There’s a line in the song, Mortal Man, by Jeremy Loops, a South African musician. “If you make it with your hands / You will better understand / So keep your feet out / To the calling.”
It struck us that that’s just what our Homeschool has given us and many of the people around the world who have joined us in our lessons, whether to create or practice them.
During a time of so much disruption and disorder, we’ve tried our very best to keep our faces to the sun. To go slower and to hold on to who we are. What has helped beyond measure is the space our Homeschool has provided us to breathe and think, to rest, nest and digest, like little weaver birds on the Zambezi.
It has been a way to bring families together while at home, a way to stay curious and learning, and a way to bring our attention back to basics. To our bodies, to ourselves. Because with stillness and happiness within, we can handle any flux and frenzy.
Using our hands to create is not something new. It’s very, very ancient. But it’s a practice many of us have lost, in the convention of convenience. Lockdown has given us time. Our Homeschool has given us the tools to turn this time into something magical, restorative and rewarding.
Using our hands for arts, crafts, DIY, cooking, gardening or writing, we create a space that is protected and safe. Unplugged, no one can disrupt us. Our minds head off on a journey of thread and reeds and colours and soil, depending on the activity in front of you. Our thoughts focus on creating something beautiful, something that we tend to be much prouder of than anything store-bought.
There’s another story about about this, between a grandmother and her granddaughter, told by Elena Barnabé.
“Grandma how do you deal with pain?” the granddaughter asks.
“With your hands, dear. When you do it with your mind, the pain hardens even more.”
“With your hands, grandma?”
“Yes, yes. Our hands are the antennas of our soul. When you move them by sewing, cooking, painting, touching the earth or sinking it into the earth, they send signals of caring to the deepest part of you and your soul calms down. This way she doesn’t have to send pain anymore to show it.”
“Are hands really that important?”
“Yes my girl. Thinking of babies: they get to know the world thanks to their touches. When you look at the hands of older people, they tell more about their lives than any other part of the body. Everything that is made by hand, so is said, is made with the heart because it really is like this: hands and heart are connected. Masseuses know this: When they touch another person’s body with their hands, they create a deep connection. Thinking of lovers: When their hands touch, they love each other in the most sublime way.”
“My hands grandma… how long haven’t I used them like that!”
“Move them my girl, start creating with them and everything in you will move. The pain will not pass away. But it will be the best masterpiece. And it won’t hurt anymore. Because you managed to embroider your essence.”
Remember too that, “Allowing for joy and pleasure during times of hardship is not naive, disconnected, or a betrayal of one’s commitment for a more just world. It’s quite a resilient and adaptive strategy for better long-term outcomes,” as said by Dr Daniel Foor in Ancestral Wisdom.
We will be continuing our Homeschool with new and exciting lessons each week for months to come, because in the months past each lesson has truly given us a light, a purpose and connected us not only to our own joy, hearts and minds, but to those of others, whether on our riverbank in Zambia, or across the oceans, in homes on other continents.
This is the school of life at play, this is our global village and all students are welcome. Freely. Joyfully. Graciously.