If you’ve never been to an unschooling conference before, you’re missing out on one of the most life-changing, empowering experiences EVER. This life attracts some of the most dynamic people on the planet. Being in their presence has been invigorating, exhausting, exciting, inspiring…
I think I’m running out of adjectives.
Maybe you know the feeling. If you’ve ever bared your soul to a friend, sharing hopes & dreams, your deepest secrets, and hearing theirs… Maybe if you know that no matter what you say or do, you are loved and the world is right and magical people are sprinkled all over the place(except for last week, when many of them converged upon the town of North Conway, New Hampshire).
I can think of ten thousand amazing moments that I want to share, here they are in no particular order:
– I loved meeting and hanging out with Amy Steinberg (the rumors about her being phenomenal are absolutely true, plus I love her). On the last night of the event, she gave a concert. I loved watching her sing Exactly and looking around the audience to see that everyone really was exactly where they needed to be… nursing babies in arms, toddlers on the dance floor, dads hula hooping, and moms arm-in-arm basking in the glow of the moment… it was so powerful. In a way, I was where I needed to be, too. I was also lucky enough to take her on a Thai food lunch date and ride with her back into the airport and I kinda feel like I’ve known her forever. Actually, I had that feeling quite often during the conference. It was more like a reunion, in that way.
–Zombie babies were awesome, my new friend Caitlin had a zombie-lover’s gathering and offered zombie face painting. It was absolutely adorable to see some of the sweet little 2 yr olds in their sun dresses, wearing white face paint with black, hollowed-out eyes and bloody, brain-sucking mouths. Creepy, but adorable because they were little walking bits of irony.
– Having someone come up to me after a workshop and tell me they were so glad to hear some something awesome that I didn’t even remember saying, and seeing in their eyes that this deep thought was really rockin’ their world, knowing the entire family will feel the ripple effectand that the words came through me. My ego is generous, it gets off on helping other people. I was pleased that I didn’t really feel like an idiot when I was speaking. Before the conference, I set the intention to really connect deeply with people, to communicate clearly and to be of service. I feel like that was a success.
– Sharing my love of the hoop. Seriously, I like being a hoop evangelist. It brings me so much joy and peace. And most people who THINK they can’t hula hoop just need a proper sized hoop, a little practice, a little teeny bit of guidance to get the right positioning, the right rhythm… I can’t always SEE the difference between trying and actually “getting” it, but I can tell by watching their face. I love to see people’s eyes light up when they’ve figured out a trick or finally felt the force of the hoop around their waist. It’s sexy, it’s spiritual, it’s fun and my abs feel like jello today I was so glad that someone brought hula hoops for sale, I should have worked a commission deal with her, darnit. Next time, Hattie, we will SELL OUT.
– Setting up the conference was magic. I think it was the anticipation of bonding with the other organizers and knowing we were heading into a week of unprecedented bliss; hanging thoughtful quotes all over the walls, anticipating the joy they’d bring people, seeing everything empty, but ready. (yeah, I know I violated a lot of punctuation laws in that sentence. If it’s too difficult to read, please get over it) it was so cool to watch Susan and Dayna planning the event over the past few months, then seeing all the energy that went into every teeny bit of last0minute preparation, then suddenly BOOM- the hall is filled with people, families, beautiful sparkling people with inner glow and soothing smiles and peaceful faces and love love love everywhere…
– the creativity of the participants. At the renegade bazaar, families set up vendor tables with everything from custom-made embroidered “Life Rocks 2011″ clothing items, to handmade jewelry, to painted rocks, silly bands, books, paintings, hand carved hardwood magic wands, stuffed toys for resale, hand massages… (Oh boy, I hope I’m not leaving anyone out). In addition to the bazaar, we had filmmakers, photographers and performers on hand, each with their own unique way of showing the world inside ourselves, channeling the essence of the moment through their lens, by focusing in one one teeny moment that captures the energy of the room. Like this one.
-I was so inspired to be in the presence of the authors, like Julie, who wrote Nothing Short of Joy (which is now on my amazon list because I totally trust the person who said “Oh my god, just get it, you will be so glad you did), and Eva whose presentation was the most exciting history un-lesson I have ever seen. Her book, Lost in Learning: The Art of DiscoveryLost in Learning: The Art of Discovery, is beautiful and she’s touring and speaking right now, we were so lucky to have met her. Of course, my beautiful friend Dayna was also there with her book (Radical Unschooling – A Revolution Has Begun-Revised Edition (Volume 2)) which actually introduced a lot of these families to unschooling, or helped them find a name (and a tribe) for the life of peace and freedom they were already living. I felt so inspired amidst the talented, creative people that were guests, nevermind the presenters, who seemed to be spilling forth words of wisdom and love! I love unschooling because the souls that are attracted to it are so vibrant and creative, they contribute as much to the event as the attendants, it’s not about hierarchies, everyone is there to learn from another. Someone just has to open the door.
– where were we… pulling random moments that I just don’t want to forget. My new friend Jenn. We had a great and deep discussion and at one point, she recommended a book for me. I went back that night and added it to my Amazon.com wish list but instead, she said that she just so happened to have the book in her car. She’d let someone borrow it and happened to have it returned when they were on their way to the conference. It was serendipetous. The entire week was. A million strange and wonderful little synchronicities… like we were all just… old friends.
– The kids. One thing about unschooled kids is that they’re not taught to “stay with the kids” and unschooling families don’t segregate kids activities and adult activities, so that in every workshop, every funshop, every everything, there was a decent mix of kids and adults. I was missing my own girls and had a great time bonding with some of the kids there, like my new friend Autumn, who owns Pretty Things for Pretty Princesses, a jewelry company.
– The joy. I wonder how many groups of 250 people can hang together for 4 full days with only like… 3 little conflicts. It wasn’t a drama-filled environment, everyone was there joyfully, learning, loving and having fun.
-The adventure. Roderick Russell (no relation) was one of the entertainers and speakers at the conference. In addition to putting on one hell of a show, Roderick is an amazing person, it was a joy to have met him. He swallowed a ginormous sword. I know what you’re thinking (Well, I know what I was thinking, something along the lines of “compare it to a blowjob”) but honestly, this was sharp, hard metal blade that went all the way down into his stomach. Yikes! Talk about conquering your fears, what an amazing story he has and I was so honored to be able to visit with him.
– Falling in love. It’ so weird to meet people for the first time and feel like you’ve known them forever. Maybe it’s spiritual, like a recognition of the soul… maybe it’s just because (in some cases) we’ve been able to connect online first. Whatever it is, it was magical and it reminded me of falling in love <3
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the conference. If I haven’t added you to my Facebook list yet, please feel free to send a request.
If you didn’t attend this year, be sure to pay attention to the Life Rocks Conference website, because the Martins already have “bigger & better” plans for next year.
Have a beautiful day <3