While most of us go about our daily lives rarely contemplating what epic era we’re participating in, many of us are noticing the world’s changes imposing on us in ways that are harder and harder to ignore. For adults who decide to bring children into this changing world, the perils and pitfalls of parenthood are so cleverly disguised in sleek marketing campaigns and collectively silenced with cultural taboos, we are shocked to find how lonely and stressful our walk through the timeless rite-of-passage can be (read The Trauma of Parenthood in the New York Times). In our modern, disconnected world, with no village or tribe to welcome and support newly born families, the “condition” of new parenthood is medically considered high risk factor for clinical depression, while our children face increasing levels of chronic illness, learning disabilities and a horrifying epidemic of young children committing suicide.
From an evolutionary perspective, it is not surprising that there is a growing segment of the world’s population questioning and even challenging disempowering, culturally accepted attitudes (read “story lines”) toward children, parents and families. This growing population was identified by social scientists Paul Ray, PhD, and Sherry Anderson, PhD, in the 1980s as Cultural Creatives: people who are committed to conscious, holistic, sustainable living and who, through their personal and daily actions, are changing the world simply by being themselves.
According to the book, Cultural Creatives, the actions of this growing population, at 200 million worldwide, are to bring forward a missing but crucial element in our culture: the ancient insight of phronesis, or practical wisdom. It is Cultural Creatives who are questioning the Old Story’s industrial values of production, competition and disconnection and exploring the possibilities of a New Story. It is these emerging human capacities – mindfulness, compassion, wholeness/wellness – that are facilitating paths to individual healing, community empowerment and a shift in collective consciousness.
It is Cultural Creatives who have actively brought forward and shaped a New Story since the mid 20th century. By championing the rights of women, children, minorities, LBGT and human rights, the consciousness-raising movements inspired by Cultural Creatives show how the transformation and empowerment of an individual and community transforms, and therefore changes, the world.
It is Cultural Creative families that Families for Conscious Living, a 20 year-old American nonprofit, serves with its commitment to Sharing the New Story of Childhood, Parenthood and the Human Family through its alternative media project, Kindred. FCL is the sponsoring nonprofit of the PAHJ virtual retreats.
It is Cultural Creatives who are just now, at this moment in time, bringing forward the holistic awareness that conscious parenting could liberate the next and future generations from the Old Story that no longer serves humanity.
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Where are we to turn for insight into our traditional, historical and even evolutionary need for stories to guide our reality? The Parenting As A Hero’s Journey Virtual Retreats and forthcoming publications utilize the iconic Hero’s Journey monomyth, discovered by scholar Joseph Campbell, to explore and elevate our capacity for becoming the author/authority of our own stories. While the Hero’s Journey reflects millennia of ancient wisdom teachings, as Cultural Creatives in the 21st century, we are the New Story. As parents who wish to pioneer a New Story for our children, we are the heroes following a Call to Adventure, setting out on a quest, transforming our consciousness, discovering the elixir of wisdom, and in the end, returning to our ordinary world with our treasures – real treasures, not the hollowed out images in sleek marketing campaigns. The treasures we carry home from our hero’s journey sustains our souls for our lifetimes, and models for our children the amazing reality of a whole human being.
In Parenting As A Hero’s Journey, we will be unmasking the modern, uber parent mythology that keeps us stuck in the Old Story ideals, internalized through cultural conditioning. If you have felt that there is more to parenthood than what you see around you in your ordinary life, you are hearing the ancient Call to Adventure… Now you just need to step onto your path.
You do not need to go through your adventure alone. All of the Parenting As A Hero’s Journey Guides have heard this call, followed their own path and are now returning to share their treasures of insights and practical wisdom with you.
It is through the creative constructs of story that human beings have made sense of their reality, and passed those interpretations onto generations, since we could draw on cave walls. In the early twentieth century, one scholar, Joseph Campbell, took on the Herculean, academic task of compiling and comparing the stories human beings shared through out millenia and cultures. His comparisons of these stories revealed something fascinating: inside most stories, fables, fairy tales and oral traditions, there slept a “monomyth” or a predictable pattern of events, or stages of growth, that were necessary for the central character to complete in order to transcend their ordinary world.
The monomyth shows that a character, later to become a hero/heroine, first exists in the ordinary world but begins to question and feel alien in it (sound familiar?). A Call to Adventure begins to ring through the din of daily life, which the character usually refuses for fear of being ostracized by his community. The Refusal of the Call can lead to all sorts of neuroses, suffering and complications that eventually aren’t worth the price of not following the call. The character eventually decides to heed the Call to Adventure… and the Hero’s Journey begins.
In the Monomyth of the Hero’s Journey (see our wheel above), there are many versions and interpretations of the stops along the way. One of the most popular and instantly recognizable hero’s journey is the epic sci-fi series Star Wars, which was based on Campbell’s model, according to creator George Lucas. I have written before about my first encounter with Star Wars, being 11 years-old in a dark movie theater, watching Luke Skywalker storm out of his uncle’s desert igloo, kick the sand and stare at the binary sunset while struggling with his impulse to leave… to follow a Call to Adventure to an unknown future.
While Campbell offered the world a needed overview of traditions in storytelling, he did not say or intend for the monomyth to be rigid – but instead, a living, evolving model that has always served the people of the present moment. And in this present moment, there is a need to examine the ancient wisdom teaching model and bring it into the present, where Cultural Creative families are answering the hero’s Call to Adventure by taking up the challenge of embodying a New Story.
With the decision to share a New Story, to embody this New Story in our daily lives, comes a unfolding of human capacities that – to the eyes of an Old Story observer – would certainly appear to be super powers. In the upcoming virtual retreat series, your guides will share with you these New Story super powers, including awareness, self-nurturing, self-regeneration, self-regulation, mindfulness, becoming the author/authority of your own story and taking deep dives into your own realm of the Inner Child (Robin Grille) where you will find tools to encounter, slay and re-envision no longer wanted programming and patterns.
With Robin Grille, you will unmask the mythology of the modern, uber parent on a quest through your own Inner Child’s realm.
With Karen Brody, you will learn to enter into your own unconscious realm through the restorative power of sleep.
With Kelly Wendorf, you will discover ways to distill the ultimate treasure of all heroic journeys: the elixir of wisdom and its practical applications to everyday life.
With Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson, you will find the superpower of mindfulness as a tool for discovering the spiritual essence of attachment in relationship.
With Elly Taylor, you will discover the implications of parenthood as a rite-of-passage and what this individual transformation means for your relationship to yourself and others, especially your partner.
With Teresa Graham Brett, you will discover that you already are the author/authority of your own story, and how to become more conscious of your authorship moving forward.
With Michael Mendizza, you will discover how your hero’s journey can be transformed into a much needed call for mentoring other parents and future generations of parents.
With John Breeding, PhD, you will discover how a break with cultural conformity may appear as a break down, more than a break through, for your or your child, but these openings are how the light gets in!
With Meryn Callader, you will discover that the underbelly of hell, including surviving divorce, abuse or betrayal, can providing the compost for a new, empowering reality to emerge.
On a Mother (of a) Quest for 20 years as an award-winning journalist, activist and nonprofit visionary, Lisa Reagan explores the space between our unsustainable, industrial Old Story and the emerging New Story of what is possible for Cultural Creative families – who are listening to their children, while envisioning and exploring the way forward. Lisa is a co-founder of the nonprofit Kindred World and the executive editor of Kindred. She is currently on a writing sabbatical and will return to Kindred in September 2018.
Kindred World began as a grassroots conscious parenting movement in Virginia in 1996. (See a 2006 newsletter for fun here.) Kindred World's founders and members, including Lisa, were heavily influenced by Virginia resident and human development scholar, Joseph Chilton Pearce, whose seminal works guided the organization in its infancy. Pearce's work helped define the core issue for the Conscious Parenting Movement: the Bio-Cultural Conflict. Pearce demonstrated in his lifetime works that our biological imperatives were at odds with cultural imperatives, placing humanity at risk for maldeveloped brains, culture and an unsustainable future. Read more about Joe's work here.
While earnestly investigating the gauntlet of new motherhood, Lisa shared her personal stories like Soul Nourishing Gifts of an Accidental Tribe, the Darkside of the Natural Parenting Movement, and Spiritual Composting. Her move toward human consciousness research to help her understand the lack of family wellness resources, public policy support and community connection in American culture is represented in her work following the discovery of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, IONS.
In 2011, her exploration of the obstacles to conscious living led her to become a trained facilitator of the Worldview Literacy Project through the Institute of Noetic Sciences, IONS. In 2012, she served as the Writer-in-Residence for the first Residency Project, Omnibus One at the Earthrise Retreat Center, IONS' campus in Petaluma, California. During her retreat, she was interviewed about her Mother (of a) Quest for the documentary film, The Love Bomb.
The Shift Reports published by the Institute of Noetic Sciences, IONS, in 2007, first alerted Lisa to the Old Story and New Story "shifting" taking place in Western culture. It was the discovery of family wellness advocates as Cultural Creatives through sociologists', Paul Ray, PhD, and Sherry Anderson, PhD, book of the same name (also sponsored by IONS) that helped her feel encouraged and excited by the grassroots and growing Conscious Parenting Movement. Cultural Creatives were shifting the culture toward sustainability and wholeness through their value-reflected purchasing power, and they were a growing and powerful group, over a quarter of the population in most developed countries.
In seeking a creative and empowering format to present the Old Story/New Story to parents and practitioners, Lisa turned to Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey for guidance on self-transformation as a path to transforming our unsustainable culture. The Parenting As A Hero's Journey Virtual Retreats encourage parents to "Answer the Hero's Call" that rejects status quo, mainstream society and instead follow their heart wisdom's call to find or create a New Story. This New Story of Childhood, Parenthood and the Human Family, as well as Lisa's Mother (of a) Quest has been presented at conferences, small groups and to professionals and practitioners.
An alternative media and nonprofit initiative, Kindred's mission is to seek out and present the under funded and reported thought leaders of the New Story and Conscious Parenting Movement. You can find her podcasts in Kindred Fireside Chats. These interviews with conscious living leaders continue to explore the New Story of holistic family wellness at a time when the United States ranks last among all developed nations for infant, child and maternal wellness (See the United Nations report). Kindred's New Story video series, produced by Lisa and her husband of 30 years, Keith, are featured on Kindred's Vimeo and You Tube Channels.
In December 2013, Kindred sponsored Australian psychotherapist, Robin Grille, on a Parenting for a Peaceful World USA Tour. Grille's work is a formidable account of the psycho-social-history of parenthood. You can view videos from the tour here and read his work on Kindred here. Watch Lisa and Robin talk about the Conscious Parenting Movement as the flip side of the Children's Liberation Movement in a video from this tour here.
In December 2015, Lisa received an Award of Appreciation from the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, APPPAH, at their 19th International Congress in Berkeley, California. Kindred continues to work with APPPAH as a Pioneering Partner to bring forward the New Story of birth psychology. A new documentary, In Utero, now explores the origins of human consciousness, and study groups can utilize Kindred's In Utero Film and Discussion Guide. Lisa collaborated with Stephen and Kathleen Gyllenhaal, In Utero's filmmakers, to bring Kindred's Film and Discussion Guide to an international audience. See Kindred's birth psychology videos here.
From 2007 to 20013, Lisa's vision of serving Cultural Creative families was carried forward through Kindred's Pioneering Partners Project with the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, ICPA, and over 300 international Pathways Connect Gathering Groups sponsored by the ICPA's Pathways to Family Wellness trade magazine. The Pathways Connect educational program was based on a decade of Lisa's work with FCL community building. (Listen to the FCL story.) Lisa served as Pathways associate editor during this time. Read her stories here, videos here, and interviews here.
In 2013, Pathways magazine received three Hermes awards for the issue featuring Lisa's interview with Jamie Grumet on her experience as TIME magazine's now iconic breastfeeding cover mom. Read the original interview, and download the audio, The Cover Shot Heard 'Round The World: An Interview With Conscious Parenting Revolutionary, Jamie Grumet.
In 2015, Lisa was interviewed about her passion for and long history of advocating for families in the October 2015 issue of The Attached Family.
Lisa is honored to serve on the advisory board for the first-of-its-kind, Museum of Motherhood, MOM, in New York City, where she helped to coordinate the first Mindful Motherhood Conference in November 2011. Watch Robin Grille talk with Martha Joy Rose, MOM curator and founder, about the history of motherhood here.
She serves on the venerable Touch the Future’s board of directors as of 2012, and is very proud of TTF's new adult learning center, The Academy, featuring 30 years of video interviews with thought leaders and research scientists who connect the dots between child development and sustainable living. In 2015, TTF launched the Joseph Chilton Pearce Library.
In her home state, she has served on the board of directors for the Virginia Breastfeeding Task Force since 2012 and represents Attachment Parenting International on the Virginia Breastfeeding Advisory Committee.
Her professional journalism background includes serving as the East Coast Editor-at-Large for the groundbreaking, natural parenting magazine Mothering in the early 2000s. In 2003, she simultaneously became the US Contributing Editor to the first global magazine on sustainable family living, byronchild, originally out of Byron Bay, Australia and founded by Kelly Wendorf. In 2009, byronchild, now named Kindred, moved to the US and became a nonprofit initiative of Families for Conscious Living.
From 2007 to 2013, FCL partnered with the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, ICPA, to produce the award-winning magazine, Pathways to Family Wellness as a nonprofit collaboration with Lisa serving as the publication's associate editor and creator of the community building and parent education program, Pathways Connect.
From 2007 and 2012 - 2018, she served as a judge for the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence college journalism awards. In the very beginning of her career, she worked at the Virginia newspaper, The Daily Press, where she earned two Virginia Press Association awards for Gulf War Special Editions of the paper, Coming Home Proud.
Along the way, in exploring paths to sustainability and wellness, Lisa became a Reiki Master Teacher, then an organic Community Supported Agriculture, CSA, farmer (read about her farming adventures in Beyond Sustainability; The Regenerative Promise of Biodynamics).
She currently lives with her family on their small farm in Toano, Virginia, where she is writing what is now many books about her Mother (of a) Quest in the Conscious Parenting Movement.
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