In the past few weeks, I have had the privilege to provide labor support to two families who have participated in the Little Tree pregnancy program. Being with these families in the birth space reinforced for me that the model of care I am providing supports growth and connection. This model holds the view that at our core, each of us holds wisdom and vitality. My journey to this view and how it effects my work is deeply influenced by an educational approach: Enki Education. Below is an excerpt from an article the founder, Beth Sutton, has written about how this view impacts educating children. I drop us in the article where Sutton is describing the experience of when we connect to our inherent vitality. You can read the complete article here.
In all of these, the chatter inside fades back and the colors and smells and textures come forward; I feel connected to the world around, and the underlying pulse is a sense of wonder. And this is true even when the connection happens in moments of great effort or deep sorrow. In all, it is the body sensations that signal that “all is right with the world.”
Maybe this sense of “connected wonder” happens for you when you hear a line of a poem or a piece of music. Or maybe it rises when sitting Shiva with a dear friend who has lost her love – just simply sitting with her. Maybe it happens when the water is running over the dishes you are washing, and you notice its clear flow. Or when the falling snow catches the light. It need not be ascending Everest; the possibilities are endless and rise up moment to moment. And when we are able to let these moments touch us, there is fullness without measure, a sense of being vitally alive – whether these are noisy, fireworks moments, moments of deep silence, or even moments of frustration, anger, or sorrow.
In those moments, we are fully present. I think it is what William Blake meant when he spoke of seeing the world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wildflower. It does not matter how smart or clever or insightful we are; it does not matter if we are artistic or athletic; it does not matter if we have physical handicaps, or sensory or emotional ones. It does not matter how talented or pretty we are. It does not matter how badly we have been wounded. This is an experience of inherent-vitality and it happens on another plane, one where nothing affects the blueness of blue or the smell of the newly tilled spring earth. In that moment, we are connected to ourselves and to the world around, and that vital life-force pulses freely through us.
This feeling of vital aliveness is not earned, it cannot be earned; it just is. It is inborn; it is the nature of being human and it is unconditional. As a result, this vital aliveness is the source, the only source, of unconditional confidence. In my life and in my work, Enki Education, underneath all else, the focus is on this; it is the fulcrum around which all else turns – this approach to life, this worldview, and this approach to raising and educating our children. It all boils down to this: we all have an inherent-vitality, a life force that, when accessed, naturally sparks a sense of wonder and connection to all. It is this vitality that births the experience of unconditional confidence, and it is from this that both compassion and wisdom flow naturally. It is our birthright. Period.
We cannot create or earn this inherent vitality any more than we “create” or earn the sun. Nor can it, by the same token, be destroyed. Still, it can be obscured, much as the sun can be blocked by cloud cover, pollution, volcanic debris, or even nuclear winter. But, none of those things alters the sun. Same here: our inherent-vitality, our inner sun, just is. Yes, it is often obscured by the difficulties of navigating the nitty gritty of human life, and still, our inherent-vitality is no more changed by this struggle than the sun is changed by clouds of any sort.
This inherent-vitality is our birthright, so by definition, this applies to everyone – ev-er-y-one! No matter our gender or race or religion or time in history, no matter our intelligence or skill or talent or even our level of compassion and generosity – or lack thereof – underneath all else, lies our inherent- vitality.
You can read the full article and the specific connections to educating children here. As it relates to my work at Little Tree, the Enki Education model and the view that we all have at our core, inherent vitality, deeply influences all I do in my midwifery care and the teaching I provide. I studied directly with Beth Sutton, the founder of Enki Education during the 15 years I homeschooled my children. And, I continue to learn from her in my role as Associate Program Director at Enki Eduction. That learning strongly influences the work I do at Little Tree as I strive to connect with my inherent vitality and to support the people I work with to have experiences of connecting with theirs – especially in the birth space.