I crave open space. Not just in a physical sense but also within the realms of mental and emotional breaks and gaps...wide open space. It heals me, it gives me room to simply breathe and it takes me into greater understanding of my relationship with self.
The family I was born into knows this of me. They know my need for space in many forms and they often do their best to accommodate that need of mine. They don't push and prod, they often extend spaciousness. In that spaciousness is where I know I can thrive, through making my own decisions and mistakes. This is one thing I really hope to extend to my own children....space. Space without trips of guilt, without passive aggressive prodding, without manipulation of any sort. Just space. To be...to live as I choose.
Whenever I feel that there are demands being placed upon me or my world involving motherhood, I start feeling the walls close in. It doesn't matter if it is in the form of culture or individual not-so-spacious requests placed upon our time and rhythm. It doesn't matter if they are big or small. Sometimes I just start feeling a tad claustrophobic. This is when it is most important to invite space in. Sometimes that just means listening to my heart...saying no...taking off...creating space. Often it comes in the form of finding some physical expansiveness within the tightness of a city and the fast paced culture that our society loves to love.
Doing this somehow ignites breath and I find myself inhaling and exhaling...as if I knew how to do it all along. When I can grab moments with my children where they are free to roam and "be", I see these moments where my own awareness is mirrored in their natural play. Freedom. Exploration without judgement. No one to fit in but their own longings and adventure. Totally and amazingly grounded in confident awareness.
I get fueled through this exchange. As a mother, I can breathe easy knowing my kids have plenty of room to run. I feel my shoulders fall and my mind expand and I know that this is good.
Yesterday we had the chance to meet up with Grandpa GG at a big, long, grassy park to feed the ducks and geese.
It was blissful and energetic, beautiful and simple...and spacious.
In effort to invite more of this freedom into our play, I have been led to many resources and encouragement. Because, in truth, at times it takes effort to create opportunity for this freedom to feel invited in such a world as ours. I want to share something that has been brought into my attention and world.
I'm posting some information about a local screening of an important documentary (Where do the Children Play?) that touches on the subject of children and natural, unstructured, creative play. Lovely words, aren't they.
If you are a local who is interested in viewing this screening...please contact me for any information you may need."Where Do the Children Play? grew out of Elizabeth Goodenough’s work on “secret spaces of childhood” at the University of Michigan. The film was written and directed by Christopher Cook and produced by Michigan Television. “Children need free time every day to discover their own abilities, desires, and limitations,” says Goodenough, who also edited the film’s accompanying study guide. “Open-ended exploration and play in woods, fields, vacant lots, or other semi-wild spaces enhances curiosity and confidence throughout life.” A marked decline in children’s spontaneous and creative play is a key factor in their increasing mental health problems, according to a recent statement from an international group of educators and children’s advocates. They called for “a wide-ranging and informed public dialogue about the intrinsic nature and value of play in children’s healthy development.” Their letter echoed a recent warning from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): children have far too little time for unstructured play, which leads to increased stress in their lives. Causes of the demise of play cited by the group include parental fears of “stranger danger” and the explosion of electronic entertainment—to the point of addiction for some—in the lives of today’s children. These and other issues are explored in the film. The lead author of the AAP report, Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, appears in the documentary, along with Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, British “playworker” Penny Wilson, and other experts in child development, psychology, and urban planning."
***First viewing is scheduled for this coming Sunday. It should be a wonderful web of words and information...and I anticipate it provoking great thought and conversation!***
And a few places you can visit for more info: