Tuesday, August 11, 2009

LifeWays in the Great Sandy Desert?

Dear Friends,
Thought you might enjoy this letter from Rae-Lee, who interned this winter here at Spindlewood. She was completing her Waldorf teacher training when she discovered Lifeways and created a way to work alongside her life partner in his work with the indigenous people of Australia.

Sent: Wednesday, August 05, 2009 7:00 AM
Subject: Red Sandy Shoes
Greeting ladies With another week together fast approaching an update from my corner of the world seems due. I am living in the Western Desert of Western Australia. The Western Desert is actually made up of three deserts: The Great Sandy Desert, The Little Sandy Desert and the Gibson Desert. While the landscape is dry and certainly dusty, it is greener and more lush than you might imagine. Jason and I have driven many kilometers (about 5000) together in these past weeks, an excellent way to help me adjust to my new environment. I am delighted to report ther are enough bits and pieces to create my own little nature garden and I have been given permission to plant a small garden on the property where we are staying, so the sparse grass has been dug up and seeds purchased. I have visions of sunflowers sharing space with tomato plants and then some fast growing greens. One big experiment out here, will keep you posted. Jason's work as an environmental health officer is divided between two communities, three months at a time in each place: Jigalong and Punmu. Jigalong is the larger of the two but numbers are hard to count, there is constant movement among the 'mob,' as they are referred to. Numbers can be low or high at any given time and always subject to change, they are still a very transient culture. Theirs is a different way. Theirs is a different consciousness. Of that much I am sure. To view life out here with objectivity is my biggest task. The value of those words shared during the mindfulness sessions are particularly helpful, as there is much work to do here and the process crawls along at a snails pace.....maybe most all change does? But my LifeWays binder made the journey, I happy to report. So keep those pages coming, if you can! Of utmost importance is diet. Both communities have a small store which sells all the good stuff: pop, chips, cookies, candy, lollies, meat pies......and did I mention pop! Veggies are there but they take the back burner to be sure. The little ones suffer the most, very hard to watch a 4 year old walk around with a full can of coke, a bag of chips and a candied apple at 9am BUT I have seen it and all too much of it here. In an attempt to spread more awarness, Jason and I have set-up a Saturday morning market table in front of the shop. For one or two dolllars we prepare and sell different warm food stuffs. The first week was vegetable soup, and this past was pumpkin scones. It is a small way in which to establish a rhythm and routine to our actions that can resonate and by making healthy treats from ingredients in the shop then maybe some education can squeeze through....what is a pumpkin for example. Any and all ideas are welcome, think budget, think limited fresh produce and let those imaginations start rolling. I do have visions for a sort of after school care, lifeways inspired program for the young ones here (up to 7). I have a fenced in, very private back yard filled with about 7 big climbing trees and was thinking about a scaled down version of a morning program complete with a snack, a circle, a story. They are certainly not at a loss for outdoor time or free play. We will see, some planning and a few conversations throughout this week and I should have a better idea. I organize my week, just as though I would with a home program, another attempt to establish some routine for myself. Monday is bread day, Tuesday art day.....etc and so the days roll in and out. Here we are almost another session about to begin, almost three weeks into my first three months in the desert. Am sending thoughts of warmth, joy, happiness and love this day and everyday xoxoxo Rae and Jason

LifeWays Training this July

What a great class of LifeWays students gathered to complete their final session this summer. We met for two weeks in July in Freeport, and one day here at Spindlewood for a workshop in the arts. The students traveled from Atlanta, Baltimore, New York, Cape Cod and Vermont as well as Maine. They are parents, Waldorf early childhod teachers and home preschool teachers. This is the second cycle of training that I have been privileged to accompany. We are now planning for the next cycle of Lifeways Early Childhood and Human Development Training for the Northeast, beginning next July in our midcoast area!