The MagPie’s Reflection: Connecting and Disconnecting in Radical Unschooling


The MagPie is at the core of who I really am in this journey. It is a name given me by my late Dad, someone who modeled qualities that I aspire towards – acceptance, depth of philosophy, and inward reflection.

My father had these qualities, but he also had extreme pain and trauma in his childhood. However, despite this pain that he assuaged with alcoholism, he managed to reflect a benevolence from within and upon the family that he nourished, and that resulted in gifts of legacy, gifts of the spirit.

Someone close to him modeled compassion for him at the right time, all while he was being abused, bullied, and broken. His generosity and kindness outshone his struggles as far as most could perceive about his quiet, gentle demeanor. Still, dysfunction also bled through and impacted his children, along with the relative threads of our complex mother-pain.

The joke was, in my childhood, that my nickname reflected the stereotypical squawking of crows, because according to my older siblings, I talked “too much” as a young child. Believe me, this changed once I was indoctrinated and schooled (parochial, and public) and subdued into obedience. By high school, I was painfully insecure and disconnected from myself.

Magpies are birds of the Corvidae (crow) family, including the black and white Eurasian Magpie, which is considered one of the most intelligent animals in the world, and the only non-mammal species able to recognize itself in a mirror test (though a recent study suggests that giant manta rays can also recognize their own reflection). – from Wikipedia

maggieorganizingchaos has been an avatar of sorts for me in terms of my personal, cyclical effort to purify, remedy, and massage-out the legacy of pain and dysfunction handed down to all of us from the generations.

Organizing chaos is a constant job. Even when life is peaceful, organizing or making sense of disorder cannot truly cease, or we become complacent, and in so doing – like the indoctrinated nationalists, statists, and extremely religious – we lose the essence of our humanity.

Only when we can manage to transcend our egos do we truly arrive at moments of sustained order, but even that is perception – and a perception that is difficult to maintain in an awakening, transitioning world.

When my son was born, I wanted to wipe out familial dysfunction and pain from all lineages of his ancestry, but as process is at the center of my life’s path, the complexities of doing this must integrate my own spiraling out in transformation and growth.

If at any point, I cease to be the constant in his life who continuously changes as an individual, he will learn complacency, denial, and avoidance.

It was with this in mind that I kept him close as a younger child to form secure attachment.

There is no perfection outside of  the natural structure of perceived space and time, but the generational shift resultant of this practice in nurturing through motherhood is sacred and maintains the dynamic of transformation so that our world becomes a better place.

In all of her  (our universe’s) beautiful imperfection, the chaos spirals out in order, mirroring the Fibonacci sequence.


And so it is that I came to things like attachment parenting, radical unschooling or whole life learning, and partnership with my son, but also with other members of my family, and even some friends. It is an ongoing effort to lift the veil from my own painful past experiences while choosing to focus on positivity and acceptance. Finding compassion for those who get under my skin the most is increasingly a lesson in humility.

Nature does not allow perfection, only the assurance of a repeating structure.

At last, as I learn acceptance, I also learn that perhaps radiating out positivity all of the time is not what I am  supposed to be about. It is most critical to choose authenticity, to allow the reality.

So, despite my many transformations, I have come to the point of accepting that I am not the person whom those uncomfortable with themselves prefer me to be. I am speaking out, but I am also valuing my aloneness at the same time, my sovereign right to exist both as the introvert and the change maker.

Even as I am with my son day in and day out, I can choose to experience aloneness as self-care, and even as he is in the room (or wherever I might be) with me, he is assured that my self-care does not exclude him, but models for him that it is OK to go within, and that doing so does not have to be at the exclusion of compassionate boundaries.

He learns to express his own needs without guilt, without fear that he is asking too much, and increasingly, without fear of judgment – even as he is conscientious and considerate of external paradigms. This represents a profound break in the generational cycle of dysfunction (in my own case, a patriarchal conditioning).

We talk, discuss, engage, and connect. But, we also separate (even as we are in the same room), go within, and exclude each other in our self-care and interests. At times, this can include holding the space for each other as we choose to feel and process anger or other negative human emotions. I am his protector, but we are also friends. As with friends, we give and take, but with me giving more frequently as he needs to grow in unconditional love.

I am not constantly engaging him as when he was a toddler, but he guides the level of our interaction. Sometimes, I have to interpret his needs intuitively, because life is full of highs and lows, and  the measure of disappointment, stress, and anticipation can become too much for a child. But the inherent nature of our mother-son dyad is never diminished, because the amount of time we spend together reflects that he has never been shipped off to daycare or school.

He knows, and I know that the intrinsic nurturing of self – the ebb and flow of being within and without – is as important as the unspoken skin to skin contact that occurs when his foot reaches for mine as the no-longer constant snuggles finally close our day when we co-sleep. I get hugs during the day, but falling asleep alongside him is a unique door that closes comfortably to embrace a sense of security no matter what the day has held. It is a reminder that he emerged from my womb a separate, but connected individual.

His skin reaching for mine as I respond by enveloping him in an arm-wrap tells me that he still needs my nurturing, more than two years gone from the breast, and that he is not quite ready to establish solo sleep, still needing and choosing the comfort of closeness with his mother… even as he maims fantastical and ferocious enemies and engages in dangerous melee with supervillains throughout the day.

This nurturing and respect for individuality day and night envelops the essence of partnering a child. It is one of the most profound, yet simple acts a human being can experience. If we embrace the needs and preferences of our children, and radiate outwardly from within our own authenticity, we will transform the world.


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