Today is my last day in Norway. I planned to stay until the end of the month, however situations have taken place that have pushed me to change my plans. I will now stay in Barcelona for a couple of weeks. I need to visit the embassy to update my passport, buy a few things that I have been without, and relax, relax, relax. It has been a very rewarding volunteering experience on this farm overall, but it has also been very tiring. The hours are very long and the manual labor is more than I expected. Yesterday, after a long day of moving heavy stones and wood, I fell asleep around 8pm!! Hopefully I won’t have quite so much exhaustion when I housesit on the farm in Amposta, Spain, which I recently discovered is actually part of Catalunya. My friend, Olau is also staying at this farm here in Norway. He is from Catalunya and has told me so much about the area. He has also been helping me with my Spanish which is extremely rusty to say the least. 😀
I have learned so much about spirituality staying here with Raphael, Marianna and their daughter Inglend who lives next door with her 4 year old daughter, Joya. Also, the other volunteers have been incredibly important to my development and sanity. I consider myself to be very open-minded but am constantly surprised when I come up against my own personal walls and/or beliefs. Much of this has been in the form of learning to say no, even if a host is completely taking advantage of the volunteers. When I first signed up for this WorkAway, the profile says I will be working no more than 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. This isn’t even close to the amount of work I put in each week. Right now, for example, as I am taking about 45 minutes to write this at 6pm, Raphael keeps interrupting me, asking me to do more of his flower research. I look at Raphael and think, this is such a good person, I don’t want to upset him by telling him, no. I don’t want to appear as lazy or uncaring. Actually the idea of standing up to any authority figure makes me feel physically ill. I want to help wherever I can and be useful. Well, until I finally I hit my breaking point and just leave, like I am doing tomorrow. In fact, most of the other volunteers have already left or will leave today/tomorrow as well. It’s unfortunate that we are unable to communicate with him our issues. I truly believe that it will come across very poorly in his eyes. Maybe that is true, maybe it’s not, but why do I care so much? I will never see this man again after tomorrow. He orders people around all day while giving gratitude only to the trees and plants. The only positive comment he has made about my work has been for my flower research, which he really, really wants me to complete before I leave. Why do I ignore my needs for someone that cares so little for me? I think it has to do with the fact that I need to prove to myself that I am useful perhaps? I’m sure this stems from when I was a child trying to be useful, grown up to my family. Always working so frantically hard to try and please everyone. This is something I really need to change.
One great thing I acquired during my stay here is a much better understanding of Rudolph Steiner. Many people back in the states know of him and his incredible gift he has provided people all over the world with the Waldorf schools. I only knew a little about these schools prior to leaving the US. I knew that the Waldorf schools were important, but I didn’t really understand how important until now. Waldorf prides themselves on allowing children to remain children for a very long time. Much longer than in the US. They teach kids about all religions, art, spirituality, loving themselves, not to mention advanced math, physics and science classes. They have one teacher (or 2) from the time they are young until they graduate. This is what Inglend does, she has a class of 28 student and she knows every one of them inside and out. She can be an appropriate mirror back to them. Encouraging them in the areas they individually need to develop further. Not just in studies but with feeling their emotions, knowing and trusting themselves, developing their intuitions and helping them form a stable platform so they are able to make their own choices all throughout their lives. With this and much more, they become extremely self-confident and trust their own instincts. Intuition is everything! It’s like we all have this huge superpower within us, guiding us, except we are never told to listen to it. I grew up very quickly and was discouraged from showing any kinds of emotions besides joy and happiness. I was constantly given praise by how much of an “adult” I was already, even at such a young age, around 8 or 9. This is one of the reasons why Waldorf schools are so incredible. I think it is very common, at least in the United States to raise ones kids the way they were raised. It is even more common to direct children to become just like the parents. I don’t necessarily mean they will have the same job. It goes much deeper than this. It seems to me that normal children are getting just a small view of the world and that is the parent’s view. This could be politically, nutritionally, emotionally, financially, honestly everything! Like it or not, most of us become our parents. Now imagine a child growing up with the power and influence to be able to make their own decisions from a very young age. They’ve already had an unbiased view of the entire world through their studies and development. This gives them the ability to have more of an idea what they want to accomplish. If they still don’t know, then they trust their instincts about what and who they love and how they feel as a starting point. What’s even more important is the kids love going to school. The way the schools operate in the US, at least in Kansas, nobody likes going to school. Mainly because they don’t have time to wait for kids if and when they fall behind. Then it becomes this mad dash to just finish. Who cares about doing what you love? People in Kansas don’t often get that opportunity. Which I believe is why depression is such a problem, especially for our younger societies. It has to do with the loss of connection with ourselves. When we do something or are in a situation we don’t like, we really feel it. This is our innate guiding compass in life. When we are in a relationship where we aren’t happy, we feel this within our bodies and souls. We can’t ignore it. In fact, the more we resist these feelings, the bigger it grows and the harder we fall. It’s completely normal to feel good or bad depending on the situation. How else are we able to determine where we want to go in life? Unfortunately, what I often do is I dismiss this feeling and bury it down very deeply. I start to feel emotionally sick, drained and all the while I continue to do that thing that doesn’t feel good. It gets to the point where I become depressed. In my opinion, depression is anytime we continue to do something that doesn’t feel good. We feel trapped, hopeless. But we’re not. In fact, I am just now realizing that if I pay close attention to how I feel in the very beginning and then act on it immediately, this would save me weeks/years of depression and despair. Why are we often so resistant to how we feel? We all want to have a job and purpose, this isn’t for lack of effort. Especially when I spend far more effort denying my feelings than if I would have just walked away in the beginning. Ahh life. At least I am able to feel a sense of gratitude for my stay here and walk away with a feeling of accomplishment. Not because of what I have accomplished while I am here, but because I have the courage to walk away from something that makes me feel awful. Maybe someday I will be able to communicate my feelings with others who are authority figures. Baby Steps 🙂
I feel a little sad to be leaving Norway. I know I will be back again very soon. I already have several long-term options where I can stay for many months if I desire. But for now, I am going to avoid the cold weather and travel south. Talk with you again in Spain!!