Esperanza Smith is a holistic educator, published author, writer and artist. She studied and trained in Waldorf Education and the stages of human development. Her love for learning lead her to study in traditional and non-traditional educational institutions, and as a path for her personal life as a life-long learner. Her studies include psychology, metaphysics, spiritual science, religions, mysticism, esotericism, philosophies, biodynamics, nutrition, alternative medicines, the arts and healing. Esperanza’s 25+ years in teaching includes Waldorf schools, Spanish-foreign language programs, charter school programs, homeschooling collectives, private tutoring, prenatal & natural childbirth classes, adult enrichment programs, people with disabilities, life skills, job readiness, parent workshops, national conferences, community events and private consultation. She went on to serve as a Director of independent charter school programs, an award-winning after school art program, and as the Administrator of Oakland Steiner school. Esperanza’s professional career has included social services, nonprofits, faculty chair Board work, operations, and human resources. Esperanza is the author of Girl Seeking Pearls and other inspired writings. Presently, she volunteers with cultural, arts and social organizations, and is the Executive Director and Founder of PureEsperanza. She is a mother and grandmother. Esperanza, her husband, and kitty happily reside in Chicago’s thriving Loop with a deep desire and intention to connect local, national and global communities.
Have you heard that as of late? Return to…
the way things were? a new norm? return to…?
There are re-openings happening.
There are values being re-evaluated.
There are old wounds being re-treated.
There are collapsing systems being re-thought.
There are emotional energies being re-activated.
There are fresh inspirations being re-imagined.
There are countless seeds being re-planted.
These statements and more suggest that change is happening on many levels and all at once. We are living and experiencing a time of great transition. In all these transitions, there are intimate and deep questions to ask ourselves.
What Return to?
Clearly, what once was, is no longer.
Or is it?
There are many fractals of light within a prism as such is the way of wisdom. This one of “Return” was caught, like a firefly, in the time of summer solstice and an eclipse. Its light, pulsing, in and out, throughout the dark of night. Its light reaching into worlds beyond and into the world Within, all at once; and then, set free again.
Return. It spoke in unison with Mother Earth, heart, soul, and Spirit. It was still. It was bold. It was silent. It was loud. Unto this moment, It is clear. Return.
The ways may be many, but a Return is happening alongside with this time of great transition.
The Return is aligned with a restorative balance Within and without. In all the ways it speaks to you, listen to what Return calls out to you. As you begin to remember, allow the memories from eons ago and ancestral roots and all four kingdoms, and nature wisdom be part of your Return.
Then trust in this invisible wisdom speaking to us and that each in our own unique way is aligning with our Return. Let go of what your mind may think it should look like. These ways and our Return will not conform to the limits of the mind. They will resonate more with your heart. Their frequency will vibrate in your soul. You know when you mingle with Spirit and Its Wisdom in countless forms and the formless. Let it simply, lovingly, transition your Return.
It has been two months into the Covid-19 pandemic. There have been many changes. Rapid and pronounced changes that have affected us all on many levels. But of all these changes and the new and expanded versions of myself, I have become most endeared to the twilight’s glimpses.
I had been accustomed to interesting dreams, messages, reflections, varied processes in myself working themselves out, fine tuning calibrations taking place within myself, and deeper understandings about life. Yet, in these past few months of Life, the play in between the light and the dark, the twilight, has never been so alluring. I find myself in the mix of it with both reverence and wonder for the inspirations received from both Life and death; and in all of it lies, the backdrop of the twilight.
On this particular morning, one day after Earth Day which I celebrated and meditated with many across the world, it was there, Life and death impressing their sanctity upon me in the twilight. The interconnected scenes representing a visual slideshow in the twilight of waking and sleeping, arousing me to a conscious state, allowing me to integrate more of the pieces that make up the whole. There were others there with me in the twilight, people that have been parts of my life, some here now, some now gone and on the other side, some that are still here upon the earth still, but now gone from my Life. It was clear, a distinct sense of the field of energy they each are and in this field of energy the twilight facilitated the connections and that with Life and death.
On this particular morning, I saw and felt two beautiful souls passing through. I knew them in Life as friends. Both had lived in what society would describe as marginalized lives. I came to know Karen, in Detroit, while working with disadvantaged and disabled individuals. I came to know Reggie, in Chicago, while leading a reading group for disadvantaged and homeless individuals. Both, shared the story of little material possessions, knowing hunger, charity, survival, and the systems subscribed by society. Both defied intellect with their humility, genuine kindness, generous warmth radiated in their pure smiles, and hearts that knew joy. They had both recently passed this year, and there in the twilight I caught a glimpse of each of them, so clearly impressed upon my Life and transcending death, theirs, and mine. All was connected there in the twilight.
On this particular morning, I saw the sweet, fresh, gleeful faces of two of my granddaughters as they approach their third year of life. I saw their brilliant eyes shining with wonder, heard their little voices and the sound of their laughter while lingering, tinkling giggles and darting images of my own children when they were that age resonated in the depths of my own Being, there in the twilight. Life was all spring-like new in their Presence and the purity of innocence glowed eminently of Life Itself. Such Love and all Its radiance shone there in the twilight.
On this particular morning, therein laid the paradox of Life and death, there in the twilight, and just as I became conscious of that thought, I remembered what someone recently told me. A woman I had just met on a virtual party told me that I reminded her of Kali. I remembered Kali, a Hindu goddess from my Waldorf teaching days and my love for mythology. Kali represents death, time, destruction, wildness, sexulaity and fierceness and she also represented a strong mother figure, full of motherly love, Mother Nature herself, nurturing, creativity, primordial, the feminine mysteries, and the ultimate reality that transcends duality by removing the ego and liberating the soul from the cycles of death and birth. Kali was there in the twilight.
I knew that all the glimpses of twilight, on this particular morning, were offering themselves to a much greater opportunity in understanding the connections of Life and death, their sanctity, the reverence, the wonder, the beauty, the whole, that I am, and that each of our marvelous souls get to come and experience. I also now know, that those glimpses exist in each moment between shadows and light, the twilight of dusk and dawn, the in between of Life and death, in the conscious breath I take now in a time where so much is coming undone and rebuilding anew; and I fear not, for the Light on this particular morning, revealed Love, transcendent of all time, beyond the before and after, there All in the twilight.
[Photo: Louis Maniquet]
Honor Thyself. This seems like a pretty straightforward concept. Generally, I think of myself as capable of grasping seemingly straightforward concepts, fairly, easily, but not this one. This one took some time. There were some fuzzy, fine lines between concepts of self-care, selfishness, selfless, indulgence, sacrifice, caregiver/caretaker, egoic-identity, spirituality, and probably a few others that swam around in what at times might have been a cesspool, contaminating the clarity of my own truth. Much of my life was spent in trying to do or be something, e.g. an excellent student, an intelligent woman, a present, loving mother, a good wife, a caring teacher, a conscious human being, etc., etc., etc. In all those years, in all that time, I was learning and slowly coming to understand grasping the concept of Honor Thyself. Therein, it also served as a good check-in with humility.
In today’s world of self-development, we often hear concepts and terms, as listed above, and the internal wrestling that we experience with their application. We want to do the “right” thing, the “good” thing, the “wise” thing, the “best” thing in any situation. We read, listen to others talk, recommend, share their expertise, and of course look up the latest research and trend. Lots of information, and for most, our decisions will reference something that comes from outside ourselves. Within our cultures, our society, our own families, we have cultivated a distrust in our own Self and have given least attention to our internal resource that aligns us with an understanding and knowing of how to Honor Thyself.
However, we are not cursed by this. Like every encounter in Life, it all serves us in some way. We, at this very moment, are fully capable of cultivating our thoughts by honing our capacity to listen to our-Self. Reminders are all around, and that is what they are, simply to remind us of what we already know. They resonate when we are ready, “ripe”, in that moment to receive. As humans, we tend to take time and practice lots, until it sinks into what feels like a perfect fit.
Practice distilling thoughts to the ones, that in stillness, match the feeling of the “perfect fit”, the ones that resonate, give energy, and not the ones that deplete your energy. It seems quite simple and it can Be, once we have cleaned out the cesspool of all the ways in which our misaligned thoughts have contaminated our clarity. Self-care becomes an honor. Thoughts of selfish vs. selfless, indulgence vs. sacrifice, giving vs. taking, egoic identity vs. spirit, all dissipate into becoming One with, simply, caring for You. The distilling-stillness is a “free of judgment kind of zone”. There, self-care is stripped down to the honor in which can emerge the practice of living Life in Honor of Thyself.
Contrary to some beliefs this will not separate you from others, in fact to Honor Thyself, You Honor All, because we are all interconnected. We need not fear reckless abandon of anything because the fullness of your Presence, Alignment, and what Is the true meaning of Honor Thyself has the capacity to attend to whatever you encounter in any moment.
You can give your full attention to, Honor Thyself, the real and best of you, in your thoughts, your feelings, and actions. Your contribution counts. The magnitude is of great proportion and it co$ts you nothing, but your pure intention to Honor Thyself.