In 1995, I graduated my class of 8 years at Shining Mountain Waldorf School. The theme I chose for the graduation address was “To the degree that you can imagine you can become”. This belief still holds true for me today.
I often wonder why we tend to focus upon what’s wrong, what needs repair, what needs to change, instead of focusing upon the wonder and magic of who we are becoming.
One antidote to negative imagining and an opportunity for beginning to penetrate the dimensions of one’s self is a 6 week creative writing project I facilitated with 5 adolescent girls ages 12 – 15 called ‘If I were’: If I were a chair…, If I were a tree…, If I were a gemstone…, If I were a flavor what would I be, etc.
Each week the girls shared their writings and the room was alive with how they imagined themselves to be: we all listened and gave reflections: “that feels just right,” or “that doesn’t feel like you to me at all – you feel more like a sunflower to me”. Finally I asked them to synthesize and extract what best fit their picture of ‘who they are’, right now, and asked for an ‘I Am’ writing – Besides being an engaging writing project that the girls looked forward to each week, in the end, they knew themselves a little better, and they knew more about how others experienced them. Here is one of their ‘I am’ poems.
I am a spark of the great being.
I am roots burying themselves in the scent of hope.
Warm heady whispers echoing in the heart,
and the taste of bittersweet rain.
I am the scent of ancient earth, clutched by a baby’s hand.
Cool fingers grasping at the reflection of a bittersweet soul,
and the tangy goodness of the earth.
I am the noise of vibrant darkness, coursing through my veins.
Flowers blooming in the amber light of courage,
and a goddess of the golden moon.
I am a butterfly wing brushing against the thick scent of stillness,
and impressions stained on the forgotten remembrances of life.
I am all these things.
“Sage Hamilton first came into my life through my then-10-year-old daughter
Olivia who recognized in Sage a kindred spirit, someone who could match her
own big vision, thirst for connection and powerful way of being in this
world as a young woman coming of age. Sage has filled the role of mentor,
teacher extraordinaire and tender of the hearth of my daughter’s creativity.
She set a standard of excellence in conduct, communication and honesty which
I am certain will echo through challenging future moments in my daughter’s
life and help her to navigate rough waters. Sage has been an invaluable
resource and sounding board for some difficult times in our family and has
given generously of her time and ample understanding of what it takes to
build healthy community. It truly does take a village to raise a child and
I’m thankful that Sage is a member of my village. “
I just wanted to tell you how much your teaching and mentorship has changed, inspired and shaped my life. I really had no idea who I was and who I wanted to be, and you helped me in so many ways to begin to find that person, and to nourish her and help her grow, and for that I can’t thank you enough. I loved every minute I spent working with you and the people in your community, and I will cherish those moments for the rest of my life!
I’m doing so well in my life! I love my school and I have great friends, and I’m doing what I love, and going for my dreams! And I thank you so much for giving me a place to start inside myself.
Love, Maddie (15)
KNOW THYSELF SECTION LINKS
20-minute Video of High Teaching from “The Adventures of Eustace”