We have been unschooling our children since birth. It has been an enlightening, healing and amazing journey to get to where we are today. It has taken us many years to fully understand the philosophy of non-coercive, respectful, peaceful parenting. Just when I think we have reached our destination in how we wish to parent, I learn that we have a long way to go before total enlightenment, peace and ease with how we live our unique life.
The other day, I wanted to take my children somewhere special for a walk. I am forever searching for new experiences and adventures for our family, so I had the perfect place for us to visit. We went to a labyrinth. I had never walked a labyrinth before and I was awestruck at how sacred a place it seemed to be. We walked up and over a grassy hill to see this amazing creation, where someone had carefully laid down hundreds of stones to create an incredible walking path. The stones had been there for a really long time because moss had grown all around them. It was just breathtaking. I knew we were somewhere very special.
A labyrinth is similar to a maze, but there is only one way through it. When you get to the center, and walk back out again, you have reached your destination. My children and I started following the stone-edged path leading in a circle. I had explained to them that I was going to contemplate while walking around it, as a note at the entrance had suggested. I never told them any certain way they had to “be” while walking it themselves, but as I went on, they followed closely behind me in total silence. I wonder now what they were contemplating. I tried to be totally present so I could really feel what emotions or feelings came up during this walk.
I really had such clarity in thought. I had known in theory what a labyrinth was used for, but I did not understand on a metaphysical level until I actually walked one. Just as I would think I was reaching the center of the labyrinth, it swept me around again even further away from the center than I thought I was. It was not frustrating to me; I was actually pleasantly surprised every time I thought I was coming to the center only to be swept around again. I enjoyed being together so much on this journey with my children.
During our last loop around, I could see the center was near. I felt a warm wave flow through my body as a realization bubbled to the surface of my thoughts. With fresh clarity, I understood our unschooling journey in a whole new way. Our journey has been much like this labyrinth! Just as I think I am coming to a greater understanding and getting to the destination, the place I strive to be, I am pleasantly swept further around as I come to even a deeper level of understanding of this incredible life with my children.
As we walked back around, in the other direction, I was left to contemplate my journey. Every time I walk my own, personal labyrinth, I learn to let go a little bit more, I understand my children’s perspective a bit more or I heal from my past a bit more. Every time around I feel closer to my destination.
But does this labyrinth ever end? When it comes to unschooling, does one ever really get to the center, the destination of their own, personal journey? Is it more about that long, peaceful walk, the journey; and not the destination at all? I may never know, but I find great comfort in trusting that as I navigate toward my own center of understanding, it will be peaceful and joyous because we will be walking hand-in-hand through our own, unique unschooling labyrinth together.