We like to feature stories from recipients of The Circle Way New Initiative Grants, both to show the breadth of possibility using The Circle Way in our world, and to demonstrate to our donors the results of their generous support. This month, Paige Nelson, Creative Director of Creative Expression for Children, LLC (USA) describes her intention for designing a circle-based education and support program for parents to combat the rise in teen suicide in her community.
Cultivating Conscious Parents
The Need and Mission – My Heart Wish
Throughout the work I do with Children Expression for Children, LLC I am constantly being asked by the parents about resources and groups where parents can explore right brain learning or self-growth. I have discovered that many parents do not have a social group that comes together for the expressed and sacred purpose of helping them grow into the kind of parents they wish for their children. This was my “heart wish.”
Exploring further with parents, we saw the need to build a new model with parents actively coming together to learn, by honoring and reflecting a deeper purpose for each other and by collaborating on movements to combat the rise in teen suicides. Our mission was simple: Together we would build a world our children would love to be alive in.
Given that we would use The Circle Way as our structure for meeting and conversation, I would apply for a start up grant.
The program is designed to bring parents together to deepen our own self awareness and provide a safe space for courageous and vulnerable conversations. As our purpose is to collaborate to encourage and support the growth of a world that inspires our children to live original creative lives, we feel responsible to do all we can to make this happen. We each want to feel proud of our abilities to raise our children in such a world.
Sensing into this deep need to come together, we began in our first circle with six parents with a design frame of Connect, Learn, Share and Grow. First, we connect as a group reaffirming our purpose and checking in with each other. Then we learn as we watch a thought-provoking and pertinent documentary. We share using components of The Circle Way, inviting impressions, insights, intentions and active problem-solving ideas that purposely align with and contribute to our mission. Through this time together, initially once or twice a month, we grow ourselves, each other, our mission.
Checking out, it became apparent even after our first meeting that we each wondered, “Where has this type of coming together been all my life?”
While meeting in a living room works well for a small group to create the informal and intimate space for connection, as the group grows, we will secure a space that is both intimate and allows for us to grow, and where we can meet more frequently as momentum gathers. We want people to feel they can relax their “outside” personas, and talk in a meaningful and if need be, vulnerable way.
Hosting this group well means providing nuture and sustenance by way of healthy refreshments.
To deepen our awareness and open perceptions with self study, inspiration, and creativity, we rent thoughtful video documentaries which ignite and contribute to conversations relating to our own growth and the growth of our children in positive ways. Examples include, “Innsaei-The Power of Intuition” by Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir and Kristin Olasfsdottir and “Creating Freedom-The Lottery of Birth.”
Print materials supplement our circle conversation and a large white dry-erase board and markers support note-taking during the experience.
The start up grant from The Circle Way enabled many parents who had never been part of such a learning community the opportunity to be together with intention, have deep conversation and practice inner listening. We are all so grateful for your support. I invited several to share their experiences:
"I was recently introduced to the Circle Way, but I sure am glad I was! I was encouraged to join a group of people breaking barriers and stereotypes, meeting, discussing, and simply sharing an experience. We gather because we desire more from the mundane work/school/kid’s activity relationships we have all been so accustomed. We want love, positivity, encouragement in this world for our children as their years so quickly pass. We want respect from other adults and know we work together for that in practice. We hope to grow our happiness and hearts to capacity. We want to make an impression that with the uncertainty of the culture around us, we are grounded together as individual leaders. Thank you"— Doty (mother of 4)
"I love being a part of the Conscious Parents Circle community in my neighborhood! This newly founded group has been such a treasure to me. It has opened my eyes to a new way of thinking, sitting, and awareness to how I am communicating with others in my world. I look forward to our monthly documentary screenings and circle way discussions. Afterwards I look forward to following up those insights with my family and friends sharing and implementing new thoughts and ideas. I know some of the discussions have forced me to step out of my comfort zone and really follow my heart and be true to myself. I am hopeful that my children will learn from this and truly know that being true to yourself is the way to find happiness and fulfillment in life. Every month the documentary is different but our circle and the discussion keeps us all connected in a way and makes me leave feeling inspired!"— Rhonda (mother of 2)
“I am the only male, for now, but look forward to having other fathers come to this circle as I think it is really valuable for men to see their role in intentional discussions- especially if we want to wake up to male toxicity and contribute to growing more care on this planet. The conscious parent group has been a way to begin these important discussions and normalize this way of caring for each other. The circle keeps us all together and I can see each of us getting more and more brave with each discussion. For many, this is a really new experience but it’s handled in a really gentle way that makes everyone feel welcome.”- Steve (father of 3)
Paige Nelson, director of right brain expansion at Creative Expression for Children, LLC, is grateful to be learning, connecting, and growing with others. With graduate studies from the School of Humanity and Awareness (SoHA) in Atlanta, GA, and a BFA in theatre from Syracuse University, she is committed to cultivating a world where all beings know their value and come together in the freedom of creative expression. She is a mother of 3 brilliant creative children and makes home with them and her partner and best friend Steve in Kansas City, MO. There, they are renovating a new studio space intended to serve children looking to walk a creative path. www.creativeexpressionforchildren.com