Friday, August 26, 2016

Self-Directed Learning: Winter’s Captive

Winter's Captive by June V. Bourgo, is an engaging story of one woman's emotional and spiritual journey to enlightenment.  The heroine, Georgia, is five months pregnant when an unexpected situation strands her alone in the woods.  Bourgo uses the setting - an isolated, snowbound cabin - to provide the motivation for her heroine's growth.

 The story – as told by Georgia – charts the journey of a self-directed learner.  Without  any means of contacting the outside world, Georgia’s only hope of survival is to take herself in hand and become her own teacher.  Georgia’s story is a tale of enlightenment and empowerment.

Bourgo skillfully describes that various tasks that Georgia undertakes in order to get food and water, provide heat and light, and prepare for the birth of her child.  As fascinating as these passages are to read, they are only the context for the more interesting learning process – Georgia’s discovery of her best self.

That is the heart of self-directed learning.  It is a revelation of who we are.  It addresses the essential question of what do we do with the blank paper we call “life”.  What lines and curves do we draw, what depth and color do we add?  Moreover, it takes vision and perseverance to continue the learning process when setbacks occur.

Georgia’s winter world is a fitting metaphor for the blank piece of paper.  Her isolation, though not anticipated or desired, produces her best learning.  It reinforces the fact that at some point, self-directed learning requires solitude.  At some time, we all need our own snowbound cabin in order to explore the limitless dimensions of our inner world.  The child growing in Georgia's womb is the focal point that parallels the development of her own emotional maturity. 

To survive, Georgia enters into a social compact with herself, her unborn child, and a spirit guide.  The reflective conversations these relationships evoke are the strongest elements of the book, for which the "red berries" in Perelandra are a fitting metaphor.  For those who are drawn to the inner world of one's soul, Winter's Captive is a fascinating and satisfying read.

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