Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Life is Good 2011 - In Words

As usual, after a bit of processing, I feel like I am left with so many things that made an impact on me - some are big and some are small, but all are worth mentioning. So here is my list, in no particular order...

The lady who smiled... - There was a mom this year I noticed the first day because she came to the meet n greet for new folks. She looked really unhappy, with kindof a furrowed brow, and I couldn't help but wonder what she thought of all this! I saw her a few more times in the first couple days, and she always had a frown on her face. I also made an effort to chat with her, and saw others talking to her a few times. And then it happened - a few days in, she was smiling, and it totally transformed her face and energy. I don't know what shifted for her, but the image of it has stuck with me.

Fire Alarms - This was the first year we had some fire alarms pulled, and the variety of responses to it was really interesting. I mean, there is no doubt it is annoying, but how do you respond if at all? The hotel was amazing. After it happened twice, they just called the fire department and asked them not to come unless they get an actual phone call. The girl at the front desk was kinda like, bunch of kids, what do you expect? But... the hotel also gets charged alot for false alarms. So what does our community do? They take up a collection to cover the cost. Some people didn't agree with this, but I thought it was touching and a huge message to the kid(s) involved. It reminded me of something I read about certain tribal cultures (wish I could remember which ones) that surround people with love when they have committed some type of wrongdoing. It is like they know there is some unmet need there, and by showing them they are worthy, they will be healed and brought into alignment with the energy of others. So, just, yeah... really moved.

That darn gluten - I feel like food is that one area I am always shifting. Are my kids really drawn to what they are sensitive to, making it impossible for them to listen to their bodies? Are their symptoms bad enough, dangerous enough, etc to warrant me controlling their eating? I am sure there are other questions I could frame around this. I wanted to do the let go and trust thing, but it really just doesn't sit right with me, at least when the kids are this young. What age is the right age to start totally letting go of food restrictions? Ah, another question. But anyway, I had a really interesting talk with a mom who has an older son with gluten issues, and they are pretty bad issues, but still she let's him choose. I had heard these ideas in principle, but somehow having that one on one time and hearing a real life story brought it home much more. In their case, she often found her son hiding in the closet with wheat products, or it would get back to her that he was eating them when out. Now she is a partner with him, so she knows when he chooses gluten, and also knows to expect the symptoms and isn't left wondering what the heck is going on. He usually only chooses it when he is involved in a group situation and that is what everybody else is eating. What it comes down to is that she firmly believes her son will consume less gluten in his lifetime this way than he would if she was *trying* to control it. Will I end up thinking the same thing about my kids when they are older? And at what age? Will they mostly outgrow their symptoms? Is gluten really doing lifelong damage to their insides that I have been reading about lately. Questions, questions, questions, but I am so glad to have this community and their stories to learn from.

There is more than one way to handle a problem - and the best way might not come to you at 2am when you have just found out about it. There is alot more I could say about this, but in the interest of letting sleeping dogs lie, I am going to leave it at that.

Orion expanding - Orion made several leaps this year. In general, he seemed pretty capable of being more on his own, although we still hired helpers to hang with him. There were two really big things that happened though. The first was that he got up on stage for the talent show!!! This is a kid who has never even watched it, let alone performed, but when I mentioned how much he liked showing people his cartwheels, he thought it was a great idea. Whaaaat? Goes to show - keep offering because you never know! His swimming also went off the charts. I really think the couple private lessons he had made a huge difference. is confidence has been much higher in general, but then at LIG, all of sudden he took off into the deepend without even telling me he was going! He swam all the way to the far end and back - pretty much a doggy style, but still - whoa! Even though his skills have looked good to me, he had insisted he can't really SWIM. Guess he changed his mind!

Funky Chicken - Or something like that. What was that secret dance folks agreed on to recognize each other if they came they night before? Well, it wasn't really needed lol! There were so many people already there on Wed, and we pretty much took over the lobby! I was so glad I went early as I got a chance to really connect with a few people. The best part was that I posted in case anybody wanted to share my room since I went with just Akasha, and ended up sharing with a mom and daughter I have met a couple times but not gotten to know as well as I would have liked! It is so nice to feel like I know them well now! I think the daughter is about 12 (I don't have a very good memory for these things, and indeed, they don't seem to matter that much in the unschooling world), and one of my favorite memories of the conference is staying up late with her that first night, whispering across the beds after her mom and Akasha had both gone to sleep. I think we talked until about 4:30am!!! And I have to say, I would rather talk to this "kid" than many adults I know, and I could easily say that about most of the unschooled youth! It is one of the reasons I knew we had found our community years ago!

Connections - again... Well, every year it seems I go in determined to talk more to people I don't know, and then somehow at the end, I feel like I didn't do a "good job" of it. I got off to a good start this time - I went to the Meet and Greet and tried to fix in my head the faces of the new or second year folk, I went to the Family Speed Dating, (and actually did think that was really great and may have set the groundwork for getting to know some folk), and I literally tried to smile at, make eye contact with and say "hi" to EVERY person I passed - and I am not exaggerating. But at the end of several days, I still found myself looking at pictures and names and thinking who IS that person? How can I have never passed them once? Is my memory really that bad lol? And wow, I didn't make that many "real" connections, *again*.

So I spent some time thinking, why do I keep ending up with this feeling year after year? Well, part of it is because I only hire childcare when I am wanting to go to a talk or circle chat. The rest of the time I was pretty much watching my 2yo which means not much eye contact and running off at any minute. But I also realized that, for me, there are two factors that seem to make a difference. The first is having a certain "subject of depth", if you will, that you can connect over. I have a few memories over the year that were as short as an elevator ride, but they stick out because of something significant that was talked about, and again, this year, somebody checked in with me about something they remembered from my past, and it turned out we shared much in common. So, the message is, don't be afraid to ask the big questions! But the other factor is time, just pure time baby. Having a 5 minute conversation in the train room about where do you live and how old are your kids is not going to mean you made a connection. Having several 5 minute conversations, something might start to build up, but it is going to take awhile. So the message still is, ask some big questions, even if you don't know much about the person yet! Will I remember this next year? Maybe I should just try to remember to read THIS next year lol.

But having said all that... I can also say that every year I have made at least one connection that "stuck" and deepened several more, including this year, so maybe that should be "good enough". :) I *am* to hard on myself I know.

Speakers and Chats - lots of great stuff, but I think our favorite would have to be Patty Digh. She had so many heartwarming stories, and her finger thing about perspective is going to stick with us for a long time. I have a feeling Ron and I will be giving each other a certain look and twirling our fingers at each other for years to come. Sorry if you have no idea what I am talking about. It is really hard to explain in words. Check out the audio if you missed her and maybe it will come across. Or have me show you next time I see you in person, whoever you are. Feel free to come visit any time lol!

And my favorite mental image goes to... A certain young boy, whom I think his parents prefer remain nameless, having a blast learning how to open various alcoholic beverages at a room party. I am sure all who saw it agree!

And last but not least - The party/wake in Mary's room the last night. When I heard her mother had died, my heart went out to her, and I thought, what bad timing. (As if death ever has good timing). I didn't know if she would want space or...? Then the word went out. Please come, she wants as many people in her room as possible. So I left the kids with a couple friends and went down for a hug and a few songs - yes, there were people playing live music and singing right there in her room. The whole thing was very touching, and again, what a community! I was left thinking how wrong I was, and what good timing this was, if there can be such a thing, to be surrounded by so many loving friends!

So another year has come and gone. I often write about Ron and what he got out of it as he doesn't usually blog himself. And there was "stuff" for him for sure, but he got stuck working alot, and also had some regrets about things he *didn't* do. So that was interesting.... Maybe I will encourage him to write up his thoughts. But in the meantime, I actually found he wanted to go to Good Vibrations! So that was a great surprise. We are officially a two conferences a year family. Wonder if/when we will step up to 3 or even 4?! Only time will tell. :)


deb ... p.s. bohemian said...

about the gluten - i recently bought Glutenease enzymes - actually bought them for Life is Good as insurance against foods i didn't have direct control over - anyway, the other day i took 2 of them and ate three bites of a danish with cream cheese to test if they actually work.

the verdict?

they sorta work - i didn't have any pain or extreme fatigue at all.

that being said - i still had the itchy skin and perfumes/scents bugged me worse than normal for a few days and i have been struggling with emotional lack of balance for days (though that probably has a lot to do with my husband moving out and trying to find a job and all the mess of that) - but i definitely have felt a loss of emotional balance since the danish - today feels like i'm regaining my footing so i am grateful for that!

here's a link to the Glutenease if ya wanna check it out

and maybe next yr you and i will chat in person at LiG :)

Lisa said...

We do actually use the Houston enzymes! I have noticed they cut down on some of the symptoms, and luckily both my kids tend to have more "build up" symptoms than if they eat something just once, so I feel like I have a little wiggle room. :) And sorry to hear about the other stuff going on. There seems to be alot of that right now all of a sudden with several of my friends. :(