Big Rocks First - welcome to 2023
January first has arrived, with the crisp feeling of a new year ahead and the (within our family) headline: Big Rocks First.
Pointing at the analogy of filling a jar with rocks, stone, gravel, sand, and red wine (or water or beer, depending on the storyteller), we want this year to focus on filling our lives with the big rocks first.
So, what are big rocks exactly in a life analogy?
To me, it is never straightforward, nor is it one thing. But it is about putting important stuff first, pushing the things I feel I never get done, to the top of my to-do list, and letting go of everyday items. I want to make good plans for the coming year, ensuring we do what is essential with our nomad life, taking into account people and adventure, resources, education, personal growth, and health. We are five people living together, and we must coordinate good planning while leaving space for spontaneity. In real life, it is always a balancing act.
I need to start writing again, take better care of my health, and keep learning in a structured way. While still enjoying the core life of being a mother, a wife, and a friend traveling through life.
So now I am writing. I want to share.
About violence and ageism-based slavery
Last week, we started recording podcasts after a pause. We launched the project last autumn, but at the edge of winter, we put all projects to hold to breathe and find out which ones would be important. We had too much going on, too many different things, and we wanted to collect our energy and spend it where it was best to spend it. The blogging and the podcasts survived this filter, and we started recording last week, planning to launch on February second, the birthday of my beloved grandmother and the core of the Nordic winter, the day we are halfway through the darkness and the cold. This day is sacred to me and a good day to launch a new project.
We talked with Juliet from Juliet learns, a fellow home/unschooler from New York with the agenda of educating enough parents and politicians to change the American school system. And why not? Why wouldn't she succeed? I will cheer from Europe. During the conversation, I had two important insights, the first being the mere chock that violence towards children is actually legal in the united states. Juliet talked about how harmful it is to spank children, wanting to convince parents and educators, and politicians to ban it, and in my mind, I could mostly think:
It is not only illegal to use physical violence toward everybody, regardless of age, but it is also unethical. Even if it were NOT harmful, it would still be wrong from an ethical point of view, and even though I probably should have known, I was shocked to hear about the laws in “The land of the free.” How does that even begin to make sense? How can we be so far into the 21 century, having a country self-identifying as a good example to follow for the rest of the world, teaching everyone freedom and democracy, and yet allowing violence towards people based on their age?!
Where is the freedom in that? When will the children of America stop being enslaved by adults?
So, that was that. You can see it in the video version of the podcast (subscribe to the newsletter to make sure you don't miss it) how choked I was by this whole thing. I still am. It is so exceptionally crazy when you think about it.
And the other thing.
Save the Children
Juliet had not given up. I would give up facing the American school system (come to think about it, I would give up facing any school system). The amount of work that would need to be done to change that massive axiom into something actually supporting human growth, happiness, life, and presence. I have given up on schools; usually, I believe we need to close all of them and start over, rethinking the role of the family and the community. But I am radical, and I rarely say it as it is a very provocative thing to say.
I know people in the hundreds of thousands work hard daily to create good lives for even more children. I know just as many parents find themselves in situations where they believe they cannot take care of their children themselves and that their children would be lost in a cruel world without the primary education of public schools. I know this. This is real for so many people. The struggle, the limitations, the fear.
I also know I have a lot of privileges, and it makes it seem easy for me to say it.
But here is the rub.
When Juliet spoke about changing the world, I came back to the part of my spirit that wanted to do the same. It is not the same change, not the same method, but a parallel agenda of helping the children, families, and parents to have the option of living better lives. To change a structure that seems too big to be affected by the somewhat small voices from outside.
I came back to the spirit believing that only a little light will spread a lot of darkness, that it takes only a few people with the courage to change the world, and that however humble my voice is in the big noise of everyone - still I will never know how many ripples that will spread from my simple blog.
I can not do the Tik Tok thing; I will not do youtube shorts or reels or make video editing with beautiful music and fancy lettering. I will say what I have to say with simple words for those who want to read. And the spirit of this New York lady inspired me to come back to myself and say essential things loud and clear. Or simple stories with soft and vulnerable words about the life we lead outside the matrix. Whenever I hear from just one person being touched by my words, it seems worth spending a few hours writing and uploading.
Please take life seriously
And here it goes. My essential message of today, January first, 2023: It is a very important focus for everyone to connect to heart energy and act from kindness in all possible situations. Parents, educators, politicians, and everybody must respect everyone else's freedom when deciding. Deciding anything. We have a massive responsibility to each other, enormous. It becomes self-evident when we have children that we need to care for them and do our best to make life beautiful for them, but when all comes to all, we have the same responsibility for everyone else as well.
This can be scary, or we can choose to see the beauty of it. All we do will affect everyone else. So no effort is ever lost, nor is it in vain. It is so easy to get lost in the brain and to lose ourselves to fear, such a strong emotion, such a powerful motivator. Therefore we have a deep responsibility to find our Big Rocks, make sure we know what is truly important, and put that first. If we want to play with fear, we can think about the consequences of not doing so, of not doing the important stuff: What would happen then?
But acting from a narrow perspective of the basic fear of falling out of the track put by someone else is highly not recommended. Do what is essential. Do it right. Do it to the best of your talent. And never give up. When you fall, get up. When you are tired, meditate, get up, and continue. Keep discussing values and philosophy, and stay in the heart where life truly happens. The logical, planning, structured, rational brain is just a tool, a servant, and a beautiful one to be respected and nurtured, but never forget that heart and soul are where life is lived.
Okay. Enough of the teaching. I am in the sun in the southeast corner of Sicily, Italy listening to donkeys, looking at a perfect blue sky, my children are reading and doing their thing, my husband is reading lost in a very, very good novel, and I am ready to jump into the cold pool to clear my mind before cooking all of them a nice lunch from the fantastic produce Sicily has to offer. I am grateful for the extreme luxury, abundance, health, and peace.
Share, comment, interact, and make me feel you are present
Please share with me if you were touched by this, if it made any sense, what your big rocks are, what you are doing on the first day of the year of what were the best novels you ever read. Any contact with anyone reading the blog makes me so much happier.
May you be blessed in the new year ahead of all of us.
Have you read the latest articles by Cecilie Conrad?
Here you can find my latest writing - It is a mix of my blogposts and 2023 journaling. I hope you will enjoy it :)
Have you heard the latest podcast episodes?
🎙️New episode out every Thursday 🎙️
E19 - The Power of Connection in Parenting - A dialogue with Naomi Aldort
E18 - Ask Us Anything: Embracing Radical Parenting & Unschooling: A Journey of Trust & Empowerment
E17 - The Adventure Is the People: An Interview with the caricature artist Samuel KingDavis
Where are we now?
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Inspirerende, som altid. Det har sat tanker igang. Tanker om, hvad mine 'big rocks' er, og om jeg prioriterer derefter.
Tak for at dele
Very nice! I've actually not heard the big rock metaphor before, it's a helpful little thought process to get some of the clutter out of my mind and focus on what is most important right now... to keep working on laying down the groundwork so that the crucial shifts I need to happen CAN happen. So for me and my family this year is about casting off our security blankets and daring to live more fully, more in connection with the messy dirty chaotic bits of life. Your family's journey reminds me that not only is this possible, but it's entirely likely that we will thrive once we get into our groove. Gott nytt år!
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