On Boundaries, Travel, and Sharing Facilitation Practice

I figured out who this blog is for! WHAT A TIME!

It’s interesting (and clear to me, reading back through it) how my lack of intention in audience has left my posts feeling disconnected and meandering – some are clearly written for the children I work with, some are appeals to parents, some are unspecified rants, some a messy combination of all of those. In the last edition of this blog, I wondered aloud who this writing is for, and asked the wide, wide internet to tell me. And I heard back! (Truly, I wasn’t expecting it.) Nicole and Grace, from Wildwood ALC in NC, told me that they’re not only reading this blog but that they want to read more!

It’s been nearly a month since that post. It’s been a long month, a strange one; Mercury went into retrograde and I traveled through time and space around the world to meet a wonderful, magical group of strangers who are doing this work in Mullimbimby, Australia (a place that couldn’t be more different than East Harlem, NYC!). We talked about boundaries and how the proper verb for facilitation is practice; I found that I’m much more confident and experienced than I knew and they found (I hope) some measure of stability that comes from talking to other people who do this (unusual) work, who can say “don’t worry, you’ll be talking about cleanup and keeping agreements ad infinitum because that’s what we do in ALC communities!” I felt a deep connection to those facilitators (<3 shoutout to Bex, Tom, Bia, Talia, Christopher, Shell, and Lynn!) and to my own identity as a facilitator. As I was leaving, and we were having the keeping-in-touch-conversation, someone asked if I have a blog. Bing bing bing!

Then, finally, last night, I got on the regularly scheduled Monday night call and chatted with Amber, of Rivers and Roads ALC in OK – it was just the two of us and we talked a bit about what’s present for us in our facilitation, our travels, our history, and it felt so good! We talked more about boundaries – a conversation that’s been echoing around more than just the facilitation parts of my life but that is vital to this practice, this work. Turns out, I love talking about boundaries (yes, I see my Virgo self…)! I want to do it more! And so do other facilitators!

In fact, there are lots of conversations I want to have with other facilitators – on boundary setting, on travel, on our collective experience – and I’m just realizing (slowly, perhaps, but in the right time) that this blog is a place to start them. Language is an imperfect tool. A blog is an imperfect medium. But I am a writer, and I write to manifest, and this is (currently) the only place where I make that process/practice visible to other humans. So if you’re reading (if you’ve been reading this whole time, or if this is the future and I’ve been prolific and you’ve scrolled back far enough to encounter this post) here is my intention: to hold a space to talk about what it feels like to practice facilitation, for other facilitators, from my own words and experience.

<3
Mel

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Mel

Mel Compo is an interdisciplinary artist, playworker, and facilitator at the New York City Agile Learning Center. Their work with children centers play, art-making, city adventuring, and open conversation about language, bodies, gender, networks, emotional intelligence, brain plasticity, and cycles of growth. Mel studied the intersections of SDE, poetry, and the history of American education NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. They live in Brooklyn, New York.

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