In the woods, by our favorite mossy tree, our family sat down for a bit of spirit play. Beginning, as our Unitarian World magazine beautifully described it, “an adventure of discovery.” We’re adopting almost all of the ritual we learned at our former spiritual home, a Unitarian church that welcomed questions and celebrated story. Our hope is to create a space for spiritual dialogue as a family, even as we commit ourselves to a rather simple guiding philosophy:
“Be who you are.
Want what you have.
Do what you can.”
Since both Joe and I taught spirit play for a time, we are leading our family’s weekly practice in much the same way. We begin with Ghandi’s peace prayer, the lighting of a candle, and the ringing of a bell, all to create a sacred space. We invite one another to share joys and sorrows, just as we always did at Unity’s religious education classes.
Today,was our first attempt to replace that thriving metropolitan community of free thinkers near our old home with an at home practice in our new woods. We’re doing this out of necessity. Unitarians are rather few and far between up here. But we’re also viewing this as a cool opportunity for unique family time, a time to wonder together with our children.
Today’s “lesson” was about exactly that. Why. Instead of cartoons and the newspaper, why are we carrying a crate full of books into the woods, taking a “meditation walk” and discussing mindfulness with an eager 8 year old, a fidgety (almost) 6 year old, and a wandering 2 year old?
Maya excitedly offered the answer: “because there is a lot to wonder about.”
Indeed. And a lot of big questions to ask. Joe and I want the kids to feel comfortable asking us any of them. And so it begins, as we ask the questions, discover the old, old stories that attempt to give answers, and gather to wonder together.
A few quotes from today:
“There are flowers everywhere, for those who bother to look.”
by Shel Silverstein
You have a magic carpet
That will whiz you through the air,
To Spain or Maine or Africa
If you just tell it where
So will you let it take you
Where you’ve never been before,
Or will you buy some drapes to match
And use it
by Shel Silverstein
This bridge will only take you halfway there
To those mysterious lands you long to see:
Through gypsy camps and swirling Arab fairs
And moonlit woods where unicorns run free.
So come and walk awhile with me and share
The twisting trails and wondrous worlds I’ve known.
But this bridge will only take you halfway there –
The last few steps you’ll have to take alone.