Creating Connection in Conscious Community: Healing Our Cultural Disconnect - Page 3

Author // Lisa Reagan

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Creating Connection in Conscious Community: Healing Our Cultural Disconnect
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An intentional community is a group of people who have chosen to live or work together in pursuit of a common goal or vision.

Ecovillages are sustainable communities and neighborhoods, urban and rural, committed to living in an ecologically, economically, culturally and spiritually sound way. The physical and living arrangements vary widely, from loosely strung networks to much more cooperative or communal agreements.

In a cohousing neighborhood, each family or individual owns their own private home, but some facilities and resources are shared. Shared spaces often include a gathering or dining area, a playground or playroom, daycare, vegetable garden, office equipment, workshop, etc.

Why I facilitate a Pathways Connect Gathering Group By Nicole Schwartz, M.S.W.

I began my journey serving members of the community as a social worker with a specialty in trauma. I worked at the Liberty Center for Survivors of Torture, and was the coordinator for the Pennsylvania Refugee Mental Health Network. I worked with the most resilient people I have ever had the privilege to serve.

Many of the families that I served came from countries where the nearest medical facility was a day’s walk away, and the communities they lived in lacked regular access to nourishing foods. The women birthed with the love, encouragement and support of other women. Aunts, sisters, mothers, friends and neighbors supported a laboring woman through her birth experience and throughout her parenting journey. Most birthed several children vaginally without the technology that we have ready access to in the United States.

After being resettled in the U.S., a sense of safety returned to their lives, and many of these women were blessed by the return of their cycle and fertility. They became pregnant and rejoiced in the chance to birth a baby in the U.S. Many, however, were provided the standard care in a local teaching hospital, and their birth became a point of retraumatization. Without the care and support of providers that viewed the mother in a holistic framework, made up of physical, emotional, social and energetic needs, these mothers were often subjected to intervention that was not appropriate for their level of risk.

With a personal passion for anthroposophic and holistic health, I knew that there had to be a better way. In a country as privileged and developed as the United States, there had to be a better, safer, more nourishing way to birth our future. There had to be a way to match women up with a provider who was expert in serving her based on a level of risk.

As I looked for one, I found the Midwives Model of Care, and my journey took a direction that I hadn’t foreseen. I attended midwifery school and became an expert in serving low-risk women who choose to birth at home. Today, I am a midwife. I still serve women and their families. I still, unfortunately, serve survivors of various types of trauma. But today, I am a sister who supports the women in my community through their childbearing year. I am hosting a Pathways Connect gathering in order to facilitate the organic growth of a support network for the women in my community—a network of women who can love, support and encourage our sisters, and one in which we share information with families on their wellness journeys, on their pathways to health.

The Importance of Pathways Gathering Groups: A Testimonial

Having a turnkey community group is great, because it is inclusive of everyone. Pathways is able to be a broad enough umbrella to take everyone in, instead of being a niche group.

Because of the networking of our local holistic practitioners and the parents working to create a local wellness community, Pathways Connect provided a hub for the energies to organize around. The Southwest Florida group is organizing a Green Expo for April 2013, featuring Ina May Gaskin and her new documentary, Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives. (Details are available at

Pathways Connect helps to give us a platform to talk about the paradigm of vitalism and innate intelligence. I have looked for 15 years for any other publication to help parents understand this concept, which is why Pathways is so valuable.

You have done all the hard work for us. As small business owners, we need this tool to create a turnkey wellness community. It’s really empowering that we have all we need to talk about these issues in groups and don’t need to figure this out for ourselves. We are seeing the conscious change that is happening in our community.

There are articles that we wouldn’t tackle without the Pathways Connect Dialogue and Resource Guide. Once people know about the Resource Guide, they have the confidence to read and to talk about these articles, like the one by Ervin Laszlo, the twice-nominated Nobel Peace Prize scientist. It’s really exciting to see the understanding emerge.

I see the value in this project, which is why I am working so hard to make sure this program has a 50-year future.

The Cultural Creative insights and the Global Shift insights in Pathways highlight exactly what is going on here. A lot of people don’t know that there are so many other people who feel the way they do. We just help them get together, and they instantly connect.

—John Edwards, D.C., Southwest Florida Gathering Group

Pathways Issue 36 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #36.

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