Are you “ensuring harmony” and creating “an ever-better world” in your Montessori life?

“The purpose of life is to obey the hidden command which ensures harmony among all and creates an ever better world.”

“I’ve had enough!”

“I can’t take this anymore.”

“Something has got to change, or I’m outta here!”

Ever felt this way? Said those words? C’mon admit it! Haven’t we all…. at one time or another?

This spring, I’ve heard some variation of these sentiments from more than one or two of my friends or mentees. Some are on the receiving end of the words; others are feeling this way themselves. Me, too!

Each time a relationship challenge finds its way to my door, I try to listen between the words of the story. I do my best to practice deep listening.

What’s “deep listening”?

Is it different from regular listening? In my mind, “regular” listening is often not really listening at all. Many folks, when listening, are already thinking of what they want to say in response. They are feeling their own feelings without being aware of them; not realizing that they stopped moments or minutes before to begin forming the words that will come out as soon as there’s a pause. Once a reply is forthcoming, the words may carry advice, criticism, or commiseration…none of which really helps in moving toward resolution of the conflict.


That word may strike fear in your heart. How many of us identify as conflict avoiders, or as lacking in skills to participate in purposeful conflict resolution? This is likely why Dr. Montessori’s quote for this week strikes a chord in my heart… “the hidden command which ensures harmony among all.”

I grew up in a home that was often filled with a great deal of love, fun, and true enjoyment of life. But in my home, that feel-good feeling could turn on a dime. There were the long periods of silence in which I experienced walking on eggshells, uncertain of which parent to turn to or how to ask for peace. This “little-t-trauma” had a big impact on my desire for peace. My own hidden desire for harmony showed up in countless ways.

In high school, shalom was my favorite word and I proclaimed it everywhere…on my notebooks, my lunchboxes, in my saying hello and goodbye. I longed for peace in an almost desperate way.

In my young adult years, I suffered silently when hurt crept in, sometimes consciously in conflict with my desire for peace when I sought ways to retaliate; ways to make the other person feel my pain.

By the time I was in my 30’s and 40’s, I’d fully embraced a victim mentality. I hopped into the “Drama Triangle” faster than the bunny chewing happily outside my window leaps into hiding at the sound of my husband working in the garden.

A Problem or an Opportunity?

I believe with all my heart that opportunities to gain skill toward achieving harmony and peace began to surface when I embraced a practice in Montessori education. With that education came clarity around my own need for peace and harmony, and what it would take to encourage more of them in my life.

I’m not a quick study: I’ve been working on it for more than 40 years. I’m still working and learning. Deep pain can take a long to time rise to the surface. But with each passing conflict, each passing hurt, I become more gracious, less fearful of an honest conversation, more greatly attuned to my relationships, and more effective in supporting those around me in finding their own harmonious resolutions.

The quote for this week does not end with creating an “ever-better world.” As she so often does, Dr. Montessori continues with a task for us to embrace:

“We are not created only to enjoy the world,

we are created in order to evolve the cosmos.”

So take time to recognize your own “hidden command” for achieving peace in your world. I encourage you to find gratitude for the challenging opportunities you face. For in them lie the BIG WORK of being a human who is evolving the cosmos…helping it to grow more peace-filled with each brave, harmonious effort you make.

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