Learning Happens Everywhere

 

toddler tractor farm learning unschooling parenting leilazamoramoreno

Cesar totally loves the tractor. He has a few tractor toys of his own he likes to play with – but nothing beats the real deal. Whenever we go about walking around on the farm, he keeps his eyes open for any bakkie or tractor action he can get into. When he was more of a baby, he didn’t like car rides, now he can’t get enough going places by car and pointing out every single truck and bakkie. We make a game out of it to catch and count the trucks and to name the colours. Learning happens everywhere!

#tractor #toddler #farmlife #farmliving #lifeislearning #naturallearningability #parenting #unschooling #wheels #cars

Parenting through Thick and Thin

toddler tantrum crying parenting terrible twos leilazamoramoreno

Toddler and motherhood is not always sunshine and butterflies (although yes, the sun still shines when all hell breaks loose, as in this case on the trampoline). Whenever a tantrum happens, we always check ourselves as parents first – did we do or say anything where we did not consider him fully which may have thrown him off balance? If we did, we apologise, ask him to forgive us, explain what happened and how we will do things differently in the future.

Other times he throws himself off balance.

In this moment, he got really upset when I started going around the trampoline in a different direction . He often goes into a controlling state when he is in an experience he doesn’t like and/or understands. Where instead of focusing on his internal reality and grounding himself, he gets obsessive in arranging things in his environment to be a certain way – whether it’s objects, animals or people. If he doesn’t get the desired result he explodes. If he does he get the result, he goes unto controlling the next thing, and the next – until he still inevitably collapses as he realises that re-arranging his external reality doesn’t re-areange his internal reality. When he goes into this, we take him to a quite space, remove distractions, relax and sit down. Saying is name in a low, grounded voice. Guiding him to calm down and let go of his experience. Showing him that through fixating, we only hurt ourselves more, as anything but our way then becomes ‘wrong’ – instead of moving, embracing and flowing WITH life, rather than resisting and being against the currents life takes us. As he goes on and expels all his excess energy, he starts grounding himself. Once he has centered himself we move on with our activities and embrace the new moment.
Toddlerhood is definitely not easy as he is able to explore, interact and do more – yet is still lacking vocabulary in so many ways causing frustrations. Imagine having so many questions about yourself and the world around you, yet having no way of asking them.

#toddlerhood #terribletwos #parenting #tantrums #cries #control #frustration #development #motherhood #consciousparenting #zen #candidchildhood #gowiththeflow #embrace

 

Together yet Alone

selfie movies cinema parenting mother leilazamoramoreno

This is me at the movies for the first time in about three years, Gian’s treat. Becoming a mother definitely turned my life upside down, Gian’s assisting in reminding me to not take motherhood too serious, to remind myself that it’s okay to relax and let go. With babies/young toddlers who require a lot of care and attention – you are initially forced to give up much of your individual self, and stand as a humble servant to another. But as time goes by and they grow up and develop their independence, so can you grow in your individuality once more.

#motherhood #relax #movies #cinema #parentingjourney #babies #toddlers

Words Create our World

words code source soul school of ultimate living leilazamoramoreno

Why do words create our world?

For everything that exists, we have a word. Words as concepts hold the essential information of what something is. We first have the idea/notion of a chair – and then we can create/manifest a chair according to our understanding/definition of a chair. When we encounter a chair, we can know it is a chair by virtue of the definition we hold about it within ourselves.

In a way, words as language, are the same as coding and programming languages. When we browse the internet, any page we enter or stumble upon has behind it a source code – just lots of text and characters that don’t make much sense unless you have some programming knowledge, which together define all the elements we can see with our eyes, their relationships to one another and all the different actions those elements need to perform on the page we’re on. What we see as visually appealing the webpage is held together and dictated by this source code, which is in essence words/text.

Say we see a blue button on the page that says ‘Next’.

The source code would contain information such as: blue button: colour=blue; width= so many pixels; height=so many pixels; link to=some hyperlink that is the next page.

Whenever we want to implement another such button on the page and have it be executable we can simply make reference to ‘blue button here’, and the button will act according to the same information above.

How is this information useful to ourselves as human beings, and how does this relate to words creating our world?

As individuals, we also each carry a ‘source code’ that together forms ‘who we are’, and who we present ourselves to be to the world.

Let me use myself as an example.

I’m Leila.

Leila in itself is a word placement to refer to myself as a name.

Leila is female. Leila is married. Leila is a mother. Leila wears glasses. Leila grew up in Belgium. Leila now lives in South Africa. Leila lives on a farm. Leila has two siblings. Leila went to university. Leila doesn’t like conflict. Leila likes animals. Leila’s favourite food is pizza. Leila works with graphical tasks on computers. Leila is shy when meeting new people, ….

Any person you meet, just like yourself, you can describe and ‘capture’ through the use of words.

So how do words define who we are and what we create in our world?

Let’s take the word female.

I am female. In terms of a dictionary definition, this merely means that: I am of the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova) that can be fertilized by male gametes.

Yet, through my upbringing and experiences as a child, the personal definition I carry may look something like this: being able to birth children, weak, fragile, submissive to men

Whenever I am confronted with the fact that I am female in my life (which would be a constant thing, being aware that I am a female at all times) – how I act, behave and see myself – is per my definition of the word ‘female’.

When I speak to another male, my automatic behaviour will be to present myself as weak, fragile and submissive; because that’s the definition I’ve placed for myself for the word ‘female’.

All the words we’ve associated and defined ourselves according to; contain specific information as ‘tasks’ that we perform and execute. Through our own personal life path and journey, we all contain different, personalized definitions of the words associated to ourselves. All these words and definitions together, define who we are, how we act, what decisions we make. A website is limited to perform only that which is contained in the source code, it’s predictable and limited to the range of code that backs it up. Depending on the extent of coding involved, we can have very elaborate websites. And depending on the soundness/effectiveness of that coding – the website will perform successfully/smoothly or poor/buggy.

How expansive and effective we are as a person, is just like a website, dependent on the words we contain and whether they have been effectively defined.

We may want a blue button on our website, but somehow it always shows red; because the source code wasn’t scripted effectively and defined it as such (red instead of blue). I may want to be a confident female, but as long as my source code as my definition dictates that a female is weak, fragile and submissive – I won’t be able to successfully be a confident female.

Within my parenting journey, I’ve found it imperative to investigate all the words associated with parenting, so that I can be the mother I want to be rather than the mother I’ve been conditioned to be.

During the first 7 years of a child’s development, most of our behaviour and personality is shaped. We are literal sponges that absorb everything coming our way and specify who we are and who we need to be to be able to ‘survive’ the conditions we’re faced with. This all happens on an unconscious level, where we are not involved in making conscious decisions about who we are and who we want to be – it all kind of just ‘happens’. Depending on the circumstances and events we face as a child, we will develop a particular personality. This is very well known in psychology, where clear patterns have been observed where adult abusers where once abused themselves as children. Or where children left in the woods, who by some miracle got raised by other animals like wolves – will show all the traits of ‘being a wolf’. What comes in when you are a child (input) will equal your behaviour and personality as an adult (output).

If you were raised with parents who were very anxious about the world, that the world is ‘not a safe place’ – you too will as an adult perceive the world as such and behave and make decisions accordingly.

Luckily, just as we can go back to the source code of a website and edit and correct any bugs or corrupted scripts; so too can we go back to our source code as the words we live and correct them, script them in a way that empowers us and allows us to live our utmost potential.

For more information on how to use words as a tool of self-empowerment and living your utmost potential, visit http://schoolofultimateliving.com/

Subscribe to the School of Ultimate Living’s YouTube channel, and like the SOUL Facebook page to stay up to date on new releases and updates on how to use Words in your life.

A Bathroom Story on Independence

bathroom toddler independence parenting leilazamoramoreno

This is my view from the toilet. Something’s been different lately, as Cesar is not often part of my bathroom view when it’s my potty time.

From when he was teeny tiny, I’d bring him with me whenever I had to go to the toilet. Overtime, we moved from bouncer, to bath seat (cause it was around lol), to simply plopping him on the floor, to him playing around with bathroom items, to him opening and closing the door for me, handing me toilet paper and managing the tap when washing my hands.

Initially I brought him with me, because I figured it would be the best way for him to see what pee and poo is all about, where and how we do it, and where he’ll eventually do it as well. Even if he couldn’t make use of the bathroom, I could show him pee, poo, where it comes from and how we clean ourselves up after, to start establishing the vocabulary for when the day comes that he sees himself able to use the potty, so that we have the vocabulary to discuss and direct this transition.

After a good while, I started going to the toilet without telling him that I was going to or asking if he wanted to come with. Once he realised I was gone he’d quickly come find me and insist to get into the bathroom. I thought that since he’d been to the toilet with me for a gazillion times, he’d be over it by now. The look on his face as he’d run after me was quite something. He was seriously upset. I looked into his eyes and the stare of dismay really got to me. I saw that I had made an assumption, where I believed that ‘he should be over it by now’, that I made a decision and assessment on his behalf of ‘who he should be’ and ‘where she should be at’ within himself. Instead of asking, instead of checking.

When I got Cesar, I had made a decision to meet all his needs to the best of my ability.  Looking back at my own childhood, I realised that a lot of my beliefs about myself and my personality resulted from a lack in responsiveness to my needs. When my needs weren’t met – whatever they may have been – the tacit implication I derived from that was: that it was my fault, that I was not worthy, that there must be something wrong with me, that I’m not competent enough, that my communication doesn’t matter.

The actual walking of that decision was and is still somewhat a rocky road. On the one hand I’ll be meeting his needs, but on the other hand there’s a little voice going ‘you’re spoiling him’, ‘his never going to learn how to do things on his own’, ‘he’s just playing games with you’, ‘he’ll never be independent and forever cling on you’.

The voices of years of conditioning. My common sense tells me one thing, but my fears another.

Back to the bathroom.

So – I made a point of it again to let him know when I go, ask him if he wants to come with or not.
Then, after a while of  our regular, constant potty companionship; I ask him and he just kind of looks up in recognition that I said something, but will look back just as quick and continue focusing on what he was doing. Or he’ll say ‘Stay with Gian’ – that he will stay with Gian while I go potty. Or “stay room” where he’ll stay by himself while I go to the bathroom.
Sometimes he still comes with me, courteously opening and closing doors for me, helping me every step of the way. Other times he couldn’t care less. The bathroom holds no more mysteries for him, he’s seen it all – he’s confident he’s not missing out, so now he just makes a choice in the moment based on what he’d like to do.

This little moment of me sitting in the bathroom and reflecting on the path we’ve walked in all bathroom related things, made me look at the topic of independence and dependence once again.

It’s like there’s this really weird, deep fear that if I meet his needs he will never become independent. Yet, if I look at him and my own childhood in retrospect, independence in itself is a need as well. Independence is not some ‘extracurricular’ skill that you need to carefully craft and plan because it’s not part of ‘normal development’. Doing things on your own, being on your own – these are things that naturally emerge and are part of ourselves, as a need we express as individuals.

And Cesar shows me these signs every day. How he wants to go and poo in a separate room or in the garden, while insisting we stay where we are and he will call us when he needs us. Where he insists on pouring his own cup, taking food out of a packet, help moving shopping inside. How upset he gets when we do something for him in a moment of unawareness, which we know he can do for himself but forgot to ask if he’ll do it.

Independence grows as they grow. All you have to do is meet it, just like any other need.

He now enjoys making that decision to come with or not. That he can own that decision. That he can see and realise out of his own that he is alright being on his own. Not because I told him so, but because he realised it first hand.

 

Connecting with your Natural Drive

community work farm life toddler zamoramoreno

Sometimes Cesar will do as we do when working together outside, other times he does what we’d also like to do – like being pushed around in a wheelbarrow. Whenever we can, we attend our little social-work-outside-get-together. We never force him to participate but do ask him to stick around. With house cleaning we do the same. Initially he didn’t participate, but the more he saw us do it and the more capable he grew, the more he started pitching in and start cleaning on his own.
When I first came to live on the farm, all I had known was all the things I HAD to do, what I had been told I MUST do. For the first time I didn’t have to do anything. Yet, soon enough I found myself getting involved in projects, help out, start new things. In the end no-one wants to just sit around or play all day. We all have a natural drive to explore and to create. Unfortunately, most of us live in a ‘one size fits all’ system, where only some types of ‘doing’ are rewarded and anything else it throttled. We then lose our connection to our natural drive and only move ourselves if there’s a carrot or stick involved.

I would want everyone to grow up and live in an environment that fosters this natural drive, that allows people to contribute and create real added value because they can and it’s common sense to do so.
The world would be a different place. Yet, we don’t have to wait for this to happen,we can each in our individual lives, our personal relationships – push to bring the best version out of ourselves, to investigate our motives and what drives us – start making little changes in what we do, how we do it and why we do things, and let these changes ripple outwards.

#toddler #work #household #chores #task #motivation #selfdirectedlearning #continuumconcept #unschooling #consciousparenting #naturaldrive #parenting #betterworld #explore #freedom #curiosity

The Miracle of Life

newborn-1328454_640

When someone announces they are pregnant, it’s happy news. You are going to be so happy when you see that little baby of yours, it’s truly a miracle. And it is – holding that small, innocent life in your hands – whoa; it’s quite something.

One day, I was walking with my husband through the mall, holding my son in my arms. As we are walking he says “Isn’t it funny, all these people here, were all babies once, just like our son. We were once a baby, just like our son”.

I look at all the people walking and shopping by. I notice the expression on their faces, mostly sad, zoned out – just going through the motions. I wonder what lives they live, what struggles they face. I notice their clothes and what shops they enter, which gives an inkling of their economic status. Some must struggle more than others. As we drive back we drive through parts of town with nice houses, we also drive past a township. I notice the people, the children. I remember all the people from the mall. I imagine all the people we’ve encountered today as little babies. All equally, cute, innocent and precious as my own son.

I become really sad and ask myself: God, what have we done?

Each of these people were little miracles. Once they all had the same joyful, trusting expression my son exhibits. That gaze that claims that only good can come their way. That the world is full of fun and possibilities, and they can’t wait to explore it.

And for most of these little miracles, the opposite happened. How could it have gone any other way?

We live in a world of conditionality. We don’t just live, we have to earn our living. While the adults go and earn their living – the children take a backseat. Schools, a place we are told we go to, to develop our utmost potential in life, turns out to be a babysitting factory where we each day get numbed and dumbed down a little more. While the material you get fed seems to rather go in the one ear and out the other once we’ve ‘passed the test’; what really sticks is the conformation, the peer pressure, the obedience towards those in positions of authority, the desire to meet your parents’ expectations, the labels that were thrown at you. Then school is over, and so is your childhood. Now, you too must go and earn your living.

I remember all the people we encountered again. How some were having disputes about their relationships. Parents struggling to get to things in time whilst children wanted to do anything but go where the whole family was headed. The threats, the shouting, the insulting of one another.

Even those earning their living, are not really living. Every day is just another struggle to get to the next, and the next, and the next. We hope for the best, even when our world shows us it’s one of very few winners and many losers drawing the short end of the stick. We keep doing what we’re doing, how we have been doing it – hoping, that somehow maybe things will be different for us or for our children.

This all reminds me of the Divergent movie series. Where everyone lives according to a system, a way of life as ‘how things have been’, and keep doing and living the same thing over, thinking it ‘must be the right thing’ – if it’s what we have been doing for such a long time, surely this is how things are supposed to be.

But then it turns out their entire society, their entire way of living, was just an experiment. It was never absolute, it was never a “law” that things must continue as they are. In fact, the experimenters were waiting for someone to change the whole thing. While the majority of the people saw themselves as good citizens, within living within the predetermined lines of the system, thinking and believing that ‘that must be its purpose’ – the purpose was exactly the opposite.

What if life on Earth, our way of living was just an experiment. What if the whole purpose of how we live, is not to continue living this way, but to step beyond it – to transcend it. To start colouring outside of the lines. Why do we insist on living li(v)es where every single person – every one of these single people having been a miracle at birth – end up living an undignified life? End up getting less than what every single person deserves; regardless of birthplace, race, or economic status?

I’d say we have experimented enough, and that the results of our experiment are pretty conclusive: this isn’t going anywhere good.

Let’s come up with something new. If not for us, do it for the children to come.

 

 

From Nervousness to Opportunity | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

nervousness opportunity parenting emotional turmoil leilazamoramoreno

A week or so ago we went on a little roadtrip as I needed to get my passport renewed, and could only do it at the Embassy in Johannesburg, which is many hours of driving away from where we are situated.

While we were planning and then actually went on the trip, I noticed that I would access an experience of nervousness inside myself. One the one hand, I was dreading the forecast of having to go on a long car trip with Cesar and being away from home. Imagining worst case scenarios of him not enjoying the car ride, not being happy in different living space. Yet, at the same time – I was also excited, because we’ve gone on (shorter) trips before which had been very enjoyable and could see the potential fun and how walking into the unknown can lead to pleasant surprises and interesting experiences.

Within exploring the nervousness, I noticed I was constantly switching between play-outs in my head of both the best case and worst case scenario. Where I was hoping for the best, but fearing the worst. When we actually started and got the trip going – I realised I actually had no clue as to how things would go or not go, and that there was no point fixating on an ‘either/or’ outcome. If things didn’t go quite right, there was always the possibility that I’d make mistakes and I would have to be okay with that, and equally so, if things didn’t go quite right, there was always the possibility that we’d simply handle it and move through it. Within accessing the worst-case scenario inside myself, I was actually each time accessing all my self-judgments, where I painted a bleaker and darker picture of who I knew myself to be. When I would access the best-case scenario, I was accessing a prettier and brighter picture of who I knew myself to be, where I could see ‘my potential’. But all it was – was still potential.

Then, when things didn’t go quite right and there were ‘bumps’ in the road, it was easy to submit to a darker, diminished version of myself and give up on ever being and becoming the potential I could see I could be and become. At the same time, if I held on to the pretty picture as the potential I envisaged for myself  – it’s easy to imagine that ‘I’m already there’ while there are still many aspects within myself I need to polish up, but sweep it under the rug out of a sense of self-judgment, which leads to suppression and denial.

I had to be real with myself within honestly assessing my weakness and my strengths, prepare myself the best way I can and then simply walk it. I had to drop both the worst case scenario, and the best case scenario – because where I really was at, was somewhere in the middle. If I would have kept fixating on a better and lesser version of myself, I’d keep missing who I am RIGHT HERE, and wouldn’t be able to actually move forward.

Instead of seeing bumps and mistakes as condemnation of what an awful person I am all across the board, and seeing every moment that went well as a ‘graduation of perfection’ all across the board – it was to see any and all moments as opportunities to learn about myself and to specify myself, grow and develop my potential. While nervousness is fear and desire based – opportunity works with who you are right here, right now. To allow yourself to walk through situations and experiences, so that you can get feedback about yourself learn from it and expand yourself. The focus then becomes on the journey, and not the end result.

The Only Constant is Change

toddler sleeping parenting change

Cesar started skipping naps the last few days, being up from early morning and going to sleep early evening. He’s becoming less and less baby, more and more a boy.

When he was a small baby, it took a great deal to let go of myself to be able stand absolutely in meeting all his needs, which were many and frequent.
Now that he is growing up and moving to independence, I have to once more let go of the role I took on and adjust to a different set of needs.

The moment you settle in a particular routine/way of interacting with one another – new developments take place and you have to recalibrate your approach all over again.

As much as you raise a child, you constantly erase and raise yourself along.

#toddler #baby #parenting #motherhood #journey #sleeping