Friday, February 5, 2010

Farewell Big Grandpa

My dad passed away on Wednesday.  While he will be missed, we are feeling a deep peace at his release from suffering.  Big Grandpa, as Amelie called him, found out his cancer had come back one year ago. Despite the physical limitations cancer created for his body, he spent the last year doing the things he loved... spending time with friends, family, and nature.  Services will be held Monday afternoon.  Until then, we're spending quiet time together just remembering, breathing, and letting our hearts shine light to guide him on is way.  

The preciousness of human life lies in our heart's ability to love.  My dad loved so many of us and was loved in return.  Thank you all for your support during this difficult time.  The gentle touch of friendship is holding us in a warm embrace.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Beneath the Surface

Our February thematic unit, Life Beneath the Surface, is under way. We're honoring the halfway point through winter by remembering that underneath earth's barren surface, life is preparing to be born.  

Yesterday, we created a new yoga flow where we plough the earth preparing the soil, plant ourselves like little seeds, and, with sunshine and rain, grow into tall, tall trees.  The sequence is demonstrated below.

Throughout the month, we'll hear stories about planting our intentions, watering the seeds in our consciousness that help foster compassion, and how our minds are like a garden where every kind of seed is planted (seeds of  happiness, peace, anger, and fear). The quality of life, as Thich Nhat Hanh writes in Understanding our Mind, depends on the quality of the seeds. By learning how to water seeds of joy, understanding, love, and compassion can flower.
First, in pough pose, we prepare the soil.  Then, with the ground awakened, the seed is planted (child's pose) and nestled snugly in the soft soil.  With sunshine and rain the seed begins to stir, then sprout up from the seemingly barren surface. The little sprout's roots dig deep into the solid earth (mountain pose).  With blessings (prayer pose) the little sprout grows and grows (tree pose 1) and grows (tree pose 2).

Some highlights from our letter P week:
  • Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerry Lee MacLean in which two piggies balance stressful, hectic lives with regular meditation
  • Poetry Soup -- a night of candlelight and classic children's poetry while making soup with veggies from our certified organic CSA, Riverdog Farm 
  • Punxsutawney Phil and a lesson on the origin of Groundhog Day (see: Celebrating Candlemas - School of the Seasons)
  • Plough Pose and Prayer Pose
  • Puppet Theatre
  • Piano Practice
  • Playtime with Anchor Stone blocks
  • Letter P Scavenger Hunt (we found persimmon, pine and plum trees, puppies, poles, and people).
  • Still planned is painting with Pablo Picasso, potting plants, and planting peas.  

Anchor Stones were designed by Friedrich Fröbel, the creator of the kindergarten system. They are made of natural stone so precisely cut and polished that they fit together perfectly.

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