Our family has five members; Me, Chris, Immy (7), Aubrey (4) and Houdini, an adopted cat. We live in Australia pursuing the following ideals…
Co-operative, Consensual Parenting
Our children are not our possessions. They are also not an extension of us. Our children’s autonomy and opinion are respected, they have a voice in family decisions that will impact them. We are also very deliberate in making space for them to contribute, this is not forced but invited. The difference is very important to us, we want their motivation to be internally cultivated rather than externally driven.
Our children’s educational path is determined personally by their own desires and needs with support and guidance from us in a mutually beneficial, fluid arrangement. There is no separation between life and learning, no segregation between subjects or ranking of worth of pursuits and absolutely no need for testing to validate ones own learning. It goes beyond removing the physical embodiment of school from ones life but also the conditioning it reinforces and creates.
Minimalism & Simplicity
Over the last year we downsized from a four bedroom, two car garage plus shed, large home to a two bedroom apartment. We let go of (donating and selling) possessions that no longer served us and then we went further because we realised that although our hearts could expand to include a love for many, many things, our time and ability could not; we needed to prioritise. And this extended beyond our possessions to the choices we made regarding our time and energy.
Reducing our possessions and commitments saw us questioning also our impact on the ecosystem that sustains and nurtures us. We began buying loose bulk goods in our own jars, cooking from scratch and minimizing our own cleaning and personal care items so we could buy them free from packaging or make them ourselves amongst other changes. It is a constant work in progress but we now have a much more comfortable relationship between our actions and their consequences.
We’ve been contemplating lately the concept of leading a more quiet life. I feel this ties into other things we have done; zero waste has reduced the informational noise of packaging, minimalism has reduced the responsibility noise of clutter and space but I feel drawn to go further. I want to nurture my own ability to be without the constant distraction of multiple stimulus; cleaning with music, walking with podcasts, conversing over the sound of television. As a first step we have removed our television for now to see how it feels. We have also been meditating as a family each day, finding the calmest place within ourselves and sitting with that for a minute or two. Beyond this I also want to explore the way I seek validation; it is now commonplace to broadcast ourselves loudly for constant assessment on social media and I want to be more mindful about the role that plays in my life (community and inspiration but not intrusion). I do not know where these thoughts will end up yet…
I look forward to sharing with you about these and more here.