St Mary's Abbotsford Convent 1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford Victoria | +61 3 9419 9229

Parents’ College – Week 15

Thursday 3rd September

Facilitator: Jennifer West

‘To live with love for our own actions and to live with understanding for the will of others this is the essential tenet of the free human being’ 

‘Listening well is like holding open a door, welcoming a friend into a new space, a space for insight; renewing enthusiasm strengthening will.’
Signe Schaeff

Meditation and imagination

We listened to a white crystal quartz-singing bowl


How do we hold the ‘chalice’, the meeting space of the group?
What makes the circle different from an ordinary group conversation?
What is it we build each week? What is its magic? What resonates in the discus-sion group? Can we try to build a picture of what this chalice might be?

  • This space is a safe and respectful place
  • A ritual space is created
  • Agreements are needed to build circle of trust
  • Trust takes time
  • Listening develops this.
  • The chalice is not visible. What is it? Everybody had a different perspective.

We discussed the importance of confidentiality and different perspectives about this.

  • Only through vulnerability do we connect
  • The group needs to be permeable yet honouring peoples privacy.
  • Do we share stories as long a s they are not personally identifying?
  • Perhaps we should begin the discussion circle with this idea.

We discussed the overall structure of each session.
The closing is important.
The chalice is composed of content – balanced with agreements about how the group functions.

1) introducing ourselves and where we are placed in the school
2) centering meditation/ reflection
3) listening . Listening is also being aware of our thoughts and emotions.
one of the key things which make this circle different is listening rather than persuading and talking which helps people feel they can put something into the circle
4) Different people are encouraged and supported in hosting and leading the group . There is a sense of ownership .
5) A flexible but supportive holding structure.
6) Closing the circle is important.
7) The intention, care and thought that goes into the preparation holds the group.

The chalice is created through visible and invisible practices .
Thoughts and emotions are real. This group or ‘chalice’ is different from other groups such as a soccer club or a book club yet these ‘chalices’ can be intercon-necting. These different chalices have different qualities. The Sophia Mundi one is about the collective, the connective, the whole. We are not separate from it.The fact we come to this school allows it. Thank goodness some people took the responsibility to do it!

Emrys spoke of freedom at a whole school meeting. Education through the arts, the way artists think is with lots of freedom. The freedom to feel free and safe to share comes with this idea of freedom. That is what this education is about. Freedom to think without the fear of failing and not having to get it right. The peripheral object evokes what this is, this grail. We are all artists in this sense. We can’t be creative when we are afraid of making mistakes.

We need a process of getting things clearer and allow others to contribute each week. We need to keep the discussion open and ask what are the logistics? Check with others who are not present before we ratify anything

Theme for next week: housekeeping.
bring food to share and morning tea

Suggestion for future meeting – conflict resolution; what happens in the school
Restorative circle practices
Geraldine is happy to come and work with the group.

Closing: ‘ The biggest gift you can give is to be absolutely present’

Notes by Fiona Couttie