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Going to Your Edge: Lessons from Apogaea

I’m Alexis Neely. Here at the festivals, I’m known as Ali Shanti.

Recently, I was at Apogaea, which is a regional Burning Man Festival.

What a great opportunity for our children to really experience something and learn something about “going to your edge” in a completely safe container.

I have both my kids here: my daughter is fourteen and my son is eleven.
My daughter is working. She’s babysitting for a family with four kids here under the age of seven. And my son is just playing.

It’s been a great learning experience for him, because he’s uncomfortable. This is not a hugely comfortable place for him.

It pushes his edges, as I think it does for all of us.

He’s gotten the opportunity to be with that discomfort, communicate it to me, and then, experience me being there with him while he feels it.

As parents (I don’t know if this goes for all parents, but certainly me), I get this feeling inside of me where I don’t want to be with his discomfort. I want to shut it down, and yet I know that the single most important teaching I can give him is how to be with what’s uncomfortable, how to communicate it, make requests, and be okay if things don’t go the way he wants.

Most of us don’t get to learn that through our parents. We learn it, if at all, later in life through fights with friends and partners. And my hope and belief is that bringing my son to situations like this and giving him a healthy outlet for his discomfort and then, letting him be angry at me when I don’t make things exactly the way he wants, and then me being with his anger.

I’m Hoola-Hooping and he’s shooting me with a Nerf Gun.


It’s an extremely healthy way for him to be with his anger, let it move through him, recognize that it’s okay, and me not have to change anything other than just to hear him and let him feel it all the way through.

So, that’s why I love taking my kids to experiences like this.

They’re learning way more than they would in school.

They’re learning how to live and be.

And ultimately, to create a world that works for everyone, these are the skills we have to learn.

This is the evolution, and we’re part of it.

To create a world that works for everyone, these are the skills we have to learn. Tweet it!


Ali Shanti