Sunday, November 2, 2014

Ourselves Chapter 1: Mansoul

  
There are lots of posts that discuss the "how to" of CM, but there is less written about Ourselves, Our Souls and Bodies.

It's not an easy read.
 
I'm curious as to what CMers think about Ourselves, Our Souls and Bodies, not from a "Ms. Mason was saying..." perspective, but from a deeply personal one. I'd love to hear not what you think, but how it makes you think, starting with Chapter 1. If you haven't read it, here it is at Ambleside Online. Chapter 1 is short, less than 3 pages.

I chose the image for this post because Mason likens each of our souls to a kingdom. "Mansoul" is an Eden where God walks and talks with the people, where art and music inspire heroism, and where the unlovely parts can be made lovely. The kingdom touches other kingdoms, equally rich and beautiful.

Her description of Mansoul takes me there. I can hear the rippling stream and singing birds. It is a place far away from the 30 report cards I have to do this week, the never-ending household chores, the bills that must be paid. I am surrounded by blue forget-me-nots and yellow marsh marigolds (king's cups). I am in this quiet hazel copse.

The land of Mansoul has everything it needs. I know this to be true - that I have all I need - but it doesn't hurt to be reminded. A lot. When I need a reminder (which is daily, sometimes more), I think about the lives of my father's parents and his grandmother. My great-grandmother was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide. She was forced from her home (she was 19, married, and lived in her husband's parents' house), and forced to walk from her village in Turkey to the Syrian desert. Then, in the desert, my great-grandmother watched her young husband die in his mother's lap. Her mother-in-law looked up at her and said, "You're free now. Go." I imagine her looking around, at the tent city survivors had erected, thinking, Go where? My great-grandmother and my grandparents had far less than I have, but they had what they needed. When I start to think how nice it would be to have more space, a second car, etc., and the thinking-how-nice turns into discontent, I walk myself into the desert and stand with my great-grandmother. Me? I have more than enough.

How does Chapter 1 make you think?

7 comments:

  1. I've also noticed that there aren't too many posts about Ourselves, and I've often joked that it's because it is constantly humbling, and few people really appreciate being humbled. CM manages to sneak a pin into our bubble of self righteousness, or self congratulations or whatever we are thinking about Ourselves that is anything other than humility. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She really does make the reader confront some issues, doesn't she?

      Delete
  2. I've actually never read Ourselves. My boys, when they were in high school did and really liked it. I'll try to read along with you of Ourselves.

    When I read the first chapter I was thinking what a paradise it sounded like. I thought it might be an allegory and when considering that, I thought of how we can make things lovely for our home (like the Proverbs 31 woman) if we are willing to work with our hands.

    And is it not beautiful to think of God walking with us and in us (throughout the land)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see that too - Proverbs 31. And yes, it makes me think of the hymn "He walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am his own..." Yay! I'm looking forward to having a reading buddy. :)

      Delete
  3. I googled "Charlotte Mason Mansoul" and landed here. I had to Google "mansoul" because I opened "Ourselves" in the middle of the book!

    (I was immediately both intrigued AND confused. :)

    All that said, it's always good to find another CM-loving kindred spirit! Also, I think it's pronounced "man soul", don't you? Originally I thought "mansool"...

    I will try to stop back after I've read Book 4 in its entirety.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, man's-soul. Thank you for stopping by, Margaret, and please do stop back by when you're done with the book. :)

      Delete
    2. I will! And your spelling it out man's-soul helps me hear it in my mind even better, so thank you. ♥

      Delete