Iyanifa Langlu Falegun Alah-ewe
Find out about Gaia Democratic School at www.GaiaDemocratic.org
Onward Towards Liberation: A New School Year! August 2015
Ever since we founded Gaia, I knew we were on an incredible adventure. Baby Gaia is now transitioning to being a toddler and we are still learning in leaps and bounds. We just finished our first summer camps program and are about to start our 3rd school year. We have faced MANY challenges in growing Gaia, but we are excited for the new year. Right now our garden is bursting with growth and we are enjoying the fruits of harvest. Our worm compost is truly fabulous stuff.
After moving so much in the first 2 years, it's wonderful to not be moving this summer!
I fell in love with the First Unitarian Society building in May 2014, and then became aware that I was no longer "saving SFS" which I had been doing (consciously and not) for so many years. A huge burden was lifted and I felt incredibly inspired by the new mission--"Growing Gaia."
As we continue to settle into our new home and watch the seasonal changes, I look forward to all the lessons the new year will bring us and am so glad to be nurturing the roots we have planted here!
Birthing Gaia- A Reflection on 2013: Jan. 1, 2014
I am convinced I can get “Journal” crossed off my “List of Things to Do over My Winter Break” so here I go after many months of no time to write.
It’s a new year and I’ve been using this Winter Break from school to take some deep breaths and give myself some time to reflect on the whirlwind that was 2013. Birthing Gaia (Democratic School) has been one of the most rewarding, exhilarating, and challenging experiences of my life.
For me, 2013 was like going on an adventure-quest that traveled through a mucky quagmire, a soul-searching crossroads, and many challenging emotional roller coaster rides. Often, it felt like The Multiverse was moving things along and I was (am) just one of the instruments with the will to manifest the intention of our community. I am so grateful for the students, families, alumni and other supporters who stuck with me through it all!
There have been many comparisons to birth, as we literally birthed a brand new school in 2013! Our first big event, Gaia’s Summer Solstice Carnival at Bedlam Studio, was flooded in a massive storm and we had to shut down the event mid-song and dance. Everyone was safe but we were clearly off to a thrilling start. Marvel said, “It was like all births–very wet and a little bit dangerous.”
Really though, the story of Gaia goes further back. We started “The Council” back in Jan. of 2012 and without all that experience we would not have felt as confident as we did. We knew we could run a school, we already were doing it at Second Foundation.
So when it seemed likely that SFS was to be closed down by two of the Board members, I went deep into meditation and the Great Mother Goddess Gaia spoke to me. I totally realize that this sounds ridiculous but it's true. I knew from this primal force that we had to keep the vision of SFS alive but allow it to change form.
I had been asked in the past about starting a school but I never thought it was necessary. Suddenly, it seemed very necessary.
It is difficult to discuss events of 2013 without potentially sounding disrespectful and I want to make it clear that I have deep love and respect for all of my teachers, especially those from SFS. I think there are serious challenges that can come with being in an organization for a very long time that include an inability to change, grow, delegate, and see the big picture in changing times. There can even be the condition known as “Founders Syndrome,” where a founder can’t stand the idea of an organization being successful without their involvement. I may never know exactly why the decision was made to close SFS but I do know that if it had been discussed and voted on in a School Meeting, it would NOT have passed.