The Validity of our Knowing

It's Karine, and I have a question for you:

How do you know that you know something? What in your body tells you?  

We spend a lot of time embracing the idea that we “don’t know” when it comes to so many areas of our human lives, but other times we might have the experience that we do know something, in our bones. But, if you’re like me, you often question the validity of that knowing.  

What happens in such moments of knowing that is worth paying closer attention to?  And can you recall a time from childhood when you knew something, but you were told you were wrong?  

This past June in Rooted, our virtual global village and un/learning gathering space, we had the beautiful duo of Akilah (mama) & Marley (daughter) Richards with us to explore the theme of unschooling/deschooling, and it sparked a flame of curiosity that traveled with us throughout the last several months in different ways, in different spaces.  Click here to view a clip from that workshop.

Did I mention how much I love these two?!  My 7-year-old emerges whenever I'm in Akilah's presence and celebrates in a way she never could.

During the workshop, we explored what emerged for us when we reflected on concepts like “schoolisheness”.  

Schoolishness refers to those internalized messages like, “I won’t be good at that”, “I’m too old”, and “I need an expert to teach me.”  

Are any of these familiar to you? 

Are there other messages you find yourself repeating often while doing something new?

And how are those messages separating you from a sense of innate knowing? 

Audre Lorde, in her book, The Erotics of Power, talks about striving toward excellence and an innate sense of knowing we get from something she terms, the ‘‘erotic’ within. 

This internal requirement toward excellence which we learn from the erotic must not be misconstrued as demanding the impossible from ourselves nor from others. Such a demand incapacitates everyone in the process. For the erotic is not a question only of what we do; it is a question of how acutely and fully we can feel in the doing. Once we know the extent to which we are capable of feeling that sense of satisfaction and completion, we can then observe which of our various life endeavors bring us closest to that fullness.

Audre Lorde, The Erotics of Power

While you ponder that…. 

Afro-Brazilian collage artist, Emily, created a piece of art inspired by our May workshop on Unschooling: 

About the creation of this piece - from the artist: 

"It was the most fluid collage ever. I simply let myself be carried away by the idea of knowledge as an opportunity to transform reality into a bridge which takes us to a fairer world. The image characterizes the limiting beliefs that were built by colonialism. 

The real tool for this proposal is to offer universal education. I think that learning and teaching are great practices to make a fertile soil, whose seeds trace what we want for the future."

"I felt so stupid at school for not being able to fit into the institutional teaching method.

So, after I grew up, I realized that my intelligence was creative and emotional sensitivity. Today, I realize that assessing children's competence through absolutely restricted and limited tests is inhumane. We are ever-expanding universes, not robots."

Emily Amaral is a digital collagist from Brasília/Brazil. She started her creations during the pandemic as therapy, but started to see and feel the art of collage as a tool for social, cultural and political expression. Her work brings a decolonial and intersectional look at world history, making protagonists all of those who have been erased and silenced.

To learn more about Emily and her Art Practice - click here


A Prompt to explore "innate knowing" (the erotic within) in the laboratory of your own life: 

Reflect on a time you experienced something and/or met someone who reconnected you with your own innate knowing (what Audre Lorde calls the erotic within you). 

What have been the “legitimate” places of knowledge creation for you? 
What might it mean to consider ourselves as knowledge creators outside the academic/formal educational setting?

How do/would you co-construct knowledge with others in your life? Around the dinner table? Over email? With friends on the phone? 


We’re excited to begin a new chapter that will involve sharing some of the gems that come from our experience inside the Rooted Global Village, as well as stories and perspectives from people around the globe, here on the website.

We see Rooted as an unschooling bridge.  It’s an un/learning and experimental space, interested in tending to the seeds of relationship and community building. We also see that this kind of tending  can feel inaccessible to some — I know this from personal experience, as my partner often looks perplexed when I use some of the language we use in Rooted, or when I try to talk about the themes we’re exploring out of context with our daily experience together. 

He inspires me to think about how we can communicate this better and make it more accessible to people who are curious and concerned about their experience, their relationships and the world they live in - the question is: how do these themes relate to our lived realities? 

In this Blog, we will aim to publish voices (both our own and others) whose stories open you up to pockets of the human experience that our larger world tucks away. To highlight unknown roads being walked, and how they may inspire our own.

That’s all for now, dear one. 


Interested in what we're up to? Click here to join the waitlist for the Rooted Global Village (we're opening our doors next in January 2022).

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Planting the Seed

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About the author(s):

Karine Bell

Karine Bell makes her home with her two kids, her partner and a dog.

She’s a somatics teacher and abolitionist, dedicated to embodied trauma

alchemy. A bi-cultural black woman, she’s also a culturally reflexive anthropologist exploring the intersection of where our bodies/psyches/experiences meet our collective histories.

She believes in the healing made possible at the personal and collective level by the work we do through transforming experience in our bodies today. She combines continued study in somatics with studies in depth psychology with a focus on community, liberation, indigenous and eco-psychologies at Pacifica.