Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Hands Free Life

After reading Hands Free Life: 9 Habits for overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford, I began to understand myself better. Her poetic, philosophical, spiritual, and above all, inspirational writing reminds me of Kahil Gibran's masterpiece, The Prophet. But Stafford is also a contemporary Maria Montessori. Perhaps, a beautiful blend of the two.

Overcoming distraction, inspirational
Compassion is contagious!

The shining heroines of the book, in my opinion, are Stafford's two young daughters. They are the inspiration for Stafford's transformation from harried to loving, from distracted to attentive, from micromanaging mom and adult to trustful parent and global citizen.

Stafford now understands that life 'must be felt through the open hands and heart of an awakened soul'.

Here is a quote of Montessori from her Education for a New World - "We must help the child to act for himself, will for himself, think for himself; this is the art of those who aspire to serve the spirit"

In one of Stafford's many tear moving stories she allows her girls to bake in the kitchen by themselves for the first time. Afterwards, as she enters the mess, she observes - "My children's faces held the unmistakable glow of ungoverned triumph."

Early childhood education and development
Empathy creates a ripple effect

Here is a taste of the revolutionary goodness inside Hands Free Life:
  • The most meaningful life experiences don't happen in the "when," they happen in the "now."
  • Let regret be someone else's companion.
  • Perhaps the greatest opportunity to connect to what really matters lies in the silent spaces of our day.
  • Let us surrender the failures and pains of our past so that our love is not separated and weakened but instead united and strengthened.
  • Garner the strength, the patience, the resolve to do one thing: Listen. Unconditional attention is just as important as unconditional love.
  • By rejecting societal measures of success, we open countless opportunities to grasp what really matters in a way that feels right in our heart and soul.
  • Maybe second chances are not given to us but are something we offer ourselves by using new words and new actions.
  • Living life fully is not in the first-place finish, the shiny blue ribbons, or the flawless form; it's in the joy you feel in your heart because you were brave enough to try.
  • My children will always know I will give them truth, even when the truth can be difficult or uncomfortable to say or hear.
  • As children often show us, our most precious gift is the one given from the heart with a loving smile - no wrapping paper required.
  • Let us create boundaries that build up, not tear down. Let us be role models, not bad examples. Let us leave legacies, not scars on our sisters and brothers.
  • With heightened awareness... taking a few minutes to savor everyday wonders makes the heart fuller, the inner doubts quieter, and the human connections stronger. And that is when the ordinary becomes extraordinary for yourself and those who share your life.
  • Small, daily gestures of love hold the power to transform our relationships, but also the world.
  • The one who notices and responds with empathy can create a ripple effect. Because compassion spreads . . . compassion is contagious.
  • Happiness beats perfection. Every. Single. Time. 

Here is another Montessori quote from her The Secret of Childhood - "The study of the child... may have an infinitely wider influence, extending to all human questions. In the mind of the child we may find the key to progress... "

Gibran, Montessori, and Stafford all share a delicious quality; a special sensitivity that enables one to feel the essence of life, and to be able to express those sentiments on the written page.

Rachel Macy Stafford is correct - compassion is contagious. Let's spread it around by sharing her new book with friends and foe alike. I began this blog because I wanted to help parents, perhaps, become a bit more sensitive in their relations with their children. Stafford is a brilliant example of one who has done it.

With love, Papa Green Bean

Here are links to Rachel Macy Stafford