Kathleen is an exceptional teacher and life-guide. She brings biography, social art and parenting workshops to diverse groups in a deeply meaningful way – providing invaluable tools both for inner growth and forming community. Learning to listen, sharing life experiences, exploring Leif motifs…and much more – – she brings us important and life- giving ways of connecting.
This is both soul work – inner and in service to others – and true community building. D.U.
The underlying respect for our individual growth was part of the feeling of safety, for me, that Kathleen established. There were not critiques or analyses of our input and output. I believe I grew a great deal from the biography group experience.
The use of art and nonverbal methods was at the heart of the work for me. Some of the images we found or created float through my mind on occasion, weeks later. E.A.
The workshops of Kathleen Bowen gave me permission to go deep and discover what is intrinsic to and non-negotiable in my life, like clarifying how important it is for me to make art—the only way I spoke as a child. As we did exercises one-on-one, I let myself be seen more and more, and I honed further my skills of compassion and deep listening, allowing me to risk more intimacy. I came to realize how deeply I care about others and how this must inform all the work that I do. R.B.
Work with faculty:
Imagine a group of teachers coming together, some for the very first time. They are filled with excitement, enthusiasm and apprehension as they step toward a new school year with colleagues and students. Perseverance, curiosity, delight, purposeful enthusiasm, warmth, lighthearted determination, adventure, exuberance, humor and non-judgmental listening are some of the qualities they articulated bringing to the school year. These words were gathered and shared in a circle as teachers came together the week before school opened for the purpose of meeting and connecting with each other.
People experienced laughter and heartfelt thinking as each one showed up and shared their stories in freedom to each other. Noticing the difference it makes to have another be the listener for our story. Through the space another holds, insights opened up. People experienced how important it is to take a moment and really listen to each other, how they are not alone in this work; their stories overlap. They noticed a thread running through their lives that brought them together as teachers at this school. During the break the question of “who named you and where does your name come from?” opened more conversation. An invitation to listen by holding the words of the speaker with reverence was asked of everyone. Just holding without commenting or asking questions. This experience left the participants feeling nourished. Through exercises they met each other in an authentic way. The comments of “being surprised at how little we know of each other even though we have worked together for years” and “ it is actually easy to be interested in each other” were repeated often at the end.It makes a difference to enter into a working community when one feels connected. Space opens up for colleagues after hearing their dreams and struggles. Authentic meeting makes a difference. We are all humans becoming and doing the best we can. J.G.
The biography work with Kathleen Bowen was my favorite experience during faculty week for many reasons. Kathleen gently, artfully and gracefully brought us to the essential storylines in our lives. It was a gift to be guided to authentically listen and be listened to while sharing our stories. I felt deeply nourished by the work she brought to us and moved to experience the literal and metaphorical poetry of human becoming.
I highly recommend this work for anyone wishing to journey through the transformative landscape of story and human biography. I think that this work is meaningful, inspirational, moving, cathartic and surprising. One discovers not only ‘other’ but pieces of self that one might not have seen or integrated as fully previously. It can be a launching pad for deeper journey work into one’s own story archeology.
For faculty members in a Waldorf school, this work is a must! The poet/author Muriel Rukeyser said, ‘The world is made up of Stories, not Atoms’. It is a delight to witness the stories that make up one’s faculty. Whether you have known one another for 30 years or 3 months, you will uncover and discover gems and hidden treasures that you never ever knew about one another and tap into our collective humanity and human condition in an unassuming, creative and powerful way. S.G.