Someone asked me recently to write a little something about how I came up with the name “Inside Out," and a simple explanation for the photos in the upper banner on this blog.
The name describes the special process that is the focus of this blog. Over this past year, I have been reading many early childhood blogs by many talented teachers from all over the world, but still something was missing in what I read. None of the internet sites had the one spark, the spiritual essence, which I practice and teach every day in our school. I teach the process of finding joy and happiness on the inside, and expressing that happiness outside, to all whom we meet.
Happiness is a choice that we can make at any time. J. Donald Walters writes in Affirmations for Self-Healing: "Happiness is an attitude of mind, born of the simple determination to be happy under all outward circumstances. Happiness lies not in things, nor in outward attainments. It is the gold of our inner nature, buried beneath the mud of outward sense-cravings."
This seems easy enough for adults to understand. But how, you may be asking, do we teach young children the goal of inner happiness?
That is the question this blog tries to answer. It deals with how to educate children from the "Inside Out" and teach them to search for happiness inside, rather than outside. Happiness is from the soul. The goal of life is to find it, but all too often happiness is limited to a fleeting moment, with the pendulum soon swinging in the opposite direction to a delusional feeling of imbalance and unhappiness. Children need to learn how to bring themselves back into balance. When children learn these principles, their happiness becomes an outward reflection of their inner state.
J Donald Walters wrote the book Secrets of Happiness for Children, which I have been using as a cornerstone of the curriculum at Living Wisdom School. These little “Secrets” books have unfortunately been out of print for some time, but I will be sharing their secrets often in this blog, along with photos, creative projects and tutorials about how I like to teach children from the "Inside Out."
The photo was taken at my home in the courtyard at the Ananda Community in Lynnwood, Washington. It shows two of our students at the Living Wisdom School who were visiting this summer for one of my play dates.
The photo to the far left, of the little girl, was taken using a black and white filter on my camera. It represents the inner joy that needs to be acknowledged through learning the secrets of happiness.
The second photo in the middle shows a small vision of color, located at the heart (visible just below where her brother is taking the sweater off). Here, at the heart, is where children often first feel the inclination of love from the center of their beings as their hearts unfold.
The third photo, on the far right, shows the same little girl, now with her bright sweater turned inside out. She is all in color as her love and happiness radiates out into the world, from "Inside Out."
May I end simply today, with one of J. Donald Walters’ little secrets of happiness for children?
“The secret of happiness is keeping your heart open to others, and to life’s experiences. For the heart is like the door of a building. The sunlight can enter only when the door is open wide.”