Let’s talk about YOU and ME! As homeschooling moms, we’re on our own path of development right alongside our children. And in Waldorf education, the practice of personal development, self-care, and introspection is know as inner work. But how can we, as busy homeschooling parents, focus on inner work? What is inner work anyway?
Where are YOU on the homeschooling journey?
Do you ever feel like you’ve lost YOURSELF on this homeschooling journey? Like you think about your children, the lessons, how to teach math to your 8-year-old, and what to make for dinner. But then there’s not much time for you and your needs and your self-development???
I know for me, I just felt like I often left myself out of the equation. My own needs and self-compassion took a back seat for far too long. Years, in fact!
Whenever I’d read about Steiner’s concept of inner work, I loved the IDEA. But then I would just think “ain’t nobody got time for that!” It’s hard to find the time for something we don’t even understand.
Then I became part of an amazing circle of women and my own journey began. I not only found the time but also the way forward. I’ve learned many practices of prayer and meditation along with techniques for coaching myself through the challenges we face from day to day.
Here’s one of my observations of the homeschooling mama journey…so often what I see happening is that when our oldest starts to set sail on that journey toward adulthood around the age of 12 or 13, we begin to wake up and take note of where we are on our own personal journey. And then when our youngest reaches that age, we are sometimes left feeling abandoned and lost at sea. After years of avoiding or ignoring or stuffing our own needs and feelings, we’re finally forced to find time to give back to ourselves. I say, let’s claim that time, that path, from the beginning of the homeschooling journey! ?
Waldorf Education is Healing & Holistic
It is so ironic that what draws so many of us to Waldorf education is that it addresses the WHOLE human being, body, mind and spirit. This educational method encompasses our capacities as humans for thinking and feeling and action. This sense of wholeness draws us into the holistic, healing practices of Waldorf.
The reality is that we come to believe that everyone else in the family needs this wholeness except our very own selves.
Where are WE in all of this? As parents and especially as women, we have the tendency to give and give and give. We think that’s what we’re supposed to do. It would be selfish to focus on ourselves, right?
WRONG. We are on a journey of self-discovery and self-fulfillment right along with our children.
Enlighten Your Own Journey
This is where the idea of inner work comes into our homeschooling journey.
And so, what is inner work anyway?
To me, inner work is a practice of becoming aware of our inner landscape of thoughts, beliefs, and feelings for the purposes of self-discovery, self-understanding, healing, and transformation.
And I would say that this is the kind of personal growth Steiner was referring to when he said, “You will not be good teachers if you focus only on what you do and not upon who you are.”
Rudolf Steiner, the founder of this educational method, is telling us that exploring who we are as humans is just as important, maybe even MORE important, than the lessons themselves – lessons that we spend hours researching, preparing, and implementing.
Really, inner work is about developing personal practices that can support us on our journey of being and becoming more human. It is a process of striving to understand and transform ourselves.
Take the time! The striving is worth it!
Why take the time for inner work? What can inner work give us? Well, exploring our own thinking, feeling, and actions can help us to:
- Think imaginatively
- Be creative problem-solvers
- Take initiative
- Be more flexible
- Foster authentic relationships with our children and loved ones
These things are worth striving for! They will give back to you tenfold as you find renewed energy to craft your lessons, self-confidence as you lead your children, and balance in your daily life.
In my own life, inner work has helped me heal pain from my past, create authentic and connected relationships, and feel better as a mother, as a homeschooling mom, and as a person.
And while the number of possible practices for inner work are endless and quite personal, it’s not always easy to embark on this journey alone.
Every spring, I lead a group of homeschooling parents on an Inner Work Journey starting in March. We meet (virtually) for live gatherings, share personal reflections, and support each other as we turn our gaze inward. So we can move past our limiting beliefs and live from a place of acceptance and possibility. Check out all the details here: Inner Work Journey.
Above all, I want you to remember that inner work is an integral part of Waldorf homeschooling. Find practices that work for you in your everyday life that will help you shine a light on your inner world with compassion.
Because YOU are worth it, my friend.