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Sunday, July 7, 2013

life rocks, in retrospect

this is the second article i wrote about our life rocks experience, it appears in the Owl Creek Gazette's July Issue 2013.

Life Rocks in Retrospect
Leslie Whitney

There have only been a few times in my life I felt completely comfortable in a situation of a great big group of people, the Life Rocks Conference was one of them. The resort that the conference was held at was gorgeous! The townhouse was well appointed and they even spoiled are dog with treats and a dog relaxation CD. With the indoor water-park and the beautiful surroundings, it would've been a great place to visit on it's own.
            Once we reached to resort we settled into our townhouse , then went to register for the conference. We enter into a large room (which was to be the central open space of the event) and were welcome by Josha Grant and Dayna Martin. After being given our name tags and such our week begin. Much time was spent in the central area, meeting and chatting with many people, people at different points on their journey  to living peacefully and respectfully with their family.
             I have to admit that there were events that happened that caused me to dip deeper and lean into some feelings that were very hard for me. Within the first day my son and another boy were in a physical fight! There was hitting and scratching, I could tell my boy was full of anger at this other boy! I had to pick my son up and walk away with him. Oh my did I have lots of emotion over that. Things like embarrassment and confusion and not know what to do or how to handle the situation. I cried and we ended up back at the townhouse, I was ready to return home. I just knew what the reaction was of the other mom, things like, “she's such a bad mom” or “can you believe what that kid did and what kind of mother is she anyhow?”  the first evening was the get to know you night and I was really hoping to go,  but instead I stayed at the townhouse while my husband, Josh, went. When he returned he said that he had spoken to the other mom about the incident. She, too, was feeling all the same things that I was, that the issues I have with my boys, she had them too. She really wanted to talk to me more and felt bad that I wanted to leave. The next day I saw her, we hugged, we chatted, we empathized with each other, and, best of all, we were there supporting each other for what was a very difficult situation for both of us. And , although we live miles apart, we are still supporting each other just by knowing there is some one else dealing with some of the same things.
            The conference was also jammed packed with speakers and talks. So many that I found myself having to choose between 2 that I really wanted to attend. One of my favorites was the talk that Scott Noelle (http://www.enjoyparenting.com/ ) did on couples/partnerships. I really enjoyed the approach he took  that being a couple means that you are in a partnership and that the happiness of both people benefits the whole partnership. I also learned from him the technique of just acknowledging and listening. Josha Grant (http://www.joshagrant.blogspot.com/)  lead a talk about food freedom that I really enjoyed and Dayna Martin's talk (http://daynamartin.com/ ) included a “sneak peek” of her upcoming wife swap episode. Some of the other events I really enjoyed was the talent show (josh played a song), the bug eating (they didn't taste that bad) and the water park.
            While at the conference I also met some amazing people. I have never wanted so many folks to come home with me!. It was, and became, the community I has always been searching for. The week spent with these folks showed me that I wasn't so 'weird' after all. I have to admit, it has been hard for me sometimes because I haven't been with so many like minded folks in person. It felt like home, like family, like the place where I could be me, with all my eccentricness and uniqueness.
            Once it was time to leave, I found myself not wanting to go. Josh had found his “soul brother” and I had connected with some very awesome women. We had found people who had turned a resort into the community we wished we had at home. This trip also confirmed for us that the path we had chosen was the right one for our family. That, even on our worst day, we know there are folks out there that care for and support us as we do them.

            Since the trip we have stay very much in contact with the wonderful group of people we met at the Life Rocks Radical Unschooling Conference. We even have planned get-togethers and visits amongst the group, we have a friend heading our way as I type this and I cannot wait to see her. We are planning to attend the conference next year with all these wonderful folks! I would recommend the Conference to any one interested in the unschooling life style. It is a wonderful place to connect with,  like minded families.