Totally devasted

(Warning: this post is full of foul language. I´m sorry, but I can´t help it.)

I´m devasted. Furious. Deeply sad. And I feel like a complete failure and an idiot.

All the fears and doubts I´ve ever had about whether or not it is possible (or even desirable) to offer an unschooling project in Mexico seem to have materialized. And I´m not the kind of person who usually wastes a lot of time pondering on what could go wrong. I see what is, I know it´s there and that it has to be dealt with, but I always believe anything is possible and that every single one of us has the capacity to change the world. Today I´m wondering if that´s naive or just plain stupid.

The word is finally spreading, and yesterday six new children came to Explora. It felt incredible! I talked to the parents who were all well educated, interested and curious about the project. As always, I did my best to give them a quick tour in why it´s so important for children to manage their own time freely, to have the opportunity to make decisions, take initiatives and learn how to be responsible for the outcome of those decisions and initiatives.

All their kids go to the “best” private schools here in Puerto Escondido.  “Best” in the sense that parents believe they´re better. Maybe because they have to pay. I honestly have no idea. Every time I visit those schools, I get the creeps and have a hard time to even breathe because of the oppressive atmosphere.

Anyway. So their children came to Explora. And during the time they stayed, my facilitators and I got a real insight in how the traditional school system is fucking children up from the beginning. (Pardon my language, but there´s no other appropriate term, and besides, I´m still furious – with the system, that is.)

These children don´t listen. I believe they don´t know how. Probably because they´ve never been listened to, so they have this urge to be heard.
They didn´t listen to the facilitators, and they didn´t listen to the other children. They called them names. They were using violent language. They were showing very aggressive attitudes. They were even throwing rocks at the Explora kids.

I´m sure these children have never had the opportunity to get their own emotions validated, so they don´t know how or what they feel and they can´t control their own actions. Having empathy and compassion is impossible in that situation. It´s obvious they´ve grown up in a violent and oppressive system that doesn´t listen to them, that shows no respect for them and that´s what they´ve learnt is okay. That is how you live life. So they all have developped a bullying mentality. And they´re only EIGHT!!!

We were in shock yesterday. The collision between systems was awful to watch. The ordinary Explora kids got very upset. They´re used to us all having a wonderful time. And yesterday they were being attacked with rocks, dammit!

And everything got complicated because I had organized a party at the beach with the kindergarten families, so I had to take off. But I know that my facilitators are good, and I knew they were going to be able to substitute for me. And they did a great job. But it wasn´t enough. Those kids just didn´t respond.

They were given freedom, maybe for the first time in their lives, and they had no idea how to use it constructively. So they turned into little monsters.

Let me be clear: none of this comes a surprise to me. I have been concerned about the possibility of this happening. But to see it in real life was horrifying. Because the kids are not to blame. It´s this very violent, aggressive and oppressive society and its stupid educational system that is to blame. And I truly hate the system. I HATE IT so badly. This is what it´s doing to children. It fucks them up.

It makes me want to cry. And the parents have no idea. They keep on thinking it´s all good. That exams are important and grades even more so. They think their children´s behaviour is normal. They´ve never seen anything else.

And here I am wondering what the hell I was thinking when I decided to create Explora. How could I ever imagine it would be a good idea? How could I ever think that I´d be able to change anything from the outside? How could I ever believe we would be able to make a difference?

I know I need to sit down and have a serious conversation with these parents. If they want to keep their children in Explora I can see only one way of doing it: by accepting only one of these children per day and see if maybe, hanging around with kids that do listen and that are respectful might do somehing positive to them. I need to find a way to create a detox strategy.

I´m still devasted, furious and sad. And I still feel like a failure and an idiot. But I´m not giving up. Any ideas on how to proceed are more than welcome.


Flow vs. control

I knew it was going to be intense. Having a high-achieving personality is, per se, hard to handle. Combine that with several severe burn-outs in the past, and you migth understand that one of my main priorities has been finding a way to create my ALC where the flow carries me – instead of me trying to control the flow.

Easier said than done.

In the beginning of October I had my first call with Bear. I told him how I had distributed my time between the kindergarten and the ALC, and that Tuesdays and Thursdays were really rough days. I´d come in at eight and leave twelve hours later. Not good.

He said: “You have to stop doing that immediately.” Which I did, because I needed to free energy in order to focus on what´s really important: pulling in more kids to my project.

But it doesn´t go without conflict. I´m indispensable for basically everything. No one else has the visions. No one else can guide the kids the way I do it (because my intention and focus are crystal clear, because I´m super sensitive to the kids´vibes and needs and because I just have all this experience that no one else has). No one else can train my facilitators. No one can talk about the project the way I can etc. So how can I let the flow carry me through this process?

Before launching Explora I created a business plan and I did a SWOT analysis. The biggest weakness was precisely that: Miss Koritz is indispensable. Everything stands and falls with her.

Since I´m a visionary I always see what it´ll look like in the future. In this case that´s when I can be the holder of the project and ¡basta! The problem is: I´m in the present and not in that envisioned future. So even if my intention never was to be everywhere, I´ve known all the time that initially I will have to be. Me no like.

I can see that Explora is slowly moving forward and even though I´m doing my best not to push, the price I´m paying is still too high. After the call with Bear, it took me three weeks to recover energy enough in order to start making those necessary phone calls and visits. I´m working on so many levels at the same time, and it´s all related to the same thing: branding myself, hence promoting Explora. I´m constantly trying to find balance between what is necessary and and what is enough.  And I´m forcing myself to listen to my body, slow down and rest – if that´s what it needs.

Recharging my batteries helps my mind to think clearer. And the clarity told me to write down a wish list. If I could get all those things that are on it, it´d make a huge difference for me and for my ALC:

  1. I´d like a mastermind group that can help me sort out priorities and find new creative ways of using Eplora.
  2. I´d like a weekly mentoring only for me, where I can vent my insecurities and just be listened to.
  3. I wish I could hire a main facilitator that could be in charge of the activities and of the kids, and that could also help me training the facilitators. I know I´m a good facilitator myself and I do have a lot of fun with the kids, but I have to recognize my energy isn´t there. If I could have it all my way, this person would be an associate – someone with the same visions and understanding as myself, but who could take care of this more practical part of Explora.

Number one is a must, but might take some time to gather agroup like this. I think it should consist of people that live here in Puerto Escondido but that have a business mentality.

Number two might not be that hard. I just need to ask for it.

Number three is what I most crave for, but also the thing I have no idea how to manifest. Trusting I can stimulate more flow, I´ll just put it out there: Hey Universe, can you bring me the perfect person plus the means to pay her/him, thank you very much!