Life — A “choose your own” adventure?

This morning Hub mentioned a book he had read about and asked if I had heard of the author Wayne Dyer. “Of course,” I replied and proceeded to explain that I had read many of Dyer’s books, had gone to a seminar to hear him speak and had been swept off my feet by accompanying speaker Deepak Chopra. I mentioned that a favourite book of his was marked now by a gap on my shelves, a phenomena recently mentioned by both Caroline Lodge, who blogs at book word and talked about missing books, and Anne Goodwin, who blogs at annethology and talked about the dilemma of lending books.

Wayne Dyer

I think there may be more than one missing from my self!

Deepak Chopra

I think. looking at these titles, its time for some re-reading!

This favourite book, read and lent many times, What Do You Really Want for Your Children? was very influential in shaping the way I parented and taught. It is one of a few books that I read and re-read with a highlighter and sticky notes. There was much in it for me to get my head around. While I am unable to now refer to it for its wisdom, one of the things that I remember most was a hypothetical letter from a child thanking parents for the way they had parented. I considered it a letter any parent would love to receive, personalised of course.

As often happens, Hub got the long (love) story as it tumbled out in a torrent of reminiscences and of joys in discovering inspiring minds. When I paused long enough to take a breath, I remembered to ask about the book to which he referred. He said it was about the recollections of past lives as told by young children, of children choosing their parents and of being in heaven.  Later research informs me that the book is Memories of Heaven, subtitledChildren’s astounding recollections of the time before they came to Earth.

I had previously, many years ago, heard the suggestion that children choose their parents. I like to think (though don’t believe) that my children chose me, and often thank them for doing so. They have taught me a lot about life. I am a strong believer in the wisdom of young children: if we are attentive and take the time to observe and listen, we can learn much from them. Sometimes it seems they enter the world with wisdom but “we” do our best to obliterate it as quickly as we can.

As it is wont to do, my thinking followed a circuitous path with if, buts, maybes and questions. Children choosing parents may be a nice idea; but what of the children living in poverty, with famine, and in war-torn areas? Why would anyone choose those conditions?

That question led me through my basic understanding of the Buddhist philosophy in relation to karma and rebirth. I have read a few books on the subject but don’t profess to have any real knowledge. I don’t like to think that these situations may be endured as the result of bad karma from a previous life, and am not even sure if they would be viewed that way in Buddhist thinking. Perhaps these situations could be an improvement on the previous, a step to the next? Maybe that’s not so unpleasant a thought.

Dalai LamaTibetan book of living and dying

I like the idea of improvement, of always learning, of striving for perfection and enlightenment. It is probably one of the reasons that the “yet” thinking of a growth mindset fits nicely into my philosophy. It explains why one of my favourite books (I almost wrote “of all time” – what would that say about me and my past lives?) is Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, who dedicated the book “To the real Jonathan Seagull, who lives within us all”.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Slide2

I had always thought that being a bird would be pretty amazing with the freedom to fly above the world and look down upon its beauty. Maybe this is one reason Jonathan’s story appealed to me. Perhaps it explains the analogy of flight in my poem about education. Maybe it’s why I love to sit at an airplane’s window and marvel at the scenes below.

education-is-2

And so my thoughts meandered, drifting through clouds and pockets of time, until they were suddenly interrupted by the voice of the child next door singing, “Let it go”.

I think those three words “Let it go” may be the only ones that anyone sings along with, but the message of the song is powerful: to let go of insecurities and realise the potential within; don’t care “what they’re going to say” and acknowledge that “It’s time to see what I can do”.

Slide1

The message is not unlike that of Jonathan Seagull: to stretch beyond the limits imposed by others and their labels and to attain self-realisation. It is a journey undertaken by most thinking people, as demonstrated by the identity crisis that has befallen Sarah Brentyn who blogs at Lemon Shark. What is that if not a call for release from chains that may bind to enable the freedom for flight?

The end of a year is generally a time for reflecting on what has been achieved and what is yet to be. Perhaps it is also a time for letting go in preparation for what lies ahead.

Slide3

I hope that, as you reflect, you are happy with what you have achieved, with where you are, and with the path that lies ahead. I wish you a safe, fun and fruitful journey along the “road to find out”.

I have enjoyed your company this year and appreciate your feedback. The conversations are what keep me going, growing and learning. Thank you. I look forward to the journey continuing.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

 

 

51 thoughts on “Life — A “choose your own” adventure?

  1. Pingback: Which school? I found one! | Norah Colvin

  2. vanbytheriver

    Love this post. I was so influenced by so many of your references. Loved Seagull, and had the chance to meet Wayne Dyer many years ago. I wore out the pages of his “Erroneous Zones”. Thank you. And Happy New Year.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks so much for stopping by and joining in the conversation. I know what you mean about the “Erroneous Zones.” It was the first of his I read. It was a bit of an eye-opener, but “What do you really want for your children” helped me see it all the more clearly. Happy New Year to you also. I hope you have a wonderful year.

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  3. stuckinscared

    Norah, what an incredible post! I’ll be thinking on this one for a while yet. I’m not entirely sure what I ‘believe’, but I have thought about reincarnation…wondered. I think I want to believe, in many things… but question everything.

    As for children choosing parents, I’m sure (if that’s the case) there are many children who might wish they chose better… along with many who might give themselves a good pat themselves on the back 🙂 … Interestingly, ‘Why did I come to you’, or ‘did you choose me’ are questions that Littlie has asked hubs and me on more than one occassion… a question my other children never asked. We tell her God chose her for us, and us for her and she’s happy with that…as are we 🙂

    I like the idea of writing a letter of thanks to parents, I wish I’d written one for Dad…an idea for my dad journal I think. Actually, come to think of it I did (in a way) write a Thank you letter to him… my ‘About a Man’ post, which was originally written for him and sent to him on Fathers Day a few years back probably counts as such. Thanks for the reminder!

    I love the quotes above…particularly the last one.

    Thank you, Norah. A thought provoking read!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Kimmie, for adding so much richness to the post with your thoughts. Aren’t the questions Littlie asked amazing? If you had seen the request from Wayne Dyer when he was compiling this book you could have submitted them! I wonder how long ago she asked the questions, and what she might have replied had you asked her why she chose you.
      I like that you, like me, question everything. I find it interesting to hear what others think and believe, but I also tend to be a bit sceptical and don’t jump into acceptance without giving it a great deal of thought and checking it out thoroughly.
      I think writing to your Dad in your Dad Journal is a great idea. I’m sure as you open your heart on the page you will be able to tap into his wisdom, which you hold within you. Did you repost “About a Man” at the time of his passing? I’m pretty sure I read it a few months ago. Your words are beautiful.
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I very much appreciate it. I look forward to hearing more of your Dad Journal as the year progresses. Take care. xo

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  4. roweeee

    Thanks so much for putting this incredible post together. I loved it and the comments which followed and all the discussion.
    It looks like our family is poised with Jonathon Livingston Seagull at the edge of that cliff. Our son starts high school this year and our daughter has been accepted into a selective Primary school class.
    Last year, my daughter started talking about how school was in effect clipping her wings and I guess this is part of transitioning from more junior years and having to get on with the nitty gritty but I also appreciate that she has a very creative mind and that she still needs an outlet for that. To be fair though, she was doing quite a lot of creative stuff in class.
    At the same time, she is now preparing for the Selective High Schools test and the whole issue of coaching has reared it’s ugly head. We are fortunate in that we have friends with kids ahead of her so have had quite a good range of advice and feedback. We’re going to get the textbooks and do much of the prep at home and then boost it with tutoring and see how that goes. In Sydney, I’ve been told that some kids are doing upwards of 60 hours a week of coaching and home work on top of school work and do no sport, no birthday parties or play dates. I just couldn’t do that to a 10 year old. That said, I have warned her that she’s going to need to manage her time well this year.
    Without our son, I’m just focusing on getting him settled into high school first and with this in mind, we’re completely overhauling his room.
    I have ordered What Do You Really Want for Your Children? and I can’t wait to read it.
    When I was first diagnosed with my health problems, I started writing life lessons to my kids and I’ver changed my approach quite dramatically now moving from philosophical ideas and character traits to practical stuff they need for independence like how to cook, gardening, bushwalking etc. Both our kids do scouts and are learning so much through that and my husband and I are learning a lot too.That’s been a hidden bonus.
    I also really believe it’s important for kids to learn an instrument or singing, dancing. I took up the violin 3 years ago and it’s radically changed my life and retrained my brain. It’s been incredible.
    Anyway, my reply is starting to look like a post!
    xx Rowena

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you so much for adding your thoughts in this post-like reply; and for re-posting on your blog. I’m so pleased it connected with you. It is very affirming when what is written connects with others. I was thinking of you actually, as I wrote the post because, if I’m not mistaken, you wrote a post a few months ago about Jonathan L. Seagull, and I believe we had a bit of a conversation about it at the time.
      You say you are poised on the cliff with JLS. I feel a bit that way too. I think that’s why I needed that cliff quote right now. You’ll step onto something solid, or you’ll fly! Either way there is nothing to fear.
      I hope you enjoy Wayne Dyer’s book. I wonder how current the thinking still is. I read it almost 30 years ago. I’d love to compare what I think about it now with what I thought then. I must get it back, with all my highlights.
      I wish your son and your daughter well in their new school situations; and you and Hub of course too, as it will affect the entire family. I find it almost impossible to believe that some children would do 60 hours of study on top of school and homework. What a tragic loss of childhood that is. I can’t imagine what would be worth that loss. I hope your daughter finds it stimulating and that it gives her wings to fly, rather than hand her the scissors to clip them.
      You are a courageous lady and a wonderful Mum. Your children are very fortunate to have you prepare them for independence. I’m wishing you days enough to see them put your teachings and wisdom into practice in happy, successful adult lives.
      My sister passed when she was 35, leaving three children aged 10, 8 and 6. Sadly as well as her physical health issues she had mental health issues and wasn’t able to prepare her children or herself very well. We never know what day or hour, so we must all enjoy and make the most of what we have. I do appreciate your sharing and wish you well.
      And now, I think my response is starting to look like another post! Take care and best wishes. xo

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      1. roweeee

        Thank you, Norah.
        I’m so sorry to hear about your sister and how heartbreaking that must’ve been for you all. My mum’s sister died when she was 36 but couldn’t have children, which in the end was perhaps a relief. OUr whole family was shattered and it was such a shock. She had Sudden Acute Respiratory Failure and went within a week or ten days. She died at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. My grandmother had a terrible phobia of flying but flew down from Brisbane to Sydney with my grandfather to be there. That’s a mother’s love.
        I have ordered “Grief is a Thing with Feathers”, which was mentioned on one of the blogs you mentioned in this post. It will be very sad but I also think cathartic.
        After ordering the two books despite my resolutions to cut back on the books we currently have, I wrote this post about my reading pile, which I’m sure you’ll relate to:https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2016/01/04/the-reading-pile/
        Anyway, must get to bed!
        xx Rowena

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        1. Norah Post author

          I’m so sorry to hear about your aunt, Rowena. There are few families untouched by loss. Thank you for your kind words re my sister. It was a difficult time, and it still continues to sadden me.
          Thanks for the link to your post and your beautiful poem, which I soooo identify with. Now I’ve also had to add Grief is a Thing with Feathers to my reading pile as you informed me that Ted Hughes is the author. He is a wonderful poet, and The Iron Man is one of my favourite books. The poetry of his telling is magnificent. It’s wonderful to read aloud.
          I hope you slept well.Happy reading. xo

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          1. roweeee

            Sorry, I confused myself Norah and added you to the mix. It’s by Max Porter but refers to Hughes’ Crow.
            I’ve pasted a slab from a review which explains my confusion:
            For starters, there is the title, referring to a well-known poem by Emily Dickinson, “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers”, but not the poem by Dickinson used as an epigraph, “That Love is all there is; / Is all we know of Love;” – so setting out a project at once oblique, nuanced and intellectually playful. Then there’s the story itself, of a grieving writer and father of two young boys, who is coming to terms with the death of his wife while writing a book about Ted Hughes called Ted Hughes’ Crow on the Couch: A Wild Analysis. Altogether, from the typography of the cover to the poet who is the subject of the protagonist’s writing, to the “Crow” who arrives in the middle of the night in “a rich smell of decay, a sweet furry stink of just-beyond-edible food, and moss, and leather, and yeast”, flying straight out of Hughes’s poetry into the role of caretaker for the family, amanuensis and analyst, there’s a glorious conceit at play here about how all the elements of a novel may come flocking together under the same publisher’s roof.”
            My aunt’s death hit the family very hard. There was quite a lot of regret that more time wasn’t spent together and there was a rift. Her husband was quite possessive and with my grandfather being a pastor, religious tension, which mostly faded after she died. She died back in 1984 and a few year’s ago we had a phone call from her husband’s niece who gave us her rings and a few things after her husband died. It was very meaningful to meet his family but also very sad to revisit what happened. She lived at Scotts Head of the NSW Mid coast and was flown to Sydney but he had to drive himself down and after she died, he and his sister drove home. I just couldn’t imagine that. We’ve been to Scotts Head a few times and I’ve taken the kids there. Not the same as meeting her but it felt like something I had to do. Lyn was a Karitane training child nurse and she would have loved the kids.
            I think this book addresses that aspect of grief. That you don’t just magically move on. Your grief goes with you.
            Take care.
            Love & best wishes,
            Rowena

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            1. Norah Post author

              Thanks for clearing up the confusion, Rowena. Unfortunately I struggled to follow the extract of the review, so I understand your confusion. However, I did Google the book and I think I found the review you quoted (in the Guardian), which was still difficult to follow. However the book does sound quite intriguing. It’s dropped down a notch on my list, but still there for one day, just not yet. I look forward to hearing what you think of it.
              The situation you describe with your aunt is indeed sad. We had the opposite with my sister. After her passing, although they lived close, her husband and children reduced contact with us until, over the years we had no contact at all. They did not contact Mum for her 90th birthday or attend her funeral a year later. It is very sad. I hope one day that the children will reestablish contact and want to hear about their mother. I not only lost a sister, I lost her children as well.
              It is small recompense for your mother for her sister’s rings to be returned, but it is something, something tangible to hold.
              I hadn’t heard of Karitane nursing so thank you for the link to that also. There is definitely no magical moving on.
              Take care.
              Best wishes,
              Norah xo

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              1. roweeee

                Hi Norah,
                As hard as it is to bring up these emotions and memories, I guess if we’re really honest they’re always there, naturally less so for me but for yourself and my Mum.
                As you would appreciate, this isn’t just about the past with my own health being so precarious and all my daughter’s life, I have in that regard been in a kind of suspended animation. There have probably been about -5 times when things were really grim or at least appeared that way and it’s caused me such a horrific inner anguish but now the kids are getting older, I am starting to feel more peace and I am doing well. It now just seems to be the winter chest infections that are a threat. It’s been very important for my children to have a sense of who I am both I guess for myself but more for them in terms of their own identity and finding their path in life. They have a swag of writing and photos and there’ll be something in there that will resonate oneday, hopefully while I’m still here.
                A family friend lost his wife and they have a two year old. A year later, he is still living in the UK closely in touch with her family, rather than returning to Australia. I have thought it a very compassionate decision but he’s been living there for such a long time that it’s probably his home now too.
                I am so sory that you love contact with your sister’s kids..for you and for them. Their Mum is half of who they are and if it was me, I’d always feel out of kilter not knowing half of my family.
                Take care!
                Love,
                Rowena

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                1. Norah Post author

                  Thank you for sharing these honest and personal thoughts, Rowena. I hope you do get to share your writing and photos with your children, many years into the future. It is a wonderful gift you have made for them, and I’m sure there will be much there that will resonate and that they will appreciate.
                  I guess we all have different ways of dealing with grief, and there were other reasons for my brother-in-law to severe contact. Knowing that doesn’t lessen the sadness though, but tends to increase it.
                  Take care of you! Stay well and positive. Every day is a gift. 🙂

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  5. roweeee

    Reblogged this on beyondtheflow and commented:
    So many of us have experienced the difference between “education” and “schooling”. However, I have never seen that difference expressed so succinctly than in this post by educator Norah Colvin. It is a MUST READ!! xx Rowena

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  6. writersideup

    I’ve really missed keeping up with your blog and you, Norah. Life is still kinda crazy though (operations and such) and trying to get a handle on things 🙂 And thank you for being one of the top commenters on my blogs. It means so much! I hope I’m more reciprocal this year! oxox

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    1. Norah Post author

      No apology needed, Donna Marie. That’s life. Sorry to hear life is still crazy. I hope it settles down and you are pain free soon.
      I love reading your blog, but my reading has suffered some setbacks recently too as I have spent more time preparing resources for my soon-be-released website.
      Happy New Year! xo

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  7. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    I’m one who did ring my parents and thank them (but the thanks were not so much for their parenting technique but for not sexually abusing me as at the time everyone we were admitting into ICU for a period of a few months seemed to have a history a childhood abuse. In the end it became too much and I rang my parents and thanked them.
    There is a lot in this post Norah and I need to sit and think what do I now believe. I always believed in reincarnation and would have had no problem with children choosing their parents (and I’ll keep an eye out for the book ‘Memories of heaven” but I have had a radical metamorphosis in my thinking lately and no longer know where I stand. Thanks for prompting me to think on. Hope your year is a happy one.

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    1. Norah Post author

      That’s lovely that you were able to, and did, thank you parents for not abusing you. The number that can do that is quite small, I believe. I’ve forgotten the percentages quoted at one stage but what you report about the ICU seems about right. I know many who were sexually abused and few who weren’t. I hope the situation is changing for young people now that we are showing more respect to everyone. I don’t think there was that respect in years gone by. The abuse seems to have been so prevalent.
      Interesting to hear about the metamorphosis in your thinking. I especially like the choice of word in relation to reincarnation. It’s like your thinking is reincarnated to another plane. I’m happy to hear sometime if you wish to share. 🙂

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      1. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        The sad thing is regarding sexual abuse of children I think it always happened we just didn’t hear about it (until now when it is coming out regarding institutions and well-known figures. I just can’t get my head around Bill Cosby and even Rolf Harris). I think it still happens today but perhaps it has become a little harder with mandatory reporting and news coverage. Child services don’t have the resources and they are dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t. It is one government department that I wouldn’t want to work in if you paid me.
        I’ll keep that in mind. Perhaps a conversation for a possible coffee sometime…:)

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        1. Norah Post author

          I agree with you about Rolf Harris and Bill Cosby. I just shake my head. What were they thinking? Trouble is, these are just the celebrities and cases that get news coverage. There are many more who have suffered, and are suffering, whose stories never get told.
          I look forward to the coffee share. 🙂

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  8. clodge2013

    I enjoyed following your thoughts on this blogppost. It seems a mystery to me how parents choose their children and vice versa, but the relationship will surely produce something.
    Thanks you for the name check at the start, and I hope you find or replace your missing books.
    You are already in 2016 – and my best wishes to you for all that comes in the new year.
    Caroline.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Caroline. I was discussing the book with my daughter-in-law yesterday. She has finished with it and is happy to return it. Funny though, in our conversation we discovered another who may just benefit from borrowing it first!
      Thanks for your new year wishes. All the best to you too! 🙂

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  9. Sarah Brentyn

    I love this post. So much to sink your teeth into! I’ve always believed in reincarnation. Or, like Anne says, I did. I don’t know that I’m quite as passionate about it as before but I think it’s extremely likely anyway. I also lend something to fate/karma. I’m not “new age”, I’m “old age”. This stuff has been around much longer than any of us, that’s for sure. And children choosing difficult situations is supposed to be for learning purposes and growth (some say to help those they will be involved with). I always wondered about that.

    Well, thank you for the beautiful mention (that whole paragraph is wonderful) and I absolutely agree with your last sentiment: “The end of a year is generally a time for reflecting on what has been achieved and what is yet to be. Perhaps it is also a time for letting go in preparation for what lies ahead.” Interesting that you have that directly after you mention my post because this particular line really hit home for me. My jaw dropped when I read it because I’m headed in the direction of letting go in prep for something (anything) else that lies ahead for me. Scary… But freeing myself from the chains of my dreams… Maybe I can fly.

    Happy New Year! ❤

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you so much for the enthusiasm of your response, Sarah. I was concerned that my words, in mentioning your post, may have been easily misinterpreted. I’m pleased they weren’t. I felt for you as my insecurities are my constant companion and no matter how hard I try to silence them, they keep on yelling in my ear. The words that spoke to you, I speak to me, but most often I don’t hear because those “companions” cover my ears tightly with their fists. I have no doubt that you will fly. You have that solid base from which to take off, in any direction you please. I wish you a joyful flight! Happy New Year to you also!

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  10. Charli Mills

    Jonathon Livingston Seagull made a big impact on my thinking, as did Carlos Canstenada when I was a teen. I’ve known many who’ve been influenced by the books of Dyer, Chopra and others but often I came to ideas that simple did not resonate with me. Most of my life I avoided anything that looked like church or organized religion, including New Age ones. Then I had a spiritual awakening of sorts and to the utter surprise of many who’ve known me, including the Hub and children, I became born again Christian. I don’t talk much on the subject because I remember how unsavory it was when other preached their beliefs at me. Best I can say is that in addition to being life-long learners, I believe we are life-long seekers. No matter one’s philosophy or faith, so many seek reasons or connections, meaning and purpose. In science, I find it fascinating that so many ‘designs’ point to a creator and that energy can’t be destroyed. Ultimately, the big journey is beyond this life and as Richard Bach wrote in another one of my favorite books, The Reluctant Messiah, the big test for learning our life’s lesson is in answering the question, “Am I still here?” 🙂 Yep. Still here. Still learning, still seeking. Norah, I gain so much insight from your posts and appreciate the educator that you are — not in the classroom, but in the greater community. Thank you for a thought-provoking year and I look forward to another in 2016!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your lovely honest comment, Charli, and adding so much richness to the post.
      I think you are right. Life-long learning and life-long seeking seem to go hand in hand. Some find their answers early, whether they are correct or not, and stop learning and seeking. Many don’t even bother to think of a question, let alone an answer. Sometimes I think they are the contented ones. Contented like the birds of the air that seek no reason in being; they just are. But, to my dismay, and inability to change it, I am the Jonathan of the flock, as are you and many others we have met here on the internet. We take joy as our flights connect and strengthen the need to search.
      I’m not familiar with Carlos Canstenada. I’ll have to check him out. And I don’t think I’ve read The Reluctant Messiah. I might have to put it on the list also.
      Thank you for your encouraging words, Charli. We are all in this learning journey together. Yep. I’m still here; trying to figure out where “here” is!
      Have a wonderful 2016. I’m looking forward to seeing great things happen! 🙂

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  11. TanGental

    I’m rather of Anne’s school of scepticism around a few of the ideas here. Rebirth, prior lives, nope not me. We are the random output of evolution, we live we die, just part of an ongoing continuum. I don’t know that’s true, of course but it seems mostly likely to me. Children choosing parents? Not sure what that means, in truth. I’m also not sure I’d say children have wisdom. What they have is an uncluttered logic – is that the same thing? Things are black or white, not nuanced and they will pick you up on glib explanations and shallow thinking. It might not seem like it but I really enjoyed this post for it made me think and ask myself what I thought about what you were saying. And I do agree with Pauline that we are historical amnesiacs and keep repeating past mistakes.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and scepticism, Geoff. Like you, I am also a bit of a sceptic, but I like to think I have an open mind too. I find the ideas interesting but also question their credibility. However I have no doubt about the wisdom of children. Pauline agrees with me. We might have to work out some way of presenting our case!
      Geoff, what I really appreciated most about your comment was your statement that you enjoyed the post for making you think and question your beliefs. I think that is such an important thing to do. As I said, I try to keep an open mind, as I know you do too, and read and listen to a lot of different ideas, whether I agree, or think I agree with them, or not. Unless we hear the ideas of others, and challenge our own thoughts, we can’t really come to a full understanding of just what we value and believe. Sometimes I am questioned about the books I read – “Why would you read that?” when the thoughts proposed differ from those of the person questioning. However I can’t fully appreciate how wrong they are, or disagree with them, if I don’t know what they think, can I? 🙂 Just a thought.
      I wish you and your family all the best for the new year!

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      1. TanGental

        Very wise Norah. I’m sure I’m like a lot in that I tend to read and listen to people I agree with. My newspaper choice reflects that. But once in a while I’ll read something different. Often it will irritate me but sometimes it pulls the blinkers off. Thanks Norah for the good wishes. Same to you.

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  12. Sacha Black

    Interesting as always Norah. There’s a lot of religions that discuss reincarnation, always think its interesting when lots of them agree on things.

    I’d love a thank you from my son one day. Maybe I will write my own mother one. Lovely thought.

    Happy New Year Norah, hope next year is prosperous and joyful.

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    1. Norah Post author

      I agree with you that it’s interesting when a lot of groups share the same ideas. However, majority doesn’t always make it right! 🙂
      A letter from your son would be lovely. But the best thing really, as a parent, I think is to see the wonderful adults they have become. Hopefully I contributed towards that in some small way. Having said that though, I’m certain you mother would appreciate a letter from you!
      Thanks for visiting and commenting. I enjoy our conversations and look forward to them continuing next year.
      Best wishes to you, you wife and son, and your extended family for a wonderful 2016!

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  13. macjam47

    Norah, what a fascinating post you have written, very thought-provoking. You distinction between education and schooling is right on. I couldn’t agree more.
    Yes, as we head into the new year, a year filled with possibilities, we should all “Let It Go!” and leave all the insecurities, the baggage behind and start with a clean slate.
    I am still on hiatus, but check in to my favorite blogs now and then to see what is happening.
    Happy Near Year, dear friend.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your supportive comment, Michelle. I have enjoyed our conversations throughout the year and look forward to them continuing. I agree with you about dumping the insecurities and other baggage – onward and upward!
      I am honoured to think that you have included me in the number of favourite blogs that have drawn you out of hiatus. I wish you joy, success and peace as we step into the future. 🙂

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  14. Annecdotist

    Mmm says the sceptic! I did believe in reincarnation as a young child but my thinking has moved on a lot since then. As for choosing one’s parents: wouldn’t that have been nice? But I do have an abandoned short story on that theme, or at least on the topic of there being life before birth, that your post might help me revive.
    I do like the title of that book What do you really want for your children? It’s easy for parents to unwittingly do harm to not understanding the impact their actions will have on young minds.
    Aside from that, thanks for your thoughtful reading and thoughtful posts which I look forward to continuing next year.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Anne. I’m pleased to think my post may assist a story’s rebirth. I look forward to reading it.
      The title of the book reflects its contents well. I must try to retrieve my copy and do a post about it. What I liked about the book were examples actions and words with accompanying effects and then suggestions for change and the improved effects. It was very practical advice (from what I recall from 20+ years ago!)
      Thank you for the consistency of your visits and the thoughtfulness of your comments. I appreciate the value that your considered responses add to each of my posts. I look forward to our ongoing conversations, and wish you success with your writing projects in 2016.

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  15. Gulara

    That distinction between education and schooling is profound and shocking… Thank you for all your efforts and passion to raise awareness about this important topic, Norah! Thought-provoking and inspiring post.

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  16. thecontentedcrafter

    What a great post Norah! It’s what it’s all about isn’t it – growing and learning and just trying to get our heads into the right space. I have – or had – as I culled my library extensively when I chose to live a simpler life – so many of the same books as you. JLS came by me in the 70’s and led me on to other places. Wayne Dyer’s first book was on my shelves for years and was followed by his last ones as he explored his spiritual nature more. Deepak Chopra was my guide for a long time in the 90’s and noughties. He saw me through a huge life crisis and was instrumental in my decision to simplify. I think all these people were my teachers – as were and remain so Rudolf Steiner, Carl Jung, Caroline Myss, The Dalai Lama and some other people who never wrote a book but who came into my life and offered lessons, guidance, examples and teachings that moved me gently – or not so gently – along my path.

    In my life I have come to understand that it is all a lot more complex than we can see or understand from our limited perspective – forest and trees springs to mind! One of the advantages age brings is the ability to look back at the long view and see how something that appeared at the time to be just plain awful actually served a greater good. I think we do choose our parents and we do choose our path. Our work is to ensure we learn and take responsibility and grow into better people. I believe we are here to learn how to live in a state of unconditional love – and man is it challenging! I think we forget and we buy into the materialism of the world which is run by full blown amnesiacs who believe that money and power and stuff makes for a successful life. Our work is to find inner contentment no matter the lot we have chosen, no matter the stuff going on around us or the social democratic we live in. And then there is the job of caring for our fellow human beings – those you mentioned who live in poverty and war and whose lives are chaotic and terrible. Here we get the chance to open our hearts and our doors and work as hard as we can to bridge the divide of language and culture and education and anything else that seems to separate us……………

    Oh, heavens, I’m rabbiting on and going nowhere Norah – see what you have unleashed! 🙂
    I’ll shut up now and go away – thanks for sharing your thoughts here – it was so great to read them!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Pauline, I do not consider that rabbiting on! That was an awesome comment. Thank you so much for sharing. I had no desire for you shut up and go away. You were sharing so much wisdom and I was enjoying listening to it.I’m pleased you did enjoy the post and that it did unleash this torrent from you.
      I had forgotten about Carolyn Myss, but as you say, there are so many others who come into our lives, either in person, print or other media, at a time when we need to learn from them. I read so much from these authors back from the late 80s to early this century. I needed them desperately, and they certainly helped me work through many issues at the time. I couldn’t have done it without them.
      I agree with you about life being complex. There is far more than we can ever know, or even imagine. I think it is important to stay open to the possibilities and remain always aware.
      Unconditional love and compassion are definitely great things to aim for but, as you say, challenging. It is important though to keep working towards it – flying higher with Jonathan. I love your description of those making decisions as amnesiacs. I think in some ways that is a little like my comment about the wisdom of children being obliterated.
      Pauline, you do so much to spread hope, compassion and unconditional love. You are an inspiration. I am pleased that we have met and can join our voices with others who work to bridge the divides that separate us.
      I hope the new year brings wonderful surprises for you and yours. Best wishes. xo

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      1. thecontentedcrafter

        Thank you Norah, it is always nice to be communicating with fellow searchers! The ‘amnesia’ label I borrowed from Graham Hancock who says we are a populace with amnesia regarding our world history. Do you know him and his work? He is a very interesting writer, who does diligent research and challenges accepted archaeological thinking.

        I totally agree with your comment about the wisdom of children being obliterated. I could do another post long comment on that subject!
        Happy New Year!!

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        1. Norah Post author

          I agree. The company of fellow searchers on the journey to find out always makes the search more enjoyable.
          I am not familiar with Graham Hancock. I am interested in the idea of challenging “accepted archaeological thinking”. Sounds fascinating. I am putting him on my list of people to check out.
          I wonder if you would be interested in writing a guest post about the wisdom of children rather than writing a post-long comment, not that I object to those either. 🙂
          I think we’ll have much more to talk about in the new year. I hope it is a good one for you from the moment it begins!

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          1. thecontentedcrafter

            I’d love to do that – though I have to confess I wouldn’t know where to start Norah – if you have a particular direction in mind and one or two questions or points I could address I’d happily have a go – I just tend to have so many points it becomes a book and no-one has time to read that on a blog. Lets chat via email more.
            If you read GH I’d love to know what you think – he has a new book out that I am wanting to get my hands on called ‘Magicians of the Gods’.

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            1. Norah Post author

              It sounds like a plan, Pauline. I’ll give it some thought and perhaps we can come up with something. Perhaps it can be an abstract for your future book! 🙂

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  17. Bec

    Hi Nor, what a fascinating post filled with lots of tangents showing how one thought can lead to another, and how so much in life is interconnected. It’s nice when you can find authors whose perspectives can help to make sense of your own world. I recently read a paper drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s work, and I am looking forward to reading more on his perspectives about power in society and how our social positioning affects our lives. I’ve also found Clive Hamilton’s philosophies similarly calling for highlighters and sticky notes. I can’t read anything any more without a pen and note paper – I wonder who I get that from??!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for your comment Bec and attempt to give some sort of credibility to my post. I’m afraid that the books I listed were probably more pop culture and new age thinking rather than the serious anthropological and socio-political books that you have mentioned. However, I might add that your thinking probably began at a younger age than did mine, and the positive aspects of my thinking needed quite a bit of work! My adventures into critical and philosophical thinking began not that long before yours! 🙂 Bourdieu’s work sounds very interesting. I might have to look into it myself; and I know we have discussed Clive Hamilton many times before. I’m not sure if you got the highlighters and sticky notes behaviour from me. I don’t tend to mark books unless I absolutely have to. It would be interesting to retrieve my copy of “What do you really want for your children?” and see how we fared. I think the outcome has been very positive! 🙂
      Thanks for sharing.

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    2. roweeee

      My books have all been “graffitied” too. It’s how I judge a good book. The more scribbles the better it is. Many even have pages of inspiration written in the back. I do much of my reading on long train trips and can forget to take a notebook xx Rowena

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      1. Norah Post author

        The notes can definitely add a lot to a book’s significance. I was reading a post by someone recently (can’t think who just now) who wrote the date of her first reading and the notes she made; and was then able to compare the growth or changes in thinking occurring in subsequent readings. I quite liked that idea as I think it would be sad if we thought exactly the same way when re-reading years later. Some things would be the same but I would expect some changes in perspective as we grow and expand our thinking. 🙂

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