Cultivating The Energy: The Inner Work of Advent

A mom wrote in and asked what to do with a household that i s very calm and soothing, a household that is very conducive to rest but really needs a kick of energy!  What to do?

I think one thing to think about is this issue of balance. There  is an anthroposophic meditative exercise called The Preview where you essentially run through your day in your head before you really get up.  So, I would encourage you to make this part of your meditative practice.  When you run through your day in your head, where are the points of energy?  Where is the music, the singing, the movement. the running around outside, the scrubbing of the floor, the work? 

Many children need help in being quiet, but I also have run across quite a few who are only quiet and are very content to sit and look at book after book or draw for hours and hours on end and would prefer to be inside rather than outside expending energy.  Sometimes this is necessary, for example, if you live in an area where the weather is truly frigid and you cannot get outside, but I would also encourage you to look at balance.  Can you promote movement inside with very active circle times or singing games?  Can you set up an obstacle course inside?  Most of all, if your children are under 9, can you structure the environment so they have active things to do and put up the books and crayons and such that they come down only at certain times?  Balance, balance, balance.

Getting everyone together several times a day to sing and play singing games is an excellent way to promote some energy!  If you have forgotten all the singing games from your childhood, “Lavender’s Blue Dilly Dilly” by Mary Thienes Schunemann has 28 singing games in it: http://www.naturallyyoucansing.com/books/lavender.htm

Other mothers I know in this situation have had success in looking at themselves.  Think about your own energy and where you are.  Are you stuck?  We want things to be calm at home, but I also think when we model to a child that during “down time” we are always sitting down knitting or reading as opposed to singing a song while we scrub something or grabbing a shovel and heading out to the garden, we send a message as to what kinds of activities are important.  Our children are the great imitators!  What kind of energy are you showing your children?

If your own personal energy is lower than you think it should be, please try this post to assist you:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/06/making-yourself-a-priority-in-the-parenting-equation/

I think energy is also seasonal though as well. In the Northern Hemisphere, this just seems to be the time to hunker down and enjoy the warmth of inside right now, with increased energy and vitality to come as the days warm.  Bringing in the light with the Winter Festivals is an important shift of energy for our yearly rhythm.  

Look toward the balance of your day and your activities,

Carrie

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4 thoughts on “Cultivating The Energy: The Inner Work of Advent

  1. Thanks for covering this topic. I see a lack in energy when we go outside many afternoons… my talkative extroverted 4 yr old many times wants me to tell her a story as soon as we get outside or to just sit around. To get her up and moving, I often will play a few rounds of “Red Light Green Light” or “Mother, May I” with her. I have also found that if I find something to busy myself with that she is more likely to become motivated to find something to do. Then she sees that I am busy, so she is less likely to expect me to entertain her. It is harder to find work to do outside in the colder months, and I am always trying to think of ideas for this… folding and hanging laundry is what I usually do – that and raking up chicken droppings! :) I just take a couple laundry baskets and hangers out, and drying racks for wet laundry which I then take back inside.

    We are working on realizing that outside time is for running and gross motor skills and that indoors is usually a place for quieter activities… it is interesting how some kids just get it backwards and want to play chase in the house but then sit around when outside! I have also found how interesting it is that one child may have trouble with realizing what their options are for play and work while others just naturally know how to make their own fun. My 22 month old will inevitably find a shovel and be digging in the dirt and finding snails soon after we get out the door! With her, it is easier to just provide a few materials and the environment – it is harder when those gentle prods don’t register and your suggestions of ideas of things to do get rejected!

  2. Wow, I didn’t expect a whole post around MY question and so soon! :) Thank you!

    Balance is definitely key, and I have felt off balance in this situation. I know that the issue is myself like you mentioned in the last paragraph- I WAS that bookish child, not very athletic. I think I really need to cultivate an active activity that I enjoy. And my daughter (age 4) is a mini-me (descriptive only, not labeling ;)), temperament and everything, so I know she needs help in this area.

    Circle time with movement games is something of a weak point here too- it feels rather awkward with just the two of us, and it’s hard for me to keep something like that going. I think looking at how our home is set up and finding active things we can do indoors while it’s cold would be great. :) We live in a small apt, so that’s a challenge. Sometimes we pull the mattress off the futon and let her jump onto it off a chair. Or just jump around on it and flop all over it. :)

    I’m expecting a new one this spring, so I’m not sure how active *I* will be able to be, but we’ll definitely be able to go outside then. :)

    Thank you for the ideas!

  3. Pingback: The Inner Work of Advent « The Parenting Passageway

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