Consent-Based Education Course Sept 2021

Welcome to the September 2021 Consent-Based Education Course! This information is for folk on the waiting list who have been emailed and offered a place. If you would like to be added to the waiting list, please contact me at sophiechristophy@gmail.com

The course will take place via Zoom, time and dates are as follows:

Time:

7-9pm (GMT)

Dates:

Tuesday 7th September

Tuesday 21st September

Tuesday 5th October

Tuesday 19th October

Tuesday 2nd November

Tuesday 16th November

Communication during the course:

Once booked on to the course and before we begin, I will add you to a private Facebook group, which we will use for the duration of the course, to share the resources that lead in to each session, to use as a community space, and to post links for the Zoom calls.

What is the course about?

As parenting evolves beyond the traditional authoritarian model, and families make the choice to live together in more respectful, socially just ways that acknowledge the personhood and agency of children, essential questions arise as to what that means in regards to our relationship with ourselves and others, our outlook and interaction with the world around us.

Consent-Based Education is a response to this tension. What happens when authoritarianism/patriarchy, the basis of all our existing systems, is stripped away, and we become more questioning and individually empowered in our own lives and desire this for the children in our lives too? What does it look like to move beyond patriarchy, to embrace our own personhood, agency and autonomy, and question the education and social norms and values that we’ve experienced until now? What does consent and voice mean to us, and how do these things relate to authenticity and self-actualisation?

This course is designed for parents and people who live/work with children, who want to explore and go deeper into their understanding and practice of Consent-Based Education, for their own personal development and to support life-long learning in a consent-based way.

The course is made up of the following six sessions:

Session 1: What is Patriarchy, its impact and effect?

Session 2: Breaking Cycles – the Process of Change

Session 3: What is Consent-Based Education?

Session 4: Love and Relationships, Boundaries and Freedom

Session 5: Living and Learning, Creativity and Flow

Session 6: The Bigger Picture

Each session will last for two hours, and include the following: Agreement making (how we are going to work and play together), Check-ins, me to riffing on the theme of the session, chance for reflection, questions and deepening the inquiry, exploring putting the theory into practice, check out. As you would expect, the session and way that the course is run is aligned with consent-based education principles, so that it experiential as well as content based.

An important note about the transformtional aspect of the course:

This course has a transformational quality to it. It is designed in reflection of my own experience and journey, which has been profoundly transformative and impactful to every part of my life. Every time I have run this course cycle so far, it has again had a deep impact on my life, and catalystic of change. This has included the ending of important relationships, changes in family relationships, personal growth, experiences of self-actualisation and deep personal alignment. I have witnessed this also happen in the lives of those that have taken part. You will be encouraged to manage your participation in the course in the way that you feel ready for and is right for you (consensual), however it is important that in booking on to the course you do so knowingly of the impact it may have and that change that could be prompted as a result.

To book: If you have been offered a place on this course by me via email, and you would like to confirm that place by booking, please pay the course fee of £288 by Paypal here: http://paypal.me/SophieChristophy

THIS is a consent-based space.

I am sometimes asked how a person can create a consent-based space, within an environment/culture where the dominant culture isn’t consent-based. This is a really good question, seeing as our society is still waking up to the idea and isn’t consent-based by design (yet), so anyone that wants a consent-based life needs to think about this for ourselves in one way or another.

It is totally possible to carve a consent-based space within a dominant culture that isn’t consent-based. Yesterday I had a wonderful experience of that in practice. My daughter had a music lesson – her first one with a music teacher who is a friend that we know well, who’s children attend the Cabin and who did the consent-based education course with me earlier this year. He’s awesome.

Anyway, after the 30 minute lesson, when we were chatting on the way home in the car, she shared that at the start of the class the teacher had said to her: “I don’t know if I told you this already or not, but my class is a consent-based space. If you don’t want to do something please do tell me, and if you want to leave to see your mum or something you can do that anytime.”

Fucking genius. So simple. Takes two seconds at the start of the class, and sets the whole tone of the culture of the space as consensual. It’s like consent-based culture creation magic. In two sentances.

We all have some space that belongs to us. The most immediate is our own body, heart and mind. That is the first place where we can choose to create a consent-based culture. How we move with ourselves, in the world around us and in relation to others creates a micro-culture. We can actively create consent-based culture and dynamic just by our way of being in relationship to oursleves and in our every day life.

The next space is any space that we have authority/decision making power in. In the example above, the teacher has a music room/class, but this could be our bedroom, our home, a part of a workplace, anywhere that we have authority/responsibility/are a practioner or holding space of some kind. It could be the space of a Zoom call we are hosting.

This space is a place within which we have the opportunity and power to intentionally establish consent-based culture. That can then be experienced by ourselves in our own practice there, and by anyone else that enters and spends time there. Do you doubt that this is powerful and transformative? How else do we change the world consensually (we need to utilise the change we want to see as the method for making the change itself) if it isn’t through manifesting this culture in the spaces and places in which we have personal and creative agency, autonomy and authority? If we do our bit in our places to make it happen, that’s real change right now. Don’t wait for someone else to get it started – you’ve already got a space to play with.

Critical self-reflection for deschooling

Photo by Lianhao Qu on Unsplash

In order to deschool, critical self-reflection is really important. By that I mean the interrogation of beliefs and thoughts in order to root out the internalised ideas that limit and undermine our return to ourselves, and our awareness of what it is that is possible for us.

Critical self-reflection looks like pausing in our thoughts, thinking and actions, to ask the question: Is this true? two times. By challenging our assumptions, beliefs and ‘normal’ ways of being in this way, we are called to ask about their origins, intention, truth and validity, and therefore their power and influence in our lives.

When we ask: Is this true? we are creating a space for questioning and criticality. By asking ourselves twice, we are pushing the point: the second time says: how can you be sure, is it really true? Doing this is a loving act, by not letting ourselves get away with a simple or automatic answer, or dismissal of the interrogation.

Where the answer is: I’m not sure, a sliver of light is let in to go futher. If we are not sure if something is true, there is an opporunity for expansion, new ideas, change and new realities. If we can not be sure that it is true, then we have the chance to go deeper to find what is closer to feeling or being true in our hearts and our understanding. If we can not be sure that it is true, we have the opportunity to let it go and engage with an alternative that is it least ‘as true’ if not closer feeling to what could be true, to be more open to other possibilities, and gives us greater opportunity being at least true to ourselves and having more authentic and meaningfully self-directed choices and awareness.

Consent and Consciousness

I’ve been thinking recently about the meaningfulness of consent in regards to living in a conscious way. Consent, as I see it, is an invitation to consciousness. The process of consenting causes us to pause, to engage with ourselves, our internal and external world, to our relating, and to check our orienation and next steps. It is an invitation to check with our inner compass and check alignment. Without a regular practice of consent, it’s easy to slide out of conscious engagement, to slide into other ways of being, to drift from our track and into unconcious patterns and behaviours that can separate and distance us from ourselves.

Engaging with consent is disruptive to sliding out of alignment, it’s a wake up call, an opportunity look inwards and out. Let’s face it – there is plenty out there in life to blow us hither and thither out of our own sense of self and path, whether that’s the messages of the dominant culture, needs of others, low level disorientation that creeps up over time, other people’s/society’s norms, values, expectations etc.

To have that check in/up, to live life awake, aligned and active, think about ways to integrate consent practice into your daily life and relationships – opportunities to ask the questions: is this ok by me or not, do I need to think about it, do I need more information? This can look like checking in with yourself: does this feel good, do I feel on the right track? How aware am I feeling right now of where I am and what I am doing? Do I need to pause for a bit to breathe and tune in to myself again so that I can make sure I’m acting in the right direction? Do I need more, less, or different?

It can look like checking in with others: Is this still ok with you? Are you interested in doing x? How is this feeling to you? Are we still on the right track or do we need to consider something different? Are you still on-board? How are things going so far and what do we need next?

And, it can look like checking in with the bigger picture regulary too: Am I ok with where am I right now? Do I need to make some changes to get things more aligned? Where am I feeling ok and where am I feeling separated or not quite right? How can I move things so that they feel better and more aligned – what next steps do I need take to work towards to heading in the right direction?

Consent is a powerful tool and opportunity that enables us to ask these key questions, to live a conscious, intentional and activated life, aligning us with our greater purpose and (personal) power. Treat consent as a gift, a loving opportunity that cares about and believes in that truth whisper inside of you, and says: here is a chance to check in with your self, to make sure that you have what you want and need, and are in the right place for all that is to come.

Does the river apologise?

 

Does the river apologise,

For how it flows?

Does it hide its strength, or slow itself down,

Just in case?

 

Does the river apologise,

For being deep and wide,

Turbulent and still,

For its shallows, and for how and where it goes?

 

Does the river apologise,

For being a nourisher and sustainer of life?

For being a place where things live and die,

Are eaten, are born and survive?

 

Does the river apologise,

For being wild and free?

For being cold and icy

And warmed by the sun?

 

Does the river apologise,

For what it does or doesn’t know?

For its mystery, its wisdom,

For its ambivalence?

 

Does the river apologise?

Does it try to hide itself, just in case?

In case someone sees its true nature,

In case someone sees it’s free?

 

Sophie Christophy

New Drop-in Sessions: Deschooling the Body

This new, fortnightly drop-in session, is a guided self-healing session led by Sophie Christophy. Deschooling the Body is a sharing of her own deschooling, self-healing practice.

The impact of ‘being schooled’ takes its toll not only on our thoughts and beliefs, but also on our physical, energetic, emotional and spiritual body. In order for our reflex responses and behaviours to become deschooled and more greatly aligned with our core, authentic self, we need not only to change our minds, but work out the limiting blocks in our bodies that the trauma and separation of traditional schooling and growing up in a schooling dominated culture have left.

By doing this, we can better enable our actions and behaviors to reflect our changed minds. As we deschool, and increase our self-trust, self-knowledge self-love, self-connection – and free our bodies accordingly – our integrity and capacity for authentic and consent-based relationships and living also increases.

Structure of the session:

  • Arrive and invitation to check-in/introduce yourself in the chat box
  • Sophie to share the agreements for the session: Sophie is trusted to lead the session, you can leave the session at any time if you want or need to, you manage your own participation in what ever way feels good to you (so long as it doesn’t disrupt the participation of others), you will keep you mic on mute, and camera on or off based on your preference.
  • Sophie to introduce the theme and focus of this week’s session together, drawn from the Cabin’s guiding principles.
  • Session begins: Sophie to guide you through a sequence of affirmative statements relating to the theme, intended to support internalisation and integration of deschooled thoughts and beliefs, as well as to flag sensation in your body that indicates a block. If you notice sensation in your body in response to a statement, you are invited to practice self-healing to that place of sensation, via awareness, self-compassion/forgiveness/love, breathing to it, laying on hands, stretching/movement, as feels right to you.
  • At the end of the session, the group will be invited to get into a relaxed comfortable posture for a short period of rest and relaxation.
  • Invitation to check out in the chat box, session ends.

To be prepared for the session, you might want to have something to hand that is comfortable to sit on in a kneeling or cross-legged posture, and a blanket for comfort, water to drink, and you may wish to be in a quiet and private space. After the session you may find it helpful to practice self-care via journaling, drinking water, connecting with an understanding friend, resting etc.

Who is this session for?

This session is designed for unschooling parents, facilitators and/or leaders in self-directed consent-based education settings, people who want to deschool and become more self-directed and consent-based in their own lives.

IMPORTANT INFO FOR BOOKING:

This session is for guided self-healing practice. In order for the space to work for you, you need to:

  • Be willing to surrender to yourself
  • Be willing and open to your capacity to be self-healing
  • Be open to change and a ‘letting go’ process

These are drop-in sessions taking place from 8-9pm GMT, on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month, starting on Thursday 24th September 2020. The sessions are £15 to attend, please book via Paypal by noon the day before the session, with a note mentioning the date of the session that you are booking on to, in order to receive the Zoom link via email:

Paypal: paypal.me/SophieChristophy

Consent Based Education Course Online: July – August 2020 FULLY BOOKED

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This course will run on 6 consecutive Thursday evenings, from 8-9.30pm, starting on Thursday 2nd July, and finishing on Thursday 6th August. There will be a bonus session for those that want it on Thursday 13th August, payable at the end of the course, on how to hold a consent-based circle/meeting. We will be using Zoom to meet. Once booked on to the course, I will add you to a private Facebook group, which we will use for the duration of the course, to share the resources that lead in to each session, to use as a community space, and to post links for the Zoom calls.

About the course itself:

Consent Based Education Course

(for parents and other people living and working with children)

As parenting evolves beyond the traditional authoritarian model, and families make the choice to live together in more respectful, socially just ways that acknowledge the personhood and agency of children, essential questions arise as to what that means in regards to our relationship with ourselves and others, our outlook and interaction with the world around us.

Consent Based Education is a response to this tension. What happens when authoritarianism/patriarchy, the basis of all our existing systems, is stripped away, and we become more questioning and individually empowered in our own lives and desire this for our children too? What does it look like to move beyond patriarchy to embrace our own personhood, and question the education and social inheritance we’ve received up until now? What does consent and voice mean to us, and how do these things relate to authenticity and self-actualisation?

This course is designed for parents and people who live/work with children, who want to explore and go deeper into their understanding and experience of Consent-Based Education, for their own personal development and to support life long learning in a consent based way.

The course is made up of the following six sessions:

Week 1: What is Patriarchy?
Week 2: Breaking Cycles – the Process of Change
Week 3: What is Consent Based Education?
Week 4: Love and Relationships, Boundaries and Freedom
Week 5: Living and Learning, Creativity and Flow – our own self-directed and consent-based education
Week 6: The Bigger Picture

Please Note: This course, when committed to, has transformational qualities. By participating in it, you may experience realisations that can be challenging, (positively) disruptive, and catalytic of change. We can do the best, deepest and most meaningful work together when we are aware of and open to this. It must, as you can imagine, be on a consensual basis, so please really consider this before committing to take part. You can manage your own participation during the course – as you would expect seeing as it is consent based! – in alignment with your current needs and sense of readiness, where that is necessary. If you have any questions at all regarding this, feel free to get in touch with me to discuss: sophiechristophy@gmail.com

Booking: (Please note: there is a waiting list for this course, so please only book if you have heard from me that you have a space first. If you would like to be added to the waiting list, please drop me an email)

To book a place on the course, please make payment of £90 via Paypal, by Sunday 28th June 2020 here:

paypal.me/SophieChristophy

We can make alternative arrangements if you are in financially precarious circumstances – I get it, so please don’t feel any shame in flagging this up to me, just drop me an email and we will figure out what is best to do. I do not want for anyone to be prevented from participating in this course because of financial circumstances.

As part of the booking process, please also drop me an email to introduce yourself and let me know why you have booked and what you are hoping to get out of the course. I’m really looking forward to meeting you.
With love and solidarity,

Sophie
sophiechristophy@gmail.com

Consent Based Education Course – Online: Thursday Evenings from 7th May 2020 FULLY BOOKED: PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE WAITLISTED FOR THE NEXT ROUND.

 

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Thanks to an unexpected request, the CBE Course is going online. Starting on Thursday 7th May, the course will run over six 1 1/2 hour sessions, on consecutive Thursdays, starting at 8pm GMT. The platform will be Zoom.

In the week before each session, those taking part will receive some resources (articles, videos etc from a range of sources), strewn for you to explore how ever you want. Prep is not required, but will likely enhance and deepen your experience of the session.  The sessions will be a combination of me sharing, questions, and reflective activities and breakout rooms. I would love there to be as much discussion and sharing as possible, this will depend on the group size and what feels in balance in each session – I will be seeking to hold the space as best I can.

Here are the details of the course itself:

Consent Based Education Course (for parents and other people living and working with children):

As parenting evolves beyond the traditional authoritarian model, and families make the choice to live together in more respectful, socially just ways that acknowledge the personhood and agency of children, essential questions arise as to what that means in regards to our relationship with ourselves and others, our outlook and interaction with the world around us.

Consent Based Education is a response to this tension. What happens when authoritarianism/patriarchy, the basis of all our existing systems, is stripped away, and we become more questioning and individually empowered in our own lives and desire this for our children too? What does it look like to move beyond patriarchy to embrace our own personhood, and question the education and social inheritance we’ve received up until now?What does consent and voice mean to us, and how do these things relate to authenticity and self-actualisation?

This course is designed for parents and people who live/work with children, who want to explore and go deeper into their understanding and experience of Consent Based Education, for their own personal development and to support life long learning in a consent based way.

The course is made up of the following six sessions:

  1. The History of Patriarchy and Consent
  2. Breaking Cycles – the Process of Change
  3. What is Consent Based Education?
  4. Love and Relationships, Boundaries and Freedom
  5. Creativity, Flow, and the Potential of own CBE
  6. The Bigger Picture

Please Note: This course, when committed to, has transformational qualities. By participating in it, you may experience realisations that can be very challenging, (positively, imo) disruptive, and catalystic of change. It’s been a few years since I’ve run this course, and in part due to the disruptive effect to in my own personal and professional life that occurred as a result of ‘walking the talk’ of this work, this is the first time that I have felt ready to run it again. We can do the best, deepest and most meaningful work together when we are aware of and open to this, it must, as you can imagine, be on a consensual basis, so please really consider this before committing to take part. You can also manage your own participation during the course, in alignment with your current needs and sense of readiness, where that is necessary. If you have any questions at all regarding this, feel free to get in touch with me to discuss: sophiechristophy@gmail.com

Booking: To book a place on the course, please make payment of £90 via paypal to the bank details below, by Friday 1st May 2020. We can make alternative arrangements if you are financially precarious – I get it, so please don’t feel any shame in flagging this up to me, just drop me an email and we will figure out what is best to do. I do not want for anyone to be prevented from participating in this course because of financial circumstances.

To book: paypal.me/SophieChristophy

As part of the booking process, please also drop me an email to introduce yourself, and let me know why you have booked and what you are hoping to get out of the course. I’m really looking forward to meeting you.

With love and solidarity,

Sophie

sophiechristophy@gmail.com

 

 

Lenses

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From when we are born and as we grow we make sense of ourselves and the world around us through what we observe and what we experience in relationship to it. We build an understanding, a way to make sense of and navigate the world, and we use that understanding to discern and make judgements about what is safe and what is unsafe to do or be, to make judgements about what we see and things that happen around and to us, and to help us make decisions about how to go about living our lives and meeting our needs.

Essentially, as we grow we construct a lens through which we see the world. However, unless disrupted by events, people or experiences that challenge this world view, we experience our outlook not as a particular lens and interpretation, but as the truth: the truth of who and what we are, the truth of what and who other people are, and the truth of what and how the world is. Furthermore, part of our survival needs and instincts (e.g. to feel safe, to feel that we belong, to maintain our own sense of esteem) make us reluctant to be open to or to process challenges to our view, and can prevent us from moving through the change/grief curve to update our perspective to include new or multiple ‘truths’ and complexities, or even reject the ‘truths’ that we originally held in order to make space for new information and understandings.

Growing up in England (and many other places if not the majority of places thanks to colonialism) at this time, and in history up until now, the way that we have been in relationship with, and exposed to the world around us, has resulted in the acceptance, normalisation and internalisation of a patriarchal lens on how to see and be in the world. Even for those who hold beliefs that are in challenge to patriarchal norms and values, it requires conscious intention to address the patriarchal biases we have internalised, which can without us even realising guide our sense of ourselves, others and our reflex behaviour.

We have learnt this lens in the hidden and explicit curriculum of family life, we have learnt it in church, we have learnt it in schools, we have learnt through the relationships we have been in and continue to be in. We have learnt it through stories, and through the normalised actions of others that we go on to imitate.

This lens, left unchecked, is used to solve problems, to make decisions, and to design the world we live in. The patriarchal lens that we have inherited and internalised has consequences for us all, and the ecosystem that we live within, that persist even as we seek to address them. We can be the barrier to solving, and the perpetuator of the problems we care about, when we are not aware of the lens through which we are living and attempting to change things, and are not actively and consciously seeking to switch out our lens and increase our self-awareness.

We can ‘deschool’ ourselves, and we can meet ourselves, each other and our environment on different terms. We can address each bias as we notice it, and do the work to interrogate it and practice a replacement that is more in alignment with our heart-felt beliefs and values and the sustainable and just world that we want to create.

To do that we must accept the discomfort of change. The discomfort of feeling unsafe at times as our foundations shift. We must accept the need to practice relationship with ourselves and others differently. We must be open to the feelings of grief that come with recognising our inherited lens for what it is and facing letting it go, and being open to the unknown as we open welcome new lenses into our lives. We must be rigorous and we must find strength.

Without new lenses, we are destined to continue in the violent, unsustainable, dishonest and oppressive behaviours, interpretations and ways of being that we have been given by history. We need new lenses to solve our problems, mitigate for unintended consequences, and create the designs necessary for human and environmental rights and justice to be realised, and these lenses come from understanding what patriarchy is, how to deconstruct it, and what remedial dynamic needs to come in it’s place.

 

 

 

Children’s rights: hard to hear.

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It’s not often that I talk about my work from a cold start. From that, what I mean, is with someone or in an environment where there is little or no understanding or awareness of the issues.

I made a conscious choice a couple of years ago, for self-care and affective activism, to direct my energy to connecting, building and collaborating with other innovator/early adopter folk, folk who already ‘get it’ and are working on the same problems, with a view to it being the best use of energy to result in actual tangible change. This group still has loads of problems to tackle, overcome, and strength to build, before things can change on a wider scale, and I still ascribe this strategy and encourage other activists in the area of children’s rights in the home and education to do the same.

However, this week I happened in to a cold start conversation, when I was at a soft play with my son and his friend. Someone that works there, a place we’ve visited on and off for about 7 years, asked me “what it is that I do” over a coffee order. And it was a really interesting experience to follow that conversation out.

It is, almost impossible, to broach the subject of children’s rights and schooling/family life, without in someway triggering the person that you are talking with. Some people respond differently depending on their current life circumstances and personal history, and the person I was speaking to this time was a parent to three children, all of whom were either currently in school or at university.

Sharing that I work on the issue of children’s rights in school, prompted the question: “is the idea then that children’s rights aren’t respected in school”. My work is problematic for a person who is sending, or has sent, their child into a school environment every day. Talking about children’s rights in the home, with the same implication that there is a problem there too, isn’t a lens that is comfortable for most parents, or anyone really seeing as we all have our own experience of the parent child relationship. The conversation soon shifts from one that was curious about the ‘work’, to something that is felt on a personal.

While I am very happy to talk about what I do, discuss it conceptually, theoretically and in practice, this becomes almost impossible when the person you are talking to has been triggered, and has hit the start of the grief curve (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance). We went from talking about what it is that I do, to a space of denial, justification of school as ‘surely not that bad’, a need for validation. The shift from curiosity to self-protection was tangible, even though it took me a few moments for me to remember and realise what was happening, and adjust myself to the new nature of the conversation and the needs of the person I was talking to.

The conversation a book, “Why I’m No Longer Talking to While People about Race”, by Reni Eddo-Lodge, which I had heard about but not read yet. I’ve just started listening to it and highly recommend. From the book:

“The journey towards understanding structural racism still requires people of colour to prioritise white feelings. Even if they can hear you, they’re not really listening. It’s like something happens to the words as they leave our mouths and reach their ears. The words hit a barrier of denial and they don’t get any further.”
― Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race

The underlying and constant concern and motivation of my work is addressing the systematic and interpersonal violation and disregard of children’s personhood and rights – a critical element of intersectional feminism, and essential for deconstructing patriarchy and enacting social and environmental change. For many reasons, it isn’t always easy to hear.