Joooiiinnnn Uuuusss . . . Joooiinnnn Uuuus

This week I hosted an ALC Intro session for people who are interested in coming and volunteering at the school as resource people, volunteer ALFs, and Infrastructural Supporters.

I hosted a Parent Interest night in partnership with @prez (Mercer) and @timotree, which went beautifully. It was exciting that we had a couple new parents, one who’s daughter is here in a visiting week, and another who’s daughter just started with us last week!

Showing people the school, explaining how it works, and sharing the beautiful stories (of which there are way too many to share in one meeting!). It used to be that when I would walk people through the school, I would speak a lot about possibility and potential, like a real estate agent showing off a building that needs work, but has a great foundation and a solid structure. Now, I get to be a starry eyed docent, enthusiastically showing people through a living, breathing space, explaining how it works, with powerful stories and examples. Now, the space speaks for itself. I regularly hand visitors over to students to explain tools, practices, structures, agreements and to show people the space. I still Schpiel, because I’m a storyteller and I looove telling the stories that get made here. Stories that give me hope for the future of humanity, stories that, in their specific and personal way, evince the incredible power of what happens here, where children grow according to their spirit’s direction, where interactions and relationships exist that defy what “the world” says are possible. Where the lines between learning and life are not blurred, but entirely non-existent. Where authenticity, trust, communication, and creativity are not the aims of frustrated idealists, but the practices of a living breathing community.

I’d rather be a docent pointing to miracles than convincing people that miracles are possible.

 

 


 

My docency works because I stay connected to the community by actually being a part of it!

This week, I also changed my relationship to being really productive at the school while still actively facilitating and engaging with kids! I stayed home one day this week to get some emails done, I got a lot of emails done, and still made it back to school in time to play a little.

The next day, I thought that I would like to get my work done and play, and I challenged myself to do both, because I want to stay connected to the work of facilitation on the ground. So, I came to school and filled out a very ambitious kan ban for my day, and. . . I accomplished it! I had a great day filled with energy, and with space for emergent play with amazing young people!

Yesterday @kingthanos and I went outside on the patio yesterday to connect and talk about our summers, and life, and life-choices, and FOOD. We both agreed that we wanted to do more exercise, and after we hung out Thanos said in passing, “hey, we should do another Shambles trip (the best butcher shop in NYCC) and carnivore lunch again soon.” I had already accomplished a heaping pile of to-do’s on my Kan-Ban that I felt the space to say, “Let’s do it now! And let’s run the whole way!”

So we did. It was awesome. And It was especially cool because @kingthanos helped me to remember some of my priorities in my life and because they line up with his, we were able to move into them together, powerfully, and generatively, and because we were so stoked, @agilepanda joined us and ran with us to Shambles (I reiterated the link because you should totes check it out) and back!

Today was a little less fabulous because I maintained my ambitious today column, and I didn’t actually take the time to think about how long each item would take! I’ll do that next week!

 

Duh 2.0

This week I relearned how important slack time outside around kids is.

I accomplished the most today when I set an intention to go to the park. I didn’t know exactly what I would do there, I just knew I really wanted to go and I wanted to go with my friends. When we were there I did most of the things I did in the day because inspiration and nature tend to fill our cups with things to do wherever we go. I wonder sometimes about over-intentioning, of declaring too many things that I want to do, and getting really specific about what they’re going to look like. It’s been a theme of my last couple weeks. I have beautiful visions, but if I get attached to them, then I end up fighting with present because I attach myself to a fantasy about the future. The really simple things, like getting exuberantly excited about picking and eating mulberries, and laying down in the sun, and just sharing company with people I really want to share company with are what really bring me joy and where the most learning and the most creative energy comes from. I find it fascinating that I can get in the way of my own experience by putting expectations on my play.

And/but then there’s the way heartfelt intention setting can make a huge difference. The most magical part of my day (which was filled with magic) was my park trip, which I could have easily forgone because I wanted to nap. It was so nice, and if I hadn’t made the commitment out loud to a community, I would have bailed on it. Now, that I feel cranky and physically exhausted I may have to bail on other commitments in my day, and/but I have no regrets about that because I want to live a life that prioritizes going to a park with partners and children really, really high. Because it has always, always, always made me feel more alive.

 

 

Bear Lays an Egg – Version 4.5

I  want

to build a tiny house

a   house   that’s   very   small

I want a house shaped like an egg

with    white    and    earthen    walls

I want a mattress on the floor

I want a desk to think

I want a stove

for burning wood

I   want   a   little   sink

I want big windows facing south

for          light          to stream inside

I want two windows, East and West

that breathe when opened wide

I want a door

made out of wood

with doorknobs made of brass

I want the   light   of candles

made of bees’ busyness

I want a wooden basin

for to wash my body clean

and I want a pair of tweezers

to pull splinters out of me

I want a piece of paper and a pen to mark it up

so I can write

and write, and write

enough, enough, enough

I want a lot of nothing

and I want a lot of space

I want a lot of time outside

away

but

in

a place

Activism and Overwork: Contemporary Idealist Violence

I went to a peace activism seminar today, and this quote was passed out. It struck me deeply.

The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.

-Thomas Merton

I will come back to this post to expound.

In the meantime, I will continue to ponder these words in my relationship to my work in ALC’s and other activism I commit myself to. I invite you to ponder with me.

love, sheep, and playful neighbors,

bear

I’m a Bear! Come, Be a Bear With Me!

I got some great feedback this week.

I came into the city this week to substitute for Ryan while he went to EXALT with Alex in Puerto Rico. I came to ALC NYC as I usually do. I came in stoked.

I come to the city excited to see people that I love and excited to play with them in the heliotropicaly magic/honest sandbox of ALCNYC, in the weird/awesome playground of NYC. And the possibilities that I see with these playmates, in this sandbox, in this playground fill me with an ecstatic stokedness.

There’s this pattern I notice in a lot of successful instances of Agile Learning Facilitation where I share a possibility I see for someone, and it resonates with them, and then becomes a reality.

There’s another pattern of Agile Learning Facilitation, especially in my ALF style, where I share a possibility I see for someone with so much energy that it only sorta resonates with them, and then weirdly moves forward sorta, and then falls flat.

This happens when I try to make things happen, which I often want to do because I really, really want these amazing things to happen! Like, really bad, and I just know, like, I totally know in my heart, that IF they happen, the results will be amazing, and opening, and growthy, and learnglorious, and what and what.

That’s not to say that I have not had instances where I used a bunch of expressive energy to poke someone out of a comfort zone and into trying something that ended up working out beautifully, and/but those few instances are definitely the exceptions that make the rule.

My stoke’s a good thing. Seeing possibilities, and fostering connections is a primary service of an ALF. Doing it in the context of a healthy, loving, and mutualistic relationship is the what really works, and if I want people to move deeply into possibilities, then I have to hone the energy with which I hold and present those possibilities, so that there’s space for the person to make the choice themselves.

Thanos helped me see that this week. I was so excited to see him and have adventures in the city in support of some of his interests that I wasn’t fully present to checking in with him first, which didn’t fully respect him as a partner in making those choices. He expressed his feelings about the situation in a way that would make long-time NVC (non-violent communication) practitioners feel jealous and incompetent. Javair facilitated the conversation with gentleness, firmness, and curiosity. It all unfolded as easily as morning comes, and I felt so happy to find myself in a place where a communication like that could exist. If only, if only, if only the world were full of more people with such self-knowledge, such compassion, and such commitment to honesty and openness in relationship.

I won’t rephrase it as well as Thanos said it, but…

Look, you come to the city with all this excitement and energy! Like: “I’m a Bear! I’m in the City! I’m going to be a Bear in the City! Come be a Bear with me!” And I want to, but, I live here, and I don’t always feel like going out and doing stuff, and I don’t want to disappoint you, because I’m a people people pleaser. Like, you push, and I’m a pushover, and it’s tough because I know that the things you want me to do are probably really good for me and that I’ll probably really like them, but I just don’t feel like it when you come in that way. so it’s confusing.

Then we had a conversation about how I could communicate about possibilities that would feel better for Thanos and make it more likely that he would act.

That’s a snapshot of my week. Other magical stuff happened too.

Spring

I love the flavor of the world

when Winter sings her last

and quietly,  with  little  steps

Spring warms through cold’s arrest

 

And outside, outside, outside

my soft sallow body goes!

To breathe the air

and feel the earth

wet~firm beneath my toes

 

And O’ the birds! The robins first

then geese, starlings, and jays

come calling through

with tender trills

Now swallows here today!

 

What  do you  see  in all this  life?

What   do    you    wish    to   make?

What do you wish  to do, my friend?

When  life   breathes   wide awake?

 

We’ve water in abundance now

n’ light throughout the day,

We’ve seeds to plant

in soil

rich

with nutriment of clay

 

O’ In thyself, friend, can you see

this Spring glow in your heart?

What grace in thee, dear

will  you  grow?

 

For now’s the time to start!

Our First Week With Chuck

Please enjoy this list of things that I feel great about that happened this week:

  • Maple Sugaring
  • An all day road trip to buy 60 lbs of beeswax
  • candle making
  • ninja
  • wrestling
  • making lye
  • making messes
  • cleaning messes
  • making more messes
  • cleaning more messes
  • hanging out with horses
  • community meetings
  • lots of food
  • reading
  • walks to the fire circle
  • tiny house site inspections
  • coup
  • gender discussions
  • lots of video calls
  • laughing
  • more lots of food
  • “I can get a pretty good tone out of my belly button”
  • a visit from Connor, Vic, and Aaron

I feel deeply excited to get to play with Chuck at Cloudhouse.

 

What I Think Doesn’t Matter

I have a lot of strong opinions. Like, really strong opinions that I have thought about a lot, researched intensely, experienced deeply, and observed thoroughly. These strong opinions influence the way that I see the world, and the way that I engage with it. They have strong bearing on my life. Since I live in community, and spend time with children, my strong opinions can influence them.

I sometimes even try to influence them with my strong opinions.

Lately I have felt like Milo doesn’t say everything he intends to do, and doesn’t speak to everything he’s done at the end of the day because he knows that I have some really strong opinions about the choices he makes. He has it right. I do have some strong opinions that see some of his choices as . . . bad!

Oh No! I don’t work in the traditional education system, in large part, because the design of it makes kids see themselves as. . . bad! And here I go, working in a system that establishes deeper relationships, because it creates even more trust! So when if I make Milo feel bad, then I make Milo feel Really Bad!

But. . . fortunately, one of my very strong opinions buffers the potential harm that my lot of other very strong opinions might inflict on my kids. This morning, in change-up meeting, I told Milo that at the beginning of the day, and at the end of the day, he needs to put the things he chose to spend his time doing. Then, in an attempt to make Milo more likely to actually do that, I lied to him. I said:

“Look I don’t care what you choose to do.”

Complete B.S.

I care tremendously what he chooses to do. I have a lot of very strong opinions about what he should do. I think he should spend more time outside, I think he should exercise more, I think he should eat healthier, I think he should blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I don’t go around saying this to him all the time, because (duh) it doesn’t work to do that. Whether I say it or not, Milo knows I think it.  Sometimes, he knows the place of love that it comes from, and he starts thinking it too. Then, sometimes, he even chooses to act on it.

But I lied to him. And I caught myself in that lie instantly, because it didn’t feel true when I said it and I said:

“you know what? I lied, I do care what you do, I do think you should do certain things and not do certain things. You will have people in your life who care about what you do. People you love and who love you. You need to make the decisions for yourself. Ultimately, you need to know what you want to do, and do that.

Milo looked at me with clear eyes and said: “OK.”

I have a lot of very strong opinions, and I really, really want to share them with you, but, ultimately, you need to create your own world by making your own choices because you developed your own opinions.

Of course, that’s just my opinion.

 

 

The Internet and Me

I brought back a few drums from Uganda
A couple of them have a seed locked inside forever
it jangles around in there when you play
they call it the heart of the drum

I have some severe resistances and reservations around digital media, and/but, I have some severe enthusiasms and confidences.

Thoreau, writing about the simplicity of his needs, listed books among few other necessities.

I wonder if the internet doesn’t also count among necessities now.