As part of my collecting research, I brought the subject up with a group of friends who have also done the Neufeld Intensive 1 and 2 courses.
I loved everything they said and so enjoyed hearing their perspective. Too busy listening to take notes, here is what I currently remember from the conversation.
- Collecting has various iterations. My previous post focused on the collecting we do after a separation - be it a physical separation like being in different locations for a couple of hours or a mental separation of a kid involved in media or a book for a length of time or an emotion separation as in a disagreement that creates discord and distance between us.
Collecting is also part of a more constant state. It is the moments of connection between us and our kids that grow the strength of love between us. Someone referred to it as growing and strengtheing the cord of love that connects us, and used a hand gesture that reminded me of a tree branch getting thicker and more complex with time and the stresses and strains of life.
- One friend referred to collecting as the sauce that makes everything else go. He talked a lot about how collecting, more than being things that we do, is a posture and the way that we ARE with our kids. Warmth came up over and over in this part of the conversation - lighting up when our kids come in the room, letting know that we're crazy about them, so in love with them and really enjoy being with them.
Warmth, as I wrote before, can seem like a pretty alien concept to me. But in listening to my friend, I remembered how often Neufeld talks about offering a complete invitation to our children to be fully themselves in all their glorious and less perfect ways. Warmth, and invitation, then might just be other words for unconditional love. Both sides of the unconditional love - the unconditional "I love you no matter what" part and the love "my heart delights in seeing and knowing you" part.
I'm thinking then, and let me know what you think, that a large part of collecting is letting our children know that they are wholly and completely embedded in our hearts forever more.