Picture a bubbling stream flowing down a small water fall towards you into a pond edged with moss, rocks, and flowers. Show some Lotus flower growing up into the air from the pond. There is light shining through the trees.

P.Ecos Where the Water Is

According to New Mexico Magazine’s Carmella Padilla’s article, Ode to Pecos, “The name Pecos derives from a Towa Indian word meaning ‘place where there is water‘, a reference to a source in the fertile river valley where Pueblo peoples settled over 700 years ago.

My lifelong learning ecosystem is like a pond fed by public and private influences within both my personal and professional lives.

Aaron Silver encapsulates this experience well.

In his recent post What’s My Why? he writes, “Almost every single day, last month, I interacted with someone who read something that resonated. Almost every interaction included something like, “I thought it was just me.

He is referring to his “why”; the tough stuff.

“The pandemic largely forced the intersectionality of a work-life and a life-life to commingle in ways that are now hard to undo (for me)…Navigating this as responsible adults is “tough stuff.” This is the stuff I intend address for the next bit. I hope that’s going to be useful. What are some examples of the tough stuff — the intersection of different forces — that you’re navigating?”

– Aaron Silvers, 51fifteen

Right now? For the past year? Taking pause for deeper listening and acceptance of my own awkwardness. Take for example:

I met Aaron at DevLearn in 2016 and all I can remember is that he was basically introduced as a bit of a God in terms of Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) within the DoD and that he essentially invented xAPI. We struck up a conversation where I must have tried to relate to him as a techie and talked about teaching an IT course for an Applied Entrepreneurship Cert program. After returning home from the conference, I looked up his LI profile and realized I must have sounded like a kindergarten kid talking to a 21 yr old PhD candidate. I sent him a message saying, “Now I can see why you were cracking up when I told you what I teach at CIBU and the courses we are working on. You were a crack up. Nice to meet you. I’ll be sure to keep stalking you ;-)”. Good thing he possesses a great sense of humor! 🙄

In Treading Water Aaron states, “I’m not stuck in a rut. I’m moving more freely than ever.”. Reading this made me realize, though I thought that I was (am) stuck in a rut, I am not. In fact I have been feeling freer than ever, researching, creating my own course, my own art, and writing with a realness that I have been afraid to before now.

Moving sometimes requires waves upon waves of realization and acceptance that leave you gasping for air until you realize the surface is just a few strokes away and you swim. And often it can just take one interaction to get you there.

A woman in a deadman's float position in a beautiful ocean.

I am the shy type so requesting direct mentorship is hard for me. But following people from afar has still fostered my growth. Writing about them here is partly my way of showing appreciation & gratitude and partly to pay it forward by sharing so someone else might be inspired.

There is a woman with brown hair falling into a rabbit hole. A white rabbit is watching. Illustration.
Or show them yet another rabbit hole to fall in.

I mean this in a good way of course! In this case, Aaron not only hit that personal note but also the more professional researcher/educator note.

Aaron made mention of Mastadon and Fediverse and I was all 👀 👀!

I am pretty fascinated by communities of all types especially decentralize autonomous orgs so…. uh oh! Stay tuned to learn more…

Thank you Aaron for putting yourself out there with next level sharing!

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