Rethinking Everything (And Being On Stage)

The Rethinking Everything Conference was amazing. This was our 3rd “unschooling” conference, but this one was so much more than unschooling. It’s that whole-life unschooling thing we were talking about, applying these principles to every area of your life.

There were workshops, talks and discussions on everything from parenting and education to health, work, sustainable housing, travel, barefooting and more. There were funshops for shaving cream sculptures, taking apart electronics, gaming, wand making, Lego, copeira, fencing, salsa dancing and hooping. We even took part in a documentary!

But the best part of any conference is the community. For five days we took over the conference center; we created our own village in the middle of Fort Worth. And we thrived in the atmosphere of love, acceptance, authenticity and cooperation. It was amazing and difficult to leave.

I can’t even begin to describe to you what we took away from the weekend: so many self-realizations, new friendships and amazing levels of awareness. Our minds and hearts expanded so many times that we were practically vibratingat the end of each day. It’s something you must experience to understand, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Instead I’m going to share just one small moment of the weekend. Three short minutes in which I pushed myself to do something completely outside my comfort zone.

26. Be on stage.

I have a really hard time under a spot light. Whether it’s calling into a radio show or being called on in class, I always feel the same jittering, stomach-flopping, heart-racing nerves threatening to twist me up. And I am ready to get over that.

Yeah, I freaking did it. I hooped on stage. And I learned a few things about myself too.

  1. When I’m nervous I have to pee. Like 17 times. In an hour.
  2. I take things way too seriously.
  3. I’m incredibly hard on myself.

I worked myself up until I was positively jittering. Which of course means I dropped my hoop twice (one of them hitting my own child in the head). And then I forgot at least half of what I wanted to actually do. And then I proceeded to tear myself down afterward.

But if you’re going to push yourself to do something new and challenging that scares the piss out of you, there is no better crowd than that loving, accepting one I mentioned above. While I was busy watching my taped performance, criticizing myself and feeling like crap, no less than 5 people walked up to tell me how amazing it was. And over the next two days I heard the same from a dozen more. I had somehow amazed and inspired them, adults and kids. It didn’t mattered that I had dropped the hoop or forgotten my moves or shook from nerves. I had still had fun and inspired others to do the same.

Okay, so are you ready to see it? Promise not to laugh? Alright, here goes….5 months of hooping and a really fun song (I Don’t Mind by Imagine Dragons) and this is what you get:

First Hooping “Performance” from Tara Wagner on Vimeo.

No, I’m not satisfied. And I won’t be until I can get up there and not feel nervous. I’m going to keep doing this; pushing myself. Because even when it doesn’t, it still feels so amazing. I may not hoop next time, but you will see me up there again.