This is it: Day 365 of our Soul Play Family 365 Experiment! We spent a long but enriching day here in New Bedford, MA at Connecting for Change for our celebration, exactly one year after MyCrownShift. We are immensely grateful for this year of experience and it has been a truly transformational time in our lives. We have gained precious clarity on who we are truly meant to be both as individuals and a family. We have acted on each message from our souls as it was revealed to us, even up to moving our whole family across the country to a new community and a new school.
So what next? In one sense, we don’t expect much to change. Back on Day 8, Jung wrote the following about her experience after the first week of our Experiment:
“…here we are! Experiencing JOY, ABUNDANCE, and GRATITUDE as we practice flying with our new-found wings. This is the place I had wanted to be, and live in: a place of exquisite mystery, magic, and manifestation.”
We completely intend to keep living this way! In addition, although when we began 365 days ago, we may have been thinking in terms of arriving at some goal by the end of this Experiment, we recognize now that it was not about acheiving anything. This experiment was an education for us in Experimental and Experiential Living [E2L]. It was a 365 day apprenticeship to letting go of expectations and learning to take life as it comes, living each day to it’s fullest and having faith that we are already enough to meet whatever the future may bring!
We’ve been asked if we will keep writing, and we probably will, but we’re going to take a break from the daily blog. Just like we did 365 days ago, and true to the spirit of MyCrownShift, we are making room for new creations in our lives and our work. For the time being, if we have anything to share, we will post it on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/soulplayfamily. We want to keep this blog as an archive dedicated to our experiences of this past year, so we do not envision posting again here, unless it is to announce a blog site for new posts from Soul Play Family. Until then, please visit us on Facebook.
Thank you one and all for following us on this journey. This past year has been an unbelievable ride for us. If we had known in advance what we were going to experience, we may not have gone through with it at all! Taking it as it came, one day at a time, however, it has been a year chock full of gifts and blessings and we will forever be grateful that we made this leap. Our work is not over; in many ways it is just beginning here in our new community, and we look forward to sharing more with you as Soul Play Family continues on its East Coast Adventure.
May all of us, our beloved Mother Earth, and the entire Universe be blessed with Peace, Joy, and Love.
Tomorrow will be the final day of our Soul Play Family 365 Experiment, but it certainly won’t be the last day of our “experimental and experiential living” [E2L]. We’ve discovered that having spent a year in E2L we are hooked and we never want to go back to living by default on autopilot. That said, we want to mark the end of this year and so tomorrow we are going to be attending a local Bioneers’ Satellite Program: Connecting for Change, here in Massachusetts.
At the time we knew we were on the cusp of making a huge leap of faith, but there was a lot we didn’t know about what E2L was going to look like. That trip to Bioneers was very much a time of exploration for us, especially for me and our daughters who had never been to a Bioneers Conference before, and it opened our eyes to whole new ideas and ways of working in the world.
This being a first time for all of us to attend Connecting for Change, we are not entirely sure what to expect (which is how we like it), but we have an inkling that our daughters will be able to participate more at this conference than they were able to at the conference in California last year, and Jung and I are hoping to make some local connections with like-minded tribespeople. Whatever we learn and discover, we feel confident that this will be the perfect “bookend” for our year as well as a perfect springboard into the next!
One of the gifts we have gained from our Soul Play Family 365 Experiment is the gift of knowing what we want. We used to spend hours wondering and agonizing over what we wanted out of life and how we should be spending our lives. By going through the process of “getting REAL”, we developed our internal compasses. We’ve also become less afraid of experimenting and trusting our intuition to let us know if what we’re doing is bringing our soul more alive or not. We’ve become better attuned to our internal energy and can sense its rising and falling like a barometer predicting how we will feel if we continue on our current path.
We’ve also learned to live in the now: we only concern ourselves with what we want to do today, because honestly, we can’t know what we will want to do next month or even next week. And we don’t need to know. We have learned that next week’s agenda will reveal itself when it is time; if we are to be successful, we must focus all our energy and concern on today.
We are grateful for the gifts of clarity and acceptance which free us from “shoulds” and “what-ifs” and which help us to stay focused on our work here and now.
Yesterday we received a heart-warming letter from the new owners of our old house in Washington. They thanked us for leaving the house in good condition, but more important to us, they told us that their young daughter loved running around in the house. When we first contemplated selling our house, we envisioned selling it to a young family — a family like ours was when we first moved in. Our Washington home suited us well for many reasons, and we have many happy memories and gigabytes of photos of our children growing up there.
Of course, when it came to the reality of selling the house, there were no guarantees. We couldn’t be sure who would be both interested in the house and feel the need to embark on the next phase of their lives there. Still, we held our vision in our hearts and hoped that there was a young family out there for whom the house would be their next home.
Now we truly see life as a flow: just as we enjoyed our years in that house, it was time for us to let go and for another family to come in. Our only hope was that the joy we experienced in the house would remain and grow with the joy of a new, young family.
We’re grateful that our vision for the house came true and we feel touched that the new owners took the time to share the beginning of their new life there with us. Yesterday I wrote about Being Clear on What Defines Success, and for selling our old house, this was truly how we envisioned success — not by getting the best deal for the house, but rather by participating joyfully in the flow of life through passing the house on to another young family.
We wish the new owners many, many joyful years in their new home and hope that their young daughter grows as beautiful and strong there as our daughters did!
When we were looking into moving to the MetroWest region, one thing we wanted to know was how vibrant the arts were there. After a little searching we found many arts centers and organizations, and at one of them, The Center for Arts in Natick, we saw a familiar name on the calendar: Beethoven’s Wig.
Beethoven’s Wig is a project by the lyricist and musician, Richard Perlmutter, who has written new words for many of the more well-known pieces (and some less-known pieces) in the Western Classical Music canon (as well as at least one ragtime piece). We had been listening to his CDs for a few years already and loved his witty lyrics so even though it was still May and we hadn’t begun preparing our house for sale yet, we made sure to put the October 21st concert on our calendar.
Today was the day and although I became a little worried that the show would be too young for our daughters when I saw some little kids going into the theater, my fears were assuaged by my daughters’ smiles and laughter at the wonderful lyrics. Richard Perlmutter is a truly fun live performer and he had stellar musicians from the Walnut Hill School for the Arts backing him up on stage, including a soprano with a voice far beyond her young years!
We all had a wonderful time at the concert and I walked away with some important lessons about performance and about life from the experience. First of all, not only did he provide a wonderful performance opportunity for those students from Walnut Hill, but he also showed the young kids in the audience that they could be performing music like the Walnut Hill students were, if they wanted to. It was truly inspiring! Secondly, he was clearly having a ball performing his re-composition of the music. He led us all with an example of joy! Finally, the way he handled slips in the performance had lessons for all of us.
For whatever reason, Perlmutter had some memory slips today, mostly with his own lyrics which was, by his own admission, rather embarrassing! He didn’t let the memory slips stop him, however, but he was honest with the audience and also assured us that he believed the best of us — that we would still enjoy the show even with his memory lapses. I found his actions in the performance to be a wonderful example of honesty and compassion. The reality was that in a couple songs he did struggle with the words and ideally he wouldn’t want that to happen — but it was happening and it was obvious. So, he came right out and admitted it. He didn’t try to cover it up or pretend it wasn’t happening. I think that was wise because otherwise it can be insulting to audience members who have observed exactly what is going on. At the same time, he rolled with it in good humor and kept it all in perspective. We were all there to have a good time and he did what he needed to do in order to keep the performance humorous and fun. He let us in on his own humanity and fallibility while also taking responsibility for the quality of the performance — and keeping that quality high despite his slips.
In the end, I think his success came from the fact that he was focused on what was most important — entertaining the audience with humor and music — and he didn’t let his ego get in the way of that. He didn’t let himself get distracted by thinking that his performance needed to be perfect or that he had to impress anyone with his memory or musical skills. Most of all, he was honest with himself and with us.
His success was solely predicated on his ability to create a shared experience of joy, and to create that shared experience he had to allow himself to be vulnerable through his honesty with the audience. Looking around at the audience towards the end of the concert, I think everyone else felt the same as I did — that the concert was a roaring success.
When we lived on the West coast, people were often surprised to learn that we had no family close by. Although we did our best to stay in touch with our family out East, it wasn’t easy. Travel was expensive and even phone calls were trickier than we expected because of the time difference. We were often eating dinner when our family was available to talk, and they were asleep by the time we could talk!
Today we’re grateful that we live near family again. It was wonderful to be able to have lunch with Jung’s dad for his birthday, and then have a visit from Charles’ sister and brother-in-law dropping off their daughter, who is close to our daughters’ age, for a sleepover. We’re grateful to be in the same timezone as most of our family now so that phone conversations are easier — just picking up the phone to chat requires much less planning now!
Our busy lives will still probably keep us from seeing each other as much as we’d like, but even just knowing that we’re closer to each other now makes us feel happier and more connected, and for that we are truly grateful!
We read Seth Godin’s book, Stop Stealing Dreams, back at the end of February and into early March. As I wrote at the time, we had been struggling with many of the educational questions which Seth addresses in his book and it was empowering for us to read that a parent and a businessman like Seth had similar concerns. Our inquiry that Spring, which included reading and discussing Stop Stealing Dreams, is what ultimately led us to move back to Massachusetts so that our children could attend the Sudbury Valley School.
They are finishing their sixth week there and in addition to making friends and having fun, they have already begun to involve themselves in the democratic process of the school, feeling out what it means to be responsible for one’s own life and one’s own community. The school is working out very well for our daughters and thus it seems fitting that today we heard that there was a video of Seth Godin’s recent TED talk at TEDxYouth on Stop Stealing Dreams.
If the education of all our children is something that concerns you, we encourage you to take the 17 minutes to watch Seth’s talk. He distills his thoughts around education into a very entertaining if breakneck and provocative presentation. If his ideas in the talk interest you, go to the Stop Stealing Dreams webpage and download a free copy of the book in whatever format is convenient for you. As Seth writes in Section 21 of his book:
“School belongs to parents and their kids, the ones who are paying for it, the ones it was designed for. It belongs to the community, too, the adults who going to be living and working beside the graduates the school churns out.
Whether we have any direct connection to schools or not, the education of today’s children affects all of our futures. The survival of our species depends on today’s schools’ preparing our children for that future, not for the world that has passed.
Today, along with the adventure of going through the process of transferring our car registrations and licenses from Washington to Massachusetts (which included driving from one Massachusetts RMV branch to another), we also registered to vote — just in time to be able to vote in this November’s election. It felt significant, like we were finally “official” residence of Massachusetts, and helped to raise our energy after a long day of driving, waiting, and filling out forms.
This election season we’ve been enjoying having political discussions with our daughters and have encouraged them to sit with us while we watch the televised debates. They’ve already complained about how long they have to wait until they are able to vote, but we’re grateful that they have plenty of chances to participate in democracy at their school.
As much as we believe that it is not enough to rely on our elected officials to solve all our country’s and our world’s problems, we also don’t believe in throwing up our hands and giving up on politics either. Like with everything else, it’s not either/or but rather both/and. We need to be active participants in our electoral process, flawed as it may be, and direct participants in creating change, first by being the change we want to see in the world.