Apotheosis was a new word for me: it’s the highest point in the development of something; the culmination or climax.
The highest point? Let’s take a moment to look around at the path we took to get here. We chose to undertake this unschooling journey and have travelled the road of trials, working to get past the obstacles we found in our path—the bulk of our deschooling. And most recently we’ve done a lot of work to deeply understand ourselves and how we relate to the world around us in terms of:
- judgement—moving beyond judging things as “good” or “bad,” we came to see the value in all experiences in shaping who we are;
- temptation—we accepted the temptation to return to our old lives as part of our nature and, rather than judging ourselves negatively each time it happens, choose to live mindfully; and
- power—extending that awareness to others, we became more comfortable accepting them where they are, no longer feeling the need to wield power to judge or control their journey to validate our own, in turn finding ourselves no longer susceptible to those who try to exert power over us.
These last three stages have been intense! They are a kind of spiritual letting go—of the fear that leads us to judge, of our belief that we know what’s best for others, and of our need to control things beyond our own actions. These are important stages on the unschooling journey because wielding judgement and control interferes with our children’s curiosity and learning, dampens their creativity, and creates disconnection in our relationships.
Having dissolved this conventional filter of opposites—good/bad, right/wrong—now when we look at others (in and out of our family) we see them on their journey, just like us. We feel compassion for them, which soon grows into a feeling of kinship with people in general. Life becomes more peaceful when we are no longer trying to control, but are instead mindfully present.
Having surpassed the delusions of his formerly self-assertive, self-defensive, self-concerned ego, he knows without and within the same repose. (Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, p. 140)
Who we are—inside and out—is the same. We no longer feel the need to hide or apologize for our choices, nor flaunt them—just live them.
This is a stage of well-deserved rest.
What does this more peaceful and compassionate family life look like?
It doesn’t mean that all of a sudden our lives are “perfect.” Things go wrong, people are sad and grumpy, we get frustrated. It’s life! For me, it means that I no longer find myself in conflict with my children.
When I’m feeling off about something, there’s no adrenaline rush pushing me to place blame or fix it. Instead, it’s a clue that I’m missing a piece of the puzzle. Maybe it’s more information about the situation or a better understanding of my child’s perspective on it (their goal, their motivation, their understanding of it etc). It doesn’t mean ignoring my discomfort, but learning more to get to the root of it. Our lives are a dance of people sharing their needs and wants and motivations and doing what we can to help each other meet them.
Though sparked by our unschooling journey, this fundamental shift in perspective becomes a part of us, applicable to our whole lives, not just the unschooling bits.
In fact, it’s around this point that we realize that there really are no separate unschooling bits.
Unschooling is living.
If you’re inclined to share, I’d love to hear about your journey in the comments! Here are a few questions about the “apotheosis” stage to get you started:
1. Have you experienced moments when you feel at peace with your unschooling choices?
2. Are there moments when unschooling and living seem interchangeable?
3. Do you notice times when you feel a reactionary pull to blame or fix things before you fully understand the situation?
The road so far …
Departure phase of the journey
Call to adventure: We discover unschooling and excitedly imagine the possibilities.
Refusal of the call: The many implications of choosing unschooling hit. Do we commit?
Supernatural aid: Our children guide us on our unschooling journey.
Crossing of the first threshold: Confronting the guardians who claim to protect us.
The belly of the whale: Transitioning to a learning mindset.
Initiation phase of the journey
The road of trials: The heart of deschooling.
The meeting with the goddess: Seeing the value in all experiences.
Woman as the temptress: Accepting our nature.
Atonement with the father: Accepting others where they are.