I just returned from a six day retreat called Big Heart Dance Camp. I was the camp photographer and also got to experience some of the amazing workshops that were offered. My daughter and husband came for the weekend and we all did a writing workshop together with the wonderful Julia Petrisor. Julia had us do several writing exercises which my daughter participated in as well. The first was to write about how you feel when you are dancing.

She shared with the group that she “feels sacred” when she is dancing. Sacred. Never underestimate a child’s wisdom.

Then we were asked to write about the experience of writing. This is an excerpt from what my daughter wrote:

“I felt really good when I finished this because it’s like winning a race. I felt really good and strong like I can do anything and be anyone. I felt strong like thunder and lightening and a really strong bull.”

 

Reflection is so important for integrating experiences and reconnecting with ourselves.

I’m doing some of my own reflecting on the past year now that the school year is almost over.

Two weeks into Grade 1 this year, we got a call from an alternative school that we had been trying to get our daughter into for the past two years but kept losing the lottery. We were finally on the top of the waiting list and they told us they had a spot for her! We were very happy with our daughter’s current school and it was actually a difficult decision. When we asked her what she wanted to do, without hesitating, she told us that she wanted to switch because she wanted to make new friends. Not that she was unhappy with her current friends. She had lovely friends and an incredible teacher but was looking forward to meeting new people.

She lit up when she talked to us about wanting to become a part of a new school and a new community and a new world. She wasn’t dissatisfied by her situation, just fuelled up to experience more.

I think she will remember this as a defining moment, feeling her strength and openness to the new and unknown. What an empowering quality to have cultivated at the young age of six. I am so proud of her.

People often think that quiet kids are timid, that because a kid is quiet they don’t have anything to say. My daughter has a quiet confidence and inner strength that does not require noise to broadcast. In fact she doesn’t feel the need to push herself into situations, and listens and observes first instead. What makes me sad is that this kind of quietness is often undervalued by society. Loud voices get heard more. I want to make more space for the quieter voices because they are just as important. When we become still and quiet to listen to those quieter voices we can connect with them (and ourselves) at a deeper level.

I’m the same way. I have a quiet voice and gentle presence. It took me a long time (and I’m still working on it) to embrace this about myself and not feel pressured by society to be an extrovert. I prefer a one on one conversation to speaking with a large group. I enjoy collecting my thoughts in writing. I need time to myself to reconnect with who I am. This last bit is particularly challenging as a parent, but I’m getting better at making it a priority. Taking time for myself makes me a better parent and partner.

I invite you to practice a little quiet listening today. We might hear our own quiet voices or quiet voices of others and learn something that helps us to connect more with ourselves and with others.