This winter has been a real struggle, rounds of winter bugs, followed by bone deep tiredness and lethargy; I fractured my arm just before the snow hit and I didn’t set foot outside for seven days straight. The slings and arrows of the darker months felt pretty relentless and I confess to feeling sorry for myself at times. That said, the practice of mindfulness really helped prevent me from entertaining those unskilful thoughts for too long, and for that I am grateful.
In the midst of all the crap a truly unexpected new life-path opened up for us, we found a heart-soaringly lovely, Buddhist-ethos school for the Little Chap in Brighton. We went along for their open day at the end of January with open minds and with much curiosity and, honestly, the minute we walked through the gate it was like falling in love at first sight. I spent the entire assembly (Puja) choked up with emotion as I saw staff and students reflecting back at me many of the things I feel passionately about and desperately want to see prioritised more in schools: compassion, kindness, mindfulness, love, empathy, individuality, creativity, affection, gratitude, embracing of difference. I could see it’s a place where children are respected and heard, and where individuality is celebrated, and lovingly supported. Mindfulness meditation is part of the each school day which we both think is such a great tool to give children from a very young age.
Over the years we’ve thought long and hard about home educating and, as the deadline approached for state school applications we also looked at a couple of popular local schools, both of which no doubt would have been fine…but that was the problem for me, ‘fine’ didn’t sit right. The Dharma School fills us with excitement, and feels like a great fit for our particular family; just as those two local schools will no doubt fit for those families that choose them. (I’ve found that sometimes when one makes a ‘different’ choice to the norm, some people can see it as a judgment on the validity of their choices. It isn’t. In the words of comedian Amy Poehler ‘good for you, not for me’.
For a long time we’ve been considering moving to a new area that suits us better but when there isn’t a particular pull to a new area you’re left with pretty much sticking a pin in a map which didn’t feel right. This plan came about through several strands coming together.
Last summer we’d had a really magical camping trip with family and friends in the South Downs and had loved the landscape and the nearest town of Lewes. Alongside, I’d also been researching independent schools and had found a very cool one in South Devon. Loved the school, didn’t love the distance it would create between our friends and families so dismissed it. I’d also had a hankering to be nearer the sea and we felt we wanted to find a community that leaned more towards the arts and creativity, a little more bohemian than where we live currently. Finding this wonderful school in Brighton brought everything together: a reason to relocate to this beautiful part of the world and a short enough drive to remain connected to the people we love. There is a creativity and an open-mindedness to the people of Brighton which appeals too.
We’ve chosen to look for a house in a village just north of Brighton, this feels like a great option, closer to family than central Brighton would be but still with easy access to the city and all it offers…but far enough out to be able to afford a property that will work for us as a family. The drive to the school is very reasonable and there seems to be a warm and welcoming village community.
There have certainly been some pangs of sadness at the inevitable loss that always accompanies change, I will miss being a stone’s throw from my local friends and the biggest wrench will be being further away from our nieces who are the Little Chap’s best buddies BUT I am confident that we can make up for it by spending quality weekends together, either us visiting them or having them come to us, where we can adventure through our new area with fun times at the beach, walks and picnics in the rolling South Downs, exploring Brighton and its restaurants together etc. Where there is love there’s a way!
We’ve yet to find a house, we’ll be downsizing – something that we’ve been wanting to do for some time – and we’re really excited about creating a home that is smaller in footprint but greater in functionality. We hope to move by the beginning of August to give us time to settle a little before school starts (a bit of a tight deadline!) but rather than panic I’m trusting that the right house will present itself at the right time. Pretty sure that’s how it works.
I came up with the name ‘Operation Bloom’ as it described a feeling I had about being on the edge of big change and growth, this next move feels like the manifestation of that very thing and I can’t wait to see what unfolds…
Header photo copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_tomertu’>tomertu / 123RF Stock Photo</a>