F.I.N.D. your P.A.T.H.

Looking for new ways incorporate Pathways to Family Wellness into your community group gatherings?  We have developed 8 Paths that will allow you to plan your gatherings around Pathways articles, discuss specific ideas or broad themes of health and family wellness, or build connections in the surrounding communities.  For each meeting, you could choose the applicable Paths as a template, or you can use these Paths to create your own distinctive approach.  Our goal here is to offer you some helpful tools to create your own unique community.  As you consider the articles and topics in each Pathways magazine, you will see clear ways to apply one or more Paths in your group gatherings. Each issue will have new examples

Focus - this connection is for the articles on which your group wants to focus their attention for an extended and in-depth discussion. 

Example - In Pathways 39, Kamrath challenges us not to mistake fear for intuition. How can we tell the difference between intuition and fear?  If intuition is “innate,” can we learn it?  How much of it is actually knowledge and practice?  Can we create intuition in areas where we don’t already have knowledge?  

- this is probably for the most “in-depth” discussion, for those groups that want to discuss the overlapping broader themes among articles in each issue. 

Example - In issue #39, Bruce Lipton, Will Gethin, Rupert Sheldrake, and Peter Gray all discuss challenges to dominant (or dominating) perspectives within the realm of science, health or education.  An underlying theme here might be to discuss the ways we can, as adults, practice critical thinking – even of the seemingly accepted ideas in our society and our lives.  How can we practice “unschooling” ourselves?  

 - this connection is meant to link the timely articles in Pathways with what is going on in current events or popular culture.  The connection title refers to an opportunity to use an article, or an entire issue, as a “springboard” for a discussion of the issue in popular culture.   Click here from some examples. 

Example - Parenting advice is EVERYWHERE in our world today.  Your group could bring in images or advertising that offer parenting advice and discuss the ways these images “teach” us to be parents (positively or negatively).  What messages do we bring from our own upbringing or what do we incorporate from popular culture?  OR - How do we conceptualize “health” in popular culture?  What does it mean to be “healthy” rather than “not sick?”  Is a concept of health cultural?  Bring in examples of cultural difference (not necessarily national or ethnic, although they can coincide) addressing the idea of what is “healthy.”  Do we have various, even conflicting, ideas of “health” in our own lives? 

Discussion/Story Share 
- this connection can be applied to most articles.  Utilizing this connection allows members of the group to share their personal experience on a topic, whether it is their birth story, their experience balancing work and family, or an opportunity to share their particular expertise. 

Play or Role Play
 - this connection offers an opportunity to do some community-building exercises through play.  As parents, we are often facilitating play with our children, but don’t get much time to play as adults.  Each resource guide will offer a few ideas to incorporate play into your meetings.  Click here for some examples. 

Example - Consider the ways you define community.  This may be a great time to create a word cloud.  Take a large piece of paper (or tape a 4-6 sheets of computer paper together to make a large sheet).  In the center, write the word “community.”  Bring pens/makers/crayons and ask meeting members to write or draw their idea of community. 

Has your idea of community changed since you became a parent?  An alternative idea might be to paste that text into the text box at http://www.wordle.net/.  Click “Randomize” to see variations in color and font.  You can learn more about additional free software for making word clouds at here.  There are endless ways you can play with these programs to create visuals out of your discussion!  OR - Individually andanonymously, write down on a piece of paper a parenting moment that was particularly difficult either for you as the parent, or for your child (or for you when you were a child).  Crumple the paper and toss it into a basket (who can make it on the first shot?).  Pair up in the meeting, with one person per pair “playing” the child and one “playing” the parent.  One person from each group reaches into the basket, pulls out a scenario, and role-plays the situation with their partner.  How might you apply Teresa Graham Brett’s ideas into this scenario? (If anyone hasn’t read the article, you can always bring the talking points).  After you roll play, come back together as a group and discuss the experience.   Did you find Graham Brett’s techniques or ideas useful or practical?  What might hinder the application of her ideas?  

 - this connection offers an opportunity to unite our minds with our bodies.  The meetings which use this connection might integrate other practitioners in your community such as massage, yoga, guided meditation, acupuncture, etc. 

Example - Collaborate with a meditation guide (if you’re not sure how to find one, contact a local yoga studio or acupuncture location.  You might also try the Independent Meditation Center - http://www.gosit.org/Index.asp).  Can you reserve a meeting just for guidance on meditation practices?  Give “assignment” ideas (like keeping an energy diary that notes when you feel energy vs. uninspired or lethargic.  Note ideas/thoughts, physical environment, company, food).  Create an activity developing and sharing mantras or meditation practices. (Online guided meditation - http://www.artofliving.org/online-guided-meditation).  Integrate this meeting with a yoga practice.

 - this connection offers ways to integrate films (short or feature-length) into your group discussions.  You can choose to use one of your meetings to screen a film and then use the following meeting (or have an extended meeting) to discuss the film.  You might also use the meeting time to screen the film, and create an online discussion forum through ICPA Forums, or through Facebook, to discuss the film. (We can help set these up, just give us a call at 610-565-2360 or emailheather.boyd@icpa4kids.com

Example - We include articles that examine or review films regularly.  For example, in Pathways 39, we covered material from the film Love Bomb The Movie -http://www.lovebombthemovie.com .  From this issue, you might also choose to watch one of the recent documentaries on the recent loss of bees – Queen of the Sun(http://www.queenofthesun.com/store/watch-now/  $4.99 streaming or http://www.queenofthesun.com/store/dvd/$19.95 to own the DVD) or Vanishing Bees ($3.99 to stream http://www.vanishingbees.com/ and $10 for dvdhttp://www.vanishingbees.com/purchase-dvd/) 

Holistic Outreach
 - this connection allows you to embrace the expertise of your patients, or other practitioners in the community.  Do you have patients, or know local practitioners, who are midwives, doulas, acupuncturists, herbalists, naturopaths, homeopaths, yoga instructors, meditation guides, etc?  Ask them to come lead a discussion or offer a short informative “lecture” on their expertise as it relates to a topic in this issue. 

Example - If you are a chiropractor-facilitator, your “guest speaker” could be you!  This issue is focused on chiropractic philosophy, and you will be the best guide for a discussion on the core premise of chiropractic!  If you are not a chiropractor, ask the ICPA member practitioner who sponsors your group or contact a local D.C at http://icpa4kids.org/Find-a-Chiropractor/ OR In Pathways 39, we included an article on the loss of bees across the country.  Consider coordinating with a landscape/gardening group or your state’s beekeeper organization (http://www.honeyo.com/org-International.shtmlhttp://www.abfnet.org/,http://www.apimondia.org/) for a fun edu-gathering on individual or group efforts to create bee-friendly environments.

Some Paths will be stronger and clearer in some articles than others.  For example, one article might lend itself more strongly to Discussion/Story Share than to News, while another might utilize Activate or Theatre.  Each issue, we will offer ideas of how you might implement these Paths in each article, but these are just examples.  Select from one or more of the ideas, or create your own. 

Note:  Not all of the Paths will make sense for every article.   We, at Pathways, are interested in the ways you apply thesePaths.  Please share your experiences either on the ICPA Forum, the private closed group “Pathways Communities” or by emailing heather.boyd@icpa4kids.com.

Survey Results

In December 2013, we conducted a survey with Pathways Connect facilitators.  Thank you so much to those who participated.  I wanted to share the results of that survey with you.  Below you will find

How often should we meet?  Most you said monthly works the best and it seems that evening meetings, to accommodate working parents, was most popular.  Babies seemed welcome, but older kids posed distractions.  Many of you arrange for someone to play with/watch older children to make the meetings more accessible to new parents.

How many people should I expect?  Your average group size is about 8, although some groups are as big as 20-25 (one group has 40!)

Where should we meet?  Most of you are using your office waiting area, if your office is large enough.  If not, others meet at local book stores or restaurant s.  Dr. Laura Brayton rents a lounge in an office building (2 hours) for $50/month –  this includes parking and a kitchenette.  She rents seminar rooms for larger events and charges for tickets to cover the cost of the room rental

Do you use the Resources Guide? Most of you said yes, focusing mostly on the talking points to remind you of the main points of the article.  

What resources do you find most useful? The majority of you found ideas from the content most useful (talking points, resources), and also visual market tools (fliers, cover images, logos, etc), and breaking down the resources into individual topic guides.

What resources did you find least useful?  Most of you responded that the questions were too leading and didn’t seem to foster openness for sharing.  Others of you who  run your groups more fluidly find that reading the magazine is enough preparation for leading your wisdom circle/rap group.  (This seems to be the favorite way to run a group, whether you use the Resource Guide or not).

We used this information to reformat the Resources Guide.  We stream-lined it by breaking down the talking points and resources into individual documents, so you could print off only the talking points and resources you needed at any given time.  We also removed the discussion questions.  We replaced those discussion questions with weekly Facebook posts that offer ideas or questions to consider.  If you’re not already following us on Facebook, please “like” our page: .  Please feel free to share your own ideas or discussion questions there as well.  We compiled all of your responses to create a link in the Pathways Connect website, that shares the many GREAT ideas you are using to facilitate successful Pathways Connect Gathering Groups.