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personal growth

Pilgrim’s Purpose: Finding Strength and Trust on the Camino Finisterra

“…even before you sat down with them, broke bread and drank wine, wiped the wind-tears from your eyes: pilgrim they called you again. Pilgrim.” —David Whyte, from Camino [1] I was drawn to pilgrimages partly out of a deep desire to slow down and partly for a reason I could barely understand or articulate. More  Continue Reading »

Safe Space in the Australian Bush

I’m 16 again and I’m sitting on the floor cramped along with 25 other kids in a dusty hot room, the smell of teenage body odour, and the excitement of just having completed the challenge of camping out all night in the bush with just a few pieces of survival equipment. I love this part  Continue Reading »

Aerated and enriched soil for my leadership

I still feel both buoyant and buoyed by the time I shared with a group of about 30 “young leaders and activists” at a unique Courage to Lead® retreat with Parker Palmer and Marcy Jackson. It was an amazing group of people who I felt so lucky to share a couple days with, reflecting, sitting  Continue Reading »

Inspiring Students to Discover Their Gifts

I never realized I could be good in science,” said one teenager, who had just learned a new way of appreciating his natural talents. That insight arose because a teacher learned to engage her students in a new way thanks to some insightful coaching. Kelly Camak had been teaching for four years serving at-risk youth  Continue Reading »

From Good to Great in the Classroom

“I was a good teacher. Why were my students so disinterested?” Amy Swenson asked herself. Her teacher evaluations confirmed she was good at what she did. “Mrs. Swenson has high expectations, excellent knowledge of content, good classroom management.” Still she suspected something was missing. Amy decided to attend a Courage to Teach retreat led by  Continue Reading »

Times of Transition and Letting Go

I am a high school Biology teacher at Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa, and I have completed three full Courage to Teach series, which have been invaluable to me personally and professionally. When I first started this adventure, I was teaching part-time. My son was in elementary school. I was running marathons, and  Continue Reading »

Building Trust in Congregations

After attending several Courage to Lead weekend retreats, I wanted to introduce circles of trust in my congregation. I hoped my congregation would experience the gift of being deeply heard and trusting their inner teacher, but I was afraid that if I tried creating something on my own, I wouldn’t maintain the integrity of the  Continue Reading »

The Courage to Teach Deserves Appreciation

The question we most commonly ask is the “what” question–what subjects shall we teach? When the conversation goes a bit deeper, we ask the “how” question-what methods and techniques are required to teach well? Occasionally, when it goes deeper still, we ask the “why” question–for what purpose and to what ends do we teach? But  Continue Reading »

Enter the Arts

“The arts are necessary in our schools and in our lives not as mere entertainment or afterthought but as essential means to give tangible form to our experience, visible demonstration to the felt quality of life. They deserve center stage.” “Enter the arts center stage,” says the narrator at the opening of the video. It  Continue Reading »

A True Test for the Inner Life

A retreat participant shares how practices from a recent Courage & Renewal retreat soon informed her approach to life. My aunt called from Buenos Aires to tell me that my mother’s health was deteriorating rapidly. “This is the end,” she announced. It’s been quite a rollercoaster since then. My mother is now in hospital and,  Continue Reading »