s as if the information is there, asking to be written, but I’ve no idea what it is. My hands want to be busy as if they have their own dance and need to express something. I know that my hands are connected to my heart and to Spirit, my fingertips and my thumbs, all part of my own way of speaking. They have their language and skip merrily across that page, tripping over each other to dance a dance and allow the words to present themselves. My mind gets lost and allows them to do the work, no sensor, just play.
What will they discover today, what I will read back from the page. I have no idea until the end!
Taken From ‘The Circle, The Fire & The Phoenix.’