Custom Workshop Example:
Cultural De-construction: Road to a Holistic Education
We are faced with the need to build something new. Building a new education. Actually, a new civilization, a new paradigm. First we will ask ourselves the question, how new is the new paradigm? how different is it from the current paradigm?
I will invite you to contemplate very deeply the current paradigm, to realize the very profound change that is urgently needed. It is not a change from something that is wrong (in the current paradigm) to something that is right (in a new paradigm). It is not a change of opinion or way of thinking, nor is it an improvement of our human goals and intentions. It is a change of mentality, a cultural-neuronal deconstruction, from separate perception to holistic perception. From being separated to inter-being. From separation to reunion.
Why? Because the underlying cultural story of separation (and the conception of being separate and discrete) is first and foremost a cultural story accepted as fact. And secondly because it is the root cause of the crisis we face in our education, as well as in every aspect of life today. As long as our attempts to build a holistic education are born out of the neuro-cultural arrangement of separation, we will only succeed in continuing to reproduce a separate education. As holistic as our intentions are, and as much as our goal is reunion, our way, our tools, our dwelling must also be holistic. You can't build reunion from separation. "You cannot dismantle the master's house using the master's tools" (Audre Lorde). That is why deconstruction is necessary.
A holistic education is an education in which the whole child is good, made up of kindness. I'm talking about something very radical. We have to walk an unknown path (we adult educators), until we find ourselves in a place where it is completely natural, without any effort, to accompany the child in full freedom.
This would be easy if it didn't involve us. If we were separated from the children. But it turns out that they affect us intensely. When a child wants to attack us, phew how it hurts. For example, when a child consistently ignores us in our loving and patient suggestion regarding something we know is for his or her own good (say, sheltering from the cold), we suffer. Or when a child inexplicably wants to grab a toy, just for the pleasure of another child's suffering. We are faced with the need to set limits: "we do not do that". When a child fights with another child for the private ownership of any object, let's say a twig: "It's mine", "No, it's mine" and the discussion escalates to violence. We see ourselves in the need to transmit to them, in one way or another, that there is something wrong within them, an egoism that we have to extirpate. We have no choice, within the history of separation there is no choice.
In this workshop I consider the urgency of the soul to inter-find (with each one of you) another story that lies hidden. Mysterious, impossible for the intellect. I am going to ask you to share with me your examples that will surely be more accurate than mine (I am a parent but I have no experience as a preschool teacher).
The key is that we see ourselves as separate, part good and part bad. That's how we see life, some of it good, some of it bad. Like Hollywood movies always have a good side and a bad side. The mind, fully accustomed to this narrative, will vigorously claim: "No other story is possible! of course the world is full of evil! Etc." That's the story I've come to question. I invite you to deconstruct it. An unknown path from which truly new things will emerge.
As long as we see ourselves as separate, how could we build a holistic education?, how could separate human beings educate whole human beings? As long as there is distrust in life, there is distrust in oneself. As long as there is mistrust in oneself, there is mistrust in life.
On the other hand, a holistic education is possible immediately, very simply and easily. This is because genuine holism is the One with everything as it is. The one does not separate from the separation. Therefore, the only thing to 'do' to 'be' holistic in the immediate is to include separation. In practice, integrate whatever is handy to integrate. Crucially, integrate our feelings. It is not necessary to change them to make them holistic, they become holistic when allowed to be as they are.
The human being is completely wonderful and does not need to improve himself.
Life is completely wonderful and we do not need to improve it.
We will create and cultivate a space of intimacy, of integration with the whole of life, both the known and the unknown. We will try to make the intellect a mere participant but not an authority of the workshop. We will seek to enter this open-hearted space, with the totality of our being and our emotions, a unique way in which the deepest answers can emerge. We will make a universal holistic space of integration with the divine, not excluding and not adhered to any religion.
Respect for the divine center of each participant. First of all, the idea is that everyone finds their own answers that resonate in their own hearts. Secondly, we hope that the mystery of our meeting will give rise to ideas, visions and clarifications, both individual and collective, which cannot be anticipated.
The workshop will have two main themes to reflect on.
Separation in our education. Its manifestations, known and unknown, both interesting. The separation in our lives as teachers. The separation in our family lives. The separation in our life as human beings that we are.
To envision inter-being in a genuinely holistic education. To glimpse our own being as a whole. To glimpse how all the participants are interbeing. How we inter-are with children. How life inter-is. If education is holistic, what we educate must also be holistic. How to envision holistic knowledge (it is a totally different process of knowing).
The emphasis will be on the emotional processes that are inter-surfacing between us as we explore. In a holistic vision, everything is united, and if we gather ourselves together we gather everything else. The most valuable things will happen in the conversation-emotion. That is why the invitation is to participate with an open heart, free of expectations. We will discover little great mysteries of holistic education and the field of exploration will be ourselves. Who wants in?
This is an example of a custom workshop created for pre-school educators. I look forward to new engagements where we have the opportunity to unlearn and discover a new education. The point is simply let’s apply holism or oneness and be surprised how much anything we look at changes.