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wow, three weeks

How do i speak of moments?

saying lake
does not touch

the bliss
of swimming her

and all i’ve got is
“wow, three weeks”
it’s not even close

so,
i guess you had to be there

those three weeks
swimming

and for a couple moments
i was

Snapshots from Aviv Moon

In week three of the summer camp a number of the ALFs were interviewed about Agile Learning Centers with the aim of developing a coherent narrative that could be shared with the world.  Aviv Moon had already produced a (very high quality) short piece on the Mosaic school and this was an opportunity to create something a little lengthier to speak of the shared vision and the growing network of ALCs.

I’m posting this, with some photos, for those who are curious about the video production.   Read more

The ALFs

I <3

Hearing Tomis sing and play guitar
Watching Nancy get on the floor and play with kids
Listening to Arthur wax poetic about fascinating ideas
Watching Dean interact with kids so thoughtfully and respectfully
Seeing Felicia bring out the wild in the quiet kids and the quiet in the wild ones
Hearing Dan turn everything into an opportunity to learn something about science or the world
Looking at Drew’s intricate doodles
Seeing Abe genuinely get excited about all the kids ideas
Watching Charlotte be a friend to everyone
Seeing Elaine intently confer with kids on their writing projects
Hearing Luc always checking in on how people are feeling
Seeing Ryan demonstrate strength in love
Watching Bear savor every little thing
Seeing Leigh jump into everything to make things happen
Listening to Sarah wholeheartedly share her gifts with everyone

Reflections on Convening an ALF Training

Facilitating this fast, intensive, and immersive event has brought surprises both in the form of challenges and blessings.

Our interpersonal bonding and connection happened quickly and pretty effortlessly. The “If you really knew me…” exercise helped us move into a space deep authenticity and vulnerability. The people who missed our first morning seemed less able to be vulnerable with the group for the whole first week.

One challenge we faced was avoiding getting pulled into abstract tangents where people want to solve theoretical problems for imaginary children in some Utopian educational setting. We may have lost about 20% of our group work time to these sidetracks, and I intend to be much more diligent about interrupting those discussions more quickly. Luckily, things moved quickly into actual practice with the kids at the camp, and the abstractions have largely been replaced with actual relationships with children.

Agile Roots metaphor seemed to work well (even if initially only partially formulated in words), but we never finished the depiction of a whole Agile Tree for sharing about the model as currently implemented.  My attempt to use “21st Century Education” to convey some of the key things that differentiate us from conventional education models fell flat and sucked us into abstract-land way too quickly.  I will need to find a better framing for that in the future, or wait until we’re better grounded in practice.

Bear’s sharing of the soul archetypes has proven valuable in acknowledging the value and power of different personalities such that  some people have been able express themselves much more freely and feel appreciated for the nature of their contribution. I’m actually seeing the need to put in more information about pacing, defensive styles, order of processing, and maybe even decision-making styles for folks who are struggling with some of their differences in these domains.

One of the biggest challenges I struggle with (as is common) is the gap between what I see possible for us and where we are in fulfilling on it. There are places I want to go, and a speed at which I’d like to get there, that we just can’t do yet. Overall, things are really going perfectly. We need this level of direct experience to translate from theory to action and for everyone to integrate principles into their practice.

I’m really excited about the impact that I can see this is having on the Mosaic community. With 20 adults ALFing and practicing what we’re preaching for the kids, the pattern is getting set much more powerfully for the kids, for Mosaic’s current/future staff and even for the parents who are catching bits and pieces.

One of my personal goals was to see if we could get to operating as a “magical group” much more quickly than I’ve been able to do in the past. I think we’re doing pretty dang well, even though our rockiest meeting so far just happened yesterday. We recovered quickly, adapted our structures, healed the hurting people… basically responded quite agilely.

Now we face the reality of “certification” and what the heck that means and how to know who has crossed the mysterious threshold to being a certifiable ALF.  I’m confident we’ll conquer this challenge with more grace and grit in the coming week.

and I get confused

 
 

and I get confused

 

when I wish to give you

everything

 

when I wish to let you

be

everything

 

as you wish to

be

everything

 

as you wish to

be

everything

 
 

be

everything

 
 

so that I may

be

nothing

 
 

with love

 
 

so that you may

be

nothing

 
 

with love

 
 

and sometimes

 

get confused

 
 

with

 
 
 

love

ALF Summer 2014 Reflection

It’s hard to know where to begin, as the journey to this point has been a culmination of so much of who I am and what I am. Alas, this is intended to be a reflection on the first two weeks of ALF Summer 2014, and so I’ll try and keep my focus there. But first, allow me to back up just a bit.

Over the course of my life, I have been able to gain an understanding of my self and have learned to recognize my strengths and shortcomings. When I weigh it all out, I often conclude that my greatest strength – that is to say, what has taken me the furthest in life – is my intention and discernment in choosing the people I want to play with.

A big part of knowing who you want to play with is knowing what game you want to play. Since I can remember, and for reasons that are unknown, I have always had a strong internal value for honesty, openness, and love. My Truth is rooted in all things authentic, and that is what I’ve been chasing my whole life. It has brought me immense joy to help open up a space for all of us to experience ourselves deeply and to swim in these waters together – all in service of bringing forth that same powerful opportunity for children.

I wasn’t sure how far we would be able to get with each other in this three week experience. I was a little nervous that it would somehow feel incomplete when we were done. I think it may wind up feeling incomplete next week, but for much different reasons than I was originally concerned about.

I’m impressed with how much “material” we have covered in just two weeks – enough to satisfy my original estimations of what could be done. That all feels like a bonus, because much more important than the material are the relationships and the relatedness that have been created. I feel so energized waking up and coming to this space where authenticity is the goal, and where everyone is playing that infinite game together.

Though there is still a lot to cover and accomplish in the final week, if the intensive ended today I would see it as a monumental success. I have been so inspired by seeing how every single one of us has found a way to engage powerfully in this project and add tremendous value. I’m having a hard time finding words to express how grateful, impressed, and overwhelmed I am by how it has all taken shape – perhaps I should have chosen do a movement piece with Luc, Felicia, and Abe.

What’s possible?

My god, I feel like we are right in the thick of that question, and yet still somehow have only scratched the very surface of it.

 

 

 

End of Week Two Reflection

General Notes:

  • ALF intensive is amazing. We are all learning a lot together. Here are some pictures of us ALFing as well as the first four days of summer camp. From the ALC Mosaic community, we have both staff and parents diving deep in what it means to go Agile together. Together, we are generating a lot of shareable value we’ll be seeing soon via our new website.
  • We’ve had our graphic designer at ALF camp – what a commitment to this project he has made! Not only has Eric rebranded our look for Agile Learning Centers, but he’s actively involving himself in what we are because he finds this work so interesting. He also taught us as an offering at camp the process of logo design that he used for ALC.
  • Our new website is in the works, thanks to Drew. It’s incredible and can be used like our own Facebook for communication and children’s blogs…where they can share their own posts and even tag each other in them. Tomis will provide a workshop where he will train everyone in both ALC Mosaic & ALC NY wanting support in how to create an account and use it. It will be one central location for all our communication.
  • We are having really awesome Mosaic Staff Meetings as a part of a working group of ALF intensive. Two new ALFers are interested in finding a way for them to intern with us. We’ll see if life circumstance allows that to happen 🙂
  • I have gotten to watch a lot of happy kids work with passionate and engaged adults. This brings me a lot of joy.

Favorite Moments/Activities:

  • The Archetypes whole group activity with Bear was really insightful and I think also helped us meld well together as a group. The time was really useful to me because it helped me understand the others in the group more, as well as myself. I also thought it helped bring awareness to all of us that we are all triggered, or alerted to different types of stimuli, and that information alone helps us not take the actions of others so personally as we humans can tend to do.
  • The discussion about the book Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse was also very insightful. I feel like I spent most of my twenties transitioning into a mindset of being an infinite player in the game of life. Quitting my job to start this school was a huge stepping stone in this process. I realized at that time that life wasn’t worth living if I couldn’t do so with full engagement towards a greater purpose. Road blocks continually came up; inspections that had to pass, losing students and financial resources, etc. and I have to constantly revisit each roadblock as just one part of the infinite game I am playing through my existence. How I approach roadblocks are my choice. How I feel every moment of my life is my choice, and I find that very empowering. I’ve ordered the book!

Challenges: 

  • I find that I cherish the whole group time as well as struggle with it. I tell myself that working in groups is challenging, and perhaps that is why I perceive it as so. Perhaps if I remind myself that group cohesion and dynamics take time then I can have more grace for individuals in a group when agenda items that I feel are important to get to are not addressed. I feel like 3 weeks is too short to get to know each other, feel comfortable with one another, and also run a summer camp, and work on ALC Network and individual school projects.

What Have I Gained? 

  • I have gained more cohesion in our staff and parent community. The school is now grounded in roots that are stable. We have people in our community involved in creating that foundation and that is what will keep us sustainable as a school. The strong connection I feel between current staff, current parents, and potential ALFs is amazing to experience. There are people now joining our community because they believe in Agile Learning Centers. That is a much stronger foundation in my opinion.  I am human and can show up really strong some days and not so strong on others. Having buy-in for our school being tied into something greater than myself feels really, really great.
  • Being fully immersed in a group like this has forced me to see parts of myself more clearly, which in turn will give me more ability learn how to interact powerfully with others.  I am tuning into my authentic self in a deeper way than I ever have before and it’s beautiful, fun and exciting to experience!

 

Facilitation Process

Click Clack Aahh Rarrr

Impulses manifest

moments last longer.

Crunch

Yell

Me

Me

Me

Here and there productive creativity bounces from the wall

Into beaming eyes

yelling

Listen to me or I have a great idea.

A moment please let her finish. Let him speak.

You document, I document.

Integrate your passion

weave it into every fiber of your being.

The core is the message of pride

Beaming

Bursting through lanky little bodies

Growing,

Hugging,

Loving,

Heaving,

Jumping

Saying hi, hi, hello Felicia .

 

 

 

To infinity… and beyond

During the ALF intensive, we have really been living the ideas we have been discussing. We have created and adjusted a culture together to make it work best for us. During this time I have seen first-hand the power of allowing individuals to work freely within their preferred medium and according to their interests. In this eclectic group of people we have been able to create so much and have developed strong working relationships with each other. Where the first week involved a lot of talking through ideas and concepts, the second week provided us with the opportunity to see the practical application of those concepts. I am excited by the possibilities that have been opened during this training, and I’m ready to play infinitely as we move ahead!