This month I've been writing about winter inspiration. A couple weeks ago I did seven re-posts from previous years, the most re-publishing I've ever done on the blog.
- Our First Time Family Backpacking
- Living Inspired: Post-Trip Reflections
- Celebrating Winter
- Finding more time. For real.
- One Day a Week ~ You never know where it might go
- Messy Weekends ~ The freedom of letting go
- Winter Evenings ~ The power of words
It's fun to pull a bunch of writing together, that's been done over different years, in different situations of my life, to see the common threads and truths.
This post is the recap of these nine posts, a wrap-up of winter inspiration and action.
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First, some quotes from those posts, which illustrate key points of inspiration and action, of having dreams and then making those happen.
Make time in your life to be inspired. This inspiration will give birth to dreams.
Imagine having time to unplug, time to dream, time to push your limits and boundaries.
All you feel is tired and cranky and maybe like this whole trip is just too much work. But then you hit the trail head. And your push yourself through that first mile and realize "I can do this".
Much of the weekend was spent talking and listening; dreaming and scheming. I came home from last weekend inspired to do something about it. To make changes on the small level that affect change on the big level.
Sure, I don't particularly love the work of getting ready, but you know what, life is work.
Hard work? Yes. But living the life you want is good work, life changing work, family building work. Kind of like backpacking.
I like to regularly remind myself that I am just passing through. Literally. When I die I don't take anything with me. None of us do. I want to live a life that brings me joy in the living, not in the acquiring and owning.
The beauty of winter (life) is all around, I just need to appreciate and celebrate it, not wish it away.
Enjoying winter (life) is a choice.
A strong, healthy family life provides the best structural framework for reaching our potential, for getting out the door, making ideas happen, getting things done, and doing the work.
Family life, when operating at its best, provides the unconditional love and accountability that humans need for personal growth and self actualization.
The process of writing clarifies goals and gives you a fixed point to work towards. This clarity, whether you are conscious of it or not, helps you sift through all the input coming your way. Helping you filter out that which is not helpful to your end cause or goal.
After you've been in nature for an extended period, say a few days or longer, you will start to see how your everyday patterns and quirks - maintaining a standard you thought was necessary - may not be so necessary after all.
And when you let go of controlling all these things, mentally and physically, you gift yourself and your family with more breathing room, more time, and more peace. You gift yourself with freedom.
I want this wrap up of inspiration and action to be very applicable to you, regardless of if you camp, hike, or ski. Regardless of if you live in the city or the woods, whether your "dream" is RVing around North America, homesteading, cycling from Alaska to Argentina, doing non-profit work in the Philippines, or traveling the world with your family.
So here's my takeaways from these nine posts, which are actually takeaways from five years of inspiration to action movement in our family life.
Give yourself space to dream.
For us that literally means wide open spaces. The more time we spend outdoors the more we dream. You might not be outdoorsy but I encourage you figure out some way to spend regular time outdoors with your family - walking, biking, beaching. Get into nature.
Evaluate your life.
Identify areas you want to see change and forward movement, and then work towards that. Write down your dreams, goals, values, and mission.
Start exactly where you are.
Today. And move forward. Don't disdain humble beginnings. We all start somewhere.
Surround yourself with inspiration.
Tune into inspiring people, music, blogs, books, and media. Be inspired in relationship and community.
Question the status quo.
Question what society says family life (student life, retired life, "wherever you are" life) must look like. Must it mean a house of a certain size, a job with certain benefits, a certain schedule? Get creative and think outside the box of how you might achieve your dreams.
Do something difficult.
Do something that you think might be nearly impossible. It will inspire you to do the next nearly impossible thing. You will set a precedent in your life of doing difficult things. And what was once difficult will be easy and you'll move on to more challenging tasks.
Allow for mess.
Moving ideas from inspiration to expression is messy (and you may experience what other people call failure, we call it growth), but this is the stuff of life. Let go of perfection. Getting out the door is better than never crossing the threshold.
Living is hard work.
Regardless of how you slice it it's going to be hard. Why not invest those energies into moving forward in your family and personal dreams and goals?
Do it together.
We're wired for relationship for many reasons, one of them is simply that there is strength in numbers. Working together helps you capitalize on individual strengths (you don't need to do it all!) and support each other in weakness.
I believe you can make goals and work towards them. You may currently feel trapped in a situation, but you can make choices, right now, today, that move you in the direction you want to go.
Questions to ask yourself
Where do we want to be? What direction do we want to go in? (Hint: You'll need some dreams to point the way.)
What can we do right now, today, that moves use closer to that?
What are we willing to change in our life to make that happen?
Where can we find inspiration for these dreams? How can we surround ourselves with inspiring dreamers and doers?
What big, scary difficult thing can set our sights on? And how do we move that direction?
Who are we, together? How can we maximize our "team effect"?
There are no guarantees in life. Ever. There are no guarantees of success, health, or happiness when you "go with the flow" or accept the status quo. So why not live the life you dream of living?
In the context of homeschooling
I'd like to suggest that homeschooling is no different.
Let your kids dream. They'll need spaces of open time for this.
Surround them with inspiration.
Evaluate your core beliefs about living and education. This is your educational philosophy.
Do your homeschool methods and resources align with those beliefs? Are your days, the rhythms and patterns, an expression of that philosophy.
And above all else, do it together. Invite your children into a lifestyle of learning, study, and scholarship.