I’ll Take That Moniker
1.having or showing unaffected simplicity of nature or absenceof artificiality; unsophisticated; ingenuous.
2.having or showing a lack of experience, judgment, orinformation; credulous: She's so naive she believes everythingshe reads. He has a very naive attitude toward politics.
3.having or marked by a simple, unaffectedly direct stylereflecting little or no formal training or technique: valuablenaive 19th-century American portrait paintings.
4.not having previously been the subject of a scientific experiment, as an animal.
My original idea for this post was talking about how I feel I am not naïve. However, after looking up the word, because I wasn’t sure how to spell it as well as wanting an exact definition, I have decided that I am indeed naïve. And, I am fine with that.
For most of my life, if you asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say a teacher. When I reached high school that response changed to: I’m going to save the world. I would get a piteous look and the response: You’re so naïve. You’ll understand when you get older. So, being raised to listen to my parents, I settled for teacher. Not doctor or engineer, much to their chagrin. I felt this was an immediate way to help people and in fact, save at least part of the world.
I kicked ass as a teacher. I made sure my students were taken care of. I made sure my parents had resources. I did what I felt was best for the kids and didn’t care if the administration liked it or not. I was good. Up until the last year I taught that is.
I ran into an administration that would not let me do what I needed to for the kids and my team of therapists and aides were not on board with my methods either. It was torture. I could see the potential in these kids and I could see how to bring it out and I could see how to change their world. But, I was education blocked. It sucked and I became very ill.
I was barely able to get to work and back home. I spent a lot of time in bed and Blaine, bless his little heart, took care of everything. I would go directly to bed once I got home from work, Blaine would wake me for dinner I would try to help get the kids to bed and then I went back to bed. I went to a general practitioner, an endocrinologist, a rheumatologist, a tarot card reader and a neurologist to see what in the world was the matter. I was finally diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It was horrible and it went on for about 6 months until I had a beloved friend, Julie Pomerantz, who was in for a visit and said: bull shit. You’re fine. You can heal yourself and there is nothing wrong with you. She gave me some spectacular books to read (huge book list at the end), and I realized that I indeed could heal myself.
The first thing I did was quit my job. I still had 3 months of my teaching contract that I fulfilled but then I was finished. I mourned the loss of teaching in my life, and the first job I had to quit, for over a year. When the mourning period was over I saw a naturopath who saved my body. Just because my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was based in emotion did not mean it didn’t wreak havoc on my internal systems, thereby making me physically ill. And I have started to meditate, pray, reflect, whatever your comfortable term is, a crap load more!
It has been two full years of actively practicing love and self-healing to get to the point I am right now at this very moment. And I have rediscovered, in the process, that my viewpoint of the world is decidedly naïve. I could not be happier.
I am naïve about money, I believe that what I need/want will be there. Blaine and I do our thing and we never want for anything. I have no attachment to money and I know that we can always make things work. This is true, it happens. We have both worked up to three jobs at a given time, sometimes we have only one of us working one job, and we have had every combination in between. The less I obsess over money, the better it is.
I am naïve about people’s intentions. I assume the best in people and I see their best. I make no assumptions about why they do what they do other than it is exactly what they should be doing at that moment. Even if it is something illegal, immoral, douchey, or whatever. There is a reason they are making that choice and I do not have working knowledge of what all is happening to them. So, I cannot pass judgment on their decisions. It’s not my place and frankly, it takes a lot of damn energy and I want to be like a panda. Only moving so much and only for something really important like food.
I am naïve about God. I assume God, the universe, the cool book on the shelf next to me, whatever I look to for guidance and information has my best and highest intent at heart. So, if that is the way the world works, I feel it should work that way for everyone. This is great! It means everyone is right. However you choose to connect to your spiritual self (I didn’t say religious, not everyone has a religion, and that is right for some folks, too) is right. Congrats! You are a genius for connecting to your higher self in the way you do it. Once again, panda mode. Other people’s religious or spiritual nature has nothing to do with me resting or finding food.
I am naïve about love. I give it to everyone freely and it doesn’t have to be returned. Now, that part is not easy for me, but I work on it. I was a people pleaser for a long ass time and it is just too difficult (see how it didn’t help me rest, panda no likey). Love is abundant and does not need to be hoarded. For that matter, nothing needs to be hoarded. Not love, or animals, or great books, not even chocolate. The more you give the more you will get back. I mean this very literally. Try it out. Start handing out your favorite books to people who will love them with the intent that they may come back or may be passed on to someone else. This was so hard the first few times I did this. People will start passing other awesome books to you. It really does happen. If you aren’t the huge nerd I am with tons of books, choose something else for this experiment.
I am naïve about schooling my children. They are at this very moment trying out a Montessori school with the intent of considering it for next year. It may work, it may not. We’ll see. It’s an experiment. How will we pay for it? Oh hell, I have no idea. (remember the whole naïve about money thing, if it is a fit, we’ll figure it out). I pulled them from school because I thought it was dumb. I thought they were spending a lot of time lining up, preparing to learn, listening to the teacher and not a lot of time being educated. So, I have them at home with me and we do stuff. I don’t know what. It depends on the day and what we feel like doing. We started with a schedule, it was dumb, we threw it away. We started with workbooks and lesson plans, they were dumb too and we put them to the side. Julia started to hate reading so I told her she didn’t have to read anymore. The past week she continually picks up books and reads them to me way more fluidly than when we were working on it daily. I don’t know how. We haven’t been practicing at all. It works, they are learning and growing and they are leading the way (very Montessori principle like).
I am back to being naïve in my view of the world, too. I am so happy about this. I felt this was negative when I was younger and people would point this out to me. Somehow I took that to mean uninformed, unenlightened, unintelligent. Do you know what the antonyms are for naïve? They are, to name a few: experienced, sophisticated, complicated. I can live with that. I do not find sophistication very interesting if it has to be acted out in a way that is not genuinely me. I am not experienced in this life. None of us are. Even if this is our 20th time here (for those who believe in reincarnation) those past lives do not inform us here because we can’t remember them. For those of us that are on our first go-around, this is even more true. And I am so happy that it means that I am not complicated. We often really complicate things by trying to uncomplicated things. If you go through life with a naïve love and trust of everything, nothing is surprising, everything is as it should be and you can rest and get plenty of food like the beloved panda.
In conclusion (I always loved that essay ending), I am naïve. If you ask me what my plans are for the future, I will naively tell you: I plan to save the world.
Here are some of the books that helped on my healing journey:
Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup
Spontaneous Healing by Andrew Weil
Spontaneous Happiness by Andrew Weil
The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson
Misdiagnosis: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression and Other Disorders by 6 people (long list, panda mode)
Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss
Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss
Finding You Way in a Wild New World by Martha Beck
The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan
Fiction (necessary for healing!):
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Any and All books by Richard Bach
Any and All books by Sherman Alexie
Any and All books by Chuck Palahniuk
Alice’s Adventures Underground by Lewis Carroll
Any and All books by Tom Robbins