This arrived in my reading this week. I am reminded of why I am a keeper - that every guild has its practice and must practice its practice. Charlotte Mason teachers aspire to look. Hard.
Happy Cinco de Mayo! How are your keeping muscles? Do you feel you're running up Heartbreak Hill? You are not alone! This last stretch can be difficult but can also reveal so much about our notebook practice and our students'. I have (re) learned that I have to make my notebook commitment very specific and simple as general ideas mean more decisions in my day which usually means not making an entry. A habitual time and place also make showing up more likely. Choosing the right materials matters; one keeper this week realized that the quality of her notebook paper was putting her off. (been there!) It's all good to know. It all helps us in the classroom. This week also held May Day. I was distracted by all the notebooks I am not paying attention to right now by a wee Tussie-Mussie. Nature Notebook of course, Book of Firsts...the history of May Day in the Book of Centuries, How to make one in Enquire Within... Poetry Notebook, Commonplace...? Maybe you are distracted by grief or fatigue - the Pandemic is still making it hard to concentrate and messing with our routines. Whatever the challenges, facing the notebook each day is formative. What do you think?
We've been at this ten weeks! Have you noticed that the more you notice the more there is to notice? Have you felt that even if your notebook has stayed closed some of the days, the act of assenting to One Hundred Days of Keeping invites the conversation to continue whether we feel like it or not ? (Can a notebook actually nag?) Charlotte Mason claims that ideas have "ancestors and progeny" (grandparents and children). Just like this dandelion, closed tight for the rain, doesn't mean nothing is going on, keepers come to see ideas will inevitably blow wherever the Spirit moves. May the keeping spread like dandelions! It's never too late to start.
Snow in April can feel a little off kilter! I had a couple of days this week where missing one part of my daily routine meant missing another part...and so on. How about you? The beautiful irony is my Book of Firsts, wherein I did eventulally manage to record the offending precipitation, let me know that it snowed the same day last year. "Always we begin again!" My notebooks keep me keeping!
Does keeping one notebook lead to keeping others? What to do with all this glory - Book of Firsts, Nature Notebook, Poetry Notebook??? One hundred days with just one makes me familiar with all that is particular to it but also stirs a longing to explore the character of the others. How about you?
Halfway! Is your keeping practice helping you to live from your Center? Can you feel yourself returning? Some things are so fleeting - one minute a catkin, the next a leaf! I have been thinking about what attending to "the things written in the world around us" requires. What a feat of will it is to look and then take up a pencil....each time! Let's celebrate all successes on the way to becoming noticers.
Wednesday of Holy Week: a good week to remember that in times of darkness and confusion especially, keeping can help us recall our experiences of wisdom, love and guidance. Psychologist, Dr. Elaine Aron, urges "writing down all such experiences, so that their sheer number begins to carry some weight. Otherwise, they are buried by the mundane, derided by the inner skeptic, left orphaned by the lack of 'logical explanations.'" Often we find a pattern emerges - we see something we hadn't known before.
How's it all going? After three weeks is the keeping feeling more like a habit? There is a reason Charlotte Mason says "habit is ten natures" but she also acknowledges the initial work involved - a habit must "be formed definitely and thoughtfully." Do you feel your habit of attention growing? Is there anything about the bits and pieces surprising you this week? Even when we miss a day, let's be like the Benedictines who say, "always we begin again" and keep on keeping!
"Thus, I propose that the middle of February remind CM admirers