When we hear that someone is “in the zone,” or “on fire,” we know these terms are describing a person who is performing at his or her peak. Whether it’s the basketball player who hits 15 free throws in a row or a jazz drummer improvising complex patterns at breakneck speed, we recognize great skill when we see it.
However, what we might not realize is that the potential to achieve this state of being exists in every one of us. And unlocking this potential is possible given the right circumstances and application of willpower. In fact, by becoming concurrently relaxed, alert, focused and responsive, achieving Flow is a mental and physical condition allowing most of us to operate at the top of our abilities.
Learning how to go with the flow is the topic of just one of Eagle Rock School’s learning options underway this week (Feb. 22-26) both on and off campus. It’s all part of our Explore Week, an opportunity for students to explore a variety of topics that don’t start with the “three R’s” of “reading, writing and ’rithmatic.”
Instead, our student population is participating in a week’s worth of education surrounding music, art, hobbies, sports, outdoor activities and other pursuits intended to expand the mind and body beyond regular classes.
We’re going to begin this list of course titles underway through Friday, including the above-mentioned “Go with the flow,” offering, as well as a short description of the instructors teaching these one-of-a-kind courses:
PlaySkills: Find Your Flow!: This is the course offering described above — it’s intended to activate creativity through a series of brainstorming activities, games, storytelling, and discussion designed to offer greater access to students’ own creative resources. By drawing lines from the activities to the skills they develop, participants learn techniques to enhance awareness, improve focus, exercise imagination, and develop the physical readiness to achieve a state of Flow.
The course is led by Graham Hackett, a veteran stage performer, experiential educator and social justice advocate who after witnessing the Twin Towers fall from his roof in Brooklyn, began using spoken word poetry to inspire audiences to engage and empower their communities. By 2010, Hackett launched the Poetix program serving juvenile inmates with skill-building arts workshops. Graham now tours the U.S. as a professional speaker promoting social justice and creativity as critical resources for cultural development.
Social Entrepreneurship: Using their experiences of personal struggle, Dr. Courthney Russell and David Roman offer their own brand of hope and empowerment by discussing ways of overcoming difficult situations. In addition, these instructors are asking the students enrolled in this course to explore the realities of gang involvement and gun violence; the importance of education; and the idea that, no matter where you come from, you can be great.
While they grew up nearly 900 miles apart, Courthney and David both overcame circumstances and choices to find success. And while they claim their personal stories are not unusual, they discuss them as a way to build up the kinds of communities from which they come.
Eagle Rock Radio: Another group of Eagle Rock students are pioneering a radio project on campus this week, using simple technology and lots of online audio-sharing platforms to record, edit and get their personal stories out onto the airwaves. Taught by Lisa Morehouse, an award-winning public radio and print journalist, the course teaches the basics skills of radio reporting and producing.
Students are learning how to record their own personal story interview others. They are being introduced to audio editing and the use music to enhance storytelling. They’re also looking to the future, planning ways for Eagle Rock students to use audio storytelling throughout the year.
Reiki I: Students signed up for this Reiki course are receiving attunement and certification, and will know the hand positions for self-treatment, and all hand positions for treating others. With instruction and discussions in the morning hours, and hands-on administering a Reiki treatment in the afternoons, students will complete the course on Friday with their own workbook, DVD, a pair of CDs and Reiki cards.
Design Your Own Adventure: New York City educator, facilitator and consultant Jonah Canner is guiding students through a series of adventures and team-building activities that answer the question of whether or not you would make a good spy or detective.
By Friday, students will have taken the knowledge gained in designing their own series of interactive mysteries, murders and adventures — in which fellow Eagle Rock students were active participants.
Jonah has been a classroom teacher, a summer camp director and has written a book on experiential education. He is a recipient of the Ariene de Rothschild Fellowship for Jewish and Muslim Social Entrepreneurs and is on the professional development faculty at the Foundation for Jewish Camp.
Exploring Exercise: This course explores all the avenues that fitness can provide, both personally and professionally. There are exercises to give students an idea of fitness opportunities that can be performed for a lifetime. The class includes three field trips explore different exercise classes, including the Rocky Mountain Health Club (RMHC) where students will participate in classes in Turbo Kick, Spinning and Yoga. Julie Bunton, a certified personal trainer at RMHC and the physical education teacher for the home school community in Estes Park, is leading this course.
Montgomery Pass Backcountry Skiing Yurt Trip: Three Eagle Rock educators — Jesse Beightol, Matt Bynum and Hellen Higgins — are leading this Explore Week adventure, with students venturing into the Colorado backcountry to learn telemark skiing while residing in the Never Summer Nordic Yurts.
Yurts are traditional shelters used by the nomadic people in central Asia, and these structures are comfy, featuring bunk beds, two-burner stoves, and wood-burning stoves for night-time comfort. Students are not only learning how to ski, but are focusing on teamwork and learning the rudiments of winter ecology, snow science, staying comfortable in the winter environment, and having fun in the Colorado winter environment.
Come next week, all of our students who participated in Explore Week will be back on a normal schedule, but they’ll still have the experiences and memories of this five-day period where traditional education takes a back seat to exploration.