From my head
The past week has been an entirely new level of sharing ALC with new faces in new places. These experiences have inspired me to explore deeper into the different languages (or levels of explanation) we use in order to effectively communicate the culture and purpose of ALC.
Abby (@abbyo) and I began creating a diagram which will clearly illustrate how to share ALC and with whom. Here’s a general break down of the with-whom:
EDUCATORS within and/or PARENTS with kids who attend…
traditional schools (public/private)
alternative education models
project-based learning schools
Montessori, Waldorf, Sudbury, free schools, etc.
I believe that this project will result in a highly useful tool for anyone who chooses to both learn more about and support ALC by sharing it with others.
From my heart
I’d like to share a couple of significant moments for me from last week…
Thanos (@kingthanos) approached me about his concern for his mom since she was going through surgery that day. He brought this to my attention while I was sitting in on Javair’s (@failspy) Philosophy of Economics forum. I stepped out of the room and sat us in a quiet space so that I could hear him out. He talked it out. I listened. We meditated and practiced visualizing a successful outcome of his mom’s surgery. I shared with him something that I practice when I’m feeling worried or anxious about anything. It’s the practice of tuning into the quiet space we each have within us, that no one else can touch, and that we can use to activate our highest intentions for ourselves and others. I feel confident that this discussion was useful to him and that he’ll be practicing this more as he said he would. Deeply grateful that he opened up to me about his concern for his mom. By this, he allowed me to powerfully share with him a new way of thinking and seeing through the inner eye.
Over the weekend, a new friend of mine from GABRIELA, attentively listened to my sharing about ALC. Afterwards, they shared with me that they and their partner both work in education but at the complete opposite spectrum from what I had shared–one end being a space of liberation and the other end being a space of oppression. It touched me when they mentioned how frustrated they were about the education models they’re involved with because of how these are systems which roboticize children and kills off what it means to be a kid/human. “Nowadays, it’s a luxury for kids to be kids”. Their statement struck me. It’s the sickening truth. They went on to say that they were happy to hear that places like ALC even exist. That we hold space for kids so that they can actually be kids and explore themselves and the world around them without first being forced to be something they’re not.
Grateful to know that I, like everyone else,
have the power to create the changes I want to see in the world…
I will be connecting with educators in Columbia to share ALC through one of my best friends, Yvan.
My new friend, Caroline (from Philippines), is here to observe ALC today and she’s […]
Been dancing around to this springy song over the last two weeks. Enjoy!
Speaking of the last two weeks, a looong deeep breath first.
(looong deeep breath)
It’s been a whirlwind of surprises. A tsunami of breakthroughs. A roller coaster of emotions. An epic explosion of new life-long relationships. It feels like I’ve been riding on the shoulders of giants. Like I can take on the world with the tip of my pinky toe.
Yup, you probably guessed it. I inherited a billion dollars!! Just kidding. Feeling this high on such wealth of happiness and inspiration makes a billion dollars seem pretty shrimpy, actually.
So what the hell happened over the past couple of weeks?
I flew to San Francisco and reunited with one of my best friends, Carolina.
We went to a halloween party at a grand re-opening of a club where I met a bunch of crazy cool Sebastopol dwellers along with a few Hawai’i locals; one of them being a local musician who performs all over the world. I shared ALC with him and that I’m establishing one on Oahu. Much to my surprise, he was full-heartedly stoked about all of it. Also, turns out that he used to be a preschool teacher and intends to work with children again during and/or after his music career. Words can’t come close to expressing how excited and grateful I am to have him part of this journey. Ah-mazing.
Carolina lovingly drove us up north for a couple of hours as we danced in our seats to the song shared above.
I met a bunch of people prior to arriving at a ranch in the middle of a breath-takingly beautiful nowhere; one of them being a dude, Kyle, that I knew back when I was age seven and living in Japan. We realized that we went to the same elementary school and when he mentioned the name of his younger brother, my jaw dropped because of an ENTIRE story behind my connection with him. Lets just say that I was bullied by this dude and I therefore, bullied his little brother. And got reprimanded by their mother. What a small small small small world. To have reunited with Kyle 19 years later for an intense personal development course is beyond me! How awesome to see how much we both have grown after all these years.
I attended PSI-7, a seven-day advanced life-success course with eighty other people from around the country (one of them from Nigeria, seventeen of us from Hawai’i). We went down into a deep dark rabbit hole of emotional clearing, extended periods of silent reflection, and partner/group challenges. We also did some ropes courses to directly feel and examine how we show up in the world; how we show up in our relationships with others and in the relationship we have with ourselves. Through all the crying, laughing, breakthroughs, coaching, dancing, and silence, we developed an incredible bond built on trust, honesty, and courage. What a powerful experience to share such a space of vulnerability and personal growth with people whom I just met. I confidently consider these new friends as family. Beyond grateful to have them in my life.
Along with expanding deeper into my own self-growth, I created this opportunity to share my vision for ALC Oahu. With that, I had some powerful conversations with parents around the major shifts happening in the education system today. It was so exciting for me to learn that some of the parents I spoke with were ready and willing to jump into alternative models for one or more of their kids. YES!
I flew to LA to spend time with Grandma and younger cousins. What a sweet surprise that my mom flew in from Hawai’i and my brother from Washington. My little cousin, Christle, has dramatically improved in her reading since I last saw her over the summer. We took turns reading The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. The last time we tried this, I noticed she was getting impatient with the story and length of the book. This time, we got through the book and picked up another one: Finding Nemo. Then she got tired of it and picked up a different book. We laid next to each other and read in silence; she was reading a book on Benjamin Franklin and I was reading a book called The Law of Divine Compensation.
After a conversation I had with Christle about her fear of needles, I proposed that we sew something by hand with the intention of dissolving this fear. Her first idea was to sew a pillow, then she decided on a teddy bear. We asked Grandma for her sewing supplies and sewing skills/knowledge. We began the project and I quickly realized how much I’d forgotten how to sew. I enjoyed witnessing my Grandma show Christle how to sew and Christle having fun with the whole process. I know it’ll take a bit more convincing to have Grandma trust Christle with her sewing machine. It’ll happen in good time…
I flew back to NYC and immediately reunited with @bear at the airport. He had just flown back from attending a conference in Uganda called Education That Pays For Itself 2014 partnered with Teach a Man to Fish. It was so moving to hear his stories and personal reflections. And to feel his excitement in moving ALC forward through new connections, new friends, new ideas, new partnerships. Inspiring as always.
I spent one day at ALC this week before my body demanded that I slow down and rest. I had been gone for just over a week yet it felt like an eternity! Super stoked that I got a chance to catch up with @tomis, @abbyo, @ryanshollenberger. Also super stoked that I got to have some awesome conversations with @kingthanos and learned that he intends to become an ALF (Agile Learning Facilitator) in the future–at ALC Oahu! And then eventually open up an ALC in California. Right on, Thanos!
Most recently, I’ve grown more aware of an incredibly magical and supportive relationship I have with my dear friend, Devlin, who is launching The Rock and Roll Playhouse in Brooklyn. She’s such an inspirational force and I am thrilled to feel her support around promoting ALC to her vast array of local connections.
Feeling so supported and loved.
Grateful for all of it.
There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.
Super stoked about posting lots of pics and juicy content on my last blog post! Curious as to why some handles show up as links and some don’t. Could use your help @drew.
Nina wrote a new post, Painting, Pasta, Parent Interest Night, and Past = Present, on the site Agile Adventures of Nina Blanco 4 years, 8 months ago
As I slooowly begin to think about attempting to maybe one day utilize my digital Kanban board known as Trello to easily look back on all the wonderful things I get to do every week, here are some juicy reflections over the past few. How in the multiverse could I have forgotten to share these fun-filled, creative-juice-inducing, satiating activities with you? Forgive me.
This piece here was created through a technique called drip painting. Artists: Askani, Taina, Eva, and myself
My friend, Eva, came in a couple of weeks ago and offered to facilitate this activity; it was filled with imaginative role playing, creative collaboration, feminine forces, animal energies, explosions, brains, a cupcake, a blue cat, the last breaths of a grandmother wolf, and an eagle with three eggs. Big thanks to Askani @thewitchqueen908, Taina @pinkpanda, and Eva for gifting me with such a fulfilling experience.
Check out my epic battle scar! Taina @pinkpanda, has been practicing her make-up artist skills. I’ve given her free rein over my face as her blank canvas.
For our Comic Con field trip, she painted a version of Two-Face on me (photo coming soon, if I remember to ask @abbyo for it!). Because of this, Jacob @jacobcb was inspired to create a meme of me. Love it!
Huge thanks to my friend, Marian, who came in to offer her passion for cooking earlier this week. Check out Taina @pinkpanda, Lescot @legolad22, and Thanos @kingthanos–the super team of sous chefs! We made veggie ravioli from scratch… whaaaat?! Amazing.
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns
Chop onion, celery and carrots to a small dice
Heat medium sauce pan with canola oil
Sweat down on slow heat
Add 1 tablespoon tomato paste, caramelize
Deglaze with water or white wine
Add water and aromatics (thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns)
Bring to a boil and down to a simmer for about 45 min
Form volcano with flour
Crack egg inside volcano
Mix and add EVOO and water until sticky (but not wet) consistency
Roll on floured surface
Cut out ravioli shapes
Fill with *ricotta cheese and **egg-wash edges
Fold and seal
Bring whole milk and heavy cream (3:1) to a boil on medium heat
Add lemon juice until it curdles
Season with salt and pepper to taste
Strain through cheese cloth
Mix 1 egg with 2 tablespoons of water
BUON APPETITO !
Our second parent interest night (PIN) happened on Thursday. Listening to the questions of curious parents is something I’m learning so much from in terms of preparing myself for the kinds of questions I’ll need to be ready to answer in establishing an ALC on Oahu. It’s been a significant experience for me to hear the answers of our facilitators as well as parents of our own kids who were present to support in sharing their own testimonies and enthusiasm for the space we provide for young people.
It’s always inspiring to listen to @tomis, @abbyo, and @ryanshollenberger‘s responses to parent questions and concerns. Time and time again, I sense the internal and external challenges of parents/adults with trusting children. As I know very well, as Ryan mentioned at this event, and as quoted by John Holt:
“Trust Children. Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.”
I’m in the mood to travel a bit farther back…
I’ve been journaling since age 9 or 10. It’s something I personally consider immensely therapeutic. In retrospect, I see and know it as a very necessary processing tool for self-reflection toward deeper self-awareness. Over the past year or two, I’ve been journaling less for therapeutic purposes and more for setting intentions, stating desires and noting synchronicity after synchronicity. Here are a few short excerpts from two entries, which I just now realize, sit EXACTLY a year apart from each other. Whoa.
Ohh, the idealism. I wonder what I’ll be writing on March 23rd of 2015. Hopefully that I’ll have received an abundance of financial support, local resources, local interest/support in this vision, and physical space to establish ALC Oahu. Or better.
Beyond thrilled and thankful to be on the path I’ve chosen for myself.
@dthomasson Hi Dan! This is the crystal I was talking about when we were discussing organic forms and the very small percentage of 90 degree angles in nature… bismuth crystal:
Nina commented on the post, Visiting Endor Initiative: Self-Directed Learning for Teens & Budding ALC!, on the site Agile Adventures of Nina Blanco 4 years, 8 months ago
Oh YES–my bad @drew. I knew that. Ya know, just doing what we do best. 😉 Editing now.
Nina commented on the post, Those Kids and Their Darn Gadgets (grumble…grumble), on the site Agile Adventures of Nina Blanco 4 years, 8 months ago
Wohoo!! Ash I can’t wait for our own Geocaching club for ALC Oahu.
Before I write about all the fun I’m having, here is an awesome song that Adin @theskycookie introduced me to. Enjoy…
Last Thursday, I got to attend my very first Comic Convention here in NYC and it was pretty ridiculously fantabulous. I went with @abram, Adin @theskycookie, and Douglas @douglasawesome. What I loved most was the abundance of super cool toys and books as well as how much @theskycookie and @douglasawesome were super stoked about being there. I also felt an overwhelming sense of nostalgia when Douglas and I bumped into the game, Sonic The Hedgehog, one of my all time favorite games growing up.
Agile Learning Facilitator (ALF) Weekend up in beautiful Chatham, NY, was such an amazing experience for me. I got to finally meet some of the other ALC Mosaic crew: Dean @dinospumoni and Dan @dthomasson. And then there’s @drew, who holds it down ever so effortlessly at ALC Everett. Since @nancy did such a beautiful job summing up ALF Weekend in her blog post, check THIS out to delve more into what we accomplished overall.
I came away feeling a deep sense of trust and loving connection in our ALF community. Words simply fail to describe how grateful I am to be playing and working with such inspirational individuals.
To reflect further back… Over a year ago, I found myself cultivating a team of dear friends at home on Oahu for my intention of creating a learning resource center. To me, my effort slowly and sadly fizzled out because I found myself struggling to push a group of people who would be PERFECT as resource people to commit to establishing something that I alone (in this context) had the fiery passion for. After letting go of holding so strongly to a narrow pathway of getting things done (I simply didn’t know what I was doing and now, this is much less so), I have been learning so much along the way. This includes but not at all limited to:
my level of trust in specific individuals
discernment among those who can help in what areas, in which ways, and in which phases of development
getting clear on intentions of every individual who expresses an interest in helping me manifest this vision
so much more about myself
In this journey so far, emphasis on my deep gratitude for having magically united with this freshly blossoming ALF family moves beyond the power of words. I’ve known since the start of my process about two years ago that I needed and desired a team of people aligned with my very personal passion for creating powerful spaces for young people to live, learn and thrive in. And so it is–I am among the badass wolf pack with a collective fire toward intentional co-creating and being the change here and now.
My favorite parts about ALF weekend was getting clear on my own intentions and making it known as well as hearing out the intentions and celebrating the strengths of everyone present. For this, we also got to learn about an awesome tool called Metamaps, to digitally organize ourselves much easier on many levels. Overall, I loved everything that came to the surface and although it was slightly overwhelming for me to take in and feel out new friends as well as situations which are seemingly inevitable within any community of purpose, I am incredibly grateful to have witnessed and played a part in the process of deepening trust, understanding and communication with new friends. My intentions coming into ALF weekend was to feel more connected to our ALC community and to laugh a lot.
ALF Weekend intentions: accomplished.
Up next: I will be working with…
@tomis on more marketing stuff such as setting up a documentary screening of Race to Nowhere
@abbyo, @charlotte, @nancy on implementing practices of safe emotional release exercises with kids (and amongst our ALF community as well). Also on creating some sort of check-in system with the intention of clear communication and support for ALFs around any extra-challenging situations that arise.
@nancy, @bear, @tomis, @charlotte, @drew on creating a roadmap and support system for ALFs like me who desire to establish an ALC
@tomis, @bear, @drew on establishing Hawaii’s first ALC (both off and on location) in good time
And this journey continues…
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