To promote and expand:
- Awareness of life possibilities
- Resource personal inspiration
- Respond creatively to life situations
- Identify the qualities, principles, choices and commitments involved in living fully
Exploratory Sessions:with Author, MS Survivor, Patch Adams Clown, and Awareness Coach
Today’s parents and teachers, constrained by time and curriculum, find it challenging or impossible to fill the traditional role of models and mentors. Adults, let alone kids, find it hard to adapt to fast-changing values, systems and environments. Big Brother, Big Sister and other mentoring programs, as well as the youth/elder relationships in ethnic or “primitive” societies, demonstrate that young people gain stability, confidence, respect toward self and others, and respond positively as they connect with wise elders.
Many young people today operate in a contracted atmosphere. Although they may privately yearn to live according to high personal aspirations or outside their peers’ dreams, through entertainment, advertising and social mores they are encouraged to the negative and defiant or to predictability, unimaginativeness, and to blend in with the lowest common denominator.
Counterbalancing this with exposure to authentic, skillful elders who are willing to honestly explore issues and share lessons, mistakes, options and approaches from their life experience, can help teens access their feelings, confusions and questions and thus open them to higher awarenesses and broader possibilities about ways to live.
Most of us can think of people who have influenced us. Learning their stories can change our thinking, galvanize our actions, stimulate ideas, expand our sense of possibilities, encourage our perseverance, help us recognize our blessings and inspire our dreams.
"Unquestionably," says Barbara, "many of my life choices and much of my courage derived from exposure to role models I’ve read about or met." When young people interact with authentic adults they are stimulated to open to and ask meaningful questions. When they hear stories of determination, risk-taking, vulnerability and self-awareness, they recognize those qualities in themselves and feel less isolated, weird or fearful. They also recognize those sparks of courage and yearning in themselves, and are inspired to act on them.
Stories: Barbara Brewster's stories illustrate aspects of responding consciously or unconsciously to life opportunities and lessons
Question/Answer – Group sharing/Dialoguing
Games: Circle, group, paired, milling, word, movement, and writing games
Relate game experience to life experience
Note ways we block or promote creative energy and solutions.
Power of YES
Quotes, Reading and Video List
Summary of Results
Participants testify that:
- they really enjoyed and were inspired by the session
- headaches, depression, tiredness, worries, etc dissipate
- they feel connected with others
- they feel freer to be themselves
- they are more committed to following their dreams
Facilitator, Barbara Brewster
"What an amazing life!" is a comment often applied to Barbara Brewster. She brings a wealth of stories from the different stages of her life:
As a young person -- growing up in California; studying gymnastics in a Danish folk high school; majoring in Russian; immigrating, solo, at 22, to Australia; hitchhiking, vagabonding and working in places like Afghanistan.
As an adult in the US -- owning and running a business; growing through relationships, including two marriages; journeying through and transcending major illness; authoring and publishing three books.
As a post 60’s elder -- diving into theatre, musicals, movie extra and commercial work; touring Russia as a clown with Patch Adams; developing and teaching Caring Clowning, Power of Play, and Rambunctious Writing workshops; re-immigrating to Australia; activating social advocacy; working as a volunteer with animals and HIV children in Africa; completing her third book; conducting consciousness classes and coaching people to be more conscious of how they think, speak, act and make choices; teaching English and "Life Awareness" to young peple in Bali; and developing a mentoring program for young people.
How wonderful and generous and so much needed -- this mentoring and guidance of young people. I would be delighted if you would take J under your wing and share with her in this way. As you know she is a very bright and ambitious young girl and would thrive with such inspiration from an achieving and adventurous, courageous woman as you. .... You are a brilliant inspirational speaker -- spellbinding and so genuine and authentic, honest and giving. What a great thing is happening-through your remarkable creativity and desire to share your gifts. Diane Priestly: Author, Counselor, Journalist
You did some great work with [150 of] our year 10 girls during the last term. They enjoyed it, and the staff involved were very positive in their comments about the day. I am now wondering if it would be possible for you to do some work with our teaching staff. Sue Flood, Principal at St Ursula’s College, Toowoomba
You taught me something wonderful today Barbara -- that withholding the truth from someone means I'm not living life fully. Year Ten Student
I hope to stay in contact with you so that we can talk about things. Year Ten Student
i had heaps of fun and i have taken away lots of lessons about how to live life fully.. i'm going to try and be more positive around my sister, even though we have our disagreements i still love her. Year Ten Student
Awesome! Year Ten Student
The most important part was learning that to be happy you must not judge yourself--accept yourself and do not be ashamed of it. Year Ten Student
Great... to voice your opinion without feeling as though you were being "watched." Year Ten Student
Barbara, you are a legend and an inspiration to all of us by the way you have lived and by the way you're living your life today. Congratulations! Year Ten Student