Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

Educating Preschool students from the "Inside Out"
Showing posts with label Ananda Community. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ananda Community. Show all posts

Monday, December 12, 2011

New approach this holiday season

The other day I was chatting with a friend and she was asking about a couple of dates coming up and if I had them on my calendar. Now, I just blurted out:"I don't know, I'm only looking one day at a time this Christmas." I was a little surprised at myself when I actually said this. "How can you actually do this and still stay on top of all your the responsibilities?"  A teacher's life is extremely full at this time of year. What if I forget something? What if? There are many what if's we can get tangled up in. I just wanted to take the leap this year and try something new.

I am making a very conscious peaceful decision this month to enjoy even the simple moments that Christmas has to offer. Well, my word is my bond and I do have a Blackberry that keeps me connected to the world, but I am actually putting into action my new approach this holiday season. I have, of course entered in all my critical dates first. I am being more selective in the projects that I can accomplish and those that are more time consuming. 

 I only look at my calendar in the morning after meditation and before going to work. I only look at one day at a time and remind myself that I need to be totally present in this moment. I am finding that I am more alert, joyful and I have more energy to accomplish the little things ahead of schedule. If for any reason, I have forgotten something, then actually it wasn't that important in the larger scheme of things. This weekend was a beautiful and restful time for our family. We also accomplished more.

Eastwest Bookshop of Seattle. Independently owned bookstore. One of my favorite stores.

Another practice that I enjoy during the holiday season is to shop in small local gift stores. I want to honor their businesses. I plan my shopping around short trips and I am often driving the back roads to avoid major traffic. Seattle is known for it's traffic snarls. I also get to see more of the Christmas light displays and the decorating on the nearby homes. 

One woman said to me once: "Chandi you just drive the back-roads with such ease." Well, I am not sure about that, but I love the saying that my son said to me when he was about fifteen. "Mom, all roads lead to Ananda." Ananda Community is where I have lived for the past seventeen years. It is located on 5.5 acres in Lynnwood, Washington.

Anyway, I thought to share with you my new approach this holiday season and I will keep you informed on the sweet developments.

Please leave me a comment and let's share ideas together.

Many Blessings to all during this holiday season,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spirit and nature dancing together

My classes celebrated today our Fall Harvest Festival at my home in the Ananda Community. We live on almost 6 acres of land surrounded by many varieties of trees. Today's visit was to help harvest the apple trees. We cooked, sang, marched in a parade, played games and I told stories. Today was a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest. Divine Mother was shining her sunlight down on us.

We also had a very auspicious event happen. As we were picking our apples off the tree, we looked up and saw a bald eagle was flying over head. It soared above our heads for the whole time while the children were picking apples.

The children drew cards from the recipe. Her card was cutting the butter. The others are showing respect and patience as they wait for their turns.

Team work
Stirring the apples for mini pies

This needs a little more apples on top.

Look how many I found
I can get it

  Our spirits and nature really danced today. What a glorious day we had together dancing in thy light.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Boxes, boxes and more boxes

This past weekend my husband and I moved from our home unit #3, after 16 years. Entertaining with family and friends has been our delight at the Ananda Community. Things are settling down now and we have moved upstairs to another remodeled unit. Please excuse me for the lapse in my writing. Time and memories will remain with us always in this joyful home.
Summer path in our herb and rose garden

My husband painting in the evening. View out our small kitchen window
Many Ananda guests came for tea at our home
Our summer gardens

Customary dessert houses at the Ananda Community
The Winter of 2008 in our garden
The Dale Chihuly ice sculpture in our front garden. My poor hydrangeas.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

"The Secret of Happiness"

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.”

Blessings all.