Tuesday, March 27, 2007



Is it really relevant where you learn what you need to learn, as long as you're learning it?

I have post-secondary education, but not a Masters, or a PhD, nor am I Doctor so and so....but I have learned much in my short stint on this earth, and continue to do so. Until recently, I thought my using the term "Earth School" was my own, but it turns our Gary Zukav uses it in his highly acclaimed best-selling self-love books "Seat of The Soul" and "Soul Stories"....I've only just read some of Mr. Zukav's work, so "Earth School" is not a phrase I had heard anyone else use. So, thanks Mr. Zukav for bringing the phrase to the minds of millions...it's a good one to know....The "Earth School" is this place that we are, where we are born, where we grow, where we impact and share ourselves (in various ways) with those we encounter, enter into intimate moments with, give birth to, lose and love with.

There is no greater teacher than this Earth we are on, or the moments shared upon it, or the people we share those moments with.

Classroom teaching is one method of learning...being spoon-fed what to read (and indeed HOW to read, HOW to count, HOW to multiply, HOW to deduce; HOW to behave, etc.,) how to go about solving problems, told what to contemplate and hopefully, if you've one or two great teachers, you will have been gently led back to yourself so that you learn the necessary skills you need to learn in order to keep on learning.

Our experiences on Earth, are also great teachers. Every encounter is an opportunity to learn something about yourself, how you affect others and what it is you have to offer this Earth and those inhabiting it.

I don't understand people that think that the acquisition of a piece of paper teaches you about living. Or that somehow OWNING a piece of paper, which means you have completed a set of tasks, a pre-assigned set of readings and have written about those readings, and been TESTED on those readings, and that you've paid for the privilege, means that you (if you own this paper), are somehow better than the person standing next to you; the person you are married to; the person next door; your co-worker; your brother or sister, etc.?

(Having said that...I'd like to know that a Surgeon cutting into me has completed those pre-assigned tasks in order that I am confident that they know WHERE and WHAT they are cutting into when they slice me open...but surgery is an extreme life situation, and is not necessarily about learning about living. Medical School still has a lot to teach doctors about bedside manners.)

I went to University, in Canada, AND I emerged from that experience a different person than when I went into the classroom, the theatre and the labs. But I do not think, nor do I believe that I am a better person than the man who fixes my boat (which, by the way, I do not own or have) with a Grade 8 education. This man, with oil encrusted into the lines of his hands & with nails blackened by the grease he works with daily, has handled the machines, the vessels of transport and leisure, for hundreds (maybe even thousands in his lifetime) of people and...for every boat he works on, he has a human experience with those people that trust him with their water vessel and the lives that they put into it. Perhaps these people have discussed the state of politics in the world today with him, or him with them. Or perhaps he has seen too many oil spills destroying the fish habitat and water quality in the thousands of lakes that surround his livelihood and he's doing something about that in his spare time? IF this man is AWARE of himself and grows in personal ways with each experience he has, with each day that passes....he is a better man than many. I am not, nor is anyone else, a BETTER person than this man because of WHERE I've done my learning. If this man is learning about life, about who he is, about how he effects others and how he may work for the betterment of living, then he is the better man than I. Or vice versa.

When I had my first child, I ran a daycare for a brief stint. A stay-home, unlicensed daycare. I got up at 5:30 am and my first children arrived at 5:45 am. I worked until 6pm, or until the last parents finished having tea with me and rolled on home. I worked, I made a good home for my child and I, and I did so by caring for other people's children. I hated myself for this choice.

At the time, I thought this work was beneath me. I thought I was lessening myself, my status in life, by opting to stay home with my child and raise that child in the ways I thought best. I did not fully understand, at that time, the gift of this time with my child, and with these other children. I was in the Earth School...I was learning to be a mother and, at the time, hyper-critical of myself doing so. It wasn't about money. Most days, I made $200/day and stayed home. I hated myself for staying home...even though, this is what I wanted to do and felt was right. I felt an external pressure, from an undefined source, to be elsewhere.

I only stayed in business about 8 months. The sense that I needed to be OUT in THE REAL WORLD making a REAL LIVING, was too immense for me. I sold my house, moved in with my parents for a while and went OUT to work, my mother looking after my child, the whole time sensing that my sense of SELF was to be had OUT THERE in the workforce.

How wrong I was.

All day, I ached for my child. All day, I pushed paper, answered phones, ran the lives of important men and wasn't with my child. I felt foolish for selling everything we had, only to find out that THIS was not living. I had been so sure that the answer was out there in the business world, waiting for me to find it. I guess it was...but not in the way that I had assumed I would find it.

I had assumed something magical would happen. That, from an external source, something (undefinable) would somehow define me as a worthy person.

Sometimes we learn best what we need, what we truly have, by NOT having it.

The "Earth School" taught me the value of Me; of time with a child, my child; of valuing what mother's do, what I do; of valuing what I do as a mother as a teacher to this child, a life-coach to this child and a mentor to this child. There is no course, no classroom, no degree or diploma in the world that can offer this lesson.

You won't learn about love (whether it's loving yourself or others) in the classroom.

You won't learn about giving in the classroom.

You won't learn about WHO you are, in the classroom.

You won't learn about what you need to do on this Earth, in the classroom.

Not unless you have a teacher that belongs to the "Earth School" and is there, in that classroom, to help you realize your potential, your gift to this world and the love that is in you to give.

Many of our best teachers are right here in our backyards. Your boat mechanic, your plumber, your wife, your child, your grandparents, your neighbour, your friend, or that friend you have yet to meet.

It's important that we not discount the experiences we have with one another. We have much to learn from one another. And so much more to share.

When we wake up to these experiences, even if we don't like how they are coated or how they manifest, we are learning. We learn what we need to learn and that...THAT is learning.

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