Saturday, January 12, 2008

Emotional Overflow

I went to an unschooling conference today.

I felt giddy as I drove down the road, a cup of hot, steamy tea by my side, NPR's
Scott Simon on the radio, a whole day of just-me ahead. I absolutely adore workshops, especially on unschooling. I adore the swirl of energy and ideas. I adore the intense sharing. I adore receiving earth-shattering insights, something to dig into, cut my teeth on, dissect and assimilate into my life as it changes at that very moment. I especially adore the people who are part of this revolutionary movement.

I almost didn't go. I can get a little too comfortable sometimes, the old "I've heard it before" stagnant voice of practicality. And I never quite realize how much I need it until I get it. It's a pep talk. But more than that, it speaks to the very core of me. When I leave I feel an overwhelming amount of emotion because I'm just so incredibly smitten with this lifestyle, and so incredibly grateful I discovered it while my kids were still young.

The keynote speaker was
Manish Jain of India. In my tired but inspired delirium, I'm not sure I have the words to explain just how much I received from his wisdom. He sat us in a circle and fostered a lively, moving, meaningful dialogue about unschooling, life, connections, and community. The group dynamic was very powerful, and I was moved to suggest we start a yahoo discussion e-list to continue this intense, much-needed conversation. Many were willing.

I am always so incredibly moved after experiences like this, and as I drove home, I allowed the beauty of it to envelop me. I meditated on how to carry this feeling of deep, inner peace with me as the regular trials of life and my mainstream surroundings pick away at the edges. And I was eager to see my family when I arrived home, as I am so full-up with love and laughter after such events and can't wait to share it with those I love most.

All day, though, I felt a good cry coming on. It's not unusual for me to melt into a puddle over something emotional, but usually it's triggered by negative events. Today, I was feeling peaceful and happy - and yet the tears brimmed. As I listened to
A Prairie Home Companion on my way home tonight, Roy Blount Jr read a few excerpts from his new book, Long Time Leaving: Dispatches from Up South. I daydreamed a bit, but at one point he told a story of an infant in ICU that had a skin disorder that was so severe, his skin would come off as the nurses bathed him.

Well, the nurses said they couldn't stand the babe's crying. They couldn't bear it. And Roy Blount Jr. told them, "We have to. We have to bear it." He held the infant as the nurses bathed him as gently as they could, and all the while the babe screamed. But Roy still held him. He sang to him. Brahms Lullaby. And in time the baby settled down and looked into Roy's eyes and held his gaze. They did this time and again, held him through the screaming and sang Brahms Lullaby, and eventually the medical gurus worked their beautiful magic, and eventually the boy was healed. He grew up with a love for classical music and was happy.

Surrender.... The tears came and this time, I let them fall. They streamed down my face as I processed the incredibly loving spirit of this man toward this incredibly miserable babe.

As we know, when we cry, we cry for many things. I cried for all the times I needed to cry recently but didn't. I cried because of all the pain in the world. I cried because I am so blessedly unaware of all of the pain in the world. I cried because all of the people at the conference I'd just attended are working to make life beautiful for their children. I cried because I needed to cry.

I send my heartfelt thanks to those who made the conference happen, and to the speakers and facilitators for sharing themselves and their gifts with us.

Life is good. The road ahead is full of possibilities.


My name is Stacie. said...

Sounds like a great conference! And what a touching story about the baby.

I think a good cry is very liberating, and often just what I need.

And I agree - life IS good and so full of possibilities!

kelli said...

Beautiful Laura, thank you for sharing it with us.

Lynn said...

We all need reminders sometimes that even through tough times good can come through, I loved the story of the baby and hope I would be able to do the same if god forbid I was ever in that situation.
I often cry at films or books and know it is about more than what I am seeing or reading, it is like an emotional cleanout and I usually feel calmer and content afterwards.Thanks for a lovely post.I love your enthusiasm for the unschooling lifestyle and have got a lot of laughs and good advice from your blog over the months I have been reading. You inspire me to take life a little less seriously and enjoy every moment with my daughter.xx

Silvia said...

What a wonderful conference!

zamozo said...

I wasn't at the conference but I was listening to NPR at the same time and heard the same story... and cried too. I was alone in my car, parked at our community library waiting for it to open so I could go inside and meet with other homeschooling families. Not a conference - I am their supervisor - but still a convening of like mindedness.

denise said...

I had a wonderful time there too, and I didn't even get to stay all day! Nice to meet you live and in person. :)

whimsigal said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time! And, oh snap! Look at that new banner. Gorgeous!

I'm glad you were able to get so much from the conference. Now you know how we feel when read parts 1,2, and 3 of your unschooling journey!

piscesgrrl said...

my name is stacie - I do always feel so much better after a good cry, don't know why I don't do it more often!

kelli - wishing you were there!

lynn - I'm glad you are here!

silvia - Am I going to meet you in a few days? (nudge nudge) No pressure... (nudge nudge)

zamozo - whoa, synchronicity! I love that. Are you blogging anymore? I check your link but haven't seen a new post lately?

denise - so glad to have made your acquaintance. You've been added to my "the wonderful things about Madison" list.

whimsigal - aw gee, you're too nice to me, really. And thanks - that's my summer yard! And I realized later how funny that I included a hayfield in the background rather than a CORNfield - doy. But i love that pic - makes me ooey gooey for summer... *sigh*

K. said...

I'm so glad you went, and SO glad you got your cry. I love that you decided to use that picture for your header, too, it's SO pretty and makes me feel peaceful. If I didn't like you so much I would hate you for that view.

zamozo said...

Okay, I posted (an excuse) on my blog. Thanks for the kick in the butt!

Colleen said...

Now I'm crying too!!! What a lovely post. :)

Zenmomma said...

Beautiful! And you know, if you loved a one day conference, you'll REALLY love a 4 day family experience.

Why not come to the LIFE is Good Unschooling Conference in Vancouver, WA this Memorial Day weekend? We'd love to have you there!